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2,082 Princess Romantic Cruise Reviews

Embarkation was fairly quick and transitions between steps were short in duration.   One suggestion to the cruiser would be to check your cruise card for the proper dining assignment.  Ours was incorrect and caused some issues when we ... Read More
Embarkation was fairly quick and transitions between steps were short in duration.   One suggestion to the cruiser would be to check your cruise card for the proper dining assignment.  Ours was incorrect and caused some issues when we arrived for dinner.    The Crown Princess lives up to its name in terms of its design.  The public areas such as the lounges, main lobby area, theater, and restaurants had dEcor that was unique and upscale.   Dramatic lighting, generous use of wood accents, and ceilings with details combined to create an elegant atmosphere.   The room we choose was an inside stateroom on floor 12 towards the front of the ship.   There was definitely a sense of motion during the week-long voyage.   Fellow passengers agreed that there was more motion felt on this particular voyage then on other cruises taken.   The weather was calm as there were no rain or storms throughout the week but the ship's channel reported moderate seas at 4-7.5 feet.   Our last cruise was on a smaller ship through Royal Caribbean at the same time of year and there was little motion detected the entire voyage.   Neither of us was adversely affected by the motion, but some passengers reported feeling some nausea.   We chose an inside cabin because the total dark is such a plus for sleeping in.   The room had all the amenities one would expect in a hotel room such as a small refrigerator, hair dryer, ample closets, and storage.   The bathroom storage areas are a bit sparse for a week-long trip, but the shelves right outside the door of the bath were plentiful.   The flat screen TV was in a good location for watching from bed and the choice of movies was varied and current.   The TV also gave information about the voyage such as weather, route, expected arrival times in the ports and other useful information.     Dining is always an important feature on a cruise.   The choices in the dining room for dinner were varied in terms of offering a meat, fish, chicken, and a vegetarian entrEe.   The menu also had a selection of items which are standard fare items.  Offered every evening were filet of beef, baked chicken, fettuccini alfredo as well as a few other items.  Unless you have a culinary background or dine in 4 star restaurant routinely, some of the menu items may seem unfamiliar.   When questioned about the contents or preparation of menu items, the waiter seemed impatient and gave cursory responses.    (Tipping on this ship was automatically added to your cruise account which is different from other cruise lines.)    Princess offers dining options that include early seating, late seating and any time dining.   We chose the late seating but would choose any time dining next time.   There were restaurants which required a cover charge and offer different menus than the assigned dining rooms.  We dined in both the Crown and Sabatinis.  The menu selections were slightly more varied than in the assigned dining room but the quality of the meals seemed to be equal.  Sabatinis offered a little different experience because of the sampling of each appetizer item.   The waiter offered a taste of each appetizer menu item for both the hot and cold appetizers.   I would not spend the extra money next time to dine in one of these restaurants as far as quality of the meal and service were very comparable.      There were many activities scheduled all day long.   We chose to hang out by the pool and hot tub areas on the days at sea.   There were plenty of chairs near any one of the pools.  This was a favorable aspect compared to other ships.  On other cruises we have taken, the pool side chairs were not always accessible.   There is a spa like area with deck chairs that are cushioned for an extra daily fee.   We used the fitness center and found the machines and equipment comparable to our health club.  The fitness center was well used at the times we worked out.     There are also various classes (pilates, etc. ) for an extra fee.    I had a facial at the spa.  Bait and switch was my experience.   I reserved a specific type of facial and confirmed that upon my arrival at the desk and also confirmed it with the girl providing the service.   She asked some basic questions about my skin before we began and said would you like your skin to have even tones and reduce the lines.   Well of course.   When I got the bill, it was 2 times the price quoted for the service I reserved.   She never explained she was going to change the service which I had reserved.       The off-shore excursions were varied and there was no difficulty booking any of our choices, except for diving.   If you are a diver, book your diving excursions early in your planning process.   The cruise ships receive a percentage from the merchants that are recommended.   I would advise exploring beyond those shop recommendations to find shopping venues that are less like department stores and more like an island market.   Since my son is a huge Star War fan, we did go to see the Yoda Guy in St. Maarten.   (Very worthwhile and reasonable for a signed print.)   The Crown Princess seemed to have more "extra fee" items than other cruise ships we have taken.  There was a bit of a sales pitch atmosphere no matter what you were doing.   (Trying to get you to order cappuccino instead of coffee after dinner for example.)   We did buy the soft drink card for the week but are not sure if the $30.00 for each resulted in any savings.   The professional photos are well done and there is a variety of backgrounds.   Again, a little pricey at $25.00 per 8x10 picture, but not something you find time to do at home.    We loved the movies under the stars, which was the outdoor screen near one of the pools.   During the day there were concerts playing and it was a bit loud for just relaxing.   We looked forward to ending the afternoon at one of the other pool decks listening to live Caribbean music with an umbrella drink.   The nightly entertainment was good.   In the large theater, there was a musical production which had as elaborate of scenery changes as some Broadway shows I have seen.   Comics and magicians were good as well as the small musical ensembles in the lounges.        Overall, I would recommend this ship and itinerary.   The service, food, entertainment, public areas, and activities were excellent.   Each port visited had a little different flavor to give this vacation a caribbean blend.    The security procedures for re-boarding seemed effective and provided a sense of saftey.     The ship is well run and maintained so that travellers can focus on the business of vacationing.  Read Less
Sail Date March 2009
My husband and myself recently cruised with the emerald princess on march 30 /09. This was our 4th cruise but 1st with princess and were very excited. The ship was beautiful and we had a great cabin stewart but that was about it. The food ... Read More
My husband and myself recently cruised with the emerald princess on march 30 /09. This was our 4th cruise but 1st with princess and were very excited. The ship was beautiful and we had a great cabin stewart but that was about it. The food was terrible...way too much seafood. We lived on french fries for 10 days. Every night we went to the dining room and left and went to the buffet, which still was not great. The service in the dining room was not very good. Every night we left basically a whole plate of food and our waiters did not seem to care or offer us anything else. When we went on carnival, where food was not an issue our waiters would go above and beyond for us. We even paid to go the italian restaurant Sabitini's and still left disappointed. Again it was all seafood and we had told our waiter we did not like seafood and he said he would accommodate us but that never happened. In hindsight we should not even paid for the meal. Also there not much night life on board for people in their 30's. The whole point of this seemed to be involved in getting people to go the casino so they could spend money. The entertainment was not great and to keep repeating shows like they did was terrible. We paid alot of money for this cruise and expected better. Even our cabin did not meet our expectations! Those showers are the smallest I have ever been in. This we could even put up with but our bed was terrible. It was hard as a rock and the pillows were flat. We complained to our cabin stewart but he said there was nothing he could do. All week there felt like there was something in my back and sure enough we found 3 plastic cafeteria trays under the mattress!! I mean come on I did not pay for an upgrade to a balcony to sleep on hard trays. You guys really need to get your act together. I always recommend cruising to my friends and family after this experience I will be sticking with carnival Read Less
Sail Date March 2009
Background: Our friends had a grandson with a celebration scheduled in St. Thomas. They didn't want to fly so they asked my wife (our resident cruise booking expert) to see if there was a cruise that was stopping in St. Thomas on the ... Read More
Background: Our friends had a grandson with a celebration scheduled in St. Thomas. They didn't want to fly so they asked my wife (our resident cruise booking expert) to see if there was a cruise that was stopping in St. Thomas on the designated day and if we would go with them. She found the Emerald Princess and we agreed to go with them. That is how we came to be talking this cruise. Travel & Hotel. We live in Florida and drove to Fort Lauderdale. We've done this before and stay at the Hampton Inn on SW 12th Street. Good hotel, free shuttle, and you can leave your car there for a nominal charge. Embarkation was well done. There was a long line but it moved along. Once you got to the check-in the process went quickly. There was space to move around the ever present photographer's back-up. Our balcony stateroom was a disappointment. It was smaller than any balcony we can remember on any line. We were on Holland America in Dec 08 and our room was at least 1/3 larger. The bathroom was really small and the shower almost laughable. Our friends got a large balcony room (+$800) and the only difference was a larger balcony. We found that with the larger balcony you didn't have any privacy as all the decks above can look down on your balcony. We were disappointed in the ship design. It appears that the primary consideration was for the number of cabins at the expense of the public areas. All the public areas were too small for the number of people on the ship. The theater seats are narrow and very close together (think discount airline). I found it so uncomfortable I skipped all the shows. My wife went to the shows with our friends. Anytime people gathered (shows, evening entertainment, and Piazza events) there was never enough room. I use the fitness center, dry spa and steam room extensively. The fitness center, equipment, and classes were fine. The locker room is too small for the size ship. It is poorly designed with towel storage on the small bench and thus nowhere for more than one person to sit at a time. There is an additional thermal spa for $80 that I joined. I will not do that again as there is really no benefit over the free facilities. We used Anytime Dinning. This was fine as long as you made reservations. If not, there were long lines most of the time. There is a dining room on Decks 6 and 5. Most people went to the Deck 6 room and Deck 5 was less crowded with a shorter wait. The food was fine. The free pizza was very good. On the days at sea there was an English pub food lunch menu in the Wheelhouse bar. It was very nice and I enjoyed it. There was the usual spread of shipboard activities. All was as expected. Another disappointment was the Princess policies on getting more money from the passengers. I ordered a drink and was asked if I wanted a medium. Now to me that means there is a small, medium, and large. Not the case. A medium is a larger drink than a regular size and more expensive. I haven't seen this type of deceptive marketing since McDonalds Hamburgers used it with their french fries. A fellow passenger fell on the ship and cut himself. The Purser's Office charged him $1.09 for band aids. There is free ice cream on board for a few hours a day but it is totally unadvertised as opposed to the for fee ice cream which is well advertised. The gym classes are $10 each if you buy a package for the entire cruise or $12 if you want to try just one. I could go on with more examples of, in my opinion, the loss of prestige of the line and the move to mass marketing techniques based on the size of the ship. When you are on-board, let the buyer beware. The cabin service and our table service were very well done. We felt that clean-up and drink delivery on the Lido deck dinning were a bit slow. Everyone was pleasant and made the cruise enjoyable. My wife enjoyed the entertainment. As mentioned before, all evening events were very crowded. Most shows were repeated three times over two or three days; I guess so everyone would have a chance to see them. We think the variety and quality was as expected for Princess. We visited five ports. Excursions and other details were as expected. Disembarkation was fine. We had the option of early walk off which we didn't use. Our group was called within five minutes of the expected time. It was a usual, timely disembarkation. I filled out my comment form but couldn't fine a place to drop it off. I guess there was a box by the Purser's Office but who goes near that place on the last day? I expected a box by the gangway but there wasn't one. Summary: A day cruising is better that any day ashore so don't take my comments above to mean we didn't have a good time. It was just a series of small nits that kept it from being a great cruise. Princess seems to have lost the ability to do the last 5% that separates a great cruise line from a good one. Overall I told my wife that we will not cruise on this class of ship again but I don't mind going on Princess. Perhaps we'll find the smaller ships still have the old Princess charm and quality. Read Less
Sail Date March 2009
This was our first Princess cruise and we were celebrating our honeymoon. We have sailed with Carnival twice previously (Triumph in 2006 and Miracle in 2008).Princess booked our air and overall they did a pretty good job with the ... Read More
This was our first Princess cruise and we were celebrating our honeymoon. We have sailed with Carnival twice previously (Triumph in 2006 and Miracle in 2008).Princess booked our air and overall they did a pretty good job with the flights/connections. We flew into Ft Lauderdale the night before Embarkation and Princess booked us into the Marriott North which is aprox 10 miles from the pier. Not a great hotel, but not the worst we've stayed in either.Embarkation - We arrived at the pier at around 12:30pm, there was a huge line up, but it went so quickly, we were on the ship by about 1pm. Their Embarkation process was so quick and efficient, I was in shock at how smoothly everything ran.Stateroom - By the time we got onto the ship, our cabin (B707) was cleaned and ready for us to move into. The Bathroom was extremely small but that didn't bother us. The closet was quite large with lots of hangers. The rest of the cabin was about what you'd expect from a standard balcony stateroom. The balcony was not very big, but larger than I was expecting after having read so many reviews about this ship. It was perfectly sufficient for us and we spent quite a bit of time on our balcony. The bed was not very comfortable but we had an extra mattress topper placed on it and it helped a bit, but still wasn't great. We certainly didn't let something like that spoil our cruise. We spent too much money to be upset over such little things. Our room steward was fantastic; Danny was always eager to get us anything we may want or need for our room. He was super friendly and always did a great job with cabin.The Ship - Upon stepping onto the Emerald I was instantly in awe over her; what an absolutely beautiful ship. The dEcor and ambiance was very classy and tasteful throughout the entire ship, which was a very pleasant change from our last sailing on the Carnival Miracle. We did find that the layout was somewhat confusing and it took us quite a while to get it all figured out. Overall, we were extremely impressed with this ship though. We weren't sure if perhaps they were not booked to capacity on that sailing or if it was because of the layout but the ship really didn't seem overly congested at all, compared to our past cruises with Carnival. There were quite a few pools and hot tubs up on deck and they usually weren't too crowded either. We were also quite surprised to find that there didn't seem to be that much of a problem with people hogging deck chairs for the day. There was a bit of it, but we never had too much trouble getting a chair when we wanted one, for the most part. We really enjoyed MUTS. The sanctuary seemed quite nice, though we didn't get around to booking ourselves in there at all. The pool at the Lotus Spa was really nice; so tranquil and far away from everything else going on onboard. The International Cafe was really nice; my husband LOVED the shrimp salad. The specialty coffees were really good. If you drink a lot of coffee, the coffee card is definitely your best bet.We went to the Wine tasting on the second sea day and it was definitely not worth the $25 per person cover charge, even if you really enjoy wine, as we do. They give you a small sample of 6 different kinds of wine and a few canapEs. Nothing special, not worth the $50 we spent. There was a second wine tasting later on in the cruise for $9.95pp which I hear was pretty much the same as the first one, but as we were disappointed in the first one, we didn't sign up for that one.Food - The buffet was split into 4 separate venues, and there was always food available in at least 1 of the 4 stations. The food did seem to be a step up from what we experienced on Carnival. Buffet was quite good, but not outstanding. It is hard to make outstanding when you're cooking buffet for SO many people. The selection was a lot greater than on carnival. The Pizza was good and the Trident Grill was nice too. I absolutely loved their chicken breast burgers. We ate at Sabatini's ($25pp) which we were somewhat disappointed over. Their food is quite pretentious and really not any better than the food served in the traditional dining room. The service wasn't nearly as good either. Our Dining Room servers in the Botticelli Dining Room were absolutely fantastic; Ricardo and Sergio definitely made our cruise even more memorable. Since it was our honeymoon, on the first formal night, they came out with a special dessert for us to celebrate our honeymoon and they (along with all the other servers in that area) sang "Happy Honeymoon" to us. They were absolutely terrific. The food in the dining room was overall really good. We also had dinner at the Crown Grill ($20pp)one evening and like Sabatini's, the food seemed quite pretentious (as was our server) and that overall experience was not as good as our dinners in the Botticelli Dining Room. Ports - What a fabulous itinerary, every port was spectacular. We visited Aruba, Bonaire, Granada, Dominica, St Thomas and Princess Cays.  We pre-booked our excursions through Princess, except in St Thomas.Aruba - We booked the Aruba Sail & Snorkel; that was really good. They took us to 2 snorkel sites, the second being over top of a ship wreck. The company was Red Sail Sports and they were fantastic. The rum punch they served was made with 150 proof rum, so it packed a punch alright!Beware of Senor Frogs in Aruba, we ordered a couple of drinks and nachos($28)and quesadilla(about $18) and the total came to $100 USD. Their drinks are around $25 each and their shots are around $12 each.Bonaire - We booked Samur Sail & Snorkel. We had the option of drift snorkeling (which I HIGHLY recommend). That was absolutely spectacular, and the crew of Samur were really great also.We had lunch at a little place in Bonaire called Papagayo's, and it was REALLY good and very reasonably priced.Granada - River Tubing was fabulous. Another excellent excursion.Dominica - We booked the Champagne Reef Snorkeling which was quite an experience. The snorkeling wasn't nearly as good as in Bonaire but still pretty good, and the Champagne reef was a once in a life time sight to see.There we had lunch and a few local beers (beers were really good) at a place right by the pier called Cocorico Cafe; another really great little restaurant with really good local food.St Thomas, we did a little exploring on foot, then did a little shopping. Then we booked an independent tour guide to give us the island tour. Apparently a lot of these tour guides can be quite shady and have reputations for drinking while intoxicated so BEWARE!!Luckily, the guy we went with was really good (He also works for the local fire dept as a paid fire fighter). Check out Raymond's Island Tours (Raytours2000@gmail.com) $25pp and he'll show you the whole island and explain so much throughout the tour.Princess Cays - I was really disappointed in princess cays. We booked a clam shell ($24/day which seats 2 ppl) and it was hardly worth it. The beach was not very nice. I didn't see anyone going into the water. Perhaps there was a cleaner beach elsewhere on the island, but where the clamshells were set up, it was quite unappealing. Spent about an hour or so on the island then took a tender back to the ship to finish up my tan on deck.Disembarkation - went extremely smoothly and in good time. We booked a tour to the Everglades as we had a later flight out of FLL. That was a great way to end our fabulous cruise vacation. I would recommend doing that to anyone who has the time to do so.To summarize, we thoroughly enjoyed our time aboard and ashore during our cruise on Emerald Princess. It was by far a big step up from Carnival. The overall service was way better and the ship was so much nicer. Of course, it wasn't absolutely perfect, but it doesn't matter where you are in this world or what cruise line you chose to sail with, if you look for things to complain about, you'll find them. If you're looking for perfection, good luck to you; let me know when you find it!! Yes, there is a lot of 'nickel & diming' but that's to be found on any cruise line. There is no obligation to buy any of the extras, they aren't even pushy about it.We had an absolutely fantastic time; about as close to perfect as one can get in this world, I should think. We would definitely sail with Princess again in the future. Read Less
