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6,601 Princess Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades) Cruise Reviews

I know these reviews should be about the ship, crew, food, itinerary, etc, and there will be some of that. I have to feel sorry for cruise ship workers, though, due to some of the people they encounter during cruises, especially short ... Read More
I know these reviews should be about the ship, crew, food, itinerary, etc, and there will be some of that. I have to feel sorry for cruise ship workers, though, due to some of the people they encounter during cruises, especially short cruises. DW and I are in our 50s and have been cruising a lot in the past couple years. This was our 3rd and 4th cruise on the CB as we took a B2B fro the 27th through Jan 3rd. Our 22 and 24 yr-old kids traveled with us and stayed in the same cabin type next door. Departure from Fort Lauderdale was very easy as it mostly always is. We departed from Terminal 21which was a departure from the normal Terminal 2 departure. Our first stop was Princess Cays, which we had been to once before. We did not stay long, however, as there were a lot of biting gnats and mosquitos. I know Princess can do nothing about this, so this is just a comment. I also made the mistake of going beachcombing wearing only sandals. I slipped in the rocky area and cut up my foot. So, needless to say, between my foot and the biting insects, Princess Cays was not our favorite stop. The turnaround for the B2B was very quick and painless. We were only off the ship maybe a half hour or so. Our 2nd stop was Cozumel, where we've been a dozen times. We took the Segway tour from Princess and had a good time. Cozumel always has something to do and provides a lot of opportunities for shopping, tours, etc. I have to say that the food on the ship this time was hit or miss. There were several outstnding meals, both in the MDR and in the buffet. The Mexican buffet was outstanding as was the Italian buffet in Caribe Cafe. There are a few things Princess does in the buffet area that confuse me. One is bringing drinks. One would think that self-serve drink/coffee stations would allow the staff to be put to better use. Celebrity does this without much issue. The other is funneling everyone through one "entrance" into the actual food area. It makes for a very crowded experience. It also doesn't give them enough room for an omelet station in the morning (you have to put your order in and take a number). Food in the MDR was a hit and miss thing as well. In addition to getting orders mixed up several times, some of the food was often undercooked. On lobster night, neither my wife or I could eat our lobster as it was undercooked and I was afraid of getting sick. On the good side, the prime rib was excellent as were all the beef and lamb dishes. If I had to advise someone based on this experience, I would advise them to stay away from the seafood and stick with beef/chicken/lamb. Since we were recently on the CB in August, we had seen all of the production shows. We had not seen the comedian's full show. Phil Tag was very funny and clean. There was also a new magician, Farrell Dillon, who did great sleight of hand. We watched MUTs a couple times, but will comment on that experience below in the "cruise people are rude" section below. Our room steward was another hit or miss topic. For the first time in all of our cruises, there were a couple times our room was not cleaned until late in the afternoon. I don't know if this is reflective of understaffing or if our particular steward had an issue. She always seemed to be working very hard and was very nice, so I'll give her the benefit of the doubt. Now to my "cruise people are rude" topic. I'm guessing that the shortness of this 3 day/4 day cruise, the time of year, and the drastic price drops that occurred all contributed to the type of people that decided to take this cruise. Both my wife and I are very easygoing. We don't demand anything. We don't feel entitled to anything more than what we paid for. We respect other peoples' privacy and want others to enjoy the cruising experience as much as we do. We're on the ship to get away and not have to listen to other peoples' problems (which is something we both do at work). Sorry if this gets long but I just have to get some things off of my chest and this seems to be a good place to do it. Maybe someone reading this review will think twice before exhibiting this type of behavior in the future. First off, parents. Supervise your children. Letting them run around and through hallways in the middle of the night is completely unacceptable. There are places for children to play on a ship and have a good time (pools, cruise run family activities, etc). Cabin hallways are not one of those places, and certainly not at 1 AM. Next, food slobs. I get it if you want to take a burger to your room. But when you drop it in the elevator, kindly pick it up and dispose of it. Don't leave it for others who use the elevator to smell and clean up for you. Also, the elevator is not the place to put your used plate after you eat. Have some comon courtesy for other people. Next, man who yelled at me "We're not in your way at all, are we?" when I entered the elevator on debarkation day before you got off with your luggage, consider that you were all the way against one side of the elevator and I did not see you until I had already entered the elevator. What appeared to be an empty elevator was not. It's not necessary to be rude to people who make innocent mistakes. Next, a general request of anyone walking in hallways late at night. Just because you're not in bed before 2 AM doesn't mean that someone else isn't. Cruise ship cabin walls are very thin and we can hear pretty much everything said above a normal voice. So yelling at 2 AM an definitely be heard. That's my review. Final say- vacation was great, ship was good and bad, crew was fine, people were incosiderate. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
This is our 16th cruise and first on Princess. We have sailed on Carnival (6), NCL (4), Royal (2), HAL (1) and Celebrity (2). Pluses. 1. Service was excellent, especially in the Lido dining room where the servers constantly provided and ... Read More
This is our 16th cruise and first on Princess. We have sailed on Carnival (6), NCL (4), Royal (2), HAL (1) and Celebrity (2). Pluses. 1. Service was excellent, especially in the Lido dining room where the servers constantly provided and refilled your Coffee, Water, Orange Juice, or Lemonade. 2. Ship condition. Clean and well maintained. Staff was constantly painting steel or refinishing teak. 3. Embarkation. Arrival at 12:30, on-board in about 20 minutes. Rooms were ready. 4. Room Steward. Gabriel did an excellent job of keeping our room clean and ready. 5. Cabin layout. Standard balcony cabin had a dividing wall between sleeping area which created a separate dressing area/clothes storage area next to bathroom. We liked the organization of this design. 6. No hint of second hand smoke on the balconies, customers respected the no smoking policy. 7. Breakfast omelets were always well cooked and tasty. 8. Deserts, too many great choices! 9. International Café on deck 5 had good prepared salads, sandwiches and desserts. 10. Good itinerary, we always enjoy Cozumel (rented Jeep, great beaches) and Costa Maya (Snorkel excursion, incredible living reef) 11. Zumba classes were fun 12. Price was ridiculously low, which factored into us choosing this as a last minute getaway. Minuses. 1. Food was well prepared, but meats were on the very cheap side. It was quantity over quality. 2. Crown Grill was not worth the $25 cover charge. 3. Main Dining service. While the food was marginally better than the buffet, the wait time between courses was excruciatingly slow. We never went back after that. 4. Salad bar was very basic with about 8 items, more of an afterthought. 5. Few on deck activities, sea days were boring. Demographics. We know that HAL and Celebrity have a mostly 90% retired clientele and this proved true on Princess as well. We had very little in common with our fellow passengers as we still have careers and are physically active. Nothing personally against folks who like to playing mahjong, eating and limping around on canes but it’s quite depressing to be around folks who rarely laugh and smile. Thankfully there were only 2 sea days and if not for the low price, we wouldn't sail on Princess again.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
This is a review of a Caribbean Princess Western Caribbean cruise that my wife and I took on 12/30/14. This was a 4-night cruise from Fort Lauderdale, with one stop in Cozumel and two at sea days. EMBARKATION We live in South Florida, so ... Read More
This is a review of a Caribbean Princess Western Caribbean cruise that my wife and I took on 12/30/14. This was a 4-night cruise from Fort Lauderdale, with one stop in Cozumel and two at sea days. EMBARKATION We live in South Florida, so we drove to Port Everglades and parked in the Northport garage, right next to the Caribbean Princess at Terminal 2. There were a lot of cars there, but we had no trouble finding a spot. We wanted to board early enough to have lunch in the main dining room, which closes at 1:30 on embarkation day (buffet lunch is available all afternoon), so we arrived at the terminal around 11:30. Although the suggested check-in time for our deck (Dolphin) was 2:00, we had Platinum member preferred boarding passes that allowed us to board at any time. The check-in process was quick, and we arrived in a waiting area at around 11:40, where we were told we would be boarding in about 10 minutes, and within 15 minutes we were in our cabin. After dropping off our stuff, we headed to the Crown Grill to make dinner reservations for the following night (New Year's Eve), and then it was off to the Coral Dining Room for lunch. I don't recall how long it took our one suitcase to arrive at our cabin, but it wasn't too long, it was probably there before 2:00. When our bag arrived, a second one was left for us by mistake, but the other cabin was just down the hall so I moved the bag there. CABIN AND SHIP We were in cabin D332, a mid-ship balcony mini-suite on the port side of the Dolphin deck (deck 9). We had originally booked a regular balcony stateroom (C607), but received an unsolicited upgrade a week before departure. The balcony was a good size, with two reclining chairs and separate footrests, and a round table large enough to eat at. Dolphin deck mini-suite balconies are completely uncovered, which is good for sunbathing or stargazing, but there's no privacy or protection from the elements. The room was large and nicely decorated, with plenty of closet space and shelves, plus 7 narrow but deep drawers in the night tables and desk. There was a minisafe in the closet, though it was too small for an iPad. There were two large TVs, one facing the bed, the other facing the couch. The bathroom had both a bathtub and shower, and a good-size vanity and shelves. The bathroom wasn't in the best condition, but everything worked well, and the water pressure from the shower head was surprisingly strong. The room was quiet, and the bed and pillows were very comfortable, so we slept well on this cruise. The Caribbean Princess