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6,543 Princess Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades) Cruise Reviews

Boarding This was the fastest and smoothest we have ever boarded a ship. From exiting the cab to entering our room took about 30 minute’s total. It was flawless as was disembarkment. Bars/Entertainment We spent most of our time ... Read More
Boarding This was the fastest and smoothest we have ever boarded a ship. From exiting the cab to entering our room took about 30 minute’s total. It was flawless as was disembarkment. Bars/Entertainment We spent most of our time at the Explorers Lounge and had a great time with the bar staff. We also went to the Wheelhouse for trivia and a tribute to Billie Holiday which was fun. The Casino bar was friendly and down to business as they are way too busy to socialize. Overall the bar and wait staff was the best I’ve seen on 5 Princess cruises; they were more entertaining than the entertainment. As for the entertainment, each individual act/show/game was good or OK but the sequencing was terrible. Karaoke followed by DJ plays your favorite dance music draws a different crowd so everyone just left the bar after Karaoke. It was like scheduling Bingo after a Karaoke show, they didn’t but you get my point. Princess also needs to post large signs at the venue entrance for UNHOSTED Singles & Solo’s Get-Together or LGBTQ+ Get-Togethers events. These unhosted events were in the large Wheelhouse bar and other passengers coming in had no idea it was gay or singles night. The entertainment was nice but we had to jump from venue to venue to stay within a single type of entertainment. Casino I’ve never had so much fun losing money. The Dealers and Pit Bosses were great but the passengers on this cruise were there to have fun and we did. The passengers in the casino did not have that hard core Vegas style attitude towards gambling. The Dealers joked and laughed right along with us; it was great. Smoking Areas The Island Princess only has 3 smoking areas, an outside uncovered space on deck 15, Churchill’s lounge and a small section of the casino. Because of the limited areas on every cruise ship smokers get to know each other very well and form strong bonds/groups. With only 3 smoking areas this cruise was the best as around 10 of us became great friends. I logged my first formal complaint with Princess due to their complete and total lack of understanding smokers. On the formal night it was raining so the outside uncovered smoking area was unusable. They also closed the Casino to smoking that night leaving the small Churchill’s lounge as the only smoking area for the entire ship. The Captain or Casino Manager should be able to override the “rigid schedule” and make ad-hoc changes. If it’s raining don’t close the Casino smoking area; reschedule that for another night – make a managerial decision. The non-smokers just outside Churchill’s Lounge in Crooners were as upset as the smokers. Dining We had the privilege and pleasure to dine in the Sabatini's, Bayou Café, Bordeaux Dining Room, Ultimate Balcony Dining, Horizon Court, Slice Pizzeria and a lot of late night Room Service. The food was delicious everywhere. This was our 3rd time doing the $100 Ultimate Balcony Dining for 2 ($50 each) and it was phenomenal again. A five course meal with Champaign served on your private balcony makes for a beautiful and romantic night. The wait staff is superb and patiently waits in the hallway between courses. If you’re in love, this is the way to create a special moment; photography is included. Princess Theater We did not attend a single show in the theater and there is a good reason for that. We have no idea what each show is from the Patter. We looked in a couple of times and there was a guy talking and another time some people singing. I’m looking for the Broadway style production shows which I heard was on this voyage. Princess knows well in advance what show is being performed in the theater and should do a special Patter insert on the first day with show details and pictures. Ports/Excursions We took this cruise for the Panama Canal and it did not disappoint. Having a wraparound Starboard/Aft balcony (C731) only enhanced the experience. The canal is truly an engineering marvel and should be on everyone’s bucket list. We took various excursions at every port and they all met or exceeded expectations except for one. DO NOT TAKE the Limon, Costa Rica - Limon Waterfront & Backstreet Canals excursion. It was drizzling so they skipped circling an Island where Christopher Columbus anchored his ships in 1502 (big deal) and when straight for the canal. The boat idled for about a half mile down a canal lined with trash and slums, literally. We spent 2 ½ hours looking in the trees for birds, three-toed sloths and monkeys. We saw 1 of each and to kill time they turned the boat around so the people on the other side could see. I was ready to jump out and swim back to the ship. Going to a free public zoo at home would have been better. Princess e-mails out surveys that allow you to rate your excursions. Our ratings now show up when reviewing excursions. Ease take the surveys and rate your excursions – you could be saving someone a horrible experience like the Limon Waterfront & Backstreet Canals excursion. Overall While the entertainment could have been sequenced better, it was still good. A rainy formal night with only one small inside smoking area was terrible, it was only one night. One excursion of 5 was disgusting and the canal was beyond amazing. All of the negatives account for less than 1% of an awesome 10 day cruise. My husband and I cherish the positive and we don’t dwell on the negatives. We had a great stateroom & balcony, delicious food and a lot of fun especially in the Casino. But what made this particular cruise a perfect 10 for us was the Princess staff and our fellow shipmates we bonded with – thank you all. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We recently returned from a 10-day cruise to the Panama Canal on the Island Princess. There were several things that made this cruise special – a Birthday celebration, getting together with over 38 family members/friends, and just the ... Read More
We recently returned from a 10-day cruise to the Panama Canal on the Island Princess. There were several things that made this cruise special – a Birthday celebration, getting together with over 38 family members/friends, and just the opportunity to spend Christmas on the high seas. However, without the overall excellent service provided by the staff the trip wouldn’t have been as wonderful as it was. First off there are a few staff members that I’d like to highlight, starting with our booking agent Kim. She did an outstanding job coordinating all booking aspects of the trip especially since several members of the group booked through third-party agents posing the additional challenge of ensuring that those individuals were correctly assigned to our group. Then there was Diana from Group Events who worked with me in organizing the onboard Birthday party. She patiently addressed all my questions and ensured that every detail was accurately communicated to the Events team. Also, need to mentioned Jena – Customer Relations Manager and Carlie – Videographer who both did an awesome job in addressing all my questions/concerns once onboard resulting in a classy and smoothly run Birthday Bash. Overall, I have nothing but positive words for all staff members that we encountered. Pro: • Excellent customer service from Steward and Dining Staff • Internet service Cons: • Ship is small as compared to newer ships and linen, carpets and room furnishings are showing their age • Meal choices were very limited – appeared to serve the same items daily just in a slightly different form. Soups were often too salty, juices appeared watered down and there was a complete lack of variety as it pertained to Vegetarian or Vegan meals • Given this cruise offered several Caribbean & Inter/South American stops it would have been nice to have more meals that reflected the cultural delicacies of the region; and the few attempts at offering regional dishes left a lot to be desired. Would suggest getting a Regional Chef on staff or someone with this background to offer consultation. Overall, this cruise ship was chosen because of the itinerary and it delivered. Everyone in our group has a great time. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
After reading reviews for a few months ahead of our first cruise with Princess, I thought I would post about my personal experience. Island Princess, Christmas in the Panama Canal . A bucket list tick cruise for many. One of the ... Read More
After reading reviews for a few months ahead of our first cruise with Princess, I thought I would post about my personal experience. Island Princess, Christmas in the Panama Canal . A bucket list tick cruise for many. One of the smaller princess ships, built in 2003, remodelled in 2015. Boarding was flawless. We left our Fort Lauderdale hotel at 11am by cab. We were ordering coffee onboard in La Patisserie by 1130. The boarding time on our ticket was 1230. We were in the cabin by 12. The balcony cabin was fine. The water package was delivered and on the bed, the medallion WiFi was superb throughout the trip. Dining The food was generally good. We had set dining at 730pm, the earlier one being 515pm. Some tables for 2 were better than others. We were very lucky. And onto dining wear, subject of many posts. Smart casual. As long as your not in shorts or beach wear, you’ll get in. Jeans, polo shirts, trainers... even an outdoor puffer jacket and jeans were noted. Formal wear , well tuxedos and ball gowns were rare. Dark suits with or without tie, with or without jacket .... it’s not enforced from what we saw. It doesn’t really work when the minute you enter a bar before or after dinner, passengers are in shorts and t shirts. Surely only a matter of time before it’s dropped. For lunchtime , sea days they seem to do crab shack in Cafe Bayou and Alfredos Pizza in Sabatinis on deck 7. The Horizon Buffet is the standard cruise ship “ trough” throughout the day. By the pool, the Grill for hot dogs and burgers - the pizzeria and ice cream bar. The latter at times understaffed leading to waits. Ice cream free, malted milk shakes at a charge. In the evening , try Cafe Bayou and Sabatinis, both were excellent alternative dining . Service at Breakfast in the main dining room can be slow. The minute steak takes 15 minutes to come! Bars There are the pool bars, Crooners on deck 7 of the atrium, squashed in with a piano player, much more suited to a crows nest type venue but the ship doesn’t have one! Wheelhouse Bar is wooden panelled by the theatre - bands and background music. Venue for morning trivia. The bar only opens pre dinner till 12. The show lounge bar is Explorers deck 6. Home of Karaoke, Quizzes and Entertainment. They have “ Liars Club” , a game show that is actually Call My Bluff. There’s a quiz there - which seemed quite flat. ....... Entertainment and Sea Days Princess Theatre is home of the Production Shows. “ Do you Wanna Dance?” is old school cruise ship camp. The big production offering is called “The Secret Silk” , a complex Chinese/Japanese folk tale which is strangely studied with western music. The best show is “On the Bayou” which works really well. Finally, the “ Encore” show seems to include an added Soprano who adds to the cast. The production shows were supplemented by an amusing Christmas show, a singer song writer, an acrobatic violinist and American comedian. The Culinary Show is very entertaining. Then you get to tour the galley which ends of course in an area where there is a shopping sale, which you use to exit. They thought that tactic through ! On that note, Chad the onboard shopping concierge says “shopping is the number one thing to do on a cruise”. The discounted aftershave onboard was more expensive than Amazon or Home Bargains! The rum tasting turned into a mini stampede, one passenger accelerating towards the drinks tray at high speed in a scooter within the bounds of the shop. To be honest, if it’s overcast or choppy at sea, there isn’t a lot to do. Watch vegetable carving , egg carrying competitions or passengers throwing paper planes in the atrium ..... play Pictionary in the bar by yourself . Try the Sanctuary for a quiet chill on a comfy sun bed. Book early if you want shade. It’s $20 for a half day. No pool on Island Princess Sanctuary. You get the bed, waiter service and flavoured water. It did seem that a proportion of passengers booked - and paid for the Sanctuary but then didn’t use it , or just came for a few hours if they booked all day. The staff confirmed that to be the case. More money than sense ! Service was variable depending on staffing numbers. The onboard enrichment lecturer was a retired high school lecturer who threw together some power point presentations based on his research from Wikipedia. Accuracy was not always essential - certainly not on his maritime attempts. I