Sail Date March 2009
Second time cruiser. My first cruise was 8 months ago on RCL in the Easter Caribbean. We are late 20s newlyweds who took this cruise with good friends (they are new to cruising). First of all, let me say this ship really is beautiful. ... Read More
Second time cruiser. My first cruise was 8 months ago on RCL in the Easter Caribbean. We are late 20s newlyweds who took this cruise with good friends (they are new to cruising). First of all, let me say this ship really is beautiful. The decorations are nice and the Piazza is very pretty. The onboarding process was downright impressive. We were through the front door, security, and check in within 15 minutes. It was a far cry from the long wait we had with RCL. Our room was a bit of a let down, although this is partly our fault. We booked a balcony guarantee room. Initially I didn't expect much because of the guarantee. We wanted to get away from the cold and we wanted a balcony - done deal. We got our assignment well in advance of the cruise. I read on the boards here before about the tiered balconies and was pleased to see we were on the top level of balconies. Hooray for privacy! Unfortunately, when we got on the ship we realized we were right below the pool. At 6:30 every morning we awoke to the sound of lounge chairs slamming around. During the afternoon and late evening we heard MUTS when our balcony door was open. Then we heard the chairs being put away at night. To top it off, our friends were on the Caribe desk - and we realized we lost the balcony lotto. The balconies on the top decks are private - but smaller!! Our friends had the same category stateroom, but had a balcony 2x the size of ours. Also, the pool deck hung over our balcony, so we never really felt out in the open like you do on the balconies on the lower levels. Unless you really care about people above you being able to see you - book a balcony on one of the lower levels. The privacy wasn't worth it. Speaking of MUTS, this is one of Ruby's most redeeming qualities. How wonderful it was to be out in the open on a comfy chair. We enjoyed the popcorn, milk, and cookies. We were a little annoyed when about 15 minutes before the movie ended, it looked as though a tour bus pulled up and dropped off a load of loud drunken buffet dwellers. We were still enjoying the 7 o'clock movie and people were swarming around marking their chairs for the next screening. It was as if we weren't there at all! I saw several people around us just get up and leave well before the movie was over due to all the noise. The food was exactly as I have read on all the other Ruby reviews - a real snooze fest. The buffet wasn't bad and it wasn't good. The selections for anytime dining were either boring or odd. Most nights I had a hard time finding either an appetizer or entree that looked appealing. We ate at the Grill on the first formal night. We are huge foodies - we love to go out to eat and we're not afraid to spend a lot of money on a great meal. That being said, the Grill was just OK to us. We overheard a man behind us tell the waiter he had just consumed the best steak in his life. We joked that he may frequent Applebees and Outback, because the food was similar. If you do go to the Grill, get the chocolate lava cake dessert. It was absolutely delicious and made up for my average dinner. Sabitini's was upsetting to say the least. Our waiter was a real know-it-all. He showed us a menu with an antipasta selection, salad selection, pasta, and entree. Then the waiter told us we could only pick an entree and the rest would be served to us family style. Other than the pasta course, the food was not good at all. I have never been to a place that soaks their crab cakes in lemon juice for 3 days before serving...they were absolutely horrible. I wanted our $40 back. It wasn't worth the money. Now the children...they were everywhere. I'm not sure if this particular cruise is appealing to parents with small children but they were absolutely everywhere. And unlike RCL, the two large pools are open to everyone. On RCL, one large pool was adults only and was a little slice of heaven. The only place on Ruby to get away from kids is the terrace pool on the back of the boat - which is beautiful and a fabulous view - but the area is VERY small. There aren't many chairs out there. I had to get up at 6:30 AM on our 2nd at sea day to get a chair out there. Once in a while an adult would bring their child out to the terrace pool and the staff wouldn't tell them to leave! The other all adult pool is part of the spa - and is $20 a person for the day. Paying to use a pool is absolutely ridiculous. I rarely saw children with the staff or participating in children's programs. On our other cruise, most children were gone all day. Because of this (I'm assuming here) I think Princess may not have the best children's programs like other lines do. The staff in the anytime dining rooms were always great. Full of personality, quick, and very accommodating. The bartenders and pool servers often were less than impressive. We went to the nightclub on the first night and the bartender was completely rude to us when we ordered waters. After we finished our water, he picked up the glasses and walked away as if to say "get away from my bar so I can make money." I noticed that anyone with a refillable soda cup would have to wait longer at the bar for service. I guess if the staff isn't getting a tip, they don't want to waste their time on you! Overall, it was nice to get away. The ports are beautiful - we had gorgeous weather every single day. I expected more out of this cruise for two reasons: 1) the ship is the newest in Princess' fleet 2) I was always under the impression that Princess was one of the luxury cruise lines (within certain patron age limits, of course). I was ready to write Princess off completely until we met another couple the last night who have cruised over 30 times (they were under 35 years old!). They told us that they always cruise with Princess and were extremely let down by this cruise. They had been on a Hawaiian cruise just two weeks before and had a wonderful time. They had the same complaints as us - the food and the children. On their several other cruises they never experienced such disappointing food with Princess. They also said they never had to deal with children everywhere - in the pools, taking up lounge chairs, running around the decks, and splashing around in the hot tubs. I will give Princess another try but definitely in another location. If and when we return to the Caribbean, I think the best experience is with RCL. Read Less
Sail Date March 2009
This ship has only been sailing for a few months and it is awesome. I was concerned sailing on a ship that had over 3200 passengers but I rarely felt inconvenienced. Getting on and off the ship was simple and quick in both ... Read More
This ship has only been sailing for a few months and it is awesome. I was concerned sailing on a ship that had over 3200 passengers but I rarely felt inconvenienced. Getting on and off the ship was simple and quick in both directions. Princess has done a very good job with this. We had an outside room without a balcony. We don't spend a lot of time in the room so didn't see the need for the extra expense. The room was a nice size for a ship and we never felt like we were living in a closet. Speaking of closets, there was plenty of room for all our clothes and our huge suitcases fir under the bed. The showers don't leave room to change your mind but I am 6ft 2in & 250 pounds and I had no trouble maneuvering in there. We did traditional dining. The dining room was beautiful and the service was excellent. The food was adequate but I did not eat anything that was not good. There was never a long line at the buffet for lunch or breakfast. There was always plenty of entertainment and the Theatre is very nice with the utmost in state of the art technology. The best thing about this ship for my wife and I was the "Movie Under The Stars" feature. This ship has a huge digital screen outside above one of the pools on the upper deck. They show movies during some parts of the day, but at night they cover the lounge chairs with cushions, give you a blanket, pop fresh popcorn, and you watch the movie under the stars....This Was NEAT!!! In the morning, they allow you to play Wii fitness on this huge screen. Read Less
Sail Date March 2009
We arrived in San Juan two days before embarkation. We stayed at the San Juan Marriott Stellaris in the Condado area. We really enjoyed this hotel We had a corner room with an ocean view and two balconies. The location was very convenient ... Read More
We arrived in San Juan two days before embarkation. We stayed at the San Juan Marriott Stellaris in the Condado area. We really enjoyed this hotel We had a corner room with an ocean view and two balconies. The location was very convenient to several restaurants and shopping. On embarkation day, we checked out of the hotel at 11am, hung around the lobby a little bit and then headed off to the pier. We arrived at around 11:20am, dropped of our luggage and stood in line. At around 11:50am they started to let everyone in the building sitting us in rows of chairs. Samples of rum punch were passed around and then at around 12:15 they started to let us check in. We were in our cabin by around 12:30p. Cabin: We had cabin R411 which was a PH suite. Really loved this cabin, especially the bathroom. And the closet was such a nice size. I was thrilled to see that we had two cushioned lounge chairs on the balcony as well as the table. This cabin spoiled us. I don't know how I will be able to go back to a regular cabin. I was concerned about the noise complaints that I read about due to the Lido deck being above. The only time we really heard the noise was when we were sitting out on the balcony. And once I was jolted out of my sleep due to someone running above my head. Other than that, no issues. Ship: The ship is so beautiful and elegant. There were so many different lounges, I never made it to them all. Being that it was Spring break time and there were over 500 kids on board, I wanted to reserve a chair for the week at the Sanctuary. However, on this cruise, I was told they were not selling weekly passes. I ended up spending my deck time in the same area, just not in a thick padded chair.But the area was never crowded. Someone in another review from the same week said they had problems finding deck chairs. I never had a problem. Just travel upwards and there are deck chairs a plenty.  I really loved the Lotus pool. It was never too crowded. I did not find the ship that hard to navigate, but I studied the deck plans before we left. I wish I had spent more time at Skywalkers.It was smooth sailing most of the week. There were a couple of days where there was more motion though. It was more of a side to side motion than a rocking. I much prefer the side to side motion than rocking.Dining: A perk with the suite is that we could order room service from the dining room menu. We did this almost every night. Delivery would take around 30 - 40 minutes. We'd take the food out on the balcony or just eat in the room and watch a DVD. The food was good for the most part, but probably better in the dining room. We were slightly disappointed in the desserts. believe it or not, we had far superior desserts on the Carnival Victory last year. We had anytime dining. The one night we went to the dining room, we did not have much luck. We went to the Island dining room because I had heard it was easier to get table. We wanted a table for 2 and ended up waiting for 30 minutes. Couples with pagers from the Palm dining room had a shorter wait than we did that night. Once seated, our service was slow. The wait staff seemed to have too many tables to deal with. So, we did not go back, just stuck to room service.We enjoyed the buffet. The food could be hit or miss, but there was plenty to eat and lots of variety. My husband really loved the seafood buffets on the formal nights. I was surprised at how early the pasta buffet closed one day. I think it was done by 1pm. So if you want the specialty buffets, be sure to pay attention to the times they are open. We went to breakfast at Sabatinis, a perk for suite passengers, on our sea day. It was pretty crowded. Service was a little bit slow. The food was good, but we did not go back. Stuck to the buffet or room service. On my birthday, we dined at the Crown Grill. The food was excellent. We really enjoyed the atmosphere. The service was mostly good, except they did not bring me cake. I had handed in the card they give you at the podium when we arrived. I mentioned this when we left and they apologized. When we returned to our cabin later that evening there was a platter of chocolate covered strawberries and a cake along with a card of apology. I thought that was very nice. Entertainment: I did not make it to any shows in the main show room. I did manage to get there for bingo one night and watched a little bit of Slum Dog Millionaire. MUTS - I really enjoyed MUTS. It was so nice and relaxing to watch a movie under the stars. I suggest watching from the upper deck. It just seemed hard to hear on the Lido deck with people splashing around the pool. One night I saw the mentalist in the Explorer's lounge. I found that show to be very entertaining. The casino was very nice. My husband loved that it had  video poker slots at the bar. And over there it did not seem as smokey as other parts of the casino. There was really a lot to do every night. While I did not participate in everything, I appreciated the variety. Debarkation: The process was not that bad. We walked down the stairs and got stuck by the exit for a while. That became a bit of a mess though as people got off the elevators and squeezed in and it became way too crowded. But soon we were allowed to exit and we had no issues finding our bags and a cab.Summary: I really enjoyed the cruise. The Caribbean Princess is officially my favorite ship. I just loved the variety of entertainment, lounges and dining options. I would love to sail on her again. I was worried about sailing during Spring break, but it was not too bad. Except for the running kids and a few rude kids at MUTS who thought it was perfectly fine to sit down and eat their buffet food and talk loudly while many people around them were really into the movie. No parents around. I had read others had issues with the kids taking over the adults only terrace pool. Otherwise it was fine and I would still sail during this time again. Thinking about doing the opposite itinerary next year. Read Less
Sail Date April 2009
We just returned from the Caribbean Princess and had a wonderful time. Everything was perfect. This was our fifth cruise and the other 4 had been on Royal Caribbean. Pre-Cruise  We arrived in San Juan on Saturday and arrived at the ... Read More
We just returned from the Caribbean Princess and had a wonderful time. Everything was perfect. This was our fifth cruise and the other 4 had been on Royal Caribbean. Pre-Cruise  We arrived in San Juan on Saturday and arrived at the Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino at 1PM. Our room was not ready and since it was raining, we went to lunch. By the time we ate, it had stopped raining and our room was ready so we checked in and went to the beach. The room was great! They gave us exactly what I asked for, a room on a high floor, away from the elevator, and with a king bed. The room was very clean and the bed was so comfortable. The beach was very nice too. They had lounge chairs and umbrellas. The waves were really rough, which I had expected since other reviewers had said this. However, I am sure that the rain storm from earlier also made the waves rougher than usual. The rough waves did not bother us as we were glad to be in the hot Caribbean weather and away from the cold weather. I would definitely recommend this hotel for a pre-cruise stay. It was conveniently located to the airport and port and was only 15 minute cab ride to both locations. There was also a Walgreen's one block away where we purchased 2 6-packs of Poland Springs water at, which I placed into our small carry on suitcase. Embarkation  This was the easiest embarkation process that we ever went through. We arrived at the pier at 11:45AM and there was a line. However, once they opened the doors at 12PM, the line moved very fast. There was no line when we reached the check in area and we were all ready to board by 12:15PM. We then went into the duty free shop and purchased 4 bottles of wine. Be sure to check into the ship first as they asked to see our ship cards. We each placed 2 bottles of wine into our carryon's and had no issue bringing them on board. There was a sign saying that each person could bring 1 bottle of wine/champagne on board, but they did not say anything about our extra bottles. We went straight to our room to drop our luggage. We had a midship balcony on Baja and the room was great. The closet was very big and we had plenty of room to store our luggage and clothes. The covered balcony was also nice as I enjoyed the privacy at night when we sat outside and had a glass of wine. We went to lunch at the Horizon Court and by the time we got back to our room, our state room attendant, Joel, had already brought us wine glasses because he saw the wine on our counter. He was an excellent attendant and kept our room very clean. Service  The service was fantastic. Everyone was friendly and extremely helpful. Food  I found the food to be very good. We always ate breakfast at the Horizon Court. We never had an issue getting a table. They had an area where you could order fresh omelet's, which were delicious. The only complaint that we had was that the coffee was sometimes not very good in the buffet, but it was good at the dining room during dinner. However, this was not a big deal. We would just stop at the International Cafe, which had very good coffee. They only charged $1 for 12oz and $1.25 for 16oz and it was worth the money. The pastries and little sandwiches were also very good and were no charge at the Cafe. We also enjoyed the Trident Grill and Prego Pizza. The burgers, chicken sandwiches, and fries were delicious. The pizza was also good. We had anytime dining and loved it. We usually went to the dining room between 7-8PM and were seated right away. The first 3 nights, we were able to get tables for two, but then we missed sitting with other people so for the rest of the cruise when they said we could wait for a table or share a table, we decided to share. It was fun having dinner with others because you could share stories of your day and hear about other activities on the islands. We also ate dinner one night at the Crown Grill and I found the food to be excellent. It was definitely worth the additional money. The black and blue onion soup was very good. We also enjoyed the steak and lobster dinners that we had. You can order as much food as you want. We ate in the dining room every night except the night that we went to the Crown Grill. We enjoy the slower pace and presentation of the food that is found in the dining room. The mixed drinks on the ship were delicious. We basically tried everyone offered on the pool deck and they were all great. Definitely try the raspberry frizz! Ship  The ship was beautiful and very clean. The pools were always clean and if you walk between the two areas, you should find lounge chairs. We were always able to find 2 chairs on the pool deck. The aft pool is really cool because of the view off the back of the ship. We did not spend as much time there though because it was often in the shade due to a night club that is built several decks above it. We loved the two main pools where we could sit in the sun all day. We also enjoyed the MUTS both during the day and at night. When sitting by the pool, you could just look at and see the movie. We watched Revolutionary Road one night and it was so relaxing to sit on the lounge chair with the warm breeze blowing and the stars above. They also made really good popcorn, which was served at night.   