was last refurbished in November 2011. The ship isn't as shiny and new looking as some other ships we've been on, but it was fine.There were still many Christmas decorations around the ship. I was told there were about 3500 passengers on board, so it was pretty full, but never felt too crowded. The passengers ranged from families with young children to older folks. There were a lot of children and teens on this cruise (which the captain mentioned during the mustering drill), but for the most part they were well behaved. The mix of people made for some great people watching (especially when we enjoyed our pre-dinner martinis at the Crooner's Bar :-) On the two at sea days, we didn't get to the pool deck until almost noon, but we were able to find chaise lounge chairs in the sun on the forward part of deck 17, near the Sanctuary. There was a small adults-only pool nearby, though the water was pretty chilly. A couple of things we didn't like about that spot -- there were too many lounge chairs crammed into the area, so it was hard to move your chair to face the sun if you wanted to, and we rarely saw a bar waiter or deck attendant while we were there. The lack of deck attendants was especially problematic on the second at sea day, because it was windy and empty glasses and beer bottles were blowing around the deck. The WiFi internet access on board was extremely slow and barely usable at times. I used it to check e-mail on my iPhone, and in some cases I could download messages but not retrieve the message contents. This was the case everywhere I tried to access the internet, including my cabin, my balcony, and on the pool deck. (Surprisingly, I seemed to have the best internet access from my cabin's bathroom :-). As a Platinum member, I had a generous allowance of free internet minutes so it didn't cost me anything, but if I had to pay for that service, I would have been unhappy. You could also use the WiFi service to access an internal web site that provided an online version of the Princess Patter, which was nice -- you could access that site without connecting to the internet, so it was free for everyone. The ship's cell service was spotty as well. I didn't make or receive any calls, but I couldn't get any cell service in some spots, including parts of our cabin. On a couple of occasions, alarms sounded on the ship, followed by an announcement directed at the crew to deal with a "first aid" situation. The first time, this happened around an hour after the new year arrived, and the alarms and announcements were heard in both cabins and public areas, so it was pretty unsettling -- after some time, the captain announced that the issue had been resolved. The second time was around dinner time a day or two later (we weren't in our cabin for that one). Since these alerts are not directed at passengers, I don't think we should hear them, especially in the middle of the night. DINING Our embarkation lunch in the (mostly empty) Coral Dining Room was relaxing and definitely a better option than the buffet. The food there, like all the other meals we had on board, ranged from just okay to pretty good, depending on the meal (desserts, when we had them, were always good). The best meal I had onboard was the jerk chicken, for dinner on the first night. We were on the Anytime Dining plan, so we could have dinner in the Island Dining Room (deck 5) from 5:30-9:30, or in the Coral Dining Room (deck 6) from 7:15-9:30 (after the first fixed seating). For the 3 nights we had dinner in the main dining room, we ate in the Island Dining Room, because the line was always shorter than the one for the Coral. We always requested a table for two, and were seated immediately on the first night, but had to wait a little while on the other two nights (there would be no wait to share a table). We arrived at different times each night. When we made reservations at the Crown Grill for New Year's Eve shortly after boarding, there was a couple ahead of us who were trying to make a reservation for a party of 6, also for New Year's Eve, and they were told there were no tables for 6 available anytime that evening. This seemed odd, because they had only started boarding passengers about 20 minutes earlier, and you can't make reservations until you board, but maybe people doing B2B cruises made reservations earlier. We had no trouble making a reservation for the 2 of us at 7:00. Despite the rave reviews I've seen on the forums here, the dinner at the Crown Grill was disappointing. I had the filet mignon and my wife had the rib eye, and neither one of us felt the quality of the steak was anything special. The steaks were served with a gravy that was bland, but that was the only option. The sides were good. My wife started with the Black and Blue Onion Soup, which was good but not great, and I had a Crown Grill salad that was good. My wife also had the lobster tails with her steak, which she enjoyed. We both had different chocolate desserts that were very good. Our waitress Camelia was excellent. My wife ordered her rib eye cooked medium, and that's how it came out. I'm one of the few people who actually prefer steaks cooked well -- I know many of you consider that a sin, but that's just how I roll :-) Contrary to popular belief, as someone who has been eating well done steaks my entire life, I can assure you that it is possible to cook a steak (especially filet) that is both well done but still tender and juicy. Unfortunately, that wasn't my experience at the Crown Grill. Although you might think the biggest risk of asking for something well done is that it will be overcooked, in my experience the most common mistake is having the steak come out medium rare (or even rare), and that's what happened this time -- I asked for my filet medium well to well, and it came out medium rare (if that). I realize the chef doesn't want to overcook the steak, so I can understand how it might come out medium to medium well, but medium rare is a problem for me, because (1) I can't eat it that way, (2) now that the steak has been cut, it's more likely to dry out when I they cook it longer, and (3) my wife has to either eat alone while my steak cooks longer, or wait for me and let her dinner get cold. I sent the steak back, and it came out again just a few minutes later, this time barely medium. I didn't want to disrupt my wife's dinner any further, so I didn't send it back again, but I didn't enjoy it either. By the way, my assessment of the quality of the steak had nothing to do with how it was cooked -- I can appreciate high-quality steak even when it's not cooked to my liking. For lunch on our two at sea days, we had pizza from the pizzeria by the pool. On our last Princess cruise (on Island Princess), we thought the pizza was great and had it several times for lunch. On the Caribbean Princess, we were looking forward to having the pizza again, but we were both a bit disappointed -- it just wasn't as good as before. We had breakfast delivered by room service each morning, and ate on our balcony. (We skipped breakfast on disembarkation day.) We ordered breakfast using the door tags that were left in our cabin each evening. You could pick a 30 minute delivery window, and we chose 10:00-10:30 for two of the mornings (we're not morning people :-), and 9:00-9:30 for the other. The first 10:00-10:30 breakfast arrived right at 10:30, the second arrived a few minutes before 10:00. The 9:00-9:30 breakfast arrived a few minutes after 9:00. The orders were correct, although the first breakfast included two breakfast sandwiches that we didn't order (but we ate them anyway :-). ENTERTAINMENT The only evening shows we saw on this cruise were Phil Tag (stand-up comedy) and Farrell Dillon (magic/comedy). Phil had some funny bits, and interacted with the audience, though there weren't a lot of people at the 10:15 show (on New Year's Eve, and his third show of the night). Farrell was entertaining (we did the 7:00 show), and had some impressive tricks, though I'd say he's better at magic than comedy. For the most part, we only caught bits and pieces of the other entertainers who played around the ship, because they never seemed to be playing nearby when were sitting around, though we did get to watch the guitarist/singer Toby Reilly for a while, and he was really good. On New Year's Eve, the atmosphere was very festive, but we decided to ring in the New Year in private on our balcony. We could hear the party on the top deck and the countdown just before midnight, and the ship marked the new year by blowing its horn a few times. We didn't participate in the on-board activities offered throughout the day, so I can't comment on those. COZUMEL Our one stop was in Cozumel, and the ship was there all day (we had to board at 5:30). We didn't a shore excursion through the ship, instead we spent the day at the Nachi Cocom Beach Club, one of the all-inclusive options on the island. We did the same thing the last time we visited Cozumel several years earlier. Nachi Cocom requires reservations, and they only accept 100 people at a time, so it doesn't get crowded. They charge $55 per person, which includes unlimited drinks and a 4-course meal (the margaritas were very potent, more so than the last time). The food is good, the service is very good. It's a relatively quiet place, not rowdy like some of the other all inclusives. The only thing I don't like there are the chaise lounges, which are hard plastic and uncomfortable. It's about a 15 minute taxi ride ($17) from the port. We didn't have any issues either disembarking or embarking while in port. The gangway was closed for a little while in the morning while another ship was docking, but we left the ship after that. DISEMBARKATION When we received our disembarkation papers, we were originally assigned to one of the mid-morning disembarkation groups, but I went to the shore excursion desk and registered for one of the walk-off groups. The walk-off groups are the first to disembark, but you have to bring all your luggage with you. There were 4 walk-off groups, with meeting times every 15 minutes starting at 7:15 -- the earliest group available when I registered was walk-off group 2, meeting at 7:30 in the Island Dining Room (the 7:15 group met in the Coral Dining Room). I didn't notice an option to sign up for a walk-off group when I reserved the cruise online, but I would have signed up then if I could have. Since we were going to (hopefully) disembark early, we decided to sleep a little later and wait until we got home to have breakfast and shower. When we arrived at the Island Dining Room a little before 7:30, there weren't many people there, but people started showing up shortly afterwards (some of those may have been in the 8:00 group). I think we only waited 10-15 minutes before they let us disembark. The disembarkation process was pretty quick. There was a bit of a line at Customs, but it moved along. We were probably outside by 8:00. Unfortunately, the ship didn't return to the same terminal we departed from, so we had to wait for a shuttle bus to take us back to the Northport garage. That was actually the slowest part of the process -- the line was long and there wasn't a continuous flow of shuttles, though they came fairly regularly. We didn't get out of the parking garage until about 8:30. It would have been good to know the day before disembarkation that we were going to return to a different terminal. We bought some duty-free liquor onboard, and I packed one of the bottles in our suitcase to make it easier to carry off, expecting that no one else would be handling our luggage. When we took the shuttle, the driver loaded all the luggage into the back, so I was a little worried about the bottle breaking, even though it was fairly well protected. Lesson learned -- if you don't know for sure you'll be returning to the same terminal, assume someone else might handle your luggage even if you're in a walk-off group, and pack accordingly. IN CONCLUSION... Despite a few minor issues, we thoroughly enjoyed our cruise (and the weather was great the entire time), and we're looking forward to our next one. Although our next cruise will be on NCL, Princess is still our favorite cruise line overall, and we can't wait for our next Princess voyage! Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