have sailed on a lot of ships - big and small. Island Princess didn’t seem to be a great sea boat. A lot of movement in not a lot of swell. One passenger said she was cancelling her transatlantic on her on the basis of how she felt that sea day. On the plus side, the WiFi onboard is superb. Ports Was the Panama Canal worth it? Absolutely. We stayed on the ship to see the transit both ways. Annoying basic commentary on the morning transit from the Wikipedia led ex teacher at 7am. But really enjoyed it - but that’s what we went for , a bucket list tick. Limon - book the Sloths in advance if you want to go. It was fully booked and people were left frustrated. We went on the Princess tour. I think you could find a taxi to take you there and pay for a tour. It’s open 0800-1400 Tuesday - Sunday with tours on the hour. The sanctuary trip involved a canoe ride which was abandoned when we visited as the river was swollen. This was only after one failed attempt with the group ahead of us. I was amazed to see Princess put pensioners in a small canoe in the fast flowing river without life preservers and attempt to navigate against the stream in torrential rain! Insurance firms would be wincing. Take a light waterproof jacket if you are going to do it. The town itself has a nice vibe and seems safe. The crew were heading to MacDonalds! There are great local cafes not far from the port if you prefer a more local bite- plus a supermarket. The cafe opposite the park was superb and good value. Falmouth, Jamaica. If you aren't on a tour , the town is small , expect lots of people trying to sell you stuff. The bus round town is $20. You can walk were it goes easily for free. There isn’t much there. There is a port area with over priced shopping. Cartagena, a great place to wonder. We took the “ by yourself tour” which includes a 30 minute orientation walk. Then you have 90 minutes to explore yourself. Hundreds of street vendors, beautiful colours and architecture. The port actually has a mini zoo you can enjoy plus over priced gift shop. Grand Cayman - the ship tenders here. We did the land and sea tour, semi submersible, turtle sanctuary, Hell and a rum cake gift shop stop. The latter is what it is, the rest were great and a good way to pack things in as costs are high on Grand Cayman. Overall, yes we enjoyed our trip. A cruise is what you make it, the people you meet, the experiences you have. Thoughts For me, I thought Princess would be more professional , have more to fill sea-days. I’m not sure if their management or onboard entertainment director ever just sits and watch what their staff are told to do. Timings are rigid. People lining up to sing karaoke , the explorers lounge buzzing. The bar busy. But rather than let it roll, the kareoke stops with people left disappointed, the DJ started to change to the disco atmosphere and watched 75% of the passengers walk out. I’m sure the DJ could have waited 20 minutes. Onboard flexibility in creating atmosphere. Some of the game show contestants and karaoke singers have more personality and presence than members of the entertainment team hosting it. And given the sound and light equipment , they could make more of it. Put the song lyrics up for all the audience to see at karaoke aswell even. The same happens in the Wheelhouse Bar where an older crowd enjoy dancing. 45 minutes later... it’s over and another item starts, loosing the crowd. Events in bars for new cruisers - morning trivia in wheelhouse bar - where the bar isn’t open to even get a soft drink or coffee. Why ? It’s obvious surely. Opportunities for them to earn income and passengers to relax. Staffing in the wheelhouse at night goes from over staffed to being impossible to get served as they are trying to sort theatre orders ! Meaning that pre dinner drink is rushed. Unhosted events are often in bars - singles, LGBT...etc. If other passengers are there and there is no signed area or nibbles etc, I’m sure most folk would be nervous to go up to people and ask if they are travelling alone - or are they gay? I think the problem is that cruising has moved forward at such a pace - and carried passengers expectations with it. So the mid size ships like this at 16 years old struggle to deliver. Where she does deliver is fitting the old locks of the Panama Canal. However, if Princess stopped and looked at what they could do with this class of ship, it could be better with a few tweaks. Would I book Princess again ? Maybe...it would be destination dependent- not necessarily that I was bowled over. It’s a step above P&O, a step down from Cunard . We left the ship with great memories and enjoyed it. Experienced really good service and great food, visited fascinating destinations. I just think it could be so much better with a few obvious improvements that Princess management should be seeing. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
My husband and I have been talking about going to see the Panama Canal since our first cruise to Alaska in 2006. We have finally retired and decided on the Christmas Cruise to the Eastern Carribean and Panama Canal on Island Princess. ... Read More
My husband and I have been talking about going to see the Panama Canal since our first cruise to Alaska in 2006. We have finally retired and decided on the Christmas Cruise to the Eastern Carribean and Panama Canal on Island Princess. She is the sister ship of our Alaskan cruise ship Coral Princess so she was familiar in layout. We stayed in a local hotel the night before the cruise and decided to get to the Port early. We were in a group of about 25 people who showed up early and were given the number one to be called for embarkation. We were called about 11 am and went on board. Embarkation was smooth and effortless. We walked around and took pictures for a while and then went to lunch in the Horizon Court. We decided to check out our room and found our luggage already delivered. We had a balcony cabin and layout was good with plenty of storage and hangers. We had requested late seating (715p) in the Provence Traditional dining room but we were assigned a 715p seating in the Bordeaux Dining room which is used for Any Time Dining. This caused confusion as first we were told to get in line and wait to be seated but I questioned why we were given a seat and time assignment on our Cruise Card and still had to get in line. Hostess then told us to go right in to our table and to do this every night. It took several nights until the hostess and wait staff recognized us and did not ask where we were going! We enjoyed the dining very much, had great wait staff who remembered our choices in beverages and food came fairly quickly with only rarely a wait time. Entertainment was excellent, we went to the production shows, comedian, juggler, singers. Everything was very professionally done. All the cruise staff were polite, pleasant and helpful. We booked all our excursions through Princess. The one excursion in Panama was cancelled by the tour company and we were reimbursed by Princess. We did not schedule another excursion but decided to watch the departure through the Gatun locks. All our excursions were very informative and very organized and on time. We had excellent tour guides who answered all questions and brought us back to the ship on time. Would like to give a shout out to Fran in Limon, Jose C in Cartagena and Sonia in Grand Cayman who did excellent tours. We also scheduled airline flights through Princess EZair as this was recommended by travel agent as the best prices. We had problems with delays on American Airlines so would not use American again. Overall we were very pleased with our cruise! Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
December 20, 2019 1) Entry to ship using Medallion App was great. 2) At 3:30 PM, Muster Station was a disaster. No organization. I was asked to sit on the floor at 70 years old! No one knew where to go. No seating for older ... Read More
December 20, 2019 1) Entry to ship using Medallion App was great. 2) At 3:30 PM, Muster Station was a disaster. No organization. I was asked to sit on the floor at 70 years old! No one knew where to go. No seating for older people who could hardly stand or walk. Took too long to review from the time of arrival to the time of end. 3) At Palm Dining Room, we were charged for drinks but we have a premium drink package. They charged us for Perrier water we requested at our table. 4) At the Wine Bar, the drinks offered up to $12 were not listed. Only a few red wines listed at $11 and the rest were $ 13 or $16. Obviously, the wine list was not updated. In fact, we could not get any of the wines we requested because the wine bar did not have them for the entire trip! 5) As Platinum members, we never received the special menu for the captain’s circle appetizers. We found out about it at dinner the fourth night from the neighbor who was Platinum as well. He received the invitation, but we did not! December 21, 2019 – December 24, 2019 6) I had to wait 25 minutes to get any service, so I got up to get my own drink. 7) Every day from the 21st to the 24th during lunch, I could not get Ice for my ice tea in the Horizon Dining Room because I was told “There are too many people on the ship to keep the ice”. I asked why this waiter could not get some ice and he said to me “Welcome Aboard” . I reported him. I then had to walk outside to the bar to request ice for ice tea! Wow! In 6 other trips on Princess, I never had to get my own ice or tea! 8) My husband spoke to the Food and Beverage Assistant Director personally after Bingo was over on the 22nd of December about the problems to get Chianti or any other red wine of choice at any of the bars. He listened attentively, and was going to bring Chianti to all the bars we go to and he also wanted to send a bottle to our room. Later that day, we went to our room, and there was a GLASS of wine sitting on the table. No note, nothing. My husband called it in to the Assistant Director of Food and Beverage to find out what happened? After dinner, there was bottle in our room, no wine glasses, no opener! What’s up with that? Are we supposed to use our teeth to open the bottle, and drink out of the bottle? I have always felt that Princess is well above the other cruise lines in quality and service. But this proves me wrong! December 23, 2019 9) We ate in Palm Dining and my husband ordered the Stuffed Trout for dinner. When it arrived, it was a bright pink fish, not the taste of trout, but salmon. The day before he ordered sautéed vegetables, but they came Fried. So there is obviously a problem with the menu that is given in the dining room. My husband asked to speak to Peter, the manager in the dining room about the fish, and he argued with my husband, told him that this fish is a trout from the Pacific Ocean because he googled it and tried to show my husband in front of all the customers which was a definite confrontation and embarrassment to my husband. From that day forward, we never ate in the Palm Dining Room again. Customers should come first and should not be humiliated in front of other customers. 10) We did not know anything about the Wine Packages offered in the dining room. There is nothing offered on the website, and only the Wine Bar Attendant knew about it and told us about it. That is sad! We are big wine drinkers! I was disappointed. December 24th, 2019 11) We took a Princess Excursion to the beach in Antigua. We were herded like cattle on the dock without regard to the heat or sun. Then we boarded a van that took us to Mystic Beach which was a total disaster! People were falling into big holes in the water and could not get out. We helped many of the customers. The person who runs the bar was awful, mean, and plain nasty to the customers. We left on our own after 1 hour because we couldn’t stand it any longer. Princess needs to go on these tours prior to allowing the 3rd party vendors to make sure they are safe for the customers. As a result of this trip, we returned to the ship and cancelled all the other excursions we booked. From now on we will get off the ship and book from the outside. December 25th, 2019 (2nd Formal) 12) Crown Grill was amazing! Best food, best service! 13) The Photo Team is also amazing! We purchased the Photo Package, and I can tell you 100% that the team members are professional, they know how to take great photos, and JP from South Africa is the best one. Every photo he took was perfect! 14) We received an invitation for Sabitini Grill due to our Anniversary so we made reservations for the 28th of December. We appreciated the invitation. December 26th, 2019 15) We finally got a call from the manager of the Coral Dining Room who apologized for the incident with Peter over the trout, and told us to come to his dining room anytime. On the same day we went to dinner there, and said he would come over and check with us. He saw us, and never once came by. He was rude too! So we never went to that dining room either! 