Entertainment  We went to the comedy show and then the show with the comedian/magician and they were both really funny. The comedian was the best! Other than that we spent most time at the MUTS. Ports   Barbados- We had planned to just go to the beach this day so when we got off the ship, we went to the information area and they recommended Carlisle Bay. The beach was beautiful, white sands and beautiful water. We rented 2 lounge chairs and an umbrella for $15 and it was worth the money since the sun was very strong and it was nice to have some shade. We had a great time, but my only complaint is that the locals kept coming to us trying to sell us jewelry. We told them all that we were all set and a couple were nice and did not continue to bother us. However, there was one person with a monkey on his shoulder who would not leave us alone. He wanted us to buy jewelry or give him money to take a picture of his monkey. If I had small bills, I would have so he would leave us alone, but at this point, I used all my small bills for the taxi and chair rentals and only had $20's left. I did not want to give him a $20. It definitely did not ruin our time and we would go into the water to escape. Saint Lucia This was one of our favorite ports. We did the land and sea island tour through Princess and we had so much fun. We started with a catamaran from the cruise ship and down the coast to Soufriere. The ride was great. The island was lush and green and just beautiful. They pulled into a beach area and we were able to jump of the catamaran and swim for 45 minutes. The water was dark, but when I jumped in, it was very clear and I could see my nail polish. It was dark from the volcanic rock that surrounded the beach and made the sand dark. It was a beautiful location. After we swam, they served delicious and strong rum punch. They also had sodas and you could purchase the beer. My husband enjoyed the Piton beer. We then continued down the coast to the Pitons, which are just amazing and beautiful. We docked here and took a van to the volcano. This was so much fun to see. There was steam coming out of it and it was amazing. From here we went to the botanical gardens where we watched them open coconuts and they showed us how they make chocolate beans. We also ate a very delicious lunch at the gardens. The bus ride back was 1 ½ hours and the roads are really windy. We had a wonderful time on this excursion and it was well worth the money. Antigua  We decided to stay on the boat this day. In hindsight, I wish that I had scheduled an excursion. Our plan had been to go to the beach, but when we got off the boat, they swarmed us trying to get us into taxi's, on tours, or to buy stuff. It was very uncomfortable and was much worse than when we were in Barbados. We did not want to deal with that on the beach. We sat at the MUTS pool and had a great day since the ship was not crowded. Tortola  This island is one of the most beautiful that I have ever seen. The view from our balcony was spectacular and I knew that we were going to have a great day. At the information center, they recommended that we go to Crane Garden Beach and showed us an open aired bus that was going for $6 per person. They said if we went by taxi it was triple that so we got onto the bus and went to the beach. Our driver was great and when he dropped us off, he asked what time we wanted to be picked up. We told him 2:30 and he was right on time. The beach was amazing. It was a horseshoe shape with white sands and turquoise water.  Docked out in the ocean were beautiful sail boats and beyond them were other islands that looked like small mountains jutting out of the ocean. The island itself is also very hilly and the landscape is dotted with beautiful homes built into the hills. The water temperature was perfect and we could have stayed in the ocean all day. We also rented 2 lounge chairs and an umbrella for $15, which were needed because the sun was very strong. Even though, we had been in the sun all week and had a tan, we still got red in the sun so it was good to have an umbrella. Not one person approached us at all on the island and asked us to buy anything. This was a perfectly relaxing day at an incredible beach. I highly recommend going here. Saint Thomas  We have been to Saint Thomas before and we got really bad sun burns. We were still red from the day before in Tortola and did not want to get burnt worse. We got off the boat and walked through the stores. We purchased beautiful prints from a local artist at one of the stores. The last time I was in Saint Thomas, we went to Megan's Bay and Sapphire Beach, both of which are beautiful. If you want to just relax on the beach, then I recommend Megan's Bay. Sapphire Beach is where to go if you want to jet ski. After we left the stores, we went back on the ship and had a great day at the Muts pool. Disembarkation  The disembarkation went just as smoothly as the embarkation. We had a 1:45PM flight and were in a group to meet at 8:30am. We went to breakfast in the Horizon Court, which was very busy, but we were able to get a table. We then went to the casino and we were called off the ship at 8:50. We decided to wait a few minutes for the line to calm down and we left the ship at 9. There was no line, we quickly went through customs, found our suitcases, and got a taxi. We were at the airport by 9:45AM. The airport was crazy. We docked with a Carnival ship so I am sure this is the reason. I was glad that I knew to go through the agricultural scanner first because a lot of people did not and had to leave the long line to go to the scanner. We flew home US Airways and this airline had the longest of the other airlines. After waiting in line for about an hour someone came and pulled everyone from our flight and brought us to the front of the line. We had another long line with security, but made it to the gate with plenty of time. I recommend getting to the airport as early as possible. Overall, this cruise was amazing and I will definitely cruise with Princess again. I do not have any complaints and feel that the ship and islands were all wonderful. Read Less
Sail Date April 2009
Embarkation: My opinion, Barbados is not equipped to handle the massive influx of cruise ship passengers. Our flight (non-chartered Delta) arrived about 2:15 p.m. as did four or five other flights. Needless to say, we 'queued' ... Read More
Embarkation: My opinion, Barbados is not equipped to handle the massive influx of cruise ship passengers. Our flight (non-chartered Delta) arrived about 2:15 p.m. as did four or five other flights. Needless to say, we 'queued' for a good two hours or so. Our CC group had planned to meet at 4:30 on our first day for a meet and greet. We missed it by a mile! On the positive side, we were ever so happy to finally be onboard and in our cabin. Our long flights probably had something to do with our attitudes regarding the whole embarkation process. Fellow passengers: 99 percent (seemed like) were from the United Kingdom - mostly England. We enjoyed them very much, and made some new friends, however, did not take into account that most of the entertainment (humor, etc.) would be geared to their taste and therefore like a foreign language to those of us from the U.S. Also, it was our observation that there is a different attitude towards the crew than we have noticed on other cruises where the makeup of the passengers is mainly from the U.S. Seemed like the crew was treated almost like they were invisible. These folks are working their tails off for the comfort of the passengers and they seemed for the most part to be ignored, and this included at tipping time. The general attitude seemed to be that Princess should be paying the help and it was not the passenger's place to have to do that. I'm afraid that many of the room stewards and wait staff were short changed in the tipping department. Most of the passengers we talked to had the automatic gratuity removed from their accounts and we did not see very many white envelopes being handed out on that last day. Tipping is covered in depth here on CC, but I forget that only a small percentage of cruisers knows of this site. I'm trying to get the word out! Food: Also aimed at the British clientele. Lots of lamb and fish on the dinner menu and not much beef. It was my opinion - although this was our first Princess cruise, that the nicer cuts of beef are now mainly saved for the for-fee Sterling Steak House and are not really offered in the main dining room except occasionally. This is probably a way for Princess to cut costs, but it's the first time I've noticed this on any cruise. Food was good though, and of course there was plenty of it! It was interesting to see beans on the breakfast buffet! We had late traditional seating in the Traviata Dining room. All the food we had there was excellent as was the service. Our waiters, Rico and Allen were great! We ate at Cafe Corniche one night. Pizza looked okay, but the lasagna was a disappointment. We are in agreement with a previous review, that the service in the Cafe Corniche wasn't so great! Ice cream was served during tea time in the Horizon as well as dinner time. There is also a for-fee sundae parlor on deck 12, I think. Cabins: Tiny! Ours was an inside on the Baja deck, Deck 10 and while it had plenty of closet and drawer space, enough even for a 14 day cruise, the cabin itself was very small. Bathroom was nice and roomy - shower only. DEcor was good, but furniture is getting tired. Room Steward, Jules - Excellent. He took wonderful care of us and we loved him. Public areas: It was our opinion the ship looked great. The Wheelhouse was beautiful. Princess Theater was a strange set-up for shows with traditional theater seating, making it difficult to see or get a drink, while the Vista Lounge was more like other ships we've been on, but also not a very good set-up for viewing the entertainment. We enjoyed the movies under the stars a time or two, but didn't like that there was soccer playing there so much of the time. There was a game area adjacent to the Casino which I thought odd. Not really a place for children in my opinion. Library was beautiful. Internet and Photos too expensive! Crew: Everyone we came in contact with was pleasant and helpful. Met one or two wait persons in the Horizon with an attitude, but if they'd been on the ship for awhile, maybe they knew they wouldn't be getting much in the way of tips and that could explain the attitude. Nellie and Leslie in the shops were wonderful. We got to know them and really enjoyed them a lot! Where it counted, we were very well attended to and taken care of, but then, this has always been our experience when cruising. The captain was probably the most personable and approachable we have ever had. He was great. Ports of Call: This was the best part of the cruise! We did all excursions on our own, from recommendations here on CC and had a wonderful time. We choose a cruise for the ports of call and this one didn't disappoint! Wish more cruises offered this great variety and number of Ports! We especially enjoyed our day in Isla Margarita with Steve & Marcella. They treated us like family. It was great! Spa & Fitness: Can't really comment on this, since we didn't use the fitness center or the spa. We walked a couple of miles every day on the Promenade deck and climbed the stairs to every destination on the ship, so felt this was plenty of exercise, but the facilities looked nice! Disembarkation: Not too much better than embarkation, but then the cruise is over. Can't expect to feel happy about leaving under the best of circumstances. It may seem from some of my comments that we didn't enjoy this cruise. On the contrary! It was great. Any day cruising is good as far as we're concerned. Just being candid about some of the things that we weren't expecting and that's why I read reviews - for an honest opinion. Read Less
Sail Date April 2009
My husband and I cruise every year, sometimes twice. It is the best way to relax. NO worries, great food, excellent service and best way to see all the islands. I can go to the spa, my husband can read. He can scuba dive and I can tour and ... Read More
My husband and I cruise every year, sometimes twice. It is the best way to relax. NO worries, great food, excellent service and best way to see all the islands. I can go to the spa, my husband can read. He can scuba dive and I can tour and play at the beach. The best option for couples who like different things on vacation. Our preferred cruise line is RCCL. We have always wonderful experiences on RCCL ships. This year when booking our cruise, we found that RCCL was much more expensive than in the past. For the last few years, our travel agent has tried to get us to try Princess Cruise Line. The identical itineraries for both lines usually are within a few hundred dollars of each other. But this year, RCCL nearly doubled the rate on Princess. So, we trusted our agent (who has never tried RCCL), and went with Princess. We sailed out of FLL on the 10th of April aboard the Crown Princess for a 7 night to Eastern Caribbean. We had talked extensively about not comparing the two lines and just going to have a good time. This proved to be nearly impossible. My first impression of the embarkation was not good. The lines were not long, which was nice. We were told to go to any window, no matter what deck, and anyone could help us. We did just that, but no one came to help. After 20 minutes of standing in a line in front of the counter, a worker said, "Go to another line, no one is at that one." At least 5 people were standing behind the counters doing nothing but complaining about someone putting the cards in the wrong place. After moving to another line, we were given our cruise cards and were off to board the ship. As soon as we boarded the ship, we were immediately shoved into an elevator and asked what floor. Literally. We walked on board, turned to the left and a staff member said, "This way," and put us in an elevator. We had to go to our stateroom first. We were never given the option to pause and look around or even wander the ship a little. We stayed on Caribe, deck 10. Stateroom was smaller than what we were used to on RCCL. Although the closet was much larger on the Crown, it did not make up for the mediocrity of everything else. One very small desk with 2 drawers, terrible lighting and directly next to the balcony door was the only thing other than the bed. A small fridge with a shelf above for the TV was on the opposite wall in the corner. We had 2 outlets in the whole stateroom. They were placed so close together that if something was in one outlet, it blocked the other. Terrible engineering. Bathroom was the smallest of any ship I have ever been on. Shower? I am small framed woman and it was cramped for me. Very disappointing. On to the best part of the room, the balcony. Our balcony was huge. We were very happy! It held 4 chairs and a table. Two of the chairs even reclined. My husband commented that the huge balcony made up for the terrible room. Well, that was until we looked up. I had not been made aware of the "staggered" balcony concept. We could see everything on the balcony below us and everyone from anywhere higher than deck 10 could see everything on ours. Whenever a deck above us was cleaned or even the stateroom above ours, the excess water fell directly onto our balcony. We could not lay out without getting wet from somewhere above. So, huge balcony was worthless. The door to the balcony did not seal well. All night long the wind whistled through the cracks. The ship creaked and made noises all night long. By the third night, I had to buy earplugs just to block out the noise from the ship. Keep in mind that on RCCL, we sleep with our balcony door open every night. I have never been on a ship that made so much noise! Without going into major details, (it would take 4 pages), the food was terrible! It was not even up to par with Sizzler or a buffet. Any steak came well done, despite asking for medium. A filet mignon was more like a cheap round steak, drenched in a terrible sauce. Salads were mediocre. On our first night, I asked the waiter for steamed broccoli every night. He said no problem, but it never came. Our friends asked for lemonade with dinner. We were told no lemonade in the dining room! On any other ship, the waiter would have gone to whatever part of the ship and found us lemonade. I would like to say that poor service was the exception, but I would be lying. It was ship wide. Everyday we had breakfast and/or lunch in the Horizon Court (buffet). The food was worse than a hospital cafeteria. Very few choices and the same everyday. It was crowded and no rhyme or reason. The butter was on the salad bar, but 3 islands away from the bread. Try getting ketchup. One bottle for the whole buffet! When we asked for a soda, most times we were done with our food before it came. The service was terrible, at best. Never a "My Pleasure", a standard on RCCL, or anything of the like. The workers seemed rude and mad to have to work. I suppose it's because Princess automatically charges your pass for tips, so they get a share not matter how crappy the service. I asked our waiter if he had ever worked on RCCL. He said, "No Way!" He told me how staff came to Princess from RCCL. They left RCCL because it was too strict and too many rules. When they would come to Princess, they felt like they had hit the jackpot. Well, I suppose all of the rules and strickness of RCCL translates into well-mannered staff and excellent service. Entertainment? What a joke! The Princess Singers and Dancers were the most unprofessional of any show, including Vegas, I have ever seen. Male dancers tattooed all over and nipple rings. Really? You can't take your nipple rings out for your shirtless dance? The production was random, inappropriate, and worse than a high school musical. A fabulous comedian was featured. He was hilarious without being vulgar! Nice change. One port day, all of the ATM's were not working. We asked the Purser's desk what we could do? We were out of cash. He said to find an ATM on land. Problem, we needed to take a taxi from the port in St. Thomas to get into town. He looked at us and said sorry. Not an offer to let us cash a personal check or even charge our pass for $20 to get us enough money to get to a bank. I could go on and on about the disappointment of Princess Cruise Line. I can guarantee that this will be our only time on this line. Even if we had a free cruise, we would not go on Princess ever again. The parts we love most about cruising, (staff, service, food) were absent. Not to mention that they nickle and dime you do death! Charge for ice cream and $10-$20 to use the adult pool! Plus, any of the little bakeries or tappas stands around the ship charged money! Ridiculous. We will cruise again later this year, but will go back to RCCL! The money we saved by doing Princess was not worth the quality of the trip. You get what you pay for. The name "Princess" does to fit, it should be more like "Ugly Step-Sister". Just say "NO" to Princess. Read Less
Sail Date April 2009
 Let me start by saying that the Crown is beautiful. We had a wonderful time on our cruise to the Eastern Caribbean Apr. 19-26.  Embarkation was quite easy. We arrived by shuttle from the Hampton Inn Airport-North around 11:00 and were ... Read More
 Let me start by saying that the Crown is beautiful. We had a wonderful time on our cruise to the Eastern Caribbean Apr. 19-26.  Embarkation was quite easy. We arrived by shuttle from the Hampton Inn Airport-North around 11:00 and were given a seat card for group 3.  We received our ship and sail cards and were in our cabin by noon. Called the dine line and made our reservation for the Crown Grill and also reserved a spot for the CHEF"S TABLE which we got and the experience was beyond words.  It is a must do if you enjoy delicious different foods and great wines and conversations with new foods.  I am not a seafood lover and the chef was very gracious to prepare me special appetizers.  We loved the entire evening.  We traveled with my brother and sister-in-law so we asked for second dining seating and a table by the window for 4 which we were given. We had an excellent server and assistants and loved our dining.  Infact my husband and brother had breakfast every morning and asked to be seated at our servers table. By the end of the cruise we had become friends.  We enjoyed the Crown Grill. The filet was mouth watering and the staff very attentive.  Our balcony cabin was  quite comfortable and our room steward keep it very clean and tidy. We were a little forward but loved it and felt little movement. One evening we did hit a wind storm and felt a little more motion that usual. The pools were fun we generally gravitated to the Neptune pool.  The terrace pool, aft was a little too smokey.  We enjoyed playing cards in the afternoons on the covered deck around the neptune pool drinking Mojito's. All the ports were very nice. We spend a lovely 2 1/2 hour lunch on the french side  of St. Maarten drinking wine and relaxing by the water front. Then went to Front street and back to the ship. We shopped in St. Thomas and then on to relax at Megans Bay Beautiful.  Grand Turk was fun and we enjoyed Margaritaville.  Great d.j. and games around the pool.  On our last sea day we spent the entire day at the Sanctuary.  It was very relaxing. The lounge chairs just suck you in.  My brother and husband slept for 3 hours..  We did the carry off luggage disembarkment.  No problems.  From the time we left our stateroom, met to disembark, passed security, hailed a cab, check in at the airport, walk to our gate, this all totaled only 65 minutes.  Such a breeze.... All in all our Crown Princess cruise was wonderful. and we would cruise princess again. Read Less
Sail Date April 2009
Having sailed on the same category ship, my wife and I knew what to expect.  We were not disappointed...We flew in from California on the day before-good thing we always do it that way because our flight was canceled.  (Continental ... Read More