Royal Princess Dec 9-19 Eastern Caribbean This was my 40th cruise first time as Elite on Princess. Embarkation was slow and disorganized. We were given a mini suite as the price dropped on the obstructed balcony I had booked so we were ... Read More
Royal Princess Dec 9-19 Eastern Caribbean This was my 40th cruise first time as Elite on Princess. Embarkation was slow and disorganized. We were given a mini suite as the price dropped on the obstructed balcony I had booked so we were spoiled by the space. Loved having a larger bathroom, 2 TVs and a couch, large desk area plus a chair and table. We were forward between the front elevators and middle so we could use the forward stairs or elevators which were less crowded. The buffet on the first day was crowded but well laid out. I found the buffet lunches to be very good. We had Anytime dining which was a mess the first 2 days but got better after that with no waiting for a table for 2. Dinners were okay, service varied. Alfredo's was very good for lunch but underutilized and a waste of space. We tried the Crab Shack which was fun and Crown Grill which we enjoyed. Crooners was crowded for Happy Hour 3-4 each day, we did Afternoon Tea once which is held in the dining room. This was an older crowd and few children onboard. Internet was slow. We had a Meet and Greet which a CC member arranged, we were lucky to have the CD and Captain as well as other officers attend. That was very special. Coffee cards now include Gelato. The pools were okay but crowded with lots of seat savers. Towels were plentiful at the pool. Entertainment was lacking, I find Princess somewhat boring. The library is small and people complained about that and the fact it is never open when the Patters state. The Atrium is beautiful as is the rest of the ship, especially the dining rooms. Not too happy about having to be out of the cabin at 8 on disembarkation day. We had a wonderful time in the ports. We did only one excursion in St Lucia with Spencer Ambrose to Jalousie Beach. The other ports we took cabs to the beach: Antigua to Dickenson Bay, Barbados to Carlisle, St Kitts to So Friars. We had great weather except for St Thomas. Princess Cays was the best of the 10 times I have been there. Disembarkation was slow because of a lack of customs agents. Lines were long. Getting a cab to FLL was easy and fast. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
I have to say that I was not impressed with the changes that Princess made with this ship – in fact, had I not cruised princess in the past I may not have been a repeat customer after this experience. This was my 24th cruise - 10th with ... Read More
I have to say that I was not impressed with the changes that Princess made with this ship – in fact, had I not cruised princess in the past I may not have been a repeat customer after this experience. This was my 24th cruise - 10th with Princess. This was a back to back over both Christmas and New Year’s. The ship lay out was also disappointing. There was no dance floor in the wheelhouse, although they had space for musicians to play. They got rid of the Explorer’s lounge and replaced it with the WORST VENUE EVER – Princess Live. Going into Princess Live was horrible experience – the venue was like attending a business quarterly meeting – chairs right next to the other person, no tables – which means no place to set down your drink And the room was just plain ugly. I have attended several business meetings in my life and prefer not to be in that environment when I travel for pleasure. Club 6 was a joke, minimal dance floor and minimal wait staff. Also – why in the world would you schedule line dance lessons in the Piazza during lunch time, which has several venues and subject the passengers to line dance instructions: “STEP TOGETHER, STEP TOGETHER, KNEE AND KNEE” while trying to have a quiet lunch. The central elevator banks also had no stairs above the 7th floor which was highly inconvenient and many passengers complained about it. The Theater was also a nightmare, with cramped space between rows. It seemed like they downsized to public spaces to cram more cabins in, therefor souring the customer experience. Its like they are trying to attract first time cruisers rather than earn repeat business. Many of the experienced cruisers I spoke with felt the same way. The cruise director’s staff was incompetent and rude to passengers. During karaoke they claimed that I turned my microphone off and it was never working from the time they handed it to me so obviously they were making excuses for incompetence. Thank you for insulting a passenger on stage, Assistant Cruise Director and Erica from Chile, rather than handling the situation professionally. She also said on our way out “That one doesn’t like me much” she was covering her butt at my expense. And she was correct, I don’t like untrained unprofessional cruise staff. We complained and the deputy cruise director gave us a bunch of excuses – which amounted to the staff being poorly trained and rude. We never received follow-up and complained again, and no response was provided. Please send these people to charm school, Princess. They are in desperate need of training. Deck space on sea days was a constant issue –there was never enough available chairs around the pools and Princess never enforced their own policy of clearing off chairs after 15 minutes of vacancy. I saw one woman nearly in tears yelling at the sanctuary manager out of frustration over this situation. If you are going to publish the policy in the Patter for the passengers, the staff should follow that same policy. The way space was allocated on the ship was really strange. On the Lido deck they crammed so many tables in you could barely move around without running into a post or railing. In the Horizon Court they added high top tables and increased the average table size to 6 which seemed really dumb as generally only 2 people would sit at a table the majority of the time. The food in the Main Dining room was average – nothing great, nothing horrible. The selections for the formal nights were a little disappointing. I personally do not consider fried chicken fine dining. And the choices for cheese after dinner was always only brie and gouda. What happened to the variety that has been served in the past? Sabatini’s was another disappointment. The food quality was not worth the cover charge. The Crown Grill was outstanding – same quality as always, although there was a lot of noise from the Wheelhouse, and when shows in the Vista lounge let out. The islands however, were great as always and provided us with very many good memories. But there was not any island night on either cruise. Overall I have to say that this ship was disappointing. Most of the staff that did not receive tips were not trained well, seeming to always need assistance from peers or supervisors, or not having strong enough English language skills to comprehend what was requested. The tour desk and dine lines were a disaster. We are cruising on the Ruby in April – I am hoping that that trip will be up to the Princess standards we have grown accustomed to on past sailings. If not, hello Celebrity.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
Having travelled on the Star, Ruby and Emerald we left Princess 4 yrs ago as the standards had slipped, especially with the food. We have been cruising with Celebrity over the last 4 years, however, due to itinery, decided to give Princess ... Read More
Having travelled on the Star, Ruby and Emerald we left Princess 4 yrs ago as the standards had slipped, especially with the food. We have been cruising with Celebrity over the last 4 years, however, due to itinery, decided to give Princess another go with the new ship the Royal Princess. There is no doubt about it that the ship is stunning, the piazza large and great for social gatherings and the Adults Only Retreat pool area great...Celebrity ought to take note ! That's the praise done with... We found the rooms much smaller, the balconies tiny and the bathrooms even smaller.... The shower water flow was that poor you struggled to get wet. The hygiene on board was very poor and it's only a matter of time before a Novo Virus will break out...the public toilets were disgusting ( overflowing on 3 occasions ) and no toilet cleaners to sort it out. On some days, they had a member of staff at the entrance to restaurants with hand sanitiser and on other occasions no one ! This is no doubt due to the ship being very understaffed. The food was extremely poor, with the exception of the Crown Grille that was superb. The other speciality restaurants, especially Sabortinis was very poor. Again short staffed main restaurant and no wine Somalia so the waiters were running around trying to sort food and drinks. On several occasions and due to dietry restrictions, we asked the waiter what was in some of the dishes and he either did not know or guessed. Such a shame as this ship had the opportunity to become one of the leaders regarding standards, however nobody actually gave a damn. The casino still allows smoking and nothing worse than going back to your room smelling like an ashtray. Would definitely not recommend this ship and will be returning to Celebrity. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
I did a back to back on Princess over the holidays and came back extremely disappointed in the drop in Princess Standards and amenities. They did not have an omelet or pasta bar on this ship, which its competitors from Carnival to ... Read More