16) We reported many situations on a form and gave it to Customer Service Desk and requested answers to the comments. One concern was after looking at the history of charges on the Medallion App, we were billed for 3 drinks at the bar when only 2 were ordered. Naturally, we don’t pay for them, however, someone got a drink on our package. That was a concern to us. That is FRAUD! We waited 3 more days before Misa, from Customer Service called to let us know that we would not be charged for the extra drink. We already knew that. He never told us what happened with the extra bill and who did it? He just wanted to get the problem over without telling us what really happened. January 1, 2020 17) We received 2 plates of 8 chocolate covered strawberries in our room after dinner and we have no idea who sent them or for what? We could not eat that many! It was such a terrible waste of such a delicious item, but way too much! The communication needs to improve so that we know what is going on and there is no double orders. 18) Another issue was the Medallion app. In the Casino, the bar waiters told us we had to order from the app. The beverage manager told us if we order from the app, we get charged! Other bar waiters told us that you don’t get charged. No one really knows how to deal with the app. There were too many new employees under training on this cruise. We felt like we were Guinea Pigs on this cruise. 19) The quality of the food has really deteriorated. Princess always had fresh mashed potatoes. Now they are using Instant Mashed Potatoes, and it tastes like school lunch food! There is not enough variety of foods. For example, we don’t eat Pork and many nights only Pork was the main meat for many dishes. 20) We spent $5000.00 in the Casino. We received an offer but we cannot use it because both of us are teachers and work on a school schedule. This is the 2nd time we have been given an offer we cannot use. It is a sad situation. Why can’t the offer be used on a schedule for an upcoming cruise? We have just booked Alaska for June 6, 14 days. Why cant the casino put the offer on that cruise. The purpose is to spend more money and reward those that do spend. We are not getting the reward we deserve. In reviewing all of this, you can see how much we did not enjoy this trip. We work all year long and look forward to having a relaxing, trouble fee, and wonderful vacation which cost us over $6000.00 without Casino expenses. And to not have this wonderful, relaxing vacation at such a price makes us now think twice about moving away from Princess Cruises. We felt angry and disappointed the entire trip. We were not the only ones either! I don’t know if any other customers will send you a letter like this one, but I sure hope they do. You need to do something about this or you will lose your customers of years to other Cruise Lines. Now we are looking into Celebrity Cruise Lines for next year. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We chose this cruise because of the number of ports which were mostly impressive in the end. The embarkation process was quick and organized which was nice. The ship seemed older and offered less to do than we have been accustomed to in ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the number of ports which were mostly impressive in the end. The embarkation process was quick and organized which was nice. The ship seemed older and offered less to do than we have been accustomed to in our other travels. The cabin was what it was - we don't book a trip for the cabin since we won't be in there much, but we did have a few issues with the cabin. The bathroom flooded out two days in a row which ruined some of our personal belongings. The hot water was down for three days non-consecutively - it would get lukewarm but never reach hot. Both of these issues were addressed and corrected after multiple efforts, but our personal belongings ruined were never addressed. The dining was overly slow - taking 20-60 minutes just to get us a table every single evening. We wasted so much time waiting for the dining room that we missed several shows that we originally intended to attend. We also had to listen to the head waiter in our section belittle and speak down to the assistant waiter which was sad. We ordered the drink package and every single soda we received was flat - we eventually asked for our money back on this. The buffet had minimal selections and the food offered was not all that good anyway. The cookies in the buffet were the best - if not for the cookies, I would have lost weight on this cruise which I would think is impossible. The salad bar offerings were tiny and downright pathetic. We had to get our own drinks in the buffet and when the staff cleared the tables, we would say thank you to them and they never once responded - it seemed like they hated their jobs and didn't want to be there. Entertainment was just okay - there were singers in the Voice of the Ocean that could sing better and were better entertainers than several of those in the cruise shows. The service was lackluster and there was not much holiday spirit on the boat at all - from decorations to attitudes. We worked with the customer service rep about some of the issues we had and she was outstanding - polite, professional, understanding - a real treat to deal with. We wished the rest of the staff would have taken some cues from her on how to interact with the guests and others. We booked a couples massage online before arriving. When we got to the spa on the day of our appointment, they had no record of our appointment claiming their system was down. We waited for 20-30 minutes and they scrambled to find two masseuses to administer the massages. We also put in writing and verbalized that we wanted upper body only massage for one of them and they didn't perform the massage as requested. Ports were great - beaches on Aruba and Barbados were amazing. Megan's Bay is always a nice stop! We are not sure we would cruise with Princess again as this was a real downer. If not for the great ports and amazing company I had with me, this was a bust. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
First things first. The crew and staff on this ship are exemplary. I cannot fault them on anything. Especially our cabin steward - Jerry. That man is a true and pure gem. However, I can't say the same for one young man part of ... Read More
First things first. The crew and staff on this ship are exemplary. I cannot fault them on anything. Especially our cabin steward - Jerry. That man is a true and pure gem. However, I can't say the same for one young man part of the guest services team - which I'll get to later. That boy needs to learn how to use a tissue and not the back of his hand. Now on to the meat of it. Embarkation and disembarkation went smoothly. We didn't get our medallions ahead of time because we live in Canada and they only ship them to the US. But that wasn't a problem as we had downloaded the app and were "ship ready" before we got there. Although I was annoyed that we got our embarkation email stating we wouldn't be able to get on board until 2:30 pm. When I called to ask if we could be bumped up to the first embarkation group (because I had medicine I needed to take in a clean and sterile-ish environment) - I was told that the earliest anyone could get on board would be 12:30. We arrived for 12:00 to check in, which went very quickly to be fair, only to find out that embarkation had already started at 11:00! We could have been on board 90 minutes sooner which would have equated to being able to get to the Sanctuary to book seating much sooner and not have to get waitlisted. (Read more on the Sanctuary further down). OCEAN MEDALLION: About halfway through the cruise, my medallion wouldn't recognize me as I walked up to the cabin door and would only recognize my husband's medallion even when he was walking about 5 steps behind me. Even when I tapped my medallion on to the screen it would take a while before it would recognize me. I don't like the idea that the medallion is more of a tracker. It's not necessary for anyone to know where I am or where I've been. Why does my name and face need to be plastered on the screens that I've interacted with on board? Why does my name need to appear on my cabin door? I'm sure that violates about a dozen privacy laws - including GDPR. That should be something you should OPT-IN to not have to opt-out of!! I only knew I could opt-out of it when we spoke to some other passengers who shared our privacy concerns and they told us they went to the front desk and asked to have their name removed from their cabin door. Deplorable behaviour on the part of Princess. Don't even get me started on how crap the apps are! Constantly crashing, rarely working right. It even crashed my phone to the point where I couldn't use it and had to delete the app altogether! GUEST ARRIVAL EXPERIENCE: Of all the cruises we've done over the last few years, we've never had to wait more than a couple of hours for our luggage. This time, we didn't get our luggage until almost 7:00 pm and we boarded at lunchtime. Not great. Luggage collection at the terminal was not ideal. Princess should be paying the porters since I'm required by Princess to drop my luggage off at the curbside. That burden should not fall on me financially. Unacceptable. SHIP: I felt that I was deceived by Princess claiming to have fully refurbished this ship. It's blatantly obvious from the moment you step onboard, that has not happened at all. I only noticed one area that had clearly been refurbished (Sanctuary). The ship was obviously retrofitted to be turned into a Medallion Class ship - but if that's what you're claiming is a full refurb - then you need to re-evaluate how you market your ships. Like I said - I felt deceived since simply adding panels all around the ship and outside each cabin to accommodate a system (which let's face it - doesn't work well at all) doesn't constitute a full refurb. The ship is big enough but seriously lacking in activities that don't revolve around quizzes (which we love and attend at every single opportunity) or the like. This ship is very old. Retrofitting it to be a Medallion Class ship doesn't change anything other than adding more grief with a system that rarely worked on our 2 wk trip. They've sullied the ship even further by adding more casino gaming options on the Medallion Class app itself & adding gaming panels throughout the ship. The ship is in a state of disrepair as is evidenced throughout. Eg: the cabins have dated, old furnishings. The mattresses need to be overhauled (i.e. - thrown out and not simply renamed as "luxury soft"). You may be able to pull the wool over the average cruisers eyes (i.e. - octogenarians who don't know any better) - but those of us that are savvy cruisers see your scam coming a mile away. The Spa & dining rooms need massive updates. There are broken tiles all over the spa changing rooms & the dining areas look like they belong in a retirement home - especially the Palm Dining Room. It smells horrid & looks even worse. DINING: Princess is known for their food. Heck - they've been voted as 'Best Dining at Sea' for a number of years. What happened on this ship - I have no idea. This was not the Princess food we were used to. We used the Island Dining Room and found it to be dated decor. The dining room was very clean & the service was exceptional. Wait times were not too long - on average, about 10 min (at the time of evening we were going - between 7:00 - 8:00pm). It was nice to have the option of anytime dining and not be restricted by having to dine at a specific time. The food however was not up to par. Apart from a few meals over the 2 wks, most of the food was not of a good standard. Quality was fine but taste was not. Bland, boring or just not appetizing. We had to return food on several occasions. One evening we were sent to the Palm dining room for dinner and sent back ALL of the food. It tasted atrocious. We ended up eating in the buffet. In the buffet, the crew were always on hand, very polite and cleaned up tables regularly. They always asked if we wanted coffee/tea at breakfast or anything else during lunches. No issues with the crew at all. The ice machines were constantly broken. We had to traipse around the buffet area looking for an ice machine that worked - EVERY SINGLE TIME. Quality of the food was ok. There were some items/recipes that were quite nice, while others should not have been attempted. WAY too many desert options, and not nearly enough healthy options. Total lack of variety in fruit. They even ran out of watermelon about half way through the cruise. You're in the Caribbean - explain to me why the ships stores couldn't arrange for more varied fruit / veg options from the various ports we stopped at? Not nearly enough is done to usher people towards the hand-washing stations. We've cruised with other lines where they won't allow you to pass through to the buffet area if they haven't watched you wash your hands. Not Princess. The open deck food outlets were hit & miss. The ice cream bar needs work. You can't have soft serve ice cream ONLY and call it an ice cream