Having sailed on the same category ship, my wife and I knew what to expect.  We were not disappointed...We flew in from California on the day before-good thing we always do it that way because our flight was canceled.  (Continental Airlinesnever again). Paid full fare on Delta so got the bad out of the way early.  We always stay at the Embassy Suites and they cater to cruisers.  Still made the evening cocktail reception before having dinner at the Hard Rock.  Ask the concierge about their shuttle service to the HR.  Spent 20 minutes in the casino-won $310....good start.Full service buffet breakfast the next morning and we left for the ship by about 11:15.  They will charge you $15 for the shuttle ride, so a cab is about the same price and a lot less crowded.Embarkation-Princess does this well.  We arrived to the cruise terminal about 11:45 and were in group 11.  They started calling groups around 12:00.  Even in group 11, we were on the ship by 12:20.  Ship-The ship is beautiful and clean. With the two main pools and the Adult and Sanctuary pool, there are plenty of places to get some sun.  The MUTS pool kept most of the kids on that side of the ship.Finding a lounge chair at prime time is sometimes impossible.  Wife and I went to the gym every day and would walk by the pools as early as 7:00 am, and many of the lounge chairs were already marked.  Not quite sure how to handle this one....all the cruise lines say there is no marking chairs and none of them enforce it. The balconies on the Dolphin Deck are larger and not covered, so we spent time in the sun there.  The layout of the ship was well thought through...most things were easily accessible.  Use the ship for exercise so you don't increase the gross tonage after all the food you will be eating.....If there is a complaint, the buffets were crowded and finding a place to sit was sometimes difficult.  The food was excellent in the main dining and the buffet.  We chose anytime dining-it works for us because we are not pressured to be at the table by a certain time.  Never had to wait more than 10-15 minutes- and the casino was right there giving us something to do.  Was disappointed with the Crown Grill-for $25 cover we expected more from the food...the service was just average.There are many choices for entertainmentthe main show is performed at multiple times and the smaller lounges had comedy and a band that played all types of pop and oldies.  There were piano bars as well as the band in the centrum area.  The casino was open at the regular timesplayed every night and we won $200 over the course of the 7 nights.....could have been worse.  There was bingo- sometimes twice a day....won $67....lost more money in the bingo lounge than in the casino.The gym was excellent with a 180 degree panoramic view of the ocean.  Plenty of machines to cover all the body parts and a good mix of cardio equipment.Smooth ride on the shipexcept on the last day....did not see too many patches or people looking green.Plenty of places to relax in quiet if you wishedused the internet cafe one time-slow and expensive.Pay attention to the Princess Patters-they give all the info about entertainment as well as disembarking.  Overall, you can do as much or as little as you want.  The party is by the pool-the casino and staff are fun-there are plenty of quiet places, the adult pool is perfect for a nap.  The staff is attentive and fun and the Purser desk was very helpful.  Bingo was typical, but the cruise directors made it fun.  Never made it up to the Skywalker Disco, but in cruises past, it was fun with the best view on the ship........ The bottom line is that if you cannot find something that interests you on this ship, then you are probably boring.Room-Had a mini-suitewell worth the money for a little extra room...always well kept by Nimit, our steward and he was very attentive to our requests.  Used the refrigerator- the 2 tvs were a nice touch.  And just a little extra room in the bathroom.....always nice to have a balcony to be able to see the water.  Night time was stunning with all the stars and constellations.  The Dolphin deck is the lowest balcony room (deck 9) and has the best view of the ocean.  The balconies are not enclosed.  You can look up and see the other rooms and visit with your neighbors on different decks. Read Less
Sail Date April 2009
My husband and I sailed on the Emerald Princess from Ft. Lauderdale on April 19-29.  We did the Southern Caribbean itinerary that went to Aruba, Bonaire, Grenada, Dominica, St. Thomas and Princess Cays.  We are both in our mid 30's, ... Read More
My husband and I sailed on the Emerald Princess from Ft. Lauderdale on April 19-29.  We did the Southern Caribbean itinerary that went to Aruba, Bonaire, Grenada, Dominica, St. Thomas and Princess Cays.  We are both in our mid 30's, we have no children, and this was our fourth cruise.  Our first cruise was on Carnival, our other cruises on Royal Caribbean.  I chose this cruise because I wanted to visit different islands; we have already done one Eastern, Western, and Southern Caribbean on our previous cruises.  This was our first Princess cruise, and first time to do a 10 day vs. a 7 day cruise. We stayed at the Embassy Suites in Ft. Lauderdale for one night before the cruise.  I liked the hotel and it was a good value because they offered free full buffet breakfast in the morning and alcoholic drinks and treats during happy hour.  Embarkation:  Chaotic.  I've never experienced such disorganization from a cruise line in boarding the ship.  We got to the terminal around 11 am and you could not tell what line you were supposed to be in or what doors would be opening to start the boarding process.  When you finally thought you had it figured out, they reversed the line and sent all the people who had been waiting the longest to a different entrance.  It was frustrating.  Once we finally got into the building, it seemed to streamline a little better. Stateroom:  We had a balcony on the Caribe deck and I was pleasantly surprised with the size.  I've never had a balcony contain more than 2 small chairs and a small table.  This one had 2 loungers, 2 chairs and a medium sized table.  It wasn't very private, you could chat with your neighbors from all sides and the smokers around also bothered me a bit.  Overall though, I thought it was fantastic.  I also thought our room was spacious enough and our room attendant did a great job.  Rarely saw him, and the room was always impeccable.  The shower was small, but it's to be expected. Food:  We chose to do anytime dining because I'm a very picky eater and I really don't enjoy the food in the formal dining room that much or the time constraints of traditional dining.  I liked this option, as I never felt like I was letting my fellow dining companions down by not being there.  We ended up eating in the dining room twice, both times at pre-arranged times with people we had met on the ship.  Each time we were seated immediately.  Dinner lasted sometimes 2-3 hours which is just a bit much for me.  So, I was thrilled to have the option of eating elsewhere and anytime dining is another main reason I chose this cruise.  Since I like the simple food, I had a lot of the pizza on the ship.  I thought it was excellent.  Very tasty.  They could have had more varieties, but I'm sure they were just trying to please the masses.  The breakfast buffet in the morning had enough options.  Omelets were not as easy to come by as on previous cruise lines.  The Trident Grill's hamburgers, hot dogs and fries were tasty.  Never a wait to get them, always prompt service.  The food I absolutely enjoyed the most was the fish & chips in the Wheelhouse Bar.  Just excellent. We also tried out the Crown Grill one night to join our friends on the cruise.  I am not a fan of the specialty restaurants simply because I don't believe I should have to pay for food that you should be able to get for free.  As I thought beforehand, I did not think the food was worth the $25 pp surcharge.  I ordered a steak and baked potato.  My food was good, but others at my table had their steaks come out too done compared to how they were ordered.  We had almost finished our meal by the time it was corrected.  However, the wait staff was gracious about it, did apologize, and even brought as a bottle of champagne for our table to share to make up for the mistake.  So, my experience there was fine, but I probably would not go to another specialty restaurant again simply for the fact that I don't like to encourage them charging for any extras on the actual ship.  Pools/Ship Area:  I thought the ship looked like it was well kept up, in good condition.  Yes, the layout was a little odd, but if you are the exploring type, it meant you might find a little nook or cranny that nobody else did.  I enjoyed all the pools, there were a lot of them.  Hot tubs were smaller than I'm used to, but scattered about all over the ship.  Never seemed like it was overly crowded anywhere on the ship but maybe the Explorer's Lounge when they were having a nightly show in there.  I enjoyed the swim against the current and cushy chairs by the spa pool.  We never used the Sanctuary at all, I could find other relaxing, quite places that I didn't have to pay extra to be in.  Entertainment:  I have never gone to as many shows nor did so many scheduled activities as I did on this ship.  On my previous cruises, we usually found ourselves in the bar areas listening to bands or singers or in the nightclub dancing.  There really didn't seem to be that great of entertainment in the small bars & the nightclub was DEAD.  So, off we went to the shows.  I actually enjoyed the dancing shows.  The two comedians we saw were funny.  The juggler even entertained me some.  We went to the Not So Newlywed game and that was funny.  Karaoke nights were entertaining.  I even went to Country Music night, found myself out on the floor learning line dances, and I don't even like country music.  So, although the entertainment experiences were different, I still enjoyed myself.  There was always something to do.  The only complaint I heard was from a couple who had been on the Crown Princess just a year earlier, they told us all the shows were the exact same.  That would have been truly disappointing, so I'm glad we hadn't previously been on a Princess ship. Spa:  I did get a couples massage at the Lotus Spa.  This is the first spa service I have ever had on a cruise ship, but not my first massage by any means.  The price is pretty steep.  I think it was $269.  Before I left, that seemed like a ridiculous amount to pay, but I ended up paying it because I so enjoyed the hot stone mini massage they gave me when we did the spa tour on the first day onboard.  It was worth it though.  It was really relaxing, the massage felt great.  It was a little windy up there in the cabana's they take you to, and you could sometimes hear the people talking in the Sanctuary during your massage, but all in all, I'd do it again.  They gave us a short sale on the products at the end, but really, we said no and didn't have any problems.  Ports:   Aruba:  My husband and I rented a Jeep and drove the island ourselves.  Sometimes we would find ourselves entirely alone with no one else around except for the ocean on one side and rock formations on the other.  Sometimes, we would occasionally meet up with the other organized tours.  It was a nice way to see the island's attractions.  We covered the CA Lighthouse, the church, rock formations, and Baby Beach.  We had time to stop at Senor Frogs too and go down the waterslide in the bar (which was actually one of the most fun things I did on the entire trip).  Bonaire:  Looked like a beautiful place.  I wish we would've had more time here.  We walked around and saw a lot of shopping and restaurants.  We had booked the water taxi to Klein Bonaire through Princess because I had heard that sometimes all of the water taxi's get reserved and you wouldn't be able to get one unless it was through the cruise line.  I'm not sure I really believe that now, having been there, but still, I enjoyed our snorkeling over there and it was a beautiful place. Grenada:  I did not like this port and I only filled out the survey at the end of the cruise just to let Princess know that I would take it off the itinerary.  We went through the shopping area before going on our excursion and as I had read before leaving, they were very aggressive and very pushy trying to sell tours.  We booked the independent Manadoo Spice tour after reading great reviews on Cruise Critic and it did not live up to my expectations.  I enjoyed seeing where the spices were made and learning about them, but they did not provide us with any local food or drinks other than a Dixie cup of punch.  They barely stopped long enough for you to use the restroom and it was a ton of riding around in a bus.  I think there may have been a road closed that contributed to this, but there really was no communication on this from our driver.  We did so much driving that we did not even have time to make a scheduled stop at any beaches and there was no apology for that either.  I cannot recommend this tour for those reasons.  After finally getting back to the ship, we tried to do some quick shopping at the local market and a local man tried to start a fight with my husband after he innocently took a picture of the general market area.  He was not taking a picture of anyone or anything specific and we were utterly shocked as to the rude and disparaging comments that were made to us.  They made us feel very uncomfortable and we bought spices as presents as quickly as we could and went back to the ship.   I have been to Mexico, and Jamaica; some other places that you can sometimes run into difficult situations, but I have never experienced anything like this before.  I will never go back. Dominica:  We took a cab with another couple to snorkel Champagne Reef on our own.  It was so early in the morning that no one else was there.  That was a plus and minus.  It's great to be alone on a grand adventure, but we had trouble finding the actual snorkeling spot with the famous bubbles that come up.  We finally did locate it after about 30 minutes or so and it was really neat, completely as advertised and I'm so glad we didn't miss it.  We had already booked the Antours River Tubing tour so we had a limited time at Champagne Reef before we had to go to that.  River Tubing through Antours was fantastic.  I really enjoyed it and always felt safe with the qualified helpers they had working the river.  Before and after the tour, local food and beverages were served and it made all the difference.  This tour, I would recommend to anyone.  St. Thomas:  We went shopping in the morning and even though it was my third time there, I still had never made it to Meagan's Bay.  So, we took a taxi there on our own in the afternoon.  The beach and the scenery on the way there and back were beautiful.  St. Thomas is always a good time.  I had never had the Bushwhacker's either and they were fantastic! Princess Cays:  Tendering over to the island took longer than I thought it should have.  Again, seemed like Princess should've had this process working like clockwork, but they didn't.  Once we got there though, plenty of lounge chairs and I loved the water and the island.  Very relaxing.  My only complaint is that the people playing sand volleyball had a flat volleyball and when they asked for another one, they were told there was none.  Huh?  Shouldn't be that hard to have a few spare volleyballs laying around. Disembarkation:  I booked an earlier flight than I probably should have.  I knew that before we left, but I really wanted to get back earlier because we both had to be at work the next day.  My flight left at 8:50 am.  I thought we would have no problem making it if we took our own luggage off the ship.  The meet up time to do that was 7:15 am.  However, because of more Princess disorganization, confused lines and confused people, we did not get off the ship until 8am.  I'm happy to say though, that we still made our flight.  Unfortunately, my stress level did go from 0 to 10 during this process. Overall:  I enjoyed this cruise.  We met some great people.  On our last cruise we did the same amount of ports in 7 days and it was truly too much.  So, by choosing a 10 day cruise, I did manage to have it be more relaxing this time.  However, a lot of people on this ship were older than us and meeting couples our own age sometimes felt challenging.  And, although I enjoyed the "different" entertainment, I was let down by the bars/nightclubs on this ship.  For that reason, we will probably go back to Royal Caribbean and back to 7 day cruises.  With that said, I don't regret trying out Princess, and I will sail them again sometime. Read Less
Sail Date April 2009
We were on the last cruise of the Ruby Princess to the Caribbean before she sailed to the Mediterranean on April 18, 2009. This is my third cruise and my husband's first. Embarkment: Very easy and painless. We did have a ... Read More
We were on the last cruise of the Ruby Princess to the Caribbean before she sailed to the Mediterranean on April 18, 2009. This is my third cruise and my husband's first. Embarkment: Very easy and painless. We did have a bottle of wine in our suitcase and security did not care. Formal Nights: Always done on the evening when we were at sea all day. Food: Stay clear of the buffet on Lido deck when you first board. It was a madhouse and people were sitting around the tables talking with empty dishes in front of them. Head out to the pool grill, pizzeria, or the international cafe. We had anytime dining and we thought the food was good. We ate in the Michelangelo dining (less crowds) and always had a table for two without waiting. The only complaint I had was the service was so slow. The servers would wait for all the tables for two would fill and then bring all our food out a one time. If you got there at 5:30 and the last table filled at 6, every table would get their entrEe at the same time. We arrived one night at 5:30 so we could watch the movie at seven. We did not get out entrEe until 6:45 and we missed the movie. I was so disappointed. The first night at dinner, we ordered a bottle of wine. We asked to have to cork the bottle for the following night. The girl kept pouring us the wine. You need to make it very clear you only want one glass of wine. The buffet's food was okay and did serve ice cream every afternoon. There are two different buffet areas and they do serve different foods on each line. The pizzeria pizza, international cafe and the grill by the pool were all very good. We did the ultimate balcony dining, which included fresh flowers and a free photo. It was well worth the $100. The ships photography came and took appx. 8 pictures. Carlos and Roger were wonderful and attentive to us. They gave us plenty of alone time and were always there when we needed them. The dinner started with canapEs and a cocktail of our choice then it proceeded to a crab pastry appetizer, salad (much too large for this many courses), lobster and steak, fresh fruit and mousse, followed by an anniversary cake and cookies, plus a bottle of champagne. Let it be known the ship will only do three ultimate balcony dinners per night unless they are on the same floor close together. We called the first day at sea and they were all booked for the night we wanted. We asked to be on the waiting list and were called the next day because someone had cancelled. I tried to book the dinner prior to boarding and I went through five different people on the phone when I was informed it had to be booked on the ship even though all the literature says to book prior to leaving on your trip. Alcohol: My husband and I enjoy margaritas. We tried them at four different bars on the ship and they were all syrupy sweet even when we asked them not to make them sweet. I did not realize they were from a pre-mix. Ask the bartender to make the drink from scratch and to put some alcohol in the glass because I did not even get a buzz from drinking a double. Laundry: I did not use them but the washers ($1.50) and dryers ($1.50) are on almost each deck. The wash soap was $1 from the dispensing machine. There was a change machine in the room but it was empty. If you plan to use the machines, it would not hurt to bring quarters so it would not be a hassle to find quarters. Stateroom: We had a minisuite on the dolphin deck. Our deck had the farthest balconies out and closest to the water, which I loved. Yes, everyone could see our balcony but I did not look up. Our steward was interesting in a bad way. He let us know from the beginning the company worked him like a machine. He worked eleven hrs a day, seven days a week. I did not want to hear complaints from the employees especially from the steward on my vacation. The steward addressed and only spoke to me. He totally ignored my husband from the first time they met. The steward only addressed my husband one time because I called the steward's attention that my husband was also present. My husband tried to initiate conversations with him. The steward was matter of fact, no happiness was in his job, and I never saw the man smile or laugh. On my way out I gave the steward an extra tip because he did do a good job. I felt he was ungrateful and snubbed my husband as we passed in the hallway to leave. There is a full TV and channels guide located in the back of the small hardback blue book in the room plus a small card to carry for all the dining options times and locations. We found this out late into the voyage. Leaving: We were in the first group to leave at 8:10 am with our luggage. We were in the dining room at 7:20 am, and were able to leave the ship at 7:30. After we cleared customs and out the door, there were two reps from Southwest available to check our luggage and give our boarding passes at the pier. Our plane was leaving at 10:35 so there was no charge to check in our luggage. It was perfect. The cab ride to the pier was $19.50 and returning to the airport was $12.50 which we shared with another couple. Activities: I was surprised at the small number of activities offered for the 3,000+ passengers. Natalie really stood out to me on the activity staff. She was fun,laughing and always having a good time with the passengers. The comic Kevin Jordan was very good. The productions in the theater will entertain you. You need to get there at least a half hour prior to the show to get a seat because the theater seats 900 people. We played putt putt golf (bring your own golf balls) and had few balls available. The adult pool is in the back of the ship and less crowded. The outdoor movie screen plays movies all day so check the Patter for listings. They do have different kind of dancing lessons as an activity. Passengers: We had many different ages and nationalities on board. I was surprised at the number of scooters and wheelchair people on board. There were a few I thought that they boarded to die out at sea. Yes, my husband and I did enjoy the cruise. It was okay but not great. We do about three major vacations per year and I would have to get a really good deal to cruise with Princess again. Read Less
Sail Date April 2009
This was my first cruise with Princess; I have sailed with Carnival and NCL in the past. We traveled from Las Vegas to Seattle on the morning of the cruise, we were on the Golden Princess 5/9/09 sailing for Alaska. I had arranged for ... Read More