I did a back to back on Princess over the holidays and came back extremely disappointed in the drop in Princess Standards and amenities. They did not have an omelet or pasta bar on this ship, which its competitors from Carnival to Celebrity seem to have made a standard feature. There was not any area that contained additional sauces like soy, tabasco, ketchup or steak sauce anywhere in the Horizon Court. Newsflash Princess, passengers are becoming more diverse in the cuisine preferences and background, and you need to please them all – not just the American pallet. Cabins were cramped and I always had to make sure my wife was not partially dressed and in view of the hallway whenever I opened the cabin door. Several times during the cruise we ordered wine and then were told later –like up to 20 minutes later in the MDR that it was not in stock. Don’t they provide that information to the dining staff before their shift? The Chef’s table while glitzy, lost the intimacy that we experienced in other ships. Also – I did not appreciate the entertainment by staff in the MDR – we were trying to get to know other cruisers and had this forced on us. Give the passengers the right to an uninterrupted dinner if they choose, please. The addition of the high top tables in the Horizon court frustrated several of the older diners – they were difficult to maneuver around when Horizon Court was busy and were inaccessible by many. And the upsell – the foot clinic, the wine tasting, the after dinner drinks, the spa advertising, it was worse than the Christmas consumer advertising we were hoping to escape. Princess Cays is not even worth the tender ride out. Better to stay on the ship and enjoy a peaceful and (rare) uncrowded day on the ship. Also noticed that there was very limited bar service on deck as well, and many of the staff turned out to be not good at comprehension. My wife had to tell one server 3 times that she wanted a club soda – not too difficult, but the server had a hard time understanding. The addition of the fountain on the top deck did not make up for the lack of the pool on the fantail. Also, on the 26th of December I have had enough of the Christmas music until next December. But no, the piped in music and even certain entertainers kept it going ad nauseum. Many people were disappointed by the lack of Christmas decorations, but they simply did not have space on the ship to add anymore as it felt incredibly cramped with such a large amount of passengers. It seemed like this ship was a training ground for many staff as they were endlessly asking others how to do their job or giving answers that were not acceptable to passengers which resulted in escalation to higher ups. We witnessed the women in the Cruise Director Staff be incredibly rude to others several times. And the design flaws, no stairs midship, cramped workout area that people had to walk through and the downsizing to add additional venues that were rarely busy seems like a waste. But the worst was eliminating the Explorer’s Lounge. That was our hangout after several cruises and the removal of this venue plus the downsizing of the Wheelhouse was a detriment –not an enhancement to prior Princess ship designs. All in all we had a good time but it was mostly due to the itinerary and being with a loved one. But never again Royal Princess. And you, sister ship Regal, are also grandfathered in.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
Positive: Dining room staff are excellent and go out of their way to accommodate. Negative: Dining room food substandard, so don't eat there, the food at the buffet dining room is much better. Orange juice is complimentary only at ... Read More
Positive: Dining room staff are excellent and go out of their way to accommodate. Negative: Dining room food substandard, so don't eat there, the food at the buffet dining room is much better. Orange juice is complimentary only at breakfast, but you have to pay for it at lunch or dinner. Really!!!! I prefer a cruise line where you don't feel like they are charging you for every little thing. When you have to buy a coffee card or drink card, you must always remember to bring it with you. My husband had the coffee card in his bathing suit shorts and it got wet and ruined and then it is a hassle to get it replaced. When it is all inclusive you don't have to worry about carrying a card around with you, a much more civilized and convenient manner of dealing with beverages for the cruising customer. Not a lot of activities for so many days at sea. As the ship was not even half full, there was no problem getting a lounge chair on the pooldeck. If you need shade, that is very limited so go early to secure your poolside seating. The music and entertainment is geared to the elderly, and I mean elderly. One of the movies they showed at the poolside was the Tom Hanks movie, Big, which is a 1988 film, not exactly a current film. They also showed the movie Frozen although there were very few children on board because the sailing date was early December. The costumes on the dancers for the shows were very very very sparkly and cheesy looking, but the dancers were good. The Princess Cay stop is a typical day at the beach, which we have done on other cruise ships. There are a lot of beaches in Florida, so I don't need to go on a cruise ship in order to go to the beach. We would much prefer a port of call where there is something of interest to see and do. The worst was the port of call at Grand Turk. There are upscale jewellery shops right at the port, and it goes downhill all the way from there. We spent $35.00 per person for a "tour". This is an impoverished place, with high unemployment, wild donkeys and dogs roaming around freely, and piles of their deification everywhere. The downtown consisted of a few shacks on a roadside selling trinkets and sea shells. Then we went to a locked, rusted out light house. The houses of the people living on Grand Turk are shacks with garbage strewn everywhere. We were shocked that they would schedule such a destination. Do not get off the boat. The gift shop was selling a watch I had priced at department stores, and the cruise ship price was over $100.00 more than the department store price, but people are lead to believe that pricing is better if you buy it on the ship. I would not recommend this cruise line or its choice of destinations to anyone.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
Ship holds as advertised 3500 passengers December 29 cruise to Carribean there was over 4000 too many kids many people from foreign countries worst of all STAFF did not WEAR gloves in FOOD AREAS!!After I complained many times some stations ... Read More
Ship holds as advertised 3500 passengers December 29 cruise to Carribean there was over 4000 too many kids many people from foreign countries worst of all STAFF did not WEAR gloves in FOOD AREAS!!After I complained many times some stations put on gloves.I was in a suite room was fine SHOWER was a DRIP by DRIP couldn't wait to get home and SHOWER.Horizen dining area 7-24 was impossible to navigate FOOD wasn't bad but placement was not in logical sequence SItting was always difficult except when they got off the ship little kids all over the place even at the shows also SMOKING permitted all over CASINO! I am a seasoned cruiser DO NOT GO ON THIS SHIP other PRINCESS okay!Also controlled electric like Hotel Room you had to insert your room key to turn on lights okay in hotel not good on ship.TV's were GOOD but no football in room showed on pool deck okay but they did not arrange rows of seating MOST OF PEOPLE sitting ther thought it was SOCCER terrible MANAGING especially during playoffs! Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
This is a review of the Royal Princess cruise to Princess Cays and Grand Turk in December, 2014. The views and opinions in this review are mine alone and represent my experience on the Royal Princess. DW and I have cruised several times, ... Read More
This is a review of the Royal Princess cruise to Princess Cays and Grand Turk in December, 2014. The views and opinions in this review are mine alone and represent my experience on the Royal Princess. DW and I have cruised several times, primarily on Princess. We are from the Midwest and fly to ports out of MCI or OMA. This particular cruise was not nearly full of passengers. Princess staff reported 2,100 guests onboard. We never felt crowded or hurried. Ratings are 1-5 stars with 5 being best. The sections: * Princess Customer Service *Pre Cruise Accommodations *Embarcation *The Ship *Service Personnel Onboard *Food *Entertainment *Excursions *Surprises and Overall Impressions ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- *Princess Customer Service: I have never had anything but excellent customer service from the folks at Princess. We work through a TA, but have had several occasions to visit with Princess directly. They are always helpful and cheerful. Rating 5 stars. *Pre Cruise Accommodations: Since we live half a country away from Florida, we always fly in a day before departure. We are Marriott Gold members so we try to stay at a Marriott near the cruiseport. This trip we stayed at the Courtyard Cruiseport Ft. Lauderdale. They provide complimentary shuttle service to both the airport and from the hotel to the cruiseport. We found the accommodations to be very good with the only complaint being that the Courtyard brand does not have complimentary breakfasts. Availability of coffee service is limited to what the Bistro serves. The shuttle to the cruiseport was efficient and on time. Rating 4 stars. *Embarcation: We used the short line because of our Platinum Captain's Circle status. This is a big time saver and it was only 20 minutes through security, filling out the forms, and checking in. Several Princess staff along the way to help passengers move from one area to another. Rating 5 stars. *The Ship: Specifically chose this cruise and ship because of the new design. We were not dissapointed. The piazza area is expanded with new a new sit-down restaurant (Alfredo's) in this area. Comments about the ship I read before booking included concerns about the lack of stairs in the middle of the ship, unavailability of eleavators, and tiny staterooms...especially the balcony rooms. The lack of stairs was not a major issue with us. We simply used the stairs forward and aft if we needed to use the stairways. Elevators were for the most part available within a short time (30-60 seconds). Remember this cruise was only 2/3 full of passengers so that may have had an impact. Princess got smart at embarcation and had staff in each of the eleavators upon arriving onboard to press buttons and guide passengers. As for the rooms ... we originally booked a balcony stateroom but were offered a mini-suite upgrade at a reasonable price and took that option. We were starboard midship mini-suite and thoroughly enjoyed our stateroom. With a full tub and shower there was plenty of room. Full sofa with an additional tv helped the situation where one person wanted to read and the other watch tv. Interactive tv programming is available with movies or a limited number of tv series also available. The shipboard accounts are also available on tv. A most impressive feature was the onboard intranet. The Princess patter was available on smartphones with all activities visible. It worked great! If you travel with CPAP equipment (both DW and I do) it is possible to order distilled water for the equipment prior to sailing. We brought our own extension cord with us as it had been necessary on previous sailings. The interesting part was that there were NO outlets on the bed headboard side of the cabin. We aquired another longer extension cord from our cabin steward, but had to string two cords together to get power over to the headboard side of the cabin. This is a design flaw. I understand that having outlets every 6 feet is not possible, but one outlet near the head of the bed would be much appreciated. I needed to remind myself that on a moving ship it is best to use the assist bars when entering and exiting the tub. Climbing over what seemed a