bar. Every other cruise line we've been on has a large variety of free ice cream available in their buffet restaurants (RCCL, NCL, even the horrid ones like MSC and Costa have REAL ice cream available). One day - we went to the ice cream bar to get some ice cream and it was 10:59 am. The attendant wouldn't serve us because "the machines aren't ready yet because we only open at 11:00 am". Seriously? The machines weren't ready at 10:59 when you open at 11:00? The pizzeria though is exceptional. Delicious authentic pizza. One of the best pizza's I've had at sea and on land! BAR SERVICE: The only thing I'll say about the bar service we used was that one evening in Club Fusion (while waiting for a quiz to start), we ordered drinks from the app on our phone. I had a glass of wine (very nice) and my husband ordered Grolsch beer (something he'd been ordering the entire cruise). The waiter comes back & says "we don't have any here". So I told him very politely, to kindly go to whichever bar on board has that beer and get us one. He then changed his story to "we don't have any onboard at all". The exchange went something like this: Me: You have no Grolsch anywhere on board? W: No, I'm sorry. Me: Not one single bottle? W: No ma'am. Sorry. Sometimes this happens. Me: Yes I know. But with beers like Bud or Miller not Grolsch! W: Well, we had a batch and it went bad a few days ago. Husband: Wait - you've been serving me bad beer for days? I just had one yesterday! W: No sir. It's just this one batch. Us: What??? At that point we gave up & ordered a glass of wine. The bar staff at the Crooners Bar were fun and lively. Which is probably why it was always packed. That bar needs to be bigger to accommodate more people. It's probably the best bar on board in my opinion. That's where they should have put some of their so called refurbishment money. ENTERTAINMENT & ONBOARD ACTIVITIES DuVaul and his activity staff are EXCEPTIONAL. DuVaul's talents are wasted on this ship. He had us in stitches all the time! Hilarious antics. They need more game shows like the ones he hosts. He's intensely funny & has a great personality. We couldn't stop laughing. The activities staff work so hard to make everyone's stay pleasant & fun. There just aren't enough activities on board. That's NOT a slight against the CD & his staff, but against the company for not offering more physical activities on board. The Links (apparently a mini-golf course) is laughable. How do you get off calling that a golf course? That's a 10 x 10 space with some holes in it!! Movies under the stars should be renamed to "college football all day long". Pathetic. Production shows were lacking quality. We only went in to see one or two and decided better of it. Just not up to the par that we're used to with Princess. And how do you NOT have shuffleboard? That's the epitome of a cruise ship! Shuffleboard and cruising are synonymous! But I guess that's no surprise since they only have one fully outdoor deck (and I don't mean the higher pool / sports decks). That's where they SHOULD have spent their refurb money. Outdoor areas. Why would you put a smoking area out there on deck 7 forcing those of us who want to have a nice walk around the deck to have to inhale that garbage? It's 2020 - get with the program. Ban smoking across the fleet! PORT & SHORE EXCURSIONS Don't even get me started on the destination presentations given by Mrs. May (can't remember her first name). They were a pathetically lame excuse for a port lecture. Total joke. She got most of the info wrong, was grossly unqualified for the job and immensely inaccurate most of the time regarding historical 'facts' about the ports and general port information. I kept wanting to scream out at her that she was wrong every time she opened her mouth! During her talks she kept constantly saying "I don't know what excursions they have for this port - I don't work for the excursions team". What in the actual what? You can liaise with them and with the port authorities and the port tourism offices to get a better understanding of how things change since the last time you were there. The amount of times she said things like "I don't know if this is still valid because I've not been to this port in over 2 years" was extraordinary. There wasn't a single thing she said on those port talks that I didn't already know from looking at the internet before we set sail. Unfortunately, Princess didn't do well on the itinerary when they were trying to figure out how to have a 2 week cruise over Christmas and New Year. They should have accounted for those ports that were visited on Christmas Day and Boxing Day. Clearly the team that plans the itineraries didn't do their due diligence and research to find out what services and attractions would be open in those two ports that were affected by Christmas Day and Boxing Day. Unfortunately, we were unable to see anything of any value in those two ports - especially Barbados - since EVERYTHING was closed. They failed miserably on those two ports. Princess should look into extending stays in many of the ports. Antigua should have been longer. It's such a beautiful island and needs much more time to explore. Same for St. Kitts. Curacao was EXCELLENT because we had an actual FULL day / evening there. Arrived just before 08:00 am and didn't leave until 10:00 pm. That was perfect. ONBOARD SHOPPING BOUTIQUE Why would you not stock essentials in the boutiques? Things that are practical that people might either have forgotten, or damaged while on board? Practical things like belts, stockings, even lingerie! Those are the kinds of things that would make a difference in someone's vacation. Even things like evening shoes for both men and women. My husband ruined one of the heels on his shoes and had you offered dress shoes in your boutique, he would have bought a pair. As it turned out his sneakers were damaged about 1/3 of the way into the cruise and he ended up buying a pair of Sketchers that the boutique sold. THAT'S practical stuff. Not pointless $500 + outfits! We all look forward to the sales at the end of a cruise. It's a given that there's going to be mostly crap they're trying to offload, but you also get some really good deals on jewellery, watches, clothing, etc. Oh no - not Princess. Couldn't possibly. EVERY cruise line does this. They put out the more popular items (not just t-shirts) for sale and people snap them up! Learn from other lines Princess - learn! LOTUS SPA & SALON: My only comment here is regarding the actual physical spa itself. It needs refurbishment. Especially the changing rooms. We used them all the time and in the women's changing area, one of the two bathrooms was CONSTANTLY closed for repair. The toilet was leaking regularly and had to be serviced ALL the time. They spent how many millions supposedly refurbishing the ship (which we all know means nothing) but clearly didn't spend it in areas that matter. The tiles in the bathroom (inside the changing rooms) were all busted. I only used the Salon for one service (pedicure) and that was very nice. My technician was lovely, personable and knew exactly what she was doing - very high quality service on her part. CASINO: Oh wow. What a waste. Tightest slots at sea is what they SHOULD rename it to. We're not heavy gamblers but we always walk away with more than what we spend in casinos at sea. Not Princess. She just gobbles up your cash and doesn't give you any back. I've learned my lesson where Princess casinos are concerned. Never again. The amount of gambling terminals spread throughout the ship and their availability on the Medallion app is deplorable. That's just another way for Princess to get more money from people. They should be encouraging other activities - not just gambling. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
This was a good cruise with some not so good mixed in. Basically the cruise was fine in the sense you're on a floating hotel visiting all these beautiful places for two weeks over Christmas and New Year without any stress or worries. ... Read More
This was a good cruise with some not so good mixed in. Basically the cruise was fine in the sense you're on a floating hotel visiting all these beautiful places for two weeks over Christmas and New Year without any stress or worries. A few items to note, the wait lines/times for dinner are just silly and UNACCEPTABLE. On average we waited 30 minutes each night with 4 dinners being over an hour and one night we waited over an hour and a half. How do you not have wait times figured out at this point on a 16 year old ship is beyond me? As you can imagine it was enough to make the overall cruise less pleasurable. The theatre got crowded really fast so if you weren't there at least 15 minutes prior to the show you weren't getting a seat. As you can imagine, if you're waiting in line to eat for 30-45 minutes nearly every night and then waiting a little longer to get food, the chances of you missing many of the shows is great which was the case with us. Service was very good most of the time with some inconsistencies. Things like wrong orders, not having wines (even though it was listed on the menu) and waiting too long for food to come (after already waiting too long in line just to get food). The piazza was always packed so trying to get a drink could be complicated at times. Overall the positives outweighed the negatives but if you're the kind of person/people that HATE waiting in line for dinner when you're on vacation, then I would encourage you to look elsewhere when choosing a cruise as it does get quite old every night. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We enjoy Princess Cruises, but this one was not the best. While the islands were nice, the weather good, and overall service adequate, there were some things that were disappointing. !) Food selection was a challenge since the menu did not ... Read More
We enjoy Princess Cruises, but this one was not the best. While the islands were nice, the weather good, and overall service adequate, there were some things that were disappointing. !) Food selection was a challenge since the menu did not describe what ingredients were associated with the culinary terms that, apparently, the ship's chef liked to use. So, every dinner required explanations from the wait staff. 2) There was a serious lack of communication and information regarding accessibility for mobility impaired passengers. We were NINE days into the cruise before information was published regarding accessibility to the ship's theater. It wasn't until the last port of call that information was broadly distributed regarding which location for disembarkation were accessible. And, the Excursion staff said there was no Handicap accommodation om Excursion transport at the various ports.We did have a great stateroom attendant and some folks at Guest Services were outstanding. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Short summary - My wife and I will cruise princess again, we have already started looking at options for late 2020. Cruising is quite different from the way we normally vacation, and that is okay. Cruising will not replace our long-haul ... Read More