This was my first cruise with Princess; I have sailed with Carnival and NCL in the past. We traveled from Las Vegas to Seattle on the morning of the cruise, we were on the Golden Princess 5/9/09 sailing for Alaska. I had arranged for Shuttle Express for the R/T to and from Pier 91 and found the service to be just fine and the price great, I would recommend them to anyone looking for reasonable transportation to and from the Pier. We did arrive around 930 am and did not have the return flight until 345 on the return leg so we allowed plenty of time and did not feel rushed.Embarkation:  I would say that when you travel that patience is a virtue, and if people would just relax things would go a lot smoother, the lines we not clearly defined when you were outside and when they took your baggage that was not done well, the lines for check in itself were fine, we did throw the agent a curve because we did not have our passports, since we were before the June 1st deadline, we decided to wait to get them at a later date, the agent did not know how to check us in, but she was very nice. We then waited to board the ship, but the lines again were not defined. The whole process took about 1 1/2 hours and I was still impressed that for the first day at that pier that Princess did so well, everyone was very courteous even though people were complaining, I look at this way, what's the hurry? The food and your cabin will be there when you get on board!!Cabin: we had a balcony cabin on the Caribe deck Forward Starboard side, and it was my first balcony and I don't think that I could ever go back to anything else now! I could not believe the storage space! More than you could use and I packed way too much!! We faxed in a request for an egg crate topper and extra pillows and both were there, however the bed had not been replaced and it was in a sad way, very hard and lumpy and sagging in the middle, we asked our cabin steward for another topper (The one that was on the bed was a thin piece of foam, not and egg crate) and some more pillows and robes, and everything was there when we returned a few hours later. The new flat panels TVs are very nice, you just need to learn the trick to the remote, hold at an angle and hold down the buttons, when you turned on the bridge cam channel they had beautiful relaxing music playing and we found that very nice sometimes to have on softly in the background. I can't really comment on the TV channels, sometimes we had a lot, sometimes we lost the signal, but there were always movies to watch, and who cares if you can't get the TV?Our air conditioning did not work well at all, and after we told the room steward and nothing was done the first day, we just left the balcony door open after that and enjoyed the cool ocean air and the sound of the waves against the ship, if we were in a hotter climate it would have been a problem. There was also loud gurgling rumbling sounds coming from the bathroom wall behind the toilet 24 hours a day, I think it must has been a huge water heater for the floor, or a main pipe that ran behind that wall, it was annoying and there was an occasional faint sewer smell that came from the bathroom, but I brought bath spray and again having the balcony door open the sound of the waves drowned out the gurgling pipes.At one point when the cabin steward was making up the room and we were out on the balcony and the wind vortex was so strong from having the cabin and balcony door open at the same time it pulled up our ceiling by the cabin door 3-4 inches- that was kind of scary, but one call to the pursers desk and the head housekeeper was there in ten minutes and she said she would call the carpenters. I wasn't sure what that meant, but when we came back from our shore excursions, the ceiling was fixed!!! The fridge did a good job of keeping everything cold, and light switches by the bed were very convenient, also the dimmers on the bedside lamps were a nice touch. The bathroom amenities of Lotus Spa products were very nice if you enjoy eucalyptus scent, and our room steward refilled them with new ones anytime we used even a little bit of the products. Activities and shows: we did not participate in a lot of these, we were more into the food, the relaxing on our balcony and the beauty of Alaska and the ports, and to be honest, when you live in Las Vegas, it really would not be fair for me to judge the shows since we have some of the best entertainment and shows in the world, but we did enjoy the Galley tour and our Meet and Greet with all the fellow members of this board. Also the Champagne waterfall was very nice and I did not expect to have appetizers and Champagne passed out during the first formal, which was very enjoyable.Service: I thought that Princess Service was fantastic; we had anytime dining and found that after a couple days we found a waiter we really enjoyed and asked for a table in his section every night, it was never a problem and we took care of him and his assistant at the end of the week. Most all of the employees were very courteous and treated us with respect and graciousness all week.I did have a problem when I lost my cruise card the second to the last day and had to wait in a 45 min line to get it replaced, I was very grateful that no one used it and that our cabin was fine, but I had also picked up a copy of our charges and found an inaccurate charge and they made me wait in that line all over again to have the charge removed, oh well, could have been much worse! Dining: One of my favorite parts of the cruise!! We thought that the food was wonderful every night, I loved the medallions of beef and all the fish was great, I have never had a warm soufflE' before this cruise and now I'm hooked, wow they were good!! The Crab, Lobster, everything I thought was very well done; we ate in the dining room every night and the horizon court for breakfast every morning. The Belgium waffles that were being made fresh at breakfast were yummy.I noticed in the Horizon court that all kinds of flavors of tea and coffee were available all the time, and on deck throughout the ship they had hot chocolate almost always. And whatever you do, try the pizza!! That was our favorite spot, the crust is thin and the sauce spicy and it was great!! They did not however have a sail away seafood buffet as I have heard they do on some ships, and the International Cafe did not have the Chocolate fondue I have heard about either, but the fresh mozzarella tomato and basil Panini was very good. The Crown Grill was not open yet so we skipped the old steak house in the Horizon court. The ship: we thought that it was beautiful, very elegant and tastefully done, the Piazza was one of our favorite places to be, they had a string quartet and a grand piano player and a juggler that were all very entertaining, the pools and Jacuzzis were nice, but they were closed a lot of the time. We really liked Sky walkers lounge, beautiful view during the day and 80's neon lighting at night, very cool. It was like being on a new ship, the new cabins, Crown grill and Chapel were not opened yet, but the construction was kept at a minimum. The ship was very clean. Shore Excursions. In Juneau we took the whale watch tour with Alaska galore tours, they are the ones in the Tour saver book, and I have mixed reviews about them, the ship was very small and there were only 6 of us, but not enough space for all of us to sit down, the boat did have a bathroom and the captain was very welcoming. However between the small boat and rough water it made for a very rough ride, it felt like we were airborne a couple times and even when we were just floating along it made it impossible to take pictures of the whales, I did get good video however. I'm not sure if I would tour with them again, last time I went with Orca enterprises and I think I prefer a slightly larger ship. That's just MHO. We had the driver drop us off at Mendenhall Glacier and it was a spectacular sunny day and the glacier was beautiful, we went up into the visitor center but did not have time to walk to the water fall, we then took the blue bus for $7 pp back to the port and used the Tour saver coupon for the Tram- They didn't even know about the coupon and we had to wait while they called a couple people to verify that it could be used, but they accepted it, and wow what a view it is!! We loved it up there, we played in the snow and saw the Eagle that they rescued and nursed back to health that was shot twice by some jerk. I would highly recommend all the attractions that we went to if time permits. We also managed a small amount of shopping. Skagway First off Princess was docked farthest from town and if walking is any kind of problem take the shuttle bus, $2 each way or a $5 pass for the full day, we walked into town and I have an unhappy back and it was too much, bus for us the rest of the day- We of course did the train and we booked it ourselves, saved $25-30 dollars over what the ship charges and the good part is that if you book yourselves, you don't ride in the same cars as the cruise ship passengers, which is good because their cars were packed, there was only 14 people total in our car, so we could move about freely. We loved the train, and did not find the beautiful scenery for three hours boring in the least, lots of great pics and video and we were in the front car so when the engines changed position at the top we were looking right out the back with no obstructions. When we got near the top it snowed on us, it's wonderful!!. Back in town and for most of the ride it was sunny and on the warm side. After the train we took the shuttle bus to the Jewel Gardens, there was a coupon in the tour saver book for a two for one, however they were not aware of the coupon either and it took awhile for them to figure it out. It was $12 with the 2-1 and the only good part was the glassblowers just happened to be making apiece while we were there and we got to watch, if it wasn't for that it would have been a waste of time, and money, to be honest they should not have even had the gardens open, there was nothing in bloom, but it was awesome to see glass blowing, and we bought a bowl while we were there, they called the shuttle and it came back and picked us up, we shopped in town and I was looking at jewelry and the sales people were very pushy, actually in all the ports all the jewelry stores were very pushy to the point of embarrassing at times, a simple no thank you was not sufficient and at times we had to walk out while they were still trying to sell us items. Ketchikan is a quaint little town and I love it, my one complaint is that there was not enough time to do everything we wanted to do, we were there from 6-1 but had to be back on board by 1145 for some reason. We took a float plane ride over the Fjords with Family Air and Captain Dave- this is my second trip with him and I can't say enough good things about his operation, he is family owned and operated and he has a small plane with all window seats, he really cares about people and the tours that he gives, he is not there for the money he is there because it makes him happy to show off his beautiful city and to make people happy, he takes a longer path to and from the Fjords than other companies do and he lands and lets you get out and walk around on the land for about 15-20 minutes, sometimes he fishes, sometimes he collects rocks for his pathway for his home, I can't say enough good things about his tour and would recommend it to all. Tell him Vegas Red sent you!! Cruising Tracy Arm: was an incredible experience, the water was like glass and the reflection of the snow cap mountains was mirrored perfectly in the water. There were so many pieces of beautiful glacier ice in the water all different shades of blue and waterfalls everywhere you looked, our balcony was worth every penny on this day alone and we ordered room service and stayed out there all day. The best spot on the ship, and we had great neighbors, no kids, no smokers and quiet!! It was a heavenly day and some of the most beautiful scenery in the world breathing in the freshest air. Victoria, B.C. This port of call I think Princess dropped the ball a little- we were there from 7-12 midnight so everyone wanted to have dinner before they left the ship and the dining rooms did not open up until 530 pm, this created a long line and overworked staff and a kitchen that was very slow due to the heavy volume of patrons that all arrived at the same time, IMHO Princess should have opened the dining rooms about 430-5 pm to avoid most of this. When it was time to leave the ship, Princess had only one gangway opened on the Piazza level, there was no crowd control and it was complete chaos, people shoving and pushing and you could hardly even move, they finally opened up another gangway on deck 4, and when we went down there to leave the ship my new sign and sail card that I had just been given didn't work, the security officer wanted me to go back to the pursers desk to straighten it out, I explained that I had just been given this card and it was working for my cabin and that if he sent me back to the pursers desk I would miss my Princess excursion, after going back and forth with him for a minute or so, he called over another guard who showed him how to look me up by name and photo and he saw that it was me and let us off the ship, it didn't help him that I had a very impatient woman behind me that was raising her voice to me and to the guard because she was held up for two minutes. Patience.  We did do the Butchart Gardens tour through Princess and it was unfortunate because of all the delays we left about 45 min late and when we got there we had only about 20 minutes of daylight left and we saw most of the gardens at night. I would still advise anyone that loves peace and tranquility and flowers to do this tour!! Words cannot really describe the feeling you have while strolling these magnificent gardens.  When we got back to port there were three ships docked including ours, and the ships lined up all lit up was an amazing sight. Debarkation:  As I mentioned earlier we had a flight that didn't leave until 345, so we left our cabin, enjoyed a nice breakfast on deck and then just relaxed for a couple hours and soaked in all we could of the ship before we left, we just hung around even after our group was called and we were probably in the last group to leave, but by then we found our luggage right away and only had to wait for the shuttle express for 20 minutes.  Sorry for the long review, but I wanted to give an accurate account of all things as seen through our eyes.  We loved this cruise and the Golden Princess and any small problem that we encountered was just that to us, small. Was it perfect? No. But it was the best cruise I have ever taken and we for the most part felt like we were treated like a king and queen for the week. I am a Princess convert!!! Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
Embarkation was quick and easy, we had stayed at the Red Lion downtown, very nice accomodations and convenient to all attractions. About a $15 cab ride to the pier with tip. We arrived Pier 91 about 11:15. The staff at the embarkation ... Read More
Embarkation was quick and easy, we had stayed at the Red Lion downtown, very nice accomodations and convenient to all attractions. About a $15 cab ride to the pier with tip. We arrived Pier 91 about 11:15. The staff at the embarkation counter were friendly and knew what they were doing. After a quick processing we were in line waiting before too long. We just happened to be in line in front of two fellow CC cruisers, Hello Neal and Wendy, we met with them later at the roll call get together and we met another CC'r Hello to you Chris. We were in our cabin by about 12:30, and enjoying our new home and great food for the next 7 terrific days.  The ship was really nice, all locations in good shape and the locations we were at were all in cool and comfortable tones, nothing bright and obnoxious like on some ships. We spent a lot of time playing trivia games and such with our new friends, no medals, but we have a great selection of luggage tags. The meals were all very good, always seemed to be fresh, even the breakfast in the Horizon buffett. We did anytime dining, as we did not want to be tied to a set time every day. We had dinner with our great new friends most evenings, and with being able to make a reservation in tha Capri and Portofini dining rooms we still could adjust our dining times to our schedules. Nice deli on deck 5, hot cookies at all times, we really miss being able to get a hot cookie whenever we want.My wife and I were celebating our anniversary and on the 5th night they set up ballons and a sign on our cabin door, and gave us a nice cake with dinner, kind of a nice touch. Weather was great the whole week, sunshine and no clouds all week, temps in the upper 70's to low 80's. They said it was unusual weather for the area, but we loved it.Disembarkment was not too bad, we met in the Explorer lounge about 8:30 and had to wait about 30-45 mins before we were called. The luggage was all set out by color tag and number, pretty easy to find our luggage.  We had a 12:50 flight, we were at the airport about 10:30, plenty of time in advance. We used a town car service called "Driver for Hire" to our hotel and from the airport. Fees were about or less than a cab, and much more comfortable, highly recommended, very friendly, drivers and right on time, a simple call from the ship when we had our luggage and they were there right away.The only problem we had was a piece of our luggage had the wheel and mount broken off between drop off and getting to our cabin. They were unable to repair it and just kind of left it up to us to take care of. We filed a damage claim, and are now waiting for a response from Princess. They indicated that they would be taking care of it for us, time will tell.All told we really enjoyed the ship and the ports, and can't wait to go to Alaska again someday. Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
My husband and I booked a 13 night Alaskan Cruisetour a year before it sailed for our 25th anniversary.  The cruisetour started on May 24th with the tour first.  We splurged on a full suite (costing us $14,500.00 with air).  This ... Read More
My husband and I booked a 13 night Alaskan Cruisetour a year before it sailed for our 25th anniversary.  The cruisetour started on May 24th with the tour first.  We splurged on a full suite (costing us $14,500.00 with air).  This proved to be a huge MISTAKE.  We should have gone with Royal Carribbean for $3,000.00 less and more services.This is how our vacation went:We flew 10 1/2 hours from the east coast to Alaska (this was the best part of our trip since we flew first class).Upon our arrival for our 2 night stay in Fairbanks, Alaska (after a very confusing start at the airport as to where to leave our luggage and which tags to put on it) was very dissapointing.  We stayed in a Princess lodge that had no ammenities except a restaurant and a gift shop.  We went panning for gold which was fun and on a Riverboat which was very boring.  The excursion that we chose was to the North Pole, which we had to wait until the second day to take since it did not start until May 25th.  What a huge dissapointment that was.  It cost us $100.00 to go in a bus to a gift shop with a partially dressed Santa and then to a Chinese restaurant for dinner.  I could not believe that they actually charged $50.00 a person to go to a gift shop.  Our room was facing the parking lot, near an ice machine and the air conditioning barely worked (it was 78 degrees when we arrived and we did not bring summer clothes to Alaska).  Very dissapointing  room.  The food at the lodge was extremely expensive and not good at all.Next we went to Denali.  The train ride was awesome, but you can go on the train with ANY of the cruise lines.  We were right behind the train cars for Royal Carribbean.  We arrived in Denali to again get the room facing the street and this time near a door that kept opening and slamming shut as well as being near the room cleaning staff's station.  We were to get NO sleep here!  We went to a Denali Dinner show and paid $100.00 to eat the worse ribs I have ever had in my life.  The second day we went to Denali park which was the highlight of our vacation.  We left Denali on a 9 hour bus ride to Copper River on a dirt road.  What a waste of an entire day!We get in Copper River and again we get a room facing the parking lot, near the ice machine and near the stairs.  More than half of the excursions are not even available yet since the salmon are not running yet, so we do NOTHING.  Since there aren't even hot tubs or a pool to enjoy, we spent the day reading books inside since it was raining out.  They really need to have some ammenities.  It's not like you can hop in your car and go for a ride, you are totally dependent upon the busses.  The food was aweful and the service just as bad and very expensive again.  Finally, after 2 days of complete bordom and lack of sleep, we are going to the ship for pampering - so we thought!We get to the Diamond Princess after a very long day of traveling on a bus and then on a catamaran to Whittier.  We have booked a full suite and are very happy with it.  Unfortunately, we were very dissapointed to find out that we were lied to by customer service over the phone and told that we had a Concierge (which we have had on other ships as well as a butler on other ships when we book a suite) but now find out that we have no Concierge.  I want to clarify something:  the first day we get on the ship I go to customer service and wait in a very long line.  Finally I thought I hear someone say "next" but wasn't sure so I waited in line.  Apparently, the woman at the end of the counter did call me and yelled out "NEXT" very loudly this time.  I started to walk towards her and actually saw her roll her eyes at me.  I couldn't believe it!  This was day 1 of the rude staff on the Diamond Princess.  It only gets worse.  Not one crewmember, with the exception of our room steward, ever said Hello, smiled or moved out of your way when you were walking in a common area.  They would cut you off, walk right into you or actually step on you if you were in their way.  We were also told that we had priority seating in the specialty restaurants by customer service (when we booked the cruise); however, this again was untrue as we found out when we attempted to book the Sterling Steakhouse on the evening of our 25th anniversary.  After a lot of arguing, we did get a reservation  but were very unhappy that it had to go to that point.  Entertainment on this ship was all but non-existant.  They had the same 3 entertainers on all nights and the last night they played a movie in the theatre - no entertainment at all, unless of course you wanted to go to an art auction or learn square dancing.Basically, we booked a suite to get the extra "perks" that we usually get from other cruiselines; however, apparently Princess feels that unnecessary.  We paid a lot more money for our cruise than most of the other passengers and expected to get what we paid for.We were told that we had priorty disembarkement by customer service and in the Princess cruise book; however, upon disembarkement we realized that this again was a lie.  We were instructed to wait in a special area for suite members but we were the LAST people off of the ship.  We were staying in Vancouver on a post-cruise package but did not get to our hotel until after 12:00 when all of the tours had already left for the day, so we did not get to tour Vancouver as we planned.  The ship docked at 7:30 a.m. but we did not get off of the ship until 10:30 and waited an hour to get on a bus to be brought to our hotel, which was having rennovations made to the entrance that you had to walk around and through red tape - what a mess!When I got home I wrote a letter to Princess and the response I got was shocking.  Basically I was told how sorry they were that I did not enjoy my cruise, but they do not offer any extra services to persons staying in a suite and they hope we will sail with them again.  Why would I ever do that?  This was my first and LAST cruise with Princess.  They are very expensive and gave the WORSE customer service I have ever experienced on a ship.  Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