too tall edge of the tub was a bit difficult. The balcony was one of the angled configuration with plenty of room for two people to breakfast or just read. Rating 4.5 stars. *Service Personnel Onboard: Our cabin steward was very good. We had two issues which he solved very quickly and to our satisfaction. We did not dine in the MDR often, but when we did the staff there were welcoming and helpful. Horizon Court staff seemed constantly rushed but still smiling and helpful. Rating 5 stars. *Food: DW and I both thought the food was a step down from previous cruises on Princess and other lines. The Horizon Court food was repetative and not seasoned well. The taco bar offering was very good, but most desserts were simply not tasty. MDR food was good with adequate portions. We really enjoyed the food at Alfredo's. This is a new meal offering and is not an extra cost. They have pizza (better than other pizza onboard) and other Italian dishes. The baguettes were very good. The food was always well presented wherever we went. Rating 3.5 stars. *Entertainment: In the main showroom the shows were very good. Singers and dancers were very talented and professional. The shows reminded me of Vegas reviews with the one on the last night particularly well done. The magician (David Katz) was fabulous. We saw his shows in both the main showroom and other venues. Whenever he preformed, we were there and he produced some amazing tricks with cards. The comedians were tired and not really funny. Rating 4 stars. *Excursions: We had been to Princess Cays before and just leisurely strolled the beach area and had lunch there. Princess has made improvements since we were there last with more areas being covered with roofs. The Grand Turk excursion we took was "Hop onand Hop Off" and it was OK. Visited some museums where no on got off the bus and a lighthouse. Not an expensive excursion which showcased the island. Our driver was informative and knowledgeable. Rating 3 stars. *Surprises and Overall Impressions: A couple of things in this area. We were impressed with the upgrades to seating throughout the ship. Comfort seems to be more of a priority now. There was a noticeable emphasis on seating for two. The ship itself is a step up from other Princess ships we have been on. The sea walk was cool to see once or twice. Not a show stopper. The dancing fountains were ok but not something I would describe as a must see. As to the size of the stateroom...we had a mini-suite with an angled balcony which served us very well. Plenty of space both inside the cabin and on the balcony. The jogging/walking track: A couple of tips here...the track is divided into two lanes, one for jogging and one for walking. This is not an area for a group to stand 4 across discussing where they will go for dinner. Those of us who walk/jog for exercise enjoy this time in the sea air. I don't want to sound like an exercise snob, but, really, people, if you are walking or jogging on the trank and cannot see the lane identification notations...you are walking the WRONG direction. There are exercise stations around the track which were being used by several passengers. It is seven laps to a mile. Kudos to Princess for being involved in the Komen Foundation in research for a breast cancer cure. I participated and enjoyed the walk. DW and I prefer Princess to the other lines we have sailed. We have yet to experience a perfect cruise but appreciate the overall attitude of staff and a feeling of being welcome onboard. The value factor with Princess has not yet been topped. The Princess Royal met our expectations and exceeded them in many ways. We had a very enjoyable trip. Can't wait for Jan 9 and a Panama Canal cruise on the Island Princess.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
Took the Royal Princess from Fort Lauderdale over Christmas 2014. This was our second cruise on Princess this year. We sailed on the Emerald Princess in March. We loved the Emerald Princess and looked forward to another great trip on a ... Read More
Took the Royal Princess from Fort Lauderdale over Christmas 2014. This was our second cruise on Princess this year. We sailed on the Emerald Princess in March. We loved the Emerald Princess and looked forward to another great trip on a newer, bigger ship. The Royal Princess is just bigger but not better. The elevator space seems limited for the number of passengers. The entertainment spaces are quite limited. The theatre is large and comfortable. The Vista Lounge is adequate. The entertainment in the bars is cramped. The Wheelhouse Bar on the Royal is 1/2 the size of the Wheelhouse Bar on the Emerald. There is no Starlight lounge on the upper deck like other ships we have been on. Most of the band's performed in the atrium which had numerous lounges on three decks that overlooked the dance floor. Overall additional space went to cabins and not dance floor. The entertainment was adequate but was scheduled in 45 minute blocks. I would have preferred more dance space, longer sessions and more variety in entertainment. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
This was my third cruise the first two with RCL, Liberty and Oasis. PROS: The Atrium is amazing one of the most impressive things I've seen on a cruise ship.The buffets were very good and had good variety at all most hours. The ... Read More
This was my third cruise the first two with RCL, Liberty and Oasis. PROS: The Atrium is amazing one of the most impressive things I've seen on a cruise ship.The buffets were very good and had good variety at all most hours. The screen is great movies under the stars is very cool. Watching playoff football on that was a nice touch. We walked right on and right off lines moved quickly. Plenty of activities and events constantly running to keep us busy. CONS: Meat was cooked great but the quality of the meat was poor. Even the deluxe balcony room is smaller than a standard balcony on the RCL. Entertainment was weak. I wasn't impressed by the comedian or the magician. Stateroom attendant could not remember our names. I've come to appreciate this from RCL and I was disappointed in this case. SO MUCH WASTED SPACE, this boat is loaded with stupid shit, like for rent cabanas that take up space that could be used for more chairs but instead sit dormant. Meanwhile there is a ton of space unused on the sides of the boat. The sanctuary should be free. It's a large chunk of the top deck that in my opinion should be open to all adults.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
This was our third time on the Royal and we decided to take two of our adult children with us. This was their first cruise and although it was not geared toward a younger crowd, they had the time of their lives. The Royal is a beautiful ... Read More
This was our third time on the Royal and we decided to take two of our adult children with us. This was their first cruise and although it was not geared toward a younger crowd, they had the time of their lives. The Royal is a beautiful ship and the mini-suites are spacious. We put our children in a balcony cabin and they were thrilled with it. Until recently, we had not cruised in MANY years. The biggest change is in the dining. I love having the anytime option dining and the buffet also offers a lot of variety. Years ago when we cruised every meal seemed like a gastronomical delight. I never leave hungry but I usually don't leave wowed. Our best meal has been at Crown Grill and of course that is an additional expense. We love the movies under the stars and the array of activities available. We do not drink enough to warrant the drink package but this time the drinks often seemed watered down. This was disappointing since we had not had this experience before. Our cabin steward was superb. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
We are first time Princess cruisers after 26 Celebrity cruises. We took this cruise to explore other options beyond Celebrity .Our goal here is to describe the Princess product as compared to the Celebrity product. We sailed the Royal ... Read More
We are first time Princess cruisers after 26 Celebrity cruises. We took this cruise to explore other options beyond Celebrity .Our goal here is to describe the Princess product as compared to the Celebrity product. We sailed the Royal Princess. This is a 3600 pax ship comparable to the Solstice Class ships. It is 17 months in service, which is comparable to the Reflection. We took a 5 day cruise to Princess Cay and Grand Turk Island, both Princess dominated properties. This 4 day itinerary is new to Princess as they usually have cruises for 7 day or more. The ship embarked and debarked from FLL. Embarkation. = Not having any status level placed us on a waiting line at 12 Noon. The line was about 100 ft long, but since there were very few elite and above at the time, Princess opened up all lines to all pax. The boarding process was about 30 minutes. After the usual photo taking and etc we boarded. One nice feature was the pax can go directly to their cabin and deposit their hand luggage rather than wait until 1:30-2:00 PM per Celebrity. No carrying hand luggage to the dining area- nice. We did miss our complimentary champagne given by Celebrity, but the speed of embarkation made up for the freebie. We received our luggage by 3 PM in our cabin. Quite quick. Embarkation Lunch:= Multiple foods and Standard fare plus Mexican and Asian. One surprising food was barbequed spare ribs which I have never seen an any other line. The upstairs buffet is served in the Horizon Court. The setup is compartmentalized into several rooms and alcoves which gives the feeling of a smaller ship. Quite a contrast to the Oceanview Café on Solstice ships all open space. MDR= there are three smaller dining rooms instead of one big one. Each has a focus. One is for anytime dining, another has a high count of dining for two. We chose early fixed seating for two and found it quite comfortable, peaceful and relatively quiet.. Food varied from excellent to acceptable , but never mediocre or chain style. We ate in the Specialty restaurant Crown Grill which was excellent. WE also signed up for the Chefs Table. The special dining alcove was exquisite and the food reminded us of our first experience in specialty restaurant offered on the Celebrity M class ships, years ago.. There are no sommeliers on the Royal Princess, and the Wine Selection is much more limited to about 2000 selections (no wine tower), but the wines are overall good quality. Our Wine tasting experience (for fee) was excellent with Super Tuscans which we have already found at our Wine Merchant. The MaitreD and his assistants are excellent wine sommeliers. Activities deck -The layout of the activities deck is compartmentalized also. There seems to be more availability of lounge chairs. The no children area is great (called )Sanctuary. The football arena size LED screen in the main pool area is an excellent idea. They show movies rather than playing obnoxious music and on Sundays, they show Football. The stadium seating on the aft side of the pool is outstanding for watching movies ro watching football games. WE did not participate in any excursions. We did take a taxi to the lighthouse on Grand Turk Island which was a lot cheaper than any excursion and covered the same landscape. The Mini Suite Cabin was a pleasant surprise. It’s 8 ft deeper than a Standard Solstice Veranda Cabin. You get a sitting area with a couch and a second 50 inch flat screen. Plus you get a tub in the spacious bathroom. You can actually soak in the tub. The closet is compartmentalized and the little hallway that is created can be used as dressing area. The closet and bathroom make a nice buffer to quiet down noise from the hallway. Very few public announcements were made, like Celebrity. Wifi was cumbersome and a bit slower than the current Solstice upgraded system. Debarkation- We elected early debarkation with our carry off bags and were given a 6:45AM departure. We arrived at 6:40AM, no line and we were directed straight to the gangway. At Customs and Border Control, there was no line, in fact we were the only ones in the hall. We left our cabin at 6:35 and by 6:50 we were loading our car in the parking garage for the car trip back home in Central Florida. The ship does not have a central stairway so all pax are forced to ride the elevators. It takes a bit of patience. Several folks were spinning out of their minds waiting for mote that 3 or 4 minutes. The central elevator bank has 7 elevators. You get a work out if you are in the middle or ends of the ship. In sum, a nice alternative cruise line with friendly staff. Never saw ships officers though. The long time Princess cruisers did not like this ship because it was different that the usual fare. Can’t comment because we don’t know about the older ships. We do have options though.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