Short summary - My wife and I will cruise princess again, we have already started looking at options for late 2020. Cruising is quite different from the way we normally vacation, and that is okay. Cruising will not replace our long-haul flight jaunts but will add a much-needed supplement to our often exhausting vacations. We had an amazing time at our own pace. The lengthy version, read on at your peril: As mentioned, cruising is very different from our typical holidays. Generally, we visit several countries over a relatively short period of time. Each country we visit generally requires an international flight, sometimes with layovers, and always with the hassles of air travel. Couple that with needing to transport luggage from city to city, and the fact that we average close to 30,000 steps a day while exploring cities, we return fully exhausted. Cruising is the exact opposite, visiting multiple destinations could not be easier. Luggage is stowed once, clothing placed on hangers once, heck; even drawers can be used. One does not need to touch their luggage again until the end of the cruise. A few considerations: Motion sickness - Those who know me well are quite aware of my challenges with motion sickness. I need Dramamine just to be a passenger in a car, and I am not joking. For as long as I can remember, I have always felt ill when driving in a passenger vehicle if I was not driving. As a child in Jamaica, it was torture. Driving up and down Melrose Hill, stuck behind a truck spewing all sorts of diesel fumes, slowing down and accelerating around corners, my god I am getting sick just thinking about it. My dad let me drive at a very early age which helped a lot. Back to the cruise, my solution was Dramamine less-drowsy (same as Bonine), and it worked perfectly. Unfortunately, I started with the scopolamine patch and only placed it behind my ear 30 minutes after boarding. I drove from Tampa to Port Everglades and did not want to risk wearing the patch earlier as it does tend to have an impact on vision. As is typical with my luck, the seas were pretty rough the first two nights, I had to leave my wife at the dinner table twice. I felt terrible. I then gave up on the patch and switched to my trusty Dramamine, it worked like a charm. I took at least one daily thereafter, two if the seas were rough. No problems with motion sickness from that point onwards. If you are worried about motion sickness, Dramamine is a solid option. If it worked for me, I suspect it will work for most. Cabin comfort - The ship we were on, the Carribean Princess, has more balcony cabins than any other room category. We chose a balcony, which was nice to have. While we did not spend a lot of time on the balcony, it was nice to have the option and also to leave the curtains open for a great view and sunlight. I think we will continue with balconies. The bathroom was relatively small, yet reasonable enough for a cruise cabin. Our cabin steward was incredible, a gentleman from Serbia. We could not have asked for a better person to help look after us during our cruise. Excursions - Our cruise line offered a variety of excursion options that were suitable for most passengers. We did everything from cycling in Curacoa to laying on the beach in Aruba. Excursions by the cruise line was a good way for us to venture into the cruise game. I am not fond of walking up to anyone, anywhere and giving them a few bucks to take me to an unfamiliar place. Perhaps a bit paranoid, I know, but with the cruise line, at least I knew a reputable firm was responsible for our wellbeing. This does pose a challenge though. The excursions offered by the cruise line were mostly great, except for the ability to experience true local fare and activities. I had to ask for off-menu items to have Caribbean food, the menu was stacked with chicken fingers, fish sticks, Italian options, etc. None of the excursions we booked took us into the heart of the countries, which I did find to have been problematic. Also, the beaches we were taken to were picturesque but littered with tourists and chairs. I am a beach snob, having had access to amazing beaches as a child, with my dad driving us on most Sundays to the south coast of Jamaica. The Baywatch style beach with hundreds of people laying out is simply not my thing, I prefer a cove with a few people, natural shade from trees, a short area of sand, and clear water. I still find Trunk Bay on St. John USVI to be the best beach I have visited. In terms of water quality, etc. many of the beaches we visited hit the mark, but just too many people. A cruise excursion is going to take you to a beach where several thousand others will likely be going as well. So for active excursions, I will continue to use the cruise line. They are more pricey, but I like the zero hassle they offer. For beaches and local fare, I will seek alternatives. Curacao and Martinique were my favorite ports. I have a "thing" for walkable cities, both were very walkable and quite nice. Trinidad gets a pretty bad rap in terms of safety, we took a raft tour of the bird sanctuary offered by princess, I am happy we went. I would definitely visit Trinidad again, not once did I feel unsafe. Aruba was a small desert island, okay beaches, not quite my favorite. We've done St. Thomas a few teams before, just hung out and had a few drinks with passengers from another ship. Had it been our first time, a trip to Trunk Bay on St. John would have been in order. We didn't do anything at all in Antigua, we were lazy and did not plan. We enjoyed St. Kitts, beautiful and not suffering from over development as Aruba seems to be. Dining - Dining was varied during our trip, initially not quite meeting my expectations for a variety of reasons. After day three, I found that our experience improved quite a bit. I will admit, the first two nights I was quite ill due to motion sickness, with most of the ship movement occurring just around dinner time. It may very well be that my impressions of dining these first few days are tied to my feeling of being ill. In terms of dining venues, we had multiple options to chose from. Initially, we chose the dining room but asked for a table just for the two of us. Again, I was feeling terrible, thus nothing memorable to offer other than the ability for the hostess to accommodate. Over the next three days, we chose the onboard Italian restaurant, steakhouse, and BBQ/seafood restaurant, all of which were quite good. These are “specialty” dining restaurants, thus an additional charge. Worth it in my opinion. We then decided to give the dining room another chance. They were unable to accommodate a table for just the two of us without an extensive wait time, thus we took a shared table. This was the best thing that could have happened to us! We dined with people from all over the world, each with great tales of adventures at sea and their personal lives. We kept the tradition going and decided to share tables in the dining room each night thereafter and had a blast. The people we met at dinner were mostly fantastic, with a miserable one here and there; still, the experience was great. Entertainment - I will start the entertainment portion of our experience with a few statistics. I suspect the average passenger age on the ship was somewhere in the late 50s, with the median being somewhere closer to the upper 60s, infer what you will :). We chose Princess as we desired to be amongst a mature crowd, we certainly got that here. A good portion of the entertainment onboard reflected this, with a lot of trivia, bingo and the like. A reasonable amount of mature “fun” activities. We also had evening music venues, one with an excellent live band playing everything from Caribbean music to rock, a piano bar, and a full-on nightclub. My only critical comment regarding entertainment would be the time most of the adult entertainment wrapped up early, generally by 11 pm. Additional mature venues going into the early morning hours would have been great. Also, one more critique; Princess offers what is called “Movies under the stars”. Via this, they show movies on deck late in the evening, with deckchairs covered with additional padding and towels offered to stay warm if needed. For the vast majority of the nights, the movies under the stars featured football games. I get it, football is big, and the games were likely quite important; but, I would like to have had the chance to watch a movie at night. I was quite disappointed. People - As mentioned in my dining section, we really met quite a few nice people during the trip. At dinner, while watching the band play, on excursions, etc. As this was our first cruise together, it was great to hear perspectives, thoughts, and ideas from others during our journey. I am reluctant to exchange contact information as I don’t often feel it to be authentic; still, I do hope to see many of them sometime again. We did have a lovely couple we met seek us out on the last night of the cruise to share their contact information with us. I will be in touch with them! Interesting tidbits - I met a woman who worked at the hospital where I was born (LIJ). She may have been working the night of my birth! I met another woman who graduated from the University of Tampa and lives in Sarasota. We talked a bit during dinner one night and began discussing dogs. I told her about Rhaegar and Nymeria, and she knew all about Staffordshire Bull Terriers and how they were different from pit-bulls and American Staffordshire Terriers. I didn’t need to give the “speech”! One of her neighbors in Sarasota is a retiree from England, where he used to breed Staffords. I met a young lady who studied at Brown AND also lived/worked in Manchester, the parish in Jamaica where I spent a lot of my childhood. I met a woman from the UK who loves Kuala Lumpur, her favorite city in the world. We discussed all of the great things about my third home and were both craving a bit of nasi lemak after our chat. We coincidentally ended up at the same dining table twice. I met a gentleman who worked on the ship, he was originally from Mandeville, Jamaica. We talked about the time we spent driving go-karts at Merry Makers, a small racing track and arcade located not too far from our homes. Peeves - “Do you have the package”? My god, there was a package for damn-near everything. For the internet, for alcohol, for soda, for coffee, you name it. What a way to cheapen an experience. In the dining room at night, if you wanted anything besides water, it is literally “screw you, pay me”. While I understand the desire to have folks pay for beverages throughout the day, doing so in the dining room seemed cheap to me. Offering a house wine and soft drinks during dinner would have been more than a reasonable from my perspective. I didn’t go anywhere near the pools, far too many people in each of them, all I could see were giant Petri dishes, yuck. They were so full, I suspect they had to remove some of the water to accommodate all the passengers sitting in them. Yes, sitting; there was absolutely no way to swim given all of the people. Best - 14 days with my wife, no distractions, no stress. Just relaxation and what we wanted to do. Next - A lot of what drove our decision to cruise with Princess was the itinerary. I would have no problem cruising with Princess again during the winter holiday period as there is a more diverse group of passengers, specific to age. I am not sure I would cruise them outside of that, as I suspect the ship may get a bit “sleepy”. Celebrity is at the top of our list currently, for the mixture of passengers we are seeking. Thus far, we are considering three options. Another Caribbean cruise, visiting ports we did not see during this trip. We also came across a transatlantic cruise, stopping in a few interesting places with Barcelona being the final destination. Lastly, we found an option for cruising to cities in Australia and New Zealand. We’ll see, as our preference is to find a holiday cruise, and time is a bit short now as I am back in school. I won’t be able to travel much until 2021 but can fit in a cruise next December. Final note - We just booked another holiday cruise with Princess the day after returning! See you in December :). Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Embarkation and Disembarkation As Elite members, embarkation was a breeze. We did not obtain our Medallions in advance, because we figured the priority line wouldn’t be too long and we were right. On our last cruise, we did obtain our ... Read More
Embarkation and Disembarkation As Elite members, embarkation was a breeze. We did not obtain our Medallions in advance, because we figured the priority line wouldn’t be too long and we were right. On our last cruise, we did obtain our Medallions in advance and it was a lot of fiddling to get them done, plus we had to remember to pack them. The non-priority lines were much longer, so may be worth considering doing in advance. Disembarkation was quick and efficient. We shipped our heavy bags direct from the ship to our home airport. We only had a small bag each when disembarking. Lines for US and Canadian citizens were short. Itinerary and Ports Probably the most interesting ports to visit on a 14-day Caribbean cruise. We did this cruise in November 2018 and still found it enjoyable. As my husband doesn’t like to tour, I have to take the ship’s tours if I want to learn more about each of the islands. The port specialist, Cherry, gave presentations on each of the ports and I was able to follow these each day on the TV. Cherry’s advice was very helpful. I’ve listed the tours below. Weather We were very lucky to have good weather and smooth seas every day. Staterooms We had a mini-suite on Dolphin Deck 9 on this trip. The staterooms (and the entertainment areas) on this ship are showing their age and need to be renovated in the near future if they want to compete with the newer, more modern ships. The bed is really comfortable, just too small for my husband and me. Wish they offered king-size beds. The “do not disturb/clean my room” signs constantly fell on the floor. Also, looks like the cruise line has reduced the number of stateroom stewards. We had to allow our steward two hours to clean the room, but on the disembarkation day, he had a small army of helpers. Food MDR food was OK if you knew what to choose, except I like my hot meals hot and they were usually tepid to cool. Need warm plates. After the first couple of days, I stopped ordering beef or steak, because the meat was tough and gristly. I stuck to poultry and seafood most of the time. The Cesar’s salad is wonderful. We saw a lot of people ordering it every night. If they figured out how to get some seasoning (garlic or other) in the croutons, it would be perfect, so we ordered it without croutons. Salmon was good, especially the Caribbean salmon – very tasty. I always like their Chicken and leek pie. The fresh bread rolls are yummy too. The vegetables, on the other hand, were rock hard