We were on the Repo cruise on the CB in May. This is how we experienced the cruise and we really enjoyed it!  With just a few exceptions.Cab from airport at San Juan to ship 19 plus 1 per bag. Had the driver stop at a store for us so we ... Read More
We were on the Repo cruise on the CB in May. This is how we experienced the cruise and we really enjoyed it!  With just a few exceptions.Cab from airport at San Juan to ship 19 plus 1 per bag. Had the driver stop at a store for us so we could pick up soda/beer so gave him an extra 5 for that plus usual tip.Embarkation: Very smooth, line went quickly. Carried on beer and soda and didn't hide it and didn't get questioned. It wasn't even in our carry on but in the bag from the store. We like to keep some in the room for relaxing on the balcony but buy most of our drinks in the bars. Cabin: R727 balcony. Loved the cabin because it was close to the Outrigger so we can just run up to get more soda for me. I always get the soda card and is well worth it if you drink a lot of soda. The steward was great and filled our ice up everyday and kept the room spotless. Made up a towel animal the first night and we kept it all week. Always had a smile and was fun to talk to. Told him I liked the lotion and he gave me extra every day without me even asking!Food: Sorry to say for breakfast AWFUL! We went to the buffet the first morning and the eggs are not real, the bacon/sausage pretty bad, hash browns cold. The coffee was so bad my husband couldn't drink it. He bought coffee everyday at the international cafe. For breakfast the rest of the week we had cereal and fruit on our balcony. We aren't big on breakfast so it didn't really matter to us though. But remember you don't have to eat in the buffet you can go to the dining rooms for breakfast and also you can order eggs to be cooked how you want them. Even though we don't normally care for buffet food we pretty much always ate there because the lunches and dinners were really good. We had salad on many of the days, the Mexican food was really good, Bavarian night was tasty, we loved the German potato salad, there was always either turkey or ham so it was not hard at all hard to find good food to eat. Didn't miss the dining room at all. I know for some people food is a big thing (so don't worry there are tons of good places to eat) on their cruise but our attitude is for a whole week we don't have to cook it or clean up so we happy! Anytime dining: We went once and were told it would be a 25 minute wait...after 40 minutes we went back and we knew he forgot about us. When we first arrived I saw a table for 4 and asked if we could sit there (we sat there the last time we were on the ship and it was just the 2 of us) and he said he couldn't sit 2 people there because it was for 4??? It was confusing because there were quite a few empty tables so not sure why that rule is in place. So we waited 40 minutes and then ate and the tables still stayed empty. We had pork and it was dry and the meal was tasteless. Also the waiter was not friendly, he wasn't rude but you got the feeling that he didn't want to be there. So for us it made sense not to get worked up about it because we really didn't care. We just chose to eat at different places and were happy with our decision. We don't like to be on any schedule when on vacation anyway.Trident Grill and Pizzeria: We loved the pizza and hamburgers! You can have different types of pizza, french fries, hamburgers or sausage. Also the icecream is in between the 2 pools and we saw lots of people with cones.Sabatini's: Excellent! Loved trying all the different food. Everything tasted great! We had reservations for 6:30 and left at 8:30. Everything was timed perfectly. Waiter very friendly and just enjoyed the evening.Pub Lunch: Had it in the Crown Grill and we loved it! Husband had fish and chips and I had cottage pie. We would have gone back on another sea day but there are so many different options we never made it back.  This is free on sea days and not to be missed.International Cafe: Coffee was good and lots of desserts that are free. Quiche was excellent. Room service: Had it almost everyday and also for late night snacking. The chefs salad is the best! We had the same room service waiter almost every time and he was great! It was nice getting to know him and we talked about our day and he told us about his family. On the last morning there was a knock on our door and it was him! Even though you don't get room serve on the last day he brought it to us without even asking. That is what I call service!Piazza: We LOVED this area! We listened to the piano, steel drums, guitarist, saw the hola hoop girl (the captain actually tried it too!) and the acrobats. We also enjoy watching the demonstrations. This area was so relaxing it ended up being one of our favorite places to be.Entertainment: Comedy, hypnotist, Bert, productions shows, ship bands....all were really good. You would never be bored on this ship! Was is all top notch? Well I wouldn't say that but we still enjoyed it all. We go knowing it will be entertaining but not on Las Vegas level. We watched a movie on Mutts and it was fun. Won 1200.00 in the casino! We are not smokers and wish there were more nights of no smoking. Plus it was smaller than it had been so we wished that hadn't changed. Husband wanted to play poker but there was not poker. But we are not complaining because of what we won on video poker! Saw the newlywed game and just went from once place to another on all the nights. Loved the Island Party and Skywalkers lounge because we did a lot of dancing.Crew: Honestly except for the Coral dining room every member of the crew was exceptional! Everyone smiling, in the buffet we always got asked if we wanted a drink, they took our dirty plates right away, the waitresses and bartenders were friendly, everywhere we went that was our experience. The captain was everywhere and always talking to everyone so maybe that is why the crew is so great.Pool: Very frustrating to see chair after chair with no one sitting in them. We saw the towel and sometimes a book and just kept walking. There are so many places to be around the pool we just kept going and always found a place on the upper level. We decided that we could let that get to us or just enjoy a sunny day at the pool and so that is how we handled the chair hogs! The pool games were fun to watch but we mostly read and just enjoy being outside after a long winter!Public bathrooms: DISGUSTING! Most of the time one or more of the womens bathrooms in each area would be closed for maintenance. I didn't think they were very clean either. This really bothered me. My husband said none of the mens bathrooms were closed when he used them. Maybe it was just my timing but I hope they do something about it. There were a few things I think could be improved but we had a wonderful time! We love this ship and the crew and will be booking again! In fact we paid for the future cruise credit!!We took a car service from the boat to the airport because someone here on CC suggested it was better and he was right! Perfect way to end the cruise. It was 55 plus tip so it was less than the transfers. Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
We cruised on the 5/3 to 5/10 sailing to Aruba,Bonaire,Grenada,Dominica & St Thomas. Our 1st time on Princess, had heard good things about this line so decided to try it. 1) Embarkation was very nice - got to terminal by 11:15 am, ... Read More
We cruised on the 5/3 to 5/10 sailing to Aruba,Bonaire,Grenada,Dominica & St Thomas. Our 1st time on Princess, had heard good things about this line so decided to try it. 1) Embarkation was very nice - got to terminal by 11:15 am, stood online till Noon when doors opened, once inside,zipped thru check-in process, stopped at store inside & picked up some soda and was on board, in our cabin by 12:30.  One note, have read in diff. places (inc Princess) that a crew member escorts you to your cabin,doesn't happen, they're by the elevators & tell you what deck you're on & which way to go but that's all.  No big deal but just mention for those who might be expecting this service.2) Disembarkation - had 1st priority, 8am (due to an early flt) -  no crew staff checked the colored tags so people were getting off as they pleased and causing slight back ups in luggage claim area.  line to go thru custom check was long and people were cutting it all over the place, when bought to the attention of Princess crew staff, they shrugged their shoulders & said "there was nothing they could do",which caused more people to cut the line.  So have no idea why these crew members bothered to be there.  Got to airport by 9:30, plenty of time for flt.  3) Our cabin steward was fabulous and so far other roll call members for this cruise said the same @ theirs too. Name was Dino, he has 6 more mos to go on his contract,hope someone here gets him.  He was always happy, smiling and very eager to please.  No idea when he slept though, was there when left in morn & when back late at night. Room was always fresh, ice kept filled etc.  He was the best. The wait staff in the restaurants were pleasant and friendly on the nights we were there.  The only drawback was never asked if wanted more on any of the servings, another cutback?4) I wish I could say the same about the rest of the crew, as a roll call member stated, never have saw so many frowning, unsmiling working people anywhere !!  The buffet crew were beyond belief !  We had to get our own drinks everytime, never even offered refills, and few times, never had our plates cleaned off the table.   The one Maitre'D in the Caribe buffet was extremely rude, at one point, as he walked past our table he said out loud, Ah Fungu(excuse the spelling).   Excuse Me??  think he better find another line of work.   We never saw the cruise director, not once at any of the activities we went to & we did alot of them.  Our last cruise, the guy was everywhere ! We didn't think he slept or stopped the whole time!  We met/saw the asst director and all the other social activities crew but never the main guy, maybe he didn't exist?  Alot of the crew on this ship are ending their contracts this coming week & I hope the new crew has better attitudes and know how to smile & say Hello.  5) Know theres a recession going on but the lack of usual activities on board was very sad.  Feel that this ship was using MUTS to keep us entertained rather than the usual silly games & contests etc.  Once a day, there would be some kind of activity by one of the pools and not made known very well unless happen to be by the pool or remembered from the Patter list.  Basically, the other activities were either additional costs or things like bridge playing, workshops etc.  Once or twice a day there would be a game or such thing but usually during the dinner hours or when most people would be ashore.  Bingo was every day but again right around the 1st dinner hour.  The activities they did have were fun and enjoyed them.  Felt that this ship had cut back or was aiming towards the more sedentary types. 6) Mostly everyone else on our roll call wasn't bothered by this but we found the ship to really move alot, from side to side, especially when going full speed over the Caribbean Sea (there was no bad weather) and there was alot of vibration.  Even felt it on the toilet seat and we were on the 12th deck.  One night it was rolling so much, we both had to leave our dinners, or I would have gotten sick in the dining room and I was taking Dramamine.    So we just skipped eating that night.   Been on 3 cruises and never felt so much movement and one cruise was in a OV sea level cabin,in the back of the ship.  7) The food in the dining rooms was good, the buffets were ... buffet food, have had more choices & better here in buffets in our area but there was plenty & filled us. Not many choices & basically same everyday.    My only complaint was, went to the Crown Grill one night, ordered the Pork Chop, started to eat it & it was pink, then dark pink in the middle.  I stopped eating it, where I come from, pork s/b white or its not cooked enough.  When the waiter came to see how we were doing, & saw the chop on my plate, asked why, so told him it wasn't cooked completely.  He told me its up to the Chef's discretion on how he wants to cook the food and this is how he wanted this to be cooked & walked away !!  Didn't offer to get another one, or to have this one cooked more, nothing.   My DH wanted to call him back & have it bought back to kitchen but I was concerned at what they would do to it if we did so told him to forget it.  Thought that maybe they would take a few $ off the bill to make amends, but nope, so this waiter didn't get the tip he should have.  This was very disturbing to me, know the charge for these rest. are not even close to what would pay in a rest at home, but did expect better service in it.8) Found the ship decor to be very dark, all dark paneling & trim, DH said it reminded him of the Titanic.  even the dining rooms were dark, some tables were in very dark areas that people could barely see the food.  One lounge by the theatre was a heavy smoking one & the doors were always open, so the smoke lingered out in the hall leading to the theatre entrance.9) Most of the entertainment was mediocre, didn't expect bdwy talent but could have been better. only Bert Stratton, piano player/comedian was terrific. One of the main attractions in the Piazza was a lady from Russia who was an award winning hula hoop person. A one time performance was enough, not everyday and not as a main attraction in the main area of ship.  10) We don't have high tastes, like very simple foods and are happy with a clean room/bed/linens and good places to visit. We believe that you make your own good time & don't depend on others or things to do so for us.  I straightened the bed out every morning so the steward didn't have to, things like that.  So wasn't expecting royalty service or gourmet foods or wanted that.  But this cruise line/ship didn't even meet most of what we have had on other lines and thought would have on this one, especially since always thought Princess was on the high end of the cruise ship lines.   11) Will we go on another Princess cruise? Never say never but doubt it.  This might be an example of the whole industry cutting back etc but don't know. Will wait till other people we know come back from their cruises this yr on other lines to see how things went on theirs.  But we were disappointed at the level of service and regard for us passengers on this ship.  As we all know, this is just two peoples opinions out of 3100 people on board, so there prob will be more positive opinions than ours. Everyone has their own reasons,choices,experiences & opinions.  So read ours & all the others here & then go on your cruise and enjoy yourselves & make your own good time.  Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
First, this cruise review represents two couples, late 50's.  We are two sisters, and we travel together with our husbands.  This is our 12th cruise, the 6th with Princess.  Other cruise lines we've used include Holland ... Read More
First, this cruise review represents two couples, late 50's.  We are two sisters, and we travel together with our husbands.  This is our 12th cruise, the 6th with Princess.  Other cruise lines we've used include Holland America, Celebrity, Carnival, Disney.  We can truthfully say we've enjoyed all of our cruises at some level (except one).  We can always find things to enjoy, and try to embrace the differences in what ships and cruise lines have to offer.  Variety is a good thing!  This is my first attempt at a review after making use of the many generous reviews on Cruise Critic, so I will try to "pay back" for all the reviews I've read!First, embarkation was a breeze.  Short line at about 2:30 p.m., onboard within 20 minutes or so.  The cabin is teensy, as was the bathroom, and the balcony.  Disappointed.  We last sailed on the Carnival Spirit and enjoyed the room and balcony.  Much more spacious.  Overall, the room is tired looking, like a motel room that has seen better days.  TV is updated, but we rarely used it.  We make much use of the balcony, and it was a real test of logistics to get the 4 of us on the balcony for wine and cheese in the evening.  But we did it!  As noted by others, the open balconies below us (we were on Aloha) would be very unappealing, due to the lack of shelter from the sun and from prying eyes above!  Unless one person stands in the shower it is impossible for two to be in the bathroom at the same time.  We all found the beds to be very uncomfortable.  Our steward brought egg crates and that helped but I never made peace with that bed.    The ship itself was in great shape, nice and new looking for the most part.  I didn't see alot of maintenance going on, so that was never disruptive.  In case you don't know, when you get off the elevators and try to think "left or right?", the completely blue rugs designate the starboard side.  The blue and peach/pink/coral rugs designate port.  Makes life easier.  This ship was almost identical to a previous Princess cruise we'd been on, so the dry dock didn't make it super special for us.  We enjoyed the location of the International Cafe, and made good use of the coffee cards.  They were a good value since we felt the coffee onboard was mediocre.  The remainder of the ship layout was very similar.  We agree with others that the casino was small for the size of the ship, and felt the Princess Theater was also too small.  Must admit that we only attended one show, the final one with a magician who was a hoot (James Michael), comedian, laughed till we cried (Tony Daro) and singer (so sorry, I think his name is Jesse Hamilton, but he was wonderfulgreat stage presence, fantastic voice).  We don't love production shows, so can't comment on those.  We also saw James Michael in the Wheelhouse Bar, a venue that was too small for the number of people who wanted to see the show.  Many had to stand, and many stood outside in the hallway.The only times the ship felt crowded was when trying to get past all the folks looking through photos, in the casino, and mercy, in the Horizon/Caribe.  What a mess.  Truly.  It took alot of work to get a meal.  We tried varying the times we went, and every time had to search through at least two seating areas to find a table.  I agree that the service was so-so.  We usually got our own beverages and refills.  They were fairly prompt in clearing off tables but that was about it.  Not a huge deal to get our own beverages, but the service was less than what we've had in the past.Cannot say enough about how poorly the food areas are laid out.  It's just a confusing "stew" of stuff.  People enter by two doors then muddle and mill around until they stumble into what they'd like to eat, then stumble out.  It's like beans in a jar, rolling around, banging into each other, then eventually shooting out the exit.  Trays would be nice, but would probably jam things up even more since people with trays take up more space than people holding a plate.  I don't think it can be fixed.  The design is just flawed.  The only thing I can think of is to have a traffic food cop to police how many people are in there at a time!  They were pretty diligent about hand cleaner but there was not someone policing hand cleaner all the time, and this is during the swine flu outbreak.Our single greatest disappointment of the cruise was the quality of the food, especially at lunch.  Did we always find something to eat?  Yes.  But we got to a point that we were SURPRISED when something was good rather than the other way around.  We'd usually try 5 or 6 spoonfuls of different things to find the one thing that was good enough to get more and call it lunch.  It isn't that it was awful.  It was just very school cafeteria-ish.  But, there were some wonderful surprises.  The guacamole and chips and salsa were fantastic.  The mashed potatoes were real.  A few of the soups were good.  The salad bar was ok.  Desserts were almost uniformly a disappointment.  My sister and I, after two days of lunches that were a challenge, decided to try a veggie burger at the grill.  We stood and waited for them about 10 minutes, watched them cook on the grill.  Finally got them, and they were exactly the consistency of uncooked meat loaf in the middle.  I shudder just typing the description.  Nasty and I don't mean maybe.  Fries were good.  Our husbands enjoyed the brats with sauerkraut.  The seafood was sometimes good.  Breakfast was ok for us as far as food.  It was always a traffic jam.  We tend to eat the same thing every day.  Cereal can't be messed up, though the milk never seemed sufficiently cold.  I liked the muesli and granola.  Two days I had soft fried eggs and bacon and it was good.  I'm impressed that they could serve soft fried eggs!  Two mornings we skipped breakfast in favor of getting the workout done and went straight to lunch.The fitness center was ok.  Maybe it was the times we went but we didn't have trouble finding a treadmill.  