We are frequent cruisers on Princess. We found the new Royal to be a beautiful ship. The best improvements from other Princess ships are: 1) Horizon Court and Horizon Bistro were so well laid out that it never seemed crowded. It was easy ... Read More
We are frequent cruisers on Princess. We found the new Royal to be a beautiful ship. The best improvements from other Princess ships are: 1) Horizon Court and Horizon Bistro were so well laid out that it never seemed crowded. It was easy to miss a selection of the food offerings, however, as there were several small areas with different offerings. We liked the relaxing ambience of the dinning area especially in the Horizon Bistro. 2) The Princess Theater - easy to see from any of the seats and we were always able to find a seat within 10 minutes of show time. We usually went to the late show. The vast majority of the dancing was in the atrium. The hard marble floor doesn't compare to a nice wooden dance floor. We miss the pre-dinner and/or pre-show dancing in the Wheelhouse Bar of Explorer's lounge. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
This was our first ever cruise, and Princess surpassed all our expectations. What a beautiful ship! We had the most relaxing holiday of our lives and got to experience a wonderful part of the world. We chose the Eastern Caribbean Voyager ... Read More
This was our first ever cruise, and Princess surpassed all our expectations. What a beautiful ship! We had the most relaxing holiday of our lives and got to experience a wonderful part of the world. We chose the Eastern Caribbean Voyager visiting Antigua, St Lucia, Barbados, St Kitts, St Thomas and Princess Cays. I researched and booked most of the port tours myself and had no regrets. I did however regret booking the Trunk Bay beach tour through Princess. It was the only one we booked through them, and it was so unorganised and crowded. We all thought it was only Princess passengers however they made us stop for Celebrity passengers who never even came! We wasted a good 20mins for nothing. Highly recommend booking your own tours. We booked the balcony obstructed view- E438 (which wasn't even obstructed- highly recommend) and the room was a decent size with more than enough luggage/wardrobe space. The room and bathroom were spotless. It was a perfect size for us. Loved that there were 3 mirrors in the room so getting ready was easy :) the bed was super comfortable, and the interactive flat screen TV was a bonus. According to other passengers on the ship, this was the most modern they have seen on any cruise. Loved that you just play movies and shows on demand! They had a great choice also. They also have live news too which was great. We were mid ship and after reading many bad reviews regarding the middle lifts, I can now understand the frustration. Like I said this is our first cruise so we have nothing to compare it to, and apparently all other ships have stairs in the middle. Well not this one. Trying to get on during peak times was a struggle. A majority of the time we just gave up and walked to the back of the ship to get to where we wanted. It wasn't a massive drawback for us, but I did feel for the older passengers who relied on the lifts. This was probably the only con of the ship. Stairs would have been perfect there! The shows were fantastic especially loved the comedy act! Enjoyed the casino although this got a bit boring after a while. Its not that big. We hung out at Club 6 every night for 11pm happy hour and also to socialise. Whilst we met some great people, I must admit it was the staff that won us over. We loved seeing them every night and they were always happy to have a chat. Club 6 isn't pumping, hardly anyone was dancing! But I guess its an older clientele so most of them were in bed by that time. Only a few young ones stayed up to drink and dance. Sea days were awesome just hanging by the pool. We didn't bother with the Sanctuary, we just relaxed in the Adult Retreat for free. Preferred this pool over the main pools. It was nice and quiet. I read somewhere that it gets too windy up there but we didn't notice this problem at all! We hired the Cabana the first sea day for $50 I think, it was nice, but not really needed. Food was wonderful EVERYWHERE. We were blown away by the quality of the food in the Dining Hall especially. Desserts? Wow!!! The chefs and waiters did an amazing job. Staff everywhere on the ship went above and beyond. They are just the friendliest people and gave 10/10 service. Getting on and off the ship was a breeze. I thought it would be a nightmare each time but we didn't have any issues :) There were no mad rushes and no wait times. I have no hesitation recommending this cruise, it was such a pleasure to be on. I hope one day we will be able to travel on her again.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
10 day cruise to Princess Cay, St. Thomas, Dominica, Grenada, and Aruba. Great itinerary and weather was calm. Price was cheap for a Christmas cruise. Tons of kids on board exacerbated by Princess letting kids as young as 7 sign themselves ... Read More
10 day cruise to Princess Cay, St. Thomas, Dominica, Grenada, and Aruba. Great itinerary and weather was calm. Price was cheap for a Christmas cruise. Tons of kids on board exacerbated by Princess letting kids as young as 7 sign themselves in and out of the childrens program. Food in the Concerto Dining Room was so-so. Buffet was good to fair. Pizza excellent as was cafe on 5th floor. While quality might be not what you are used to - there was plenty of food. Entertainment middling to poor. A lot of people on board with colds and flu - no wonder since buffet users mainly ignore the washing stations at the entrances and were not reminded by staff. Kids touching everything did not help the situation. Princess cleanliness only fair - rarely saw anyone cleaning up common areas. Embarking and disembarking was a breeze. Obviously this ship was designed to pack in as many people as possible but it did not seem overly crowded. No promenade deck and a tiny walking oval instead. Fitness room always crowded. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
My wife and I are frequent cruisers (19), with 13 on Princess and the others spread between Royal Carribean (1), Carnival (2) and Celebrity (3). We started with Princess on the Golden and to be fair, that class of ship remains my ... Read More
My wife and I are frequent cruisers (19), with 13 on Princess and the others spread between Royal Carribean (1), Carnival (2) and Celebrity (3). We started with Princess on the Golden and to be fair, that class of ship remains my favourite, although lately we prefer Celebrity. I won't talk about the ports as they are common to all lines. Specific Positives about Princess in general: (1)Food is very good ( a notch below Celebrity but above Carnival). (2)Love that they have multiple entertainment theaters (Vista Lounge in the rear and Princess Theater in the front, plus piano bars so you can usually find something you like). (3)Service/Staff is excellent (notwithstanding they have eliminated many positions - no longer have wine stewards in the dining room and you have to go to the bar to get a drink when on deck). Specific Negatives about Princess in general: (1)For a cruise line that pioneered anytime dining, anytime diners are now almost second class citizens. They have always had three dining rooms however previously one was reserved for set seating and the other two for anytime diners. This was our second cruise with Princess this year and on both cruises one dining room was specifically set aside for set seating, however one of the remaining two was reserved for set seating until 8:00pm, leaving only one dining room for anytime diners wanting to eat before 8:00pm. As both these cruises left from Florida, most anytime diners wanted to eat between 6:00 and 7:00 leading to long lines and wait times. I know many Europeans like to eat later so it may work there but not on cruises from North America. (2) I know many people love the Movies Under The Stars, and I would have no problem if it was only under the stars, but during the day the sound system is so loud that if you want to relax and read a book in peace and quiet you are almost obligated to pay the money for the Sanctuary (was that the plan?). Specific Negatives about the Royal Princess: (1), (2), and (3) - Balcony size! It is ridiculously small. We had a mini suite and were constantly tripping over either chair legs or each other's legs trying to manoeuver around the balcony to sit down. Forget trying to entertain guests on the balconies. (4) WARNING - do not book a balcony cabin at the rear sides of the ship. The glass walkways on Lido deck that hang out over the side at the back of the ship allow people to easily observe the balconies (no privacy) and for balcony rooms on the upper decks, walkers can look right into the cabin. (5) The proximity of the redesigned Wheelhouse Bar to the Crown Grill, without a full wall between, and both open to people walking by, eliminates the sanctuary feeling of the old Wheelhouse Bars and the romanticism of the specialty restaurant. Specific Positives about the Royal Princess: Can't really come up with any specific to the ship as basically I think Princess "missed the boat" so to speak, on this design. But I'm prejudiced, as I stated earlier I prefer the Golden/Grand class. Embarkation/Disembarkation- My wife and I breezed through both although we are Platinum so we had Preferred Embarkation, and we have GOES for returning so we had a priority line for customs - NOTE - there are no signs or other indications that a GOES priority line exists, you have to ask. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