most of the time. I couldn’t even cut the broccoli with my knife. I know chefs like to offer veg “al dente”, but really, my gut didn’t like the veg. I prefer my veg cooked so they’re medium soft but not soggy and certainly not so hard. Not a lot of choice for desserts, other than ice-cream, although they have a list of nice desserts they offer every day. Note: If you want a table for two in “anytime dining” in the Island Dining Room, you need to get there before 5:15; otherwise they escort you to the Palm Dining Room, which is much noisier. We’re hoping to book Club Classic on our next cruise – no waiting and plenty of tables for two. International Café had a good selection of sandwiches, desserts and snacks all day. It was very popular. Also, that’s where you get the best coffee on the ship. World Marketplace, or Horizon Court as we have known it over the years, is the best place for breakfast. Not perfect, but much better than the MDR. They offer a variety of breakfast foods, but I must admit they don’t vary them very much. Lunch always looks delicious – sandwiches, soups, salads and hot meals, if you prefer. We were disappointed with the dinner options. Food was tepid to cold and not a great variety. Entertainment We are very interested in a ship’s entertainment. Princess used to have at least two guest entertainers performing at the same time, but most evenings, it was only one. The cruise staff host multiple game and trivia shows, as well as karaoke, so you’ll find it’s often the guests entertaining other guests. Some of these events are good, but I don’t understand why they have so many, unless they’re under the misconception there’s a large audience in the Explorers Lounge each evening. That’s usually because there’s nothing else to do. The only exception is The Voice of the Ocean, which attracted large crowds during the auditions and finale. Lots of good talent onboard. The very talented singer, Daniel Bondi won. Lisa B. was the runner-up and she received lots of accolades, too. Caribbean Princess Orchestra was fantastic. Production shows were marginal. They really didn’t have a lot of shows for a 14-day cruise. Cruise Staff DuVaul is the CD and his assistant CD’s were Karen, Jerry, Kaitlynn and Jacinta. DuVaul is very likeable and entertaining. Karen is the Zumba instructor and a good dancer. She’s also a good organizer and game host. Jerry is a good singer and great at hosting karaoke and musical trivia. Kaitlynn is good at hosting game shows. Jacinta is new, but she did host a trivia game and did a good job. While we liked them all, we’d still prefer to see professional guest entertainers more than staff entertainers. Holiday Atmosphere The atrium was decorated with trees and swags. Looked quite festive. We had two opportunities to sing Christmas songs with the crew and other guests. The kids seemed pleased to see Santa on Christmas Eve. The Holiday Show in the Princess Theater was more like “amateur dramatics,” although the crew singing their version of the Twelve Days of Christmas was quite funny. Shopping I browsed the shops but only bought one or two items. However, the outlet sales were really good. Ben, the shopping concierge held a few raffles and also worked as a substitute cruise staff member. He’s really good. Spa I didn’t use the spa on this trip, mostly because I had a massage and had my nails done before departure. Casino The casino was our muster station and was on deck 7. To get to the Princess Theatre you either had to walk through the casino or go to deck 6 and walk around. When in the casino, I chose the starboard side where there was less smoke. Captain’s Circle Like most Elite members, we no longer attend the Captain’s Circle party. Service Overall, the service was good. You’re always going to find a couple of exceptions. Medallion Class We just used our Medallions to open our stateroom door, but there are many more uses with their app. However, I switch my phone to airplane mode, then switch it off and place it in the safe when I’m on a cruise. I want to enjoy my vacation. Other Passengers About 60% were seniors and we had a lot of Elite guests. There were several families with kids, but not overwhelming, which is fine. I don’t mind kids on a cruise. Just wish their parents would keep an eye on them and not let them run everywhere. They don’t understand the safety aspects and the consequences of possibly colliding with a senior who could fall and break a hip. We had three formal nights and most guests complied with the suggested evening wear. I did see at least two people declined entry to the MDR because they were wearing shorts. Just read your Princess Patter for guidelines and follow the ship’s etiquette recommendations. Ports St. Thomas – We docked at Havensight – yeah! Good access to many shops. I just went to the pharmacy in building 5 to pick up a few extras I’d forgotten to pack. Reasonably priced and helpful staff. The view of Charlotte Amalie from the ship is spectacular. We’ve visited this port many times and done the tours, so we don’t mind staying on board. Antigua – We didn’t disembark here this time. If you walk more than a few hundred yards, the neighborhood is not somewhere a female can safely walk alone. Cherry’s presentation showed the other side of the Island – Englishtown – was really pretty, so maybe I’ll do a tour there next time. St. Kitts – We were there on Christmas Day. The streets in Basseterre were almost empty. At this time of the year, they celebrate Carnival every evening. I took a tour to see where the Batik cloth was made – very interesting and colorful. It was very humid inland. The driver took us to the other side of the Island where the rich folks lived. We could take panoramic photos from a hill. Vendors want to take your photo with the tiny green monkeys, but Cherry warned us to decline, as these baby monkeys are taken away from their mothers at a young age. The driver seemed to be on “Island time” and we arrived back at the port 45 minutes late. Barbados – Always a lovely island, but I had done an island tour a year ago and the tours offered didn’t interest me. I took the shuttle to the terminal shops, took photos and came back to the ship. We had two medical emergencies at this port. Martinique – I did a tour last year and wasn’t too impressed. I would have liked to walk past the market stalls and along the shoreline to the town of Fort-de-France, but wasn’t sure if it was safe to walk alone. Trinidad – Last year, I went to Maracas Beach, which was very nice but a long drive. None of the other tours interested me and I decided to stay on board after Cherry warned us to only walk around Port Spain in groups because of pick pockets. Curacao – This was by far the best tour and we had an excellent tour guide, Helvig who was very knowledgeable and helpful. We visited the liqueur factory. I’ve been there before but it’s always a nice visit. From there we visited an Aloe Vera Farm which was really interesting. However, the presenter offered samples of the juice which I didn’t taste. I tested the lotion in the shop. Afterwards, we visited a Chi-Chi Doll Workshop. The dolls were colorful and the ladies painting them were very friendly, but just not my taste. Aruba – I was disappointed with my tour, because I had chosen it to see the Gold Mill. We visited the California Lighthouse, Alta Vista Chapel and Natural Bridge – all places I’d been to last year. When we reached the Gold Mill, the driver/guide swung round the parking lot, pointed to the mill and drove off. He then took us to see a couple of their rock formations, which wasn’t on the schedule, and brought us back to the ship 15 minutes early. That’s the time we could have taken to visit the Gold Mill. General Impression of Tours I’ve been sailing with Princess for many years and the tours don’t vary much from year to year. I’d like to see Princess offer some different tours. Talk to the locals and find out more. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
This was our second cruise with Princess Cruises after having a fantastic cruise in Alaska. We loved the crew again, they were very attentive to any need or desire we had , pleasant, helpful, ready to assist us. The boat has many ... Read More
This was our second cruise with Princess Cruises after having a fantastic cruise in Alaska. We loved the crew again, they were very attentive to any need or desire we had , pleasant, helpful, ready to assist us. The boat has many areas to explore and enjoy. It is in good shape and the crew is always taking care of any maintenance details. Our bedroom, a balcony cabin, was just comfortable and big enough for the two of us, with many places for storage. Oh... the bed and linens!!! Delightful! We enjoyed having different kind of wonderful professional shows and all over the boat entertainment. The variety and quality of the food was great and the sweets amazing! We didn't get a beverage package and the cost of the cocktails are reasonable. The cruise itinerary was fun and interesting, and having a few days at sea was relaxing and peaceful. We will be cruising with Princess Cruises again! Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Chose club class mini suite. Excellent for 2 week voyage. A bit disappointed with the entertainment of Santa and holiday events because of such a huge crowd in Piazzia. Maybe show this entertainment on tv so more can see. I’m sure that ... Read More
Chose club class mini suite. Excellent for 2 week voyage. A bit disappointed with the entertainment of Santa and holiday events because of such a huge crowd in Piazzia. Maybe show this entertainment on tv so more can see. I’m sure that was the best place not knowing weather conditions and having a full capacity of guests. Club class dining is outstanding, a bit disappointed in buffet. Formal nights were mostly informed in dining room, but was so much happier in club area. This is noticed on many cruises and I like it I enforced. It is on your booking and buffet is open if you don’t want to dress appropriately. The entertainment, dancers, musicians, singers were enjoyed by all ages. It was wonderful to have holiday decorations the entire time. All of the ports had decorations as well. I was disappointed how all tour groups met off ship and had to walk some distance to find group and then to get to tour bus or boat. I prefer to meet as tour on ship and leave as a group, not a mass exit when approved to go ashore. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
I went on the cruise with 5 friends. Things were not up to Princess Standards. The room movie movies were all very old flicks, Nothing recent. There was no Zumba class. No instructor. They could have found a Zumba video. The ... Read More
I went on the cruise with 5 friends. Things were not up to Princess Standards. The room movie movies were all very old flicks, Nothing recent. There was no Zumba class. No instructor. They could have found a Zumba video. The entertainment except for 3 times, was horrible. At Panama getting off the ship was delayed for well over two hours. The food in the dining room was up to Princess standards, and the service was excellent. The food in the buffet was boring to say the least. And not many choices. The Steak house was fine and also the service. The river rafting in Costa Rica was a plus. The seafood extravaganza was /shrimp and Small oysters. Discraceful. The tour in Cartegena was okay. and the tour in Hualitco was fine going on a catamaran and a private beach. The captains welcome lacked decent horsderves. The cycles in the gym were not very good. And finally, in the spa,my friend went for a mud bath, and there was an extra charges of a $79. gratuity put on the room bill. Getting off the ship in California went smoothy, as getting aboard. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We chose Princess because we had never taken this line before and we wanted to take the family to Alaska this summer and had to check the line out. Embarkation was a couple of hours late with no explanation. Our cabin was as expected. ... Read More