Although, at inopportune times they would block off 4 or 5 treadmills for no apparent reason.  One section of the treadmills had exercise bikes and big exercise balls immediately behind them.  So close that you had to step from one treadmill to another to get to them.  That seems dangerous to me, if anyone should fall on one of the treadmills they'd be off the back and straight into the exercise bikes.  A few days we exercised later and the sun was blazing in the windows.  It was like a greenhouse.  A truly miserable workout.  A little pull down shade would make alot of difference.  All the machines had their own tv and headsetvery nice.  Lots of distraction.  After 11 cruises, we decided to try something different for this one.  The appeal of formal night is very low for us.  We have had a rough past year and wanted the least amount of hassle for this cruise.  In the past we would dutifully wear gowns and tuxes and then go back to our rooms to change to be comfortable for dancing in the evening.  This cruise, for the first time, we ignored formal night and ate in the Lido.  Interesting.  Didn't miss the dressing up in the least and also don't believe in pushing the wardrobe boundaries and trying to get in the dining room dressed less than formally.  Both formal nights the Lido dining was "dressed up" with place mats and table settings.  On the second formal night (Friday) they served lobster claws, beef wellington and crab legs....very similar to what was served in the dining room.  Our husbands were very happy campers with all the lobster and crab they could want, when they wanted it.They served all the crab and shrimp you could want in the Lido area on the night we sailed rather than on Monday with the first formal night.  So we ate in the dining room once, in the Lido 3 times and in speciality restaurants 3 times.We ate in Sabatini's twice, enjoyed it.  Nice service from Martin and Albie.  Good food.  Don't eat everything they put in front of you and you'll be fine!  Also ate in the steak restaurant.  Didn't enjoy it as much, but the service was good, as was the food.  None of us had steak, though my brother in law had the pork chops and enjoyed them.  Onion soup was great as was the chocolate dessert and the sampler dessert.We didn't miss the dining room experience, but that doesn't mean that on our next cruise we won't go back to it.  The one meal we had in the dining room was 50/50.  Half of us liked it ok, the other half didn't.The passengers on this ship were a great cross-section of ages.  Lots of late 20's/early 30's; a few young families; a good mixture of all the other age groups.  No age group dominated, as far as I could see.  No issues with behavior or rudeness.  Everyone we met was lovely.The ship itself was sometimes just plain hot.  Might be the lights.  In the casino and other public areas it was roasting hot several nights.  The staff onboard was just great.  With the exception of one barman outside who was a little surly, the people were as lovely as they come.  Quick to smile, responsive, eager to please.  Jose, our room steward was super.  My sister and husband's shower only put out boiling hot water.  He was very prompt in getting a repair guy in to fix it.  He also responded quickly with our request for a sheet and blanket rather than just the duvet, which cooks my husband.  Ovette, at the purser's desk, responded to a problem we had and helped solve it with patience and good humor.  Daniele in Crooner's Bar was great.  Sammy, in the International Cafe was so personable and always remembered our names.  We loved the staff.  My brother-in-law wanted skim milk for his cereal one morning and they were very prompt in finding it, bringing it to him with a smile.  The staff is among the best we've ever encountered.Cannot thank Princess enough for the smoke free casino night.  LOVED IT.  Sorry to all the smokers out there, but it was so nice to not have to breathe second-hand smoke in order to enjoy a big amenity of the ship.  We were just thrilled that ships are finally taking note.  Each night we were in the casino I made note of how many smokers I saw, and the non-smokers vastly outnumbered the smokers every time, at least during the times we were there.  We have been driven out of casinos many times by smoke, and I would love to see the non-smokers at least have a 50% split on the evenings.  Only fair.One change in Bingo....if you came to the first one and didn't bring a pen you were out of luck or had to spend $1.50 to buy an ink roller thingey.  That irked my husband....it seemed like one more way to nickel and dime the customer.  No sheets with fold under little tabsyou had to mark these, so be warned!  Bring pens or little highlighters and you'll be good to go.The soft-serve ice cream was good, but why would you not serve it in the evening?  With all the people on deck and in the Lido area, it would seem to be perfect.  We always enjoyed that on Carnival and missed it on this cruise.One issue we had is with the Platinum level service.  When we boarded we had the wrong card levels.  We went to see the return passenger office to see about getting things updated correctly.  Both families were platinum, but it took alot to get it updated.  I'm sure the staff member was following directions but when we talked with her, it was like 20 questions.  Let's Play Stump the Passenger!  It appears that they don't track cruises well if you move, and we were stymied by being asked exactly when did you take a cruise.  She had to have been looking at the info in the computer but we were quizzed about the cruises we'd taken and she wouldn't give us any information or update us unless we came up with the cruises/years we'd been on Princess.  If you don't have it written down in chronological order it's really tough to do, especially since there were Carnival and Holland America and Disney and Celebrity cruises in there, too.  It doesn't have to be so hard.  Certainly not passenger friendly and not a great way to treat people who are on their 6th cruise with your company.  So, we missed expedited embarkment but got to sit in Sabatini's to wait for our color to be called.  Wonder what 12 cruises gets you?  :-)Overall, we were ok with this cruise, but are going away from Princess for a while.  Part of it is the sameness of the ships.  This ship was so much like a previous one we were on that it was a little like taking the same cruise (except the food quality has suffered).  One fun thing with trying different cruise lines is the fun of discovering a new ship, so we're going to branch out a little.  Our last cruise was on the Carnival Spirit out of San Diego and we would have turned around and done a back to back in a nanosecond if we could have.  We hated to leave that ship!  For this cruise, we would never do a back to back and left without a backward glance....Ports:Arubawent to Eagle Beach by taxi.  It was ok.  Not great.  We took this cruise for Aruba.  We had been on a previous cruise headed to Aruba for the last stop and two passengers went tragically overboard so we never made it for understandable reasons.  Aruba was high on our list, and it was ok, less than we expected.Bonairefabulous.  We booked a snorkel trip with Woodwind.  Dee and Tina are fantastic.  Loved them, loved the tour.  Great service, nice snorkel.  My sister is very frightened to snorkel but wanted to try.  Dee was the epitome of patience.  So understanding, gentle, encouraging.  There was also a woman onboard who had had a bad snorkel experience and Dee absolutely guaranteed that she would have a good experience.  And she did.  My sister was worn out from the stress of snorkeling, though she did it and enjoyed it as much as she was able.  Dee saw that she was tired and came over and held her hand and helped her paddle to the boat.  She and Tina were just so great.  Could not recommend them more highly.  Also served drinks, beer, watermelon, and offered them over and over.  One thing I loved is that as we headed back to the dock Dee saw a man (not in our group) who was apparently standing on the coral and she challenged him and admonished him to please not stand on the coral.  Good for her!  If you haven't been to Bonaire, it is just charming.  A lovely place.  GrenadaGrand Anse beach.  Fun.  Took the water taxi.  Beautiful beach.  Crowded.  It's a little overwhelming, because when you land on the beach there a bunches of beach waiters and folks standing there wanting to get you to rent their chairs.  We chose Nicholas, a real hustler in the best sense of the word.  He was on the go, kept checking back with us, brought drinks, got us set up and was up and down the beach the rest of the day.  Nice kid.  Ask for him.  We admired his hard work and tipped him accordingly.  Bought spices at the spice market at the beach.  Dominicawe weren't interested in windshield time, no matter how pretty the terrain.  Have seen the rainforest in the Amazon and Puerto Rico, so it held no appeal.  We walked around in town but can't comment on tours.Have been to St. Thomas many times.  Stayed on the ship and enjoyed the day.One note.  Following the cruise we stayed one night at the Caribe Hilton.  Very nice.  The most wonderful pool area with several levels of pools and jacuzzis, swim-up bar, beach area with a breaker area that gives protected ocean swimming.  Ocean and pool are at the same place so visually it is super.  Prices are through the roof for food and drinks.  A mojito is $12, as are all "beach drinks".  $7 for a beer.  Food is very expensive, too.  If you stay here ask for a room in the new section.  Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
EMERALD PRINCESS BALTIC CRUISE 15TH - 25TH MAY 2009 Continuing on from the Transatlantic cruise, in Copenhagen we hopped on the ships shuttle into the city, unfortunately it was a very overcast day and rained sporadically throughout, but ... Read More
EMERALD PRINCESS BALTIC CRUISE 15TH - 25TH MAY 2009 Continuing on from the Transatlantic cruise, in Copenhagen we hopped on the ships shuttle into the city, unfortunately it was a very overcast day and rained sporadically throughout, but we managed to see most of the sights without getting too wet. The dock there is quite far away from anything really. We had hoped that we could walk into the city but that wasn't to be.  There were over 600 of us continuing on this cruise so it was nice to recognise faces in amongst all the 'strangers'.  We had expected new menus for this portion of the cruise but they were the same as the previous cruise, most of the entertainment and movies was the same as well, they did add Kevin Hughes a very funny comedian to the mix however and we attended two of his 5 shows. We worked out though that Steven Rawlings a comedy juggler, a very funny man was on for no less than 8 days out of our 27 days.  We had done our homework thoroughly for this cruise and had purchased not only travel books but also a DVD that John Lawrence has available, this proved invaluable and I would urge anyone taking a baltic cruise to buy it. It was available on board but we heard many folk wishing that they had known about it before they left home. He also continued on this cruise and I believe will be on for the entire season, he was always available for questions and we thoroughly enjoyed talking to him - an absolute gentleman.  We were lucky with the weather as well, it was pretty cold but the rain held off mostly everywhere except Stockholm. Of course St Petersburg was the highlight and we were lucky in being in a brand new dock (or so they told us) where the immigration was faster. I wouldn't like to be in the old one as they seemed to take an age inspecting all our papers. Some people had their photocopy of their passport returned to them and some didn't, but everyone had to fill in a landing form and these were duly inspected along with the tour ticket and actual passport. We were given dire warnings about Not losing the passport and to beware of  pickpockets, but to my knowledge all went smoothly.  We had booked with Denrus and they were there waiting when we emerged from the terminal building, getting off the ship was a breeze, despite all the warnings that we had been given, no-one tried to stop us and we walked off among the first group. We did hear that several independent people were turned away by the immigration people, not by the ship, so it would appear that the immigration are the problem Not Princess. Everything was fantastic and completely went to our requested route.We had hoped to pick up some 'bargain' souvenirs while out and about but strangely enough and as cheerfully admitted by our guide alot of the souvenirs are actually made in China, so we were quite content to buy a lovely laquer box on board and know that it was actually made in Russia. Our one disappointment here was that the evening tour to the Hermitage was cancelled due to lack of bookings, if we ever come back we would like to book that privately as well if possible.  We were late leaving the dock on the second day as many tour busses were late back to the ship. The traffic in the city is quite unbelievable.  Tallinn was a lovely surprise, pity we didn't have longer there. It's very easy to walk into the lower town and then the upper town, we were lucky again in that when we got to the Russian church around 9.15 they were having a service and we stopped to listen to the lovely singing. Gdansk was interesting we opted to go in on the local train and were lucky enough to run into John Lawrence and his wife who were going the same route, there was quite a crowd and he very patiently helped us all to buy the tickets and point us in the right direction.  We managed to see all that we wanted here and even climbed to the top a tower in the archaelogical museum, just a mere 142 steps with a near ladder at the end, but got beautiful views over the city. We got off the train on the way back  at Sopot the seaside town and had a quick look round there, it was lovely, very quaint, wish that we had been able to spend a little longer but had to get back to the train.  This of course is the downside to going independently, the little niggle at the back of your mind that something might happen on the way back and you miss the ship. Then we were in Oslo again and once again it was fantastic weather, this time we visited the Vigeland Park  and the statues before continuing over  to the museums.  Disembarkation was a bit chaotic, we were over an hour late arriving in Copenhagen and people were getting upset that they might miss the early flights, no reason was given for the late arrival, so I guess that is a good lesson not to book early flights. We had a fantastic time overall, the only negatives was really the blandness and repetitiveness of the food. The total lack of news programs on the TV which was really strange, perhaps it's all a part of the "escape completely" program. The positives were of course the itinerary where else could you visit so many countries in such a short time without having to pack and unpack, the enthusiasm of the Cruise Director Neil Chandler  and his staff, the fantastic port lectures given by John Lawrence, and the general friendliness of most of the staff on board (the only ones that seemed to have 'attitude' were  the photographers who were quite pushy). Just a note for those who seem to be having trouble with the immigration arrangements at St Petersburg, the Russians are the ones who decide on the number of booths that are allocated to Princess tours and independents and they seem to be very fair,  one quarter of the booths open are for independents and that seems to tie in with the number of passengers doing their own thing. If you want to see trouble in getting through the immigration then just get behind a Russian Crew member, they were practically given the 'third degree'. Everything works well and I would  certainly not endorse the advice given by Guidediva in a recent post to ignore everything that the cruise line says. If Princess management read this I would urge them to use more staff to reduce the lines that are everywhere. Only two people were ever working at the tour office desk and the lines were always long, same at the shuttle busses, only one person selling tickets, took ages to get on board. There must be a faster way to do these things.  Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
General info I am late 30's, my husband is mid 40's. This trip was to celebrate our 15 year anniversary and it was our first time to Europe. The #1 piece of advice I would give to anyone on a trip like this is to do your ... Read More
General info I am late 30's, my husband is mid 40's. This trip was to celebrate our 15 year anniversary and it was our first time to Europe. The #1 piece of advice I would give to anyone on a trip like this is to do your research and plan very far ahead in order to make the most out of every day - one day in a major European city requires much advance planning and a decision making about what is important to you to see. We felt like this was a terrific way to see Europe for the first time and would recommend it to anyone. It was truly a trip of a lifetime and enabled us to get the flavor of a lot of different countries in one shot. We did private tours in every port but 1 and definitely feel this is the way to go to make the most out of your trip. We had impeccable weather - it was high 70's with a slight breeze and not a cloud in sight every day but one. We felt so fortunate to have this amazing weather in the beginning of May (the trip was May 2 - 18). Flights & pre cruise in Barcelona We flew Air France out of LAX via Paris to Barcelona and again via Paris back home from Venice. I had heard flying through Paris was a nightmare but that wasn't our experience - our flights coming and going were on time and comfortable and the service was outstanding and the food was even good and all luggage made it safely - phew! We stayed 2 nights at the Le Meridien Barcelona pre cruise. It was a perfect location on Las Ramblas and very comfortable and we had terrific service. We had 2 full days in Barcelona and feel like we barely scratched the surface. We could have easily spent a week there. Barcelona proved to be one of our favorite stops of the entire trip. The first day we took a 2 hours walking tour of the Gothic Quarter - this was an excellent way to start our time in the city and we learned a lot about the history of old Barcelona. Thoroughly enjoyed this tour and it was very inexpensive. After our walking tour we went to the Picasso Museum, then Citadel Park, then wandered through the Gothic Quarter on our own and of course stopped for tapas and sangria in the later afternoon to give our feet a break. Later that night we went to see the magic fountains at Montjuic. This was very, very special and a must see in Barcelona if you're there overnight! One of the highlights for us. Don't miss it! Day 2 in Barcelona was spent in the Eixample District. We saw all the Gaudi sights. All were very, very crowded so we just took pictures to them from the street and didn't get close up.  We did go into Parc Guell which was well worth it. Very unique area with beautiful city views. Also a must see! We had purchased a one day pass for the HOHO bus but every time we tried to get on it the wait was 30 to 60 minutes so we always ended up giving up and walking (we hate lines!!). If I were to go again I would probably just skip out on the HOHO bus and walk everywhere or hail a cab if I get too tired. I'm not sure if we just hit the HOHO bus on a bad day (there were lots of ships in port). Maybe its not always like that. Before heading to the ship we went to take out some cash at an ATM on the Ramblas. Our card was eaten up and we could not get it back. Thankfully we had a secondary ATM card. Make sure you have a backup plan for getting cash!  