We took the southern Caribbean Christmas cruise. Embarkation was a breeze. Our suite was nicely appointed with a large balcony- this ship does not have DVD players and there is no library to borrow from, unlike other Princess ships. The ... Read More
We took the southern Caribbean Christmas cruise. Embarkation was a breeze. Our suite was nicely appointed with a large balcony- this ship does not have DVD players and there is no library to borrow from, unlike other Princess ships. The central area of the ship is really beautiful. We had any time dining with mixed results. Some meals were delicious, others mediocre, a couple were not good. The Symphony dining Staff was cordial, if indifferent. Sabatinis, which was a highlight for us on the Golden Princess, wasn't a standout except for the tiramisu and the lovely staff. They also did a very nice breakfast. The small mid ship pool is way to small to accommodate the passengers. If you are single, or don't have kids/teenagers with you, this won't present a problem though. It would have been nice to have a walking deck that went the whole length of the ship, but the Royal is broken up and there is no central staircase. The horizon buffet was surprisingly good and I must say, the pastries and desserts on this cruise are the best I've ever had. The excursions were overall good, except for a homicidal taxi driver in St Thomas and Grenada was a bit too heavy on stopping just for the purpose of having locals trying to sell trinkets. In Aruba, we did notice a few safety issues with the snorkeling excursion with a way over crowded site and a lot of vessels. Which brings me to.... The up sells. From the moment we got on board, it was like being in one of those time share presentations. There was a beverage package,a coffee package, a photo package, every trip to the spa turned into a " this is really meant to be a course of three" honestly, the beverage package for us would have been about $1000--- for nine days worth of cocktails. It's ridiculous. It was so off putting that it overshadowed how elegant the ship was and how warm and lovely the few was. In addition, the spa had lots of problems getting the billing and appointments straight and there were a lot of people trying to straighten out their tabs. The photo store had some similar issues. So overall, kudos for an elegant vessel, but I wouldn't rush to repeat it. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
Hello All, just got back from a really nice cruise on The Royal Princess. Sailed the Caribbean over the Christmas holiday. Before we sailed on the Royal Princess we read many reviews about the ship, service and food. So i'm going to ... Read More
Hello All, just got back from a really nice cruise on The Royal Princess. Sailed the Caribbean over the Christmas holiday. Before we sailed on the Royal Princess we read many reviews about the ship, service and food. So i'm going to keep my review short and to the point. I can honestly say that 99% of the reviews are correct. There is no centre stairs in this ship "what were the thinking" really......OMG! What a pain. The balcony was ok but like most others have reported... to narrow! We've sailed on other princess ships and other cruise lines and this has been the narrowest one yet. Service was ok, not outstanding.Staff seemed to be just going through the motions, but I must admit our wait staff were great! I traveled with my son and his friend who are in their early twenties and they were a bit disappointed with the DJ, and they said the club closed to early. The food was OK, not great, which was a bit sad. Other Princess ships we've been on the food was outstanding! Overall......we had a great time on the Royal Princess, the ship is beautiful and will we sail again....maybe. My conclusion. trust the reviews most are spot on. happy sailing Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
This was our 6th Christmas cruise but 1st on the Royal. We arrived in FLL a day before the cruise and spent the night at Embassy Suites. We took the hotels's shuttle to the port at 11:00am and were on board eating lunch in the dining ... Read More
This was our 6th Christmas cruise but 1st on the Royal. We arrived in FLL a day before the cruise and spent the night at Embassy Suites. We took the hotels's shuttle to the port at 11:00am and were on board eating lunch in the dining room by 12:30pm. We are Elite so embarkation was quick and painless. We were upgraded to a mini on Marina deck. Loved the size of the cabin and the large bathroom. The only minor issue was a noise during the day from the pool deck above when someone was dragging chairs around or walking in heels. We missed the full Promenade deck as we like to walk in the morning and before dinner. There was a walking /jogging track on Deck 17 but it was not protected from the sun and rain. 7 laps around = 1 mile. We did not use the elevators during the cruise so can't comment on those. We had Anytime dining and usually ate between 6:00-6:30pm. We always shared a table and never had to wait. Food was good but sometimes underseasoned for our taste. Loved the Chocolate Journeys desserts on 3 nights. We ate breakfast in the buffet or International Cafe since we like to sleep in and never got ready before 9:00am to eat in the Dining Room. We missed Christmas wreaths on the tables and Christmas Crackers on Christmas day. Those changes made the Christmas dinner that much less special than previous years on the Emerald. We had lunch at Alfredo's 2 times: pizza was OK but the crust was not salted. The 2nd time we tried the pasta dishes and they were very good. We did not take any excursions and in most ports we did not get off the ship. We enjoyed staying on the quiet ship, reading on our balcony and people watching in IC. We went to see the new production shows. Enjoyed all of them but they are short at 30 minutes. We did not see the other guest performers as comedians, mentalists and ventriloquists are not really our preferred entertainment. We did not like the new theater, prefer the one on the Emerald. This one seems like a cold cinema rather than a grand theater. There are no tray tables in the seats so people order drinks and then leave the empty glasses on the floor, which get kicked by people leaving the rows. You could see old lemons, straws and napkins under the seats. We missed having a priest on board to conducts a Midnight Mass. This time there was Catholic service conducted by the DJ and cruise staff on a bare theater stage without even a Christmas tree. We understand that Princess wants to be politically correct but this cruise was advertised as a Christmas cruise so they could make an exception. There also was no Rabbi so there was an annoucement in the Patter asking for a passenger to conduct Hannukah services. All in all it was a great cruise on a lovely ship. Perhaps if we have't cruised at Christmas so may times before, we would not notice all the little cut backs that made this Chrstmas cruise seem a little less festive.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
Our recent cruise on the Royal was our 19th on Princess, 7th Christmas, and first on the new design Royal/Regal ships. My first impression of the Royal's design was ???! It's almost as if Princess needed a new ship, found one ... Read More
Our recent cruise on the Royal was our 19th on Princess, 7th Christmas, and first on the new design Royal/Regal ships. My first impression of the Royal's design was ???! It's almost as if Princess needed a new ship, found one almost completed somewhere, and made enough final alterations to brand it a Princess vessel. Noticeably missing: a pool (they had one mid-deck pool and another aft in the "Retreat" area), a promenade deck, the signature Wheelhouse Bar (now relegated to a open pass-by in front of the Crown Grille), the library (now a closet), even the MUTS screen looked as if they showed up to install it one day and had to find a spot to attach it (bet it does wonders for drag, serving as a giant wind barrier). We miss the stunning Skywalker's Lounge where we usually enjoy our Plat/Elite cruiser cocktails and hors d'oeuvres. I never did find the spa. But I digress. The interiors shined with soft beige/tan finish accented with shiny brass tastefully placed. Even the Christmas decorations were high-end affairs, silver/gold abundantly dressed but never obtrusively. No crackers in the DR on Christmas were no surprise; after 7 Holiday cruises, we can report that crackers are the exception rather than the norm - only seeing them three (3) trips out of our 7. Changes as well to our usual mini-suite which appeared smaller than usual - the balcony much more so. Neither factored as a negative for us though. The overall takeaway was consistency. The staff/crew performed their duties brilliantly if a bit on the rote side. Kudos to Adnan (Bar Service) who differentiated himself from his efficient yet robotic peers with warm, personal service. Service in the Symphony DR (anytime) was well...efficient but undistinguished. A previous reviewer mentioned the upsells. We could have used a couple of those. We had to find someone (ultimately at the Purser's desk) to properly explain the welcome new wine cards that we accidentally became aware of (yes, I actually left the DR, walked over to the Purser's desk for the scoop on the wine card). We purchased a 7-bottle card for $217, which allowed us to purchase any bottle of wine up to $45 each, with overages credited to the $45 - a terrific buy if you purchase well (we did!). Even the elusive coffee card had to be asked for at the International Cafe (well-done there, btw). We found the food very good, some better, one (a fishy barramundi) worse. The soups in particular on this cruise were outstanding and blessedly not salty! The diver sea scallop entree took the prize for the best overall dish this cruise. The much anticipated Princess pizza, which I crave, was good but a tad flat this time out (sampled at the Lido pizzeria). We loved the revamped Horizon Court/Bistro areas and appreciated the new coffee machines aft deck. Entertainment throughout the cruise was very good. The CD, Lisa Ball, was very visible and her staff worked very hard at coordinating the Christmas events in the Piazza. We enjoyed, as usual, the ship orchestra's jazz jam in the alleged Wheelhouse Bar. Kudos as well to hard-working Jim, our amiable Room Steward, for his efforts. We love this itinerary - especially our favorite Caribbean island, Aruba. Our day at Princess Cay was also wonderful - great weather and surprisingly warm waters. St. Thomas was our day-on-the-empty-ship time. Granada was big fun with the Rhum Runners! Dominica, not so much. An odd questionnaire appeared in our cabin after the Dominica sailaway inquiring about our impressions of that port. I think this portends a shift away from Dominica in the future. Obviously, we're long-time Princess cruisers and fans. The Captain's Circle rewards really do factor in keeping us coming back. Overall, a very nice cruise on the curiously designed but well-run and well-appointed Royal Princess.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
We sailed the New Year's Cruise on the Royal Princess departing Fort Lauderdale December 29, 2014 for ten days. This was our 4th cruise on Princess and we enjoyed it so much, that we booked two more cruises when we got home. I am a ... Read More