We chose Princess because we had never taken this line before and we wanted to take the family to Alaska this summer and had to check the line out. Embarkation was a couple of hours late with no explanation. Our cabin was as expected. We could have used an extra chair, but we made do. Our luggage did not make it to our cabin until after late dinner. So we had dinner in our clothes that had been traveled in all day. We wanted to traverse the Panama Canal during the holidays, but Princess didn't seem to want to celebrate the holidays. There was a smattering of Christmas trees and one Menorah and that was it for decorations. The crew sang carols once. Other lines have made us feel like we were in a winter wonderland. The dining room food was 90% great and if it wasn't they would try to make it great. Always eat in the dining room. The hot dogs in the Salty Dog are also good for a snack. Never eat in the buffet...… You have been warned. Now for the worst part of the cruise. Our excursion in Panama City uses tenders (life boats.) Two of the tenders were not working. A third tender broke down with people on it. How could this be???? What if there was an emergency? Didn't they check these before we left? So our 8 hour day turned out to be a 4 hour day and we could not get to any of the excursions planned because everything was so far away. Thank you Princess for ruining my time in Panama. Late that night, our ship LOST POWER. Yes, we were floating at sea with no power, no lights, no nothing. No emergency power. And, no one came on the intercom to reassure the passengers for 15 minutes. Another 15 minutes before power came back on. Lots of "technical issues" on this ship. Sound system, etc. Now for the positive. The employees: the dining staff, the cabin stewards, the bartenders, all had the best customer service of any ship. That is the one thing that Princess does the best. They know how to train their personnel in customer service. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Was offered a deal at 1/4 of original price! Ship was fully booked. Worst Food/Service/Entertainment of any Princess cruise I have ever sailed. Ships staff were poorly trained. Ship badly needs a complete overhaul. Buffet was a ... Read More
Was offered a deal at 1/4 of original price! Ship was fully booked. Worst Food/Service/Entertainment of any Princess cruise I have ever sailed. Ships staff were poorly trained. Ship badly needs a complete overhaul. Buffet was a mystery, only about half the dishes had signs, about 10% had the wrong signs. Some tables did not even have salt and pepper shakers. Ice machine in one side was down for 3 days. People who were supposed to bus the tables, looked straight ahead and would only come to the table if called. Phone in room didn't work (auto dial features). Many of the elevators had buttons that didn't t light up or had to be pressed several times. On some floors, some call buttons did not work. Ships power completely failed for 15 minute, no propulsion, electricity! Several of the tenders were inoperable, so on tender ports, there were an inadequate number of tenders. Ships paper sometimes listed incorrect time of events.Listed incorrect TV channels for canal commentary. Loved the dance band but I have never seen a group take 20 minutes every time to set up and do a sound check. As a result, they always started late (but quit on time). Took the photo package and (as we had always done on other princess ships) requested that they hold photos till end of cruise. They gave us a hard time, but eventually agreed to hold the pictures. One person claimed they couldn't find the package, another found it immediately. Talked to many other passengers (who also had cruised frequently with Princess) they all were extremely disappointed with this sailing. The only positive note was our room steward, he did a great job. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Expected a lot more for Xmas cruise; few decorations and little music/shows. Only decent production show was broken; entertainment not good except 2guest entertainers. Public bathrooms constantly dirty and toilets broken; water on floors; ... Read More
Expected a lot more for Xmas cruise; few decorations and little music/shows. Only decent production show was broken; entertainment not good except 2guest entertainers. Public bathrooms constantly dirty and toilets broken; water on floors; dangerous. Elevators not working well; I was stuck in one twice, doors close on you and some floor buttons won’t work/light up. One night all 4 engines blew and no power. We were stuck in the dark in a part of our mini-suite that didn’t have a small back up light. I had to hold up my non-walking spouse, who was “transferring” at that time. The joke/saying by passengers is “technical problems”, as we heard it announced a lot. Our cabin awful: the HVAC broken all the time; it would be too hot or too cold, and they couldn’t seem to regulate, and this affects my spouse with M.S. We were in ADA cabin, and my spouse in wheelchair couldn’t use balcony as you can’t close balcony door from outside and ramp deployment mechanism broken and old and they couldn’t fix; also the balcony door got stuck in the open position several times. Cabin toilets broke a lot. Shower drips all the time, without stopping. I injured myself, my hand, trying to show cabin attendant how to work/turn ADA shower nozzle/bar. Takes hours for someone to come and fix anything and it keeps breaking anyway. I spent 1/2 my vacation waiting for people to show up to”fix” things. Refrigerator in room broken and leaky. Front desk mostly takes 20-30 minutes to answer phone;quicker to walk down in robe. Communication poor. Example: It took me several attempts to get our disembark paperwork; I asked in person and called multiple times, and had to walk down in my PJs after 9PM the night before disembark. Problems with “Movies Under The Stars” screen; the top part had a black line across screen, affecting viewing. About 1/2 of the Guest Services Reps were snooty. Shore excursion Rep was to get back to us on two ?s and never did and trip sold out. Device to print your bill often broken (line too long to get from front desk); I suggested they put a note on machine, and they refused! (lot of passengers upset they can’t print and wasted time trying to figure out). Early in the a.m. one day, we were awoken by lots of noise outside cabin, and a Plummer had opened the plumbing closet by our door, and when I went out in hall in my PJs to ask what is wrong now, he just said “normal maintenance”; ridiculous to do this when people are sleeping. While food in dining room good, the buffet was no better than a low level cafeteria, and mostly same food each day, often cold and they ran out of food and didn’t replace. I had to ask staff there, and also in Int’l Cafe and bar to wipe up dirty tables. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Desired a short cruise over the Christmas season. However we chose a large ship with a large passenger capacity and the ship was completely full. Tours were poorly organized. Tenders were not all in working order. Missed our tour of ... Read More
Desired a short cruise over the Christmas season. However we chose a large ship with a large passenger capacity and the ship was completely full. Tours were poorly organized. Tenders were not all in working order. Missed our tour of Panama City due to lack of maintenance of tenders and disorganization of moving people off ship to get to shore. Complete power failure on one occasion - very concerned about situation should a crisis occur. Poor quality evening entertainment. Buffet staff consistently looked very unhappy. The only positive thing I can say is thank goodness we were assigned a very competent, pleasant and good natured steward. Disembarkation was totally disorganized, had 10 minutes to make our flight. If I had not spoken to security and waited for our disembarkation scheduled time we definitely would have missed our flight. Previous cruises with Princess have been excellent but cannot say the same about this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
This is not the company that we knew, our previous cruise was 5 years prior to this and we have 16 Princess cruises to measure this disaster against, We chose the cruise which was over Christmas and New Year going through the Panama ... Read More
This is not the company that we knew, our previous cruise was 5 years prior to this and we have 16 Princess cruises to measure this disaster against, We chose the cruise which was over Christmas and New Year going through the Panama Canal. Embarkation took over 2 hours , we stood outside in a line with no refreshment , check in was tedious. Christmas decorations were minimalistic with exception of the foyer, very plastic but ok , each public area had one tree and the main dining room had a table decoration which was a band of plastic berries and a flower ( photo attached) the staff all had a veil Father Christmas hat on. The service from all the staff throughout the ship was excellent Our outside cabin had only one chair and no sofa it was inadequate The food and service was good, in the restaurant, The Lido buffet was a bit like a football match , at peak times it was difficult to get a seat nonetheless the food was OK In that area it is impossible to sit quietly with events and films competing to be the noisiest. Entertainment was badly scheduled and poor , was it because acts did not come on during the Christmas period. There were no big shows , poor singers and dancers with 3rd rate”Stars” . The cruise director was ineffective. The reason for doing this trip was the new Panama locks this was well executed and narrated and did not disappoint. The tours that we did were excellent except the tender we were on lost power in one engine and there was no steering so we waltzed around for a good 20 mins before we got back to the ship there was another tender waking for us but guess what that was broken So 2 big tenders out of action? Good job there was not an evacuation. But wait, that evening for about 15 minutes the engines stopped, everything including lights went out. We were sent a drinks voucher . Speaking of which Not sure were all the officers were on this ship were they in hiding they only seemed to emerge for the Captains circle event The drinks were outrageously priced plus tax and tips , hence the bars were quiet . New Year’s Eve was yet another disaster the main event was scheduled on the top of the ship but it was too cold and windy there was nothing scheduled in Explorers as the best band was on the top of the ship We have seen much of the world with Princess and we feel sad that the decline in the experience is so great that we will not be travelling with them again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
I won't use Princess again. Always trouble with time lines including being crammed into a room before embarkation. 3 of 5 tenders were down for Panama excursions which left little time on land, 7:30 am early disembarkation turned ... Read More
I won't use Princess again. Always trouble with time lines including being crammed into a room before embarkation. 3 of 5 tenders were down for Panama excursions which left little time on land, 7:30 am early disembarkation turned into 8:00am. Food in MDR started out fine but got worse - poor cuts of meat. We were told to get our outgoing mail in by a certain time each port. Problem? They only had American stamps and didn't send mail until Los Angeles. Who wants mail stamped from home? Why not tell us that to begin with and maybe told us where to fin a post office on shore? Cost of shore excursion were over priced for what we received. Spa was excellent, our waiters in the MDC were amazing and our cabin steward was great, too. Actually, most of the service crew aboard the ship were very pleasant. The entertainment had a couple of good acts, but it left a lot to be desired. The ships engines quit one evening and all power went out. "Stay were you are until further notice." They did get it up and running quickly but it shouldn't have happened in the first place. This was an expensive trip that should have enjoyed everyday but that didn't happen. Shore excursions didn't give enough time to see a lot - especially since there was always a wait time getting on or off the ship. Also, his is the first cruise where I heard passengers complain s much. Elevator, bathroom, steps, waiting in lines, etc. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
This was the seventh cruise for my husband and me, the fourth with Princess. Overall, we enjoyed ourselves. We knew the weather would be hot and humid, but were not prepared for how exhausting it would be. (Of course, I'm not ... Read More
This was the seventh cruise for my husband and me, the fourth with Princess. Overall, we enjoyed ourselves. We knew the weather would be hot and humid, but were not prepared for how exhausting it would be. (Of course, I'm not implying that this was Princess's fault!) We were glad to have all the sea days to recuperate! Embarkation in Ft. Lauderdale was chaotic, to put it mildly. We have never had to wait so long to board. It was 2:30 before we finally got on board. By that time, lunch was over in the dining room. The buffet was packed, of course, and the lines for the pizza and burger places near the pool were extremely long. It seems that on embarkation day the dining room could be open longer. We had a balcony cabin on deck 10, and it was just what we expected. Our room steward was pleasant, courteous, and very efficient. Dining experiences on this cruise did not live up to what we have come to expect. The main dining room choices for lunch and dinner were limited and repetitive. Three of the four times we ate lunch there, we both ordered cheeseburgers from the "always available" part of the menu. We had dinner in the dining room most nights, always hoping it would be better than the night before. Highlights were the pheasant, pork chops, gnocchi, and lobster. We had a free special dining perk, and we chose the Crown Grill, based on the reviews we'd read. We felt the food was only marginally better than the dining room. The maitre d' was friendly and pleasant, but our waiter was somewhat arrogant and condescending. We were glad the meal was free. We would definitely not pay $29 to eat there again. The best dining experience we had was at the Salty Dog Gastropub in the Wheelhouse bar. It was $12 each and worth every penny! There were great choices (lobster mac and cheese, short rib poutine, gourmet grilled cheese and tomato soup to name only a few), and you get a ton of food even though they call it "small plates". The atmosphere was relaxed and casual. Many of the tables are bar stool height, which we don't care for, but the waiter gladly rearranged a table and a couple of chairs in the lounge section so we could have a regular height table. As for the buffet, blechhhh. It was much smaller than we've ever seen. Food choices were repetitive and boring. The plates were almost too hot to hold, which makes it odd that the food was cold when we got to a table. I guess it started out that way. We avoided the buffet for most of the cruise. Unfortunately, room service was no better. We usually order room service breakfast when we have an early shore excursion. The food was cold or barely warm, and often didn't come with items we asked for. It seems odd that we can get hot pizza delivered to our house but room service can't deliver hot food to the rooms. We loved the International Cafe! My husband is a coffee-holic and I love a good chai latte. We were not disappointed. It's also a great place for a snack or a light lunch. And it's open 24 hours. The entertainment in the Princess Theater was so-so. We enjoyed the ship's troupe of singers and dancers in a disco themed show and another rock music show. A guest violinist was also very good, as well as the band for all the shows. We didn't go to any other shows in the theater because the description in the Patter didn't sound like we'd like them. However, we LOVED the steel drum player, Roston, and LADO Strings. We followed them around the ship from the Piazza to the Wheelhouse bar and back again. They should have been on the main stage as far as we're concerned. We really enjoyed the destination expert's talks on the ports and a woman from the art auction doing a presentation on the art of DaVinci. We had never been to any of the ports on this cruise. The Panama Canal was amazing. Everyone should experience it! We did shore excursions sponsored by Princess at all ports but one. Our favorite was the Sloth Sanctuary in Costa Rica. We did not book an excursion in Puerto Vallarta. We thought we'd just wander around and see what there was to see. Well, what there was to see was mainly shops and stalls selling made in China souvenirs. We went back to the ship after an hour and a half. Disembarkation went very smoothly. We did have to go to Guest Services to request an earlier disembarkation time, and we're glad we did. We would barely have had enough time to make our flight if we'd gone later. The customs line was long, but moved pretty quickly. (And yes, we know that's not within Princess's control.) It was a much better experience than embarkation. This cruise was on our bucket list, and we're very glad we took it. The somewhat minor inconveniences definitely did not ruin our cruise! Looking forward to our next Princess cruise! Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Wanted to experience the new locks of the Panama Canal and enjoy some sunshine over the Christmas Season. We have cruised with Princess 5 times previously and agree with other reviewers that the atmosphere is slipping. Our room steward ... Read More
Wanted to experience the new locks of the Panama Canal and enjoy some sunshine over the Christmas Season. We have cruised with Princess 5 times previously and agree with other reviewers that the atmosphere is slipping. Our room steward was fabulous but the Anytime dining servers are generally too rushed and the officers appeared stressed and were not friendly or helpful. In general all the room stewards we passed on our travels through the ship greeted us with smiles, the other staff, somehow "Consummate Host" motto seems to be forgotten. We are not expecting a conversation, but smile would be appreciated. Embarkation in Fort Lauderdale was slow and we were not provided with any information on the delay. We need to use the wheelchair service to board and were left outside in the heat and near the vehicle exhaust from before 12 to 1:30 pm before boarding began for anyone. I realize this isn't an unusual boarding delay, my frustration was due to lack of communication. Fortunately, we have priority boarding status now, so once boarding started we were in our cabin in about 25 min! Yeah! We really appreciated hearing a Christmas choir in the Piazza as we boarded, sure helped relieve the stress of embarkation and help us get in the Christmas spirit. The ship was beautifully decorated for Christmas throughout the public spaces. Generally found the ship over air conditioned even during the day. Our room steward, Rick, was fabulous, learned our names, always kept our room in great shape and responded graciously and immediately to any request.. We choose Anytime dining and though we didn't have a bad experience, often felt rushed. The food was good and we enjoyed the variety of the menu. Interesting, the temperature of the plates and hot food was better/hotter in the Da Vinci dining room; the Michelangelo was borderline warm at times. We tend to relax on vacation and don't take in many of the day time activities, though did appreciate the Lecture series by Dr. Wineland and I was intrigued by David Klinenberg's Da Vinci Code talks, his violin concert was fabulous and I am not a knowledgeable music fan. The Stargazing Discovery event was a bust for us - though we arrived early there was no organization in how the headsets were handed out and they ran out at the party before us. To their credit, they did schedule it again the next day but the weather didn't cooperate and sadly it wasn't possible to try again. The production shows including the "Magic To Do" Production Show were very enjoyable and the Magic to Do, could be experienced more than once as so much was going on. The comedian, Carl Guepra was fun and entertaining and IMO suitable for all audiences. Christmas Eve and Christmas Day were memorable and there were multiple options to bring in the New Year! Disembarkation went well for us in Los Angeles. Excursions: Cartagena - Hop On/Hop Off bus tour - this was a bust. The tour guide spoke over the pre-recorded audio and provided much less information. Our intent was only to tour around once as it was so hot and humid; but the timing was better set up to also complete the 90 min, walking tour through the Old Town. Getting back to the ship earlier wasn't well organized. Even on the bus the local vendors were very persistent. Panama Canal Transit - Incredible day as such an engineering marvel. We chose to start the day in the Stargazer Lounge on the 18 deck to ensure we had seating. The commentary wasn't being played anywhere inside the ship and it took a few of us asking at Guest Services to get this set up in this one lounge. It could be done if you were willing to be somewhat persistent. Puerto Amador - hadn't plan anything official and after hearing there were tendering issues (mechanical) chose to stay on the ship. All passengers were given a drink voucher to compensate for these issues. Puntarenas - had previously thoroughly enjoyed the "hike in the clouds" tour, but didn't enjoy the bus ride to the rain forest. Other tours of interest also included a long bus ride, so I passed and only walked through the market at the port. There was great variety and the vendors were friendly and their persistence was manageable. San Juan Del Sur - another tendering port and again more issues apparently weather related this time. We were asked to meet by 7:20 am but didn't actually get onto a tender under 9:00. Though a few announcements were made that there was sufficient time to go the the restroom - no idea of how long or any reason for the delay was ever given. At about 8:30 am I asked the shore excursion manager for information and the reply was surprisingly abrupt. Sure would have prefered to spend that 90 min. some other way. I had booked the cloud forest hike at the Mombacho volcano. Full day excursion with the 90 min. bus ride followed by a 4 wheel drive journey up to about 4000 ft/1300 meters. This tour is highly recommended if you are up for a 90 min. hike with uneven steps and ups and downs. It was well organized with knowledgeable and friendly guides. Huatulco - very pleasant surprise, We took the 5 Bay Catamaran tour and really enjoyed ourselves. I wandered through the market at the pier after and appreciated the friendly vendors. It is a beautiful area which I would visit again. Puerto Vallarta - we spent the day with friends who live there through the Winter season, so won't comment further. We did not travel with children though I spoke to a few "Grandmas" whos grandchildren were having a wonderful time with the youth leaders and their New Year's Eve celebrations were very well managed. We have now traversed both the Historic and New Panama Canal locks and do not plan to go again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We chose the Emerald Princess to see the Panama Canal. Ports that we visited were all excellent enjoying Cartagena, Columbia thee most, other than the Panama Canal. All the other ports -Puerto Rica, San Juan del Sur in Nicaragua, Huatulco ... Read More
We chose the Emerald Princess to see the Panama Canal. Ports that we visited were all excellent enjoying Cartagena, Columbia thee most, other than the Panama Canal. All the other ports -Puerto Rica, San Juan del Sur in Nicaragua, Huatulco Obando Puerto Vallarta were also very enjoyable. The food on the Emerald Princess was great along with the staff. Live theatre performances could have been better, recommend they install large HD TV sets on the sides for better viewing of the shows. We found the staff to be welcoming and great ambassadors for Princess. We enjoyed the new dining venues of Steamers and Blanks BBQ they are reasonably priced. We also dined in the Salty Dog pub and had a great hamburger. The only disappointment was the disembarkation was slow and we were an hour behind in getting off the ship. We will look at Princess again but there are lots of options to look at. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
The Crown Princess needs to be in dry dock for updating and renovations, along with their entertainment staff of singers and dancers. The whole ship, from outside rust to deteriorating furniture to elevators that had peeling paint on ... Read More
The Crown Princess needs to be in dry dock for updating and renovations, along with their entertainment staff of singers and dancers. The whole ship, from outside rust to deteriorating furniture to elevators that had peeling paint on doors to non working balcony doors in staterooms - You name it, it needs repaired or replaced. The worse part was the lack of effort to correct problems. Our balcony door was extremely hard to open, sometimes it would not open at all, and yet after repeated requests to front desk staff and room steward, problem was not corrected until last day of a 10 day cruise. Entertainment singers and dancers must of been a new group that had not been together for very long. Opera singers trying to sign disco or motown did not lend itself well to a good show. Food was repetitive and uninspirational - buffet food at dinner was better than dining room. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
used Princess Crown for British Isles cruise in August 2019 and found it very enjoyable. In our December 2019 cruise to the Virgin Islands aboard same ship we found maintenance issues on several days in two different assigned rooms. ... Read More
used Princess Crown for British Isles cruise in August 2019 and found it very enjoyable. In our December 2019 cruise to the Virgin Islands aboard same ship we found maintenance issues on several days in two different assigned rooms. Leaking ceilings on two occasions, our clothing was soiled from leaking directly into our closet; repairs by on board plumbers failed twice. TV needed repair, thermostat refused to function needing repair. In the course of all these issues we began to believe we were certainly not aboard a Princess cruise ship and certainly not the same Crown Princess we had sailed just a few months past in August 2019. Ocean view room requested resulted in room fully obstructed by lifeboat that prevented seeing the island or any of the area beauty; we did see the interior of the lifeboat. The Production Shows and the Anytime Dining in the Michael Angelo Room were outstanding in every respect, and the ship's decorations for the Christmas celebration were memorable! Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
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