We sailed the New Year's Cruise on the Royal Princess departing Fort Lauderdale December 29, 2014 for ten days. This was our 4th cruise on Princess and we enjoyed it so much, that we booked two more cruises when we got home. I am a travel agent, and I have cruised many times, and this 10 day cruise experience on the Royal was over the top! Our entire experience just WOW'd us. The Princess 50th Anniversary Norman Love Chocolate Journeys Experience is NOT TO BE MISSED! Make sure you read about it on their website or pick up the brochure on it in your cabin. I especially enjoyed the Norman Love Red Wine and Chocolate wine tasting experience with Ryan, the Vines sommelier. It was so tastefully done and so delicious. There were supposed to be Norman Love Chocolates for sale in the Chocolate & Gift Shop, but they were not to be seen. We live in SW Florida and have been to Norman Love's Chocolate Shop many times. He is a world renowned chocolatier and his chocolate desserts and candies are works of art and absolutely delicious. We stayed in Plantation, FL the night before at a hotel conveniently located to I595, and parked our car at the Park N Go which is always a fabulous experience. They are always so efficient and courteous there and if you make your reservation online ahead of time, very reasonably priced. There vans are always ready to pick you up in the parking lot or at the cruise terminal. Embarkation was the typical organized chaos, but the thing I like about Princess is when they finally do let you board, you can go straight to your rooms and drop your carry-on bags off. My best advice for enjoying the Royal is to TRY EVERYTHING! This ship is stunning and gorgeous! I love the ships horn as well and we could tell that the Captain loves everything about this ship as well. You will be pleasantly surprised by it all. Do not miss the Sky Walk on Deck 16 as well as the water fountain shows that they have daily also on deck 16 near the pool. They reminded me of the Fountains of Bellagio in Las Vegas. The outdoor Movie Screen is the biggest in the cruise industry. It's easy to see both in the daylight and at night. The sound systems throughout the ship are top notch. The Piazza is 50% larger on this ship and the Regal, and they have added extra free restaurants as well as more bars that serve appetizers and tapas. Alfredo's, Ocean Terrace Bar, the Gelato shop and Bellini's are new Piazza additions. The International Café has expanded seating area, and the Royal High Tea ($10) they did twice during the cruise in the center area of the Piazza is a MUST DO. It is very elegant and made me feel really special. There was happy hour every day in Crooner's bar from 3-4 p.m. with half price drinks, and you could order appetizers from the Ocean Terrace Bar to have with your drinks in Crooners. The Lotus Spa is not to be missed, and they have a added the new Chocolate Massage Experience. If you want to pay extra, The Enclave is worth the extra money. As well as the adults only Sanctuary ($20) and Retreat Pool area. The Fitness Center has state of the art equipment, expert instructors and classes all day long. I was sorry to see that they did not do Yoga on the Beach at Princess Cay. That is always a great experience. There are plenty of deck chairs all over the outside areas on decks 16, 17, & 18. There is a small seating area on deck 7 just outside the door of Crooners Bar. All the furniture is comfortable every where on the ship. It has it's own television studio called Princess Live where a lot of the game shows and culinary demos were done. The only complaint we had is that there are no arm tables in the chairs in the Princess Theater so when you order a drink, you have to set them on the floor. Inside the arm tables like they have in airplanes would have been a good idea in this theater. There is LED lighting throughout the ship and the entire ship is very energy efficient. There is plenty of room for everyone and we never had to wait in line for anything anywhere on the ship. For the New Year's sailing it was at capacity, but it never felt crowded. The Horizon Court, Horizon Bistro, the Pastry Shop, and the open air covered seating area in the aft area of Horizon Court are exceptional. Everyday the food choices in these areas, the MDR, and the Piazza were exceptional. The Sushi display and Poached Salmon display for lunch in the Horizon Court were works of art. We also did Sabatini's one night as well as the Crab Shack. Outstanding food, service and ambiance and GO HUNGRY! The Pastry Shop is fantastic as well. Also, buy a Coffee Club card. Not only does it get you the specialty coffees in the International Café, but it also works in the Gelato Shop, the Pastry Shop, and the coffee bar on deck 7 near the Wheelhouse Bar. There is also a huge wooden Royal tea tower where you can choose from many varieties of loose leaf tea and order them by the pot to be served to you in the Piazza. We started every day with room service delivering our coffee and fruit and it was always on time. There are public laundry rooms on every deck that has cabins (8-15). Our entertainment was non stop and first class every day. This ship has top notch onboard entertainers as well as bringing onboard Las Vegas quality entertainers. The attentive staff onboard in all of the public areas including the pool were everywhere ready to wait on you, and you never had to go looking for someone. This ship is very high tech and has it's own Royal Princess Intranet that you can use for free with your smartphone or tablet. This had all the Patter in electronic form so you could see everything that was scheduled. It has your account access, deck plans, shore excursions and ship information. We did not go to the Casino because I can't stand the smell of cigarette smoke. Every where else on the ship was fine. There is only one place they allow smoking besides Churchill's the cigar lounge, and that was on deck 17 aft. As long as you didn't go out there, it never bothered us. The jogging/walking track and fitness courts on deck 17 were wonderful. In addition to the usual sports things most large ships have, they have a laser shooting range here as well. I fell completely head over heels in love with the Royal Princess. The Regal Princess is the twin sister to the Royal so I would expect to have the same type of experience on the Regal as we did on the Royal. Princess has a coffee table book in the cabin that gives the story of the Royal that is worth reading. They took the best suggestions of their customers and put them all together in this ship. The Royal is a little over a year old, and the Regal started sailing in May 2014, so they are the newest ships in the Princess fleet. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
I booked a 2 week East/West Caribbean cruise on the Ruby. What I didn't realize was that it's 2 - 1 week cruises back-to-back. Never again. Much different clientele onboard....wedding parties, kids, party-hardy crowd. Not to my ... Read More
I booked a 2 week East/West Caribbean cruise on the Ruby. What I didn't realize was that it's 2 - 1 week cruises back-to-back. Never again. Much different clientele onboard....wedding parties, kids, party-hardy crowd. Not to my taste. Pre-cruise pkg was a 1 night stay at the Sheraton Yankee Clipper resort (which is now an O Resort). This hotel should be avoided at all cost! It's an old, run-down place in the middle of nowhere! Unless you had transportation, you had to walk more than a mile to find a deli. I was in the 'newer' Marina Tower (great ocean view), but upon arrival (had to haul my own bags), there was a man in my room. He had sprayed something that smelled like Raid all around. I had to leave the door and window open quite a while to let that smell dissipate. Then I found out the door was extremely hard to open from the outside. You had to really put your shoulder into it. All issues were brought to the attention of the desk clerks, but they could have cared less. Embarkation day was a mess. There was no welcome letter from Princess upon arrival at the hotel. I had to call the local number to get departure info. Luggage was not picked up, so I hauled it to the lobby myself and the Princess rep said to just leave it in the middle of the lobby and it would be taken care of. I refused to do that and made sure the porter took control of it instead. I have Platinum status and upon arrival at the pier, I sailed thru the check-in procedures and was on deck within 10 minutes! I booked an inside cabin. Steward was not the best. He only changed the bed linen twice in 14 days! He also let dirty glasses/dishes sit on the vanity for longer than he should. Often I would just take my dirty dishes to the buffet myself because I was tired of looking at them! The optional excursions I chose were okay. Some details had changed since I booked them and I wasn't happy about being dumped at a beach for 2 hours when it was only supposed to be a 20 minute photo op! The only crew members that weren't happy & smiling were the 3 grumpy bartenders at the Calypso bar. They were so surly and unpleasant every morning! The cruise director was among the missing! Only saw him at the end of a few shows in the Princess Theater to talk about the next day's activities. But his staff was everywhere! Dave, James, DJ Romeo, Ashley, Kassia, & Aly worked hard everyday to make sure all passengers were having a great time. A special shout out to James & Dave.....YOU GUYS ROCK! YOU ARE THE BEST!!!!! James was the Princess Pop choir director and kept everybody moving and grooving....and he was delighted to let us put in a few Christmas carols for our performances in the Piazza. Dave did the best music trivia games....he acted out the lyrics to almost every song and had the trivia players in stitches. It always turned into 1 big sing-along! Both James and Dave made sure I felt included in all the activities and kept me dancing at all the parties. So in conclusion....it was a good trip, I met some really nice people, and the weather was great.... Who could ask for more???? Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
Our first cruise on Princess was aboard the Golden to Alaska. Our second was aboard the Ruby to the Caribbean. The Ruby was much more modern and showed less wear and tear than the Golden did. Service, across the board, was great, other ... Read More
Our first cruise on Princess was aboard the Golden to Alaska. Our second was aboard the Ruby to the Caribbean. The Ruby was much more modern and showed less wear and tear than the Golden did. Service, across the board, was great, other than the Horizon Court. Out of 7 days we were on-board, we were only offered something to drink twice, maybe three times and we had to go fetch it ourselves when we weren't offered it and the help seemed offended when we finally gave up on them to get it ourselves. Embarkation and disembarkation was miles ahead when compared to the Seattle cruise port, which was terrible. Other than a terrible experience with Delta (who I'll never fly again) the entire experience with Princess was as I'd expected. I won't be looking for another cruise operator anytime soon, that's a fact. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
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