We boarded the ship at about 4 PM. Embarkation took about 10 minutes. We took a cab from the hotel and it was a snap. The ship - Ruby Princess Wow - what a beauty! This was our 6the Princess cruise and this ship was the most impressive so far. This cruise was so port intensive that we felt we barely got to enjoy all the wonderful amenities onboard. But what we did utilize we couldn't have been happier with. The staff was impeccable - the best service we've ever had onboard Princess (its always good but this was over the top). The matire d' hotel, Generoso Mazzione, was an absolute gem. He and his staff paid attention to every detail and went far and away beyond any service I would ever expect on a ship with 3,000 passengers. The food was overall the best food we have ever had on a cruise. Night after night, day after day, the food was impeccable. We had anytime dining and the head waiter, Godwin, had the same table for 2 reserved for us in the Da Vinci dining room every night regardless of what time we showed up. Our server, Grisana, became our friend. We were fortunate enough to enjoy the Chef's Table one night. It has been well reported on already so I won't be redundant but suffice it say it was one of the best meals we have ever had (and we're major foodies) and the VIP treatment that comes with the experience is so over the top that we just couldn't believe it. We will never, ever forget that special night! Truly a highlight of the trip. We didn't see as much entertainment as we normally do since we were so exhausted at night. We did manage to catch all 3 Broadway style shows and they were all very good - Once Upon a Dream was downright phenomenal. So innovative and unique - the best show we've ever seen on a cruise ship by far! Don't miss it!We had a balcony stateroom on the Baja deck. We originally had an inside cabin because we were thinking we'd barely be around enough to enjoy a balcony so why pay for it? We re-thought it a few months prior to the trip and I am so glad we did! At the end of each day we were so exhausted and drained we were so happy to have a nice room and balcony to relax in! Well worth the extra money - especially for a cruise this long. One other noteworthy item - Ultimate Balcony Dining. We did this the night after sailing away from Istanbul. Wow - what an experience! The biggest lobster tail we've ever had and the filet was great too. Neither of could finish our meal which almost never happens (we're big eaters!). I highly recommend this experience - truly special in every way. AS luck would have it we had an incredible sunset that night too. The 2 servers even came in and sang "Happy Anniversary to you" with a cake and a candle. They were so sweet! It was the perfect way to end an incredible day and we would do it again in a minute. The ports: Monaco We had a tour with Michele at: www.revelationtours.com We went to St. Paul de Vence, then drove through Nice on the way to Eze, then finished the day in Monte Carlo. We shared the tour with 6 other members of our roll call. Both SP de Vence & Eze were incredible - two villages that time seems to have just passed by. We thoroughly enjoyed them both but if you can only see one I think I would pick Eze - just slightly more charming and a little less crowded. But either one is fantastic and we were so happy we got to spend time in each of them. Nice was just OK - I'm glad we didn't spend any time there. We live in Southern CA and it felt a lot like home to us. We enjoyed our time in Monte Carlo. We went inside the cathedral and walked around the casino area and then through the park near the cathedral which is just lovely. Michele was terrific - very flexible with our schedule (we had some confusion with our ship's docking time) and he was also very informative - we learned a lot about the history of the area, etc. We really enjoyed having him as our guide. He also took us to a few lookout points with incredible views where we got some of our best pictures of the whole trip. Of all the ports, Monaco was the one we were least excited about prior to the trip - but after going there we felt differently. This was a very, very memorable day and we absolutely loved the area and it is truly unique in every way. We'd go there again in a heartbeat. Livorno We toured with Guido from: www.tuscanyinmypocket.com We cannot say enough about the day we had with Guido. I actually got emotional saying goodbye to him - that is how much he touched our heart. He made this day special and memorable in every way. He was born and raised in Florence and everywhere we went people we honking and waving at him like he owned the place. He would pull us up to the door of each major site - right into the square amidst crowds of people - and get is into the sites with no line. We felt like celebrities. It was crazy. His knowledge of the region is simply astounding, and his passion for his home comes through in everything he says. We spent the first half of the day in Florence. There's so much to see there - we needed 3 days! We did see the original David - a must see in my opinion. Absolutely mind blowing - the size, the detail. We will never forget it. We of course went to the duomo and spent a little time in the area around it. We also went to Santa Croce cathedral and saw the tombs of Michelangelo, Galileo, etc. We loved everything about Florence. A big city with a small town feel. Definitely on our list of places to return to! After Florence we went to Chianti. Guido took us to a family owned winery called Montagliari. We sat outside overlooking the vineyards and had the best meal of the entire trip at the winery. Caprese w/ homemade mozzarella and home-grown tomatoes, homemade pasta with wild boar sauce, balls of spinach with gorgonzola sauce, and Italian apple pie, all accompanied by a bottle of Chianti of course! After lunch we toured the wine caves and the balsameria where they age the balsamic vinegar, then we finished with wine tasting in the tasting room.  The winery and surrounding area were incredibly beautiful - green and lush everywhere you looked. The hospitality at the winery was over the top - we felt like we were at someone's home. This day was one we will never forget. It was special in every way and meeting Guido was one of the highlights of the entire vacation. I cannot say enough about him and about this tour. Civitavecchia We used:www.limoinrome.com We joined someone else's tour from our roll call. There were 8 of us. Our driver was just OK. He was nice but never said a word after we got into the van as we were heading to Rome. I felt like I didn't learn nearly as much this day as we could have. He seemed more like a driver than a guide. He just kind of dropped us off at sites and we were left to figure it out on our own. We saw all the must-see sites: Circus Maximus, Palatine Hill, Colesseum, Pantheon Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps, Forum, etc. One place we went that is not as typical is the Basilica of Sao Paulo. This was probably the most beautiful church we saw in Italy. And because its slightly off the beaten path it wasn't crowded. I highly recommend visiting this church. It also has the remains of Peter and the actual chains that he wore when imprisoned. Very impressive building. After dashing from site to site we grabbed a quick sandwich and then met up with our licensed historian at the Vatican for a 2 hour tour. I cannot imagine visiting the Vatican without a guide. It is so enormous and there's so much to see and learn - we would have been lost without her. She was a terrific guide and this was definitely the highlight of the day. Everything we saw at the Vatican Museums blew our mind but the Sistine Chapel is in a class all its own. Do not miss this! Naples Our guide was Fabrizio Fiorinelli at: www.amalfi-drive.com This was an incredible day and a nice change in pace after running ragged all day in Rome. Fabrizio was so professional and sweet and gave us terrific background on the area without talking too much. We first went to Sorrento. Wow - what a place! The charm and the lemons everywhere - just a really special, unique little town. We went to the Limonoro Limoncello Factory for some tasting and of course walked out with 2 bags of purchases. They are so friendly in there and when I asked if I could take a picture of the guy making the limoncello he invited me to come in and be in the picture with him, holding the bottle as though I were making it. Just a fun, happy place! We had about 90 minutes to walk around and explore the nooks and crannies of this special place. From there we headed to Positano. All I can say is - WOW! You approach the town from above and the car can only go to the top of town. From there you can only walk as you wind through the shops and galleries and head towards the sea. There is a certain magic or mystique to this place that it is hard to describe - a definitely must see on the Amalfi Coast! We hope to go back someday and stay for a few days. After leaving Positano as we were winding along the road Fabrizio stops and there's a man standing on the road that hands him something. We are wondering what in the world is going on. Fabrizio them hands the package to me and tells me it's a gift. I open it and it's a plate with a hand painted design and lemons on it and it says "Amalfi Drive 2009" and has my name at the bottom. What a special, thoughtful touch. I will always cherish that plate and the memories of this special day. From there Fabrizio took us to La Tagliata for Lunch. It sits high up in the mountain, overlooking Positano and the sea. The minute we sat down (there were 6 in our group) - they started bringing food and wine. We had NONE - yes NINE - antipasti, then 5 different pastas and all the red or white wine we could drink. Then they brought 7 desserts and shots of limoncello for all. This was probably the 2nd best meal we had on our trip (after the Chianti winery) and we were shocked when the bill came and it was only $25 per person. At home a meal like that would have been at least $50 per person. This restaurant has amazing views and the service and attentiveness from the staff is top notch. What an incredible experience! Now it was time to head to Pompeii. We can't say enough about how impressed we were with Pompeii. We paid the additional fees for a licensed guide (I highly recommend this!!). He was also named Fabrizio and he was a delight. We learned so much and thoroughly enjoyed this peek into 1st century Roman life. Pompeii is not to be missed. It was great going tin the afternoon because it wasn't crowded at all. Our guide said the first half of the day you can barely get around its so crowded. When we got back to the car Fabrizio #1 had a pizza waiting for us. He had heard us talking earlier about how we wanted to be sure to try a pizza from Naples since that's where it was invented. This was another thoughtful, personal touch that really impressed us. I can't say enough about Fabrizio and his kind demeanor. He went out of his way to make our day special and he succeeded. I would hire him again without hesitation. Sea day Boy we were ready for this. The exhaustion was really setting in. We had read how tired you are on this trip but nothing could have prepared us for this level of exhaustion. I slept in til 10 AM, my husband slept till 1 PM. I got a pedicure (which was so-so, not nearly as good as the spa pedis I get at home). We sat by the pool for a couple of hours then took a nap. It was really nice to rejuvenate and catch up no rest. We needed it! Mykonos This port was a nice diversion - casual, beach-y, easy. We rented a quad from: www.okmykonos.com This was a terrific way to explore the island. We rode all over the place and finished the day at Stefanos Beach right in front of where the ship was docked. A lovely island and lots of beautiful beaches. I highly recommend renting a quad or moped so you can explore on your own. We got lost a couple of times which was half the fun. The island is small so its easy to find your way if you get turned around. We felt completely safe on the quad. We rented 1 and rode on it together. Istanbul Since we were in Istanbul on a Monday we had to take a ships tour if we wanted to see the Hagia Sofia. We reluctantly signed up for the "Best of Istanbul" tour and hoped for the best. We were pleasantly surprised. It was not bad at all. Our guide was terrific and we didn't feel like we were in a cattle herd like I had feared. I talked to other people who took this same tour on a different bus and they said it was an absolutely nightmare. I think that bottom line is - when you take a ships tour in a city like this it's a crap shoot. A lot depends on the guide and the timing of your landing at certain sites. We enjoyed our day very much and were so happy to be able to see the Hagia Sofia. I read somewhere else that someone was very "underwhelmed" by it - I guess everyone is different......because it was the highlight of the day for us. The history of that building is so impressive and to see the Muslim and Christian relics side by side is really something. I would classify this as a must-see. We also visited the Blue Mosque - wow - what a beautiful and unique place of worship. We then headed to Topkapi Palace where we toured the palace, then had a very delicious lunch in a lovely restaurant overlooking the water, then toured the Harem. Do not miss the Harem! It is a fascinating look into the life of the sultans and their families. After the Harem we had about an hour in the Grand Bazaar. A really fun experience - I felt an hour was plenty - its kind of the same 10 shops repeated over and over again. We were ready to go after an hour. We got a little lost and came out the wrong exit - the place is huge! We had some momentary panic as it was getting closer to the time to meet up with our group, but we found our way and met up with 2 minutes to spare. Close call!! This was a very memorable day - Istanbul is a fascinating city and absolutely beautiful! Just walking over to Topkapi Palace from the Hagia Sofia was lovely - beautiful boutique hotels, some newly renovated apartments - very, very charming. We are so happy we had the opportunity to visit such a unique and fascinating city. Ephesus Tour guides in Turkey are very affordable so we decided to do a private tour here with just the 2 of us. We used EKOL tours and had Ozgur as our guide. It was nice to have a private tour and Ozgur was a delight and was very knowledgeable. We were surprised to find that Kusadasi is an absolutely beautiful, modern port. We were able to wander around there for a couple of hours after out tour - we did some shopping and sat down for a beer at a waterside cafe. I highly recommend allowing time to spend in Kusadasi itself. It is beautiful and the people were very friendly. Our tour took us to Mary's house, Ephesus and the Terrace Houses, and the tomb of St. John. Ancient Ephesus was so impressive and we felt the Terrace Houses are a must see. They are still excavating there and you wouldn't believe how well preserved everything is! Ephesus overall was one of the most impressive sites from the whole trip. We are students of the Bible so it really meant a lot to us to see in person an area that is often mentioned in the Bible. Even if you aren't a Bible student, I cannot imagine anyone not being impressed with this ancient city. Having a private tour was the way to go - we arrived at every site about 30 minutes ahead of all the large buses so the crowds weren't too bad. It was great to get at our own pace since it was just the 2 of us. The geography in this area was beautiful - rolling green hills down to the sea - it reminded us a lot of home (southern CA). Athens We shared a tour with 8 other members of our roll call we used Paul from: www.athenstaxi.org Paul was very nice and was informative. We were surprised at how dirty Athens is - there was a lot of graffiti everywhere. This was one of least favorite cities. We visited the Acropolis and all its sites, then went to the National Archaeological Museum. Afterwards we had a few hours to wander the Plaka and we used that time to have lunch there too. After that we explored the ancient Roman & Greek agoras - both fascinating and lovely and worth seeing! The National Archaeological Museum was the highlight of the day for us. Very, very impressive collection. We only had an hour there and wished we had longer to explore the many treasures. The shopping in the Plaka was so-so - lots of junk and we could have used less time there. We did have a wonderful lunch there at one of the tavernas. We sat outside and enjoyed watching all the hussle and bussle. It was a welcome break because it was very hot that day! Sea Day Another welcome break to gear up for our 3 day Venice extravaganza! And more beautiful weather to boot. We spent the whole day on a lounge just outside the sanctuary - so peaceful and quiet! We napped on and off. A great, great day! Venice Sailing into Venice was quite a site to behold. This was the only cloudy day of our trip but even that didn't dampen the excitement of our sail-in. We stayed on or balcony - I heard it was very crowded on the upper decks. We were happy to be on the side of the ship that sailed by St. Marks. What a memorable way to see Venice for the first time - from the water! They had the Andrea Bocelli music paying up on deck and also had it piped in through the tv so we were able to turn it on I the cabin and hear it out on deck. It was truly magical and lived up to the hype! Our ship sailed in at 1 and we had a tour lined up at 2 PM along with 6 other roll call members. We were picked up by a water taxi and had a 1 hour Grand Canal tour followed by a 3 hour walking tour. We used: www.tours-italy.com Our guide, Sabine, was so passionate about Venice! Our land tour started at St. Mark's Basilica. After going inside we then began a tour of the off the beaten path areas .This was incredible! We saw where Venetians actually live and learned so much about the history of the city. We never would have found any of these places on our own. It was a terrific introduction to the city. After the tour we all went our separate ways. We shopped a little then headed towards the ship. We got lost and it took a couple of hours to finally make it there. We were wiped out! The next morning was disembarkation day. We opted to self-disembark and it was an absolute breeze! We were among the first off the ship and another member of our roll call had arranged for a private water taxi for 6 of us. The taxi dropped them off at their hotel with their luggage then dropped us and our luggage off. We stayed at the Hotel al Ponte Mocenigo, just a stone's throw from the St. Stae vaporetto stop. Loved everything about it - including the location and price! They welcomed us with open arms even though we arrived at the hotel at 8:30 AM. They invited us in for breakfast. We had some coffee and got our bearings and headed out for the Secret Itineraries tour at the Doge's Palace. We took our time getting there since it wasn't until after 11. We took the elevator to the top of the campanile at St. Mark's Square - great views! It was early enough in the morning so there was not wait to go up. Good timing! The Secret Itineraries tour was awesome! I highly recommend it. The Doge's Palace itself is really something too. After our tour we wandered around there a bit. We could have spent more time there but we were getting hungry. Off we went to Cafe Florian for lunch and of course champagne! Sitting there in St. Mark's Square with the music of the orchestras shipping champagne...WOW! Dreams to come true. It was amazing. We then headed to our hotel where our bags had already been delivered in our room. We chilled out for the afternoon and had dinner at a cafe near the Rialto Bridge. It was a memorable meal with great views and terrific people watching! The following day we visited the Accademia - very impressive! I had pre-reserved tickets with a specific entrance time. It turned out it wasn't needed - there was no line. But you never know. Afterwards we had pizza and beer at the pizza place alongside the Accademia bridge - YUM! We just kept saying :" I can't believe we're really here!" From there we toured Ca' Rezonnico - which we really enjoyed.....we paid the additional fee for the audio tour which was well worth it.  For dinner we went near the St. Mark's square area to a restaurant that Generoso had recommended to us - excellent meal and a terrific way to end our trip! It was called Centrale Bar and Lounge. Warning - its not cheap! Venice is such a magical place - we had very, very high expectations and they were exceeded. It ended up being our favorite city overall from the whole trip and we can't wait to go back. It is unlike any other place we've ever been, and I would imagine, unlike any place on earth. What a perfect place to end this vacation of a lifetime! Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
We arrived in Seattle on Thursday for a Saturday sail. We stayed at the Shafer Baillie Mansion B & B. Fifty-dollar taxi from airport. This is a beautifully restored three-story house on Seattle's "Millionaires Row". ... Read More
We arrived in Seattle on Thursday for a Saturday sail. We stayed at the Shafer Baillie Mansion B & B. Fifty-dollar taxi from airport. This is a beautifully restored three-story house on Seattle's "Millionaires Row". Old water tower one block away in a nice park provides a great view of Seattle. Walk to downtown is 2.25 miles down hill. Number 10 bus stops one block from B & B. Too many eateries and pubs and great happy hours in Seattle! Taxi to port was $22. We arrived 30 minutes before boarding. Ship check-in was fast and orderly. We went straight to the Lido deck for buffet lunch - OK but I think crew is not up to speed as they restock for the coming cruise. We returned to our cabin to find our luggage had been delivered. We had ocean view cabins this obstructed views as advertised. Lifeboats obstructed the bottom third of 4' X 3' window. We could not see straight down but could see water and sites straight out - not bad. Cabin is furnished basic with two twins pushed together two night stands, desk, two chairs, TV and refrigerator. Closet area was of good size. Now for the bathroom think small. There is no sharing a shower here. It is pretty much a one-person room. But if I was to choose between my house and the cabin I would take the cruise you make do. We were located over the casino but never heard a sound. The Golden Princess was beautiful. It had a feeling of class without all Las Vegas glitz of Carnival. Many reviewers had mentioned how spacious the ship feels with 2600 passengers. I was skeptical but it was true. We moved about freely and had little problems with seating at shows. Early main shows fill faster. This was our first experience with open seating dinning. We loved the freedom of eating on our time schedule. We made one dinner reservations one night but all other nights we just showed up and walked in or waited no longer than 10 minutes. We had no complaints on the food. Many dinner options allowed us to try different dishes each night. All breads, pastries and ice cream are made on board 24 hrs per day and are wonderful. Soft-serve ice cream is available free on the Lido deck 11am to 9pm. The ship crew top to bottom was very attentive and courteous. Princess must continuously work with the crew to achieve this service. Three large production entertainment shows were presented. The cast was very talented and worked their butt's off. The main show room seats 700+, all with good site lines. A comedian and magician also presented. Don't miss the backstage tour! I would of liked to see live entertainment on the pool side decks. A huge outdoor video screen shows movies, travel videos, concerts and you can play PS3 video games. Princess has introduced a "Serenity" area on some ships, which provides luxury lounge chairs, towels, privet pool and servers for $10 per half day. Few passengers elected to separate themselves from the general public. I hope Princess will return this space to all. Don't miss cruising Alaska. The scenery on both sides of the ship is unsurpassed for a cruise. We saw seals and countless whales this trip, unbelievable blue icebergs along side the ship and numerous water falls.Our first cruise with Princess was all we hoped for and we will be back.   Read Less
Sail Date June 2009
Well after years of looking forward to my first cruise I finally got to go. We left Texas early in the morning and flew to LGA in NYC, and we booked a limo service to pick us up in a town car and that was the greatest start to it all.  We ... Read More
Well after years of looking forward to my first cruise I finally got to go. We left Texas early in the morning and flew to LGA in NYC, and we booked a limo service to pick us up in a town car and that was the greatest start to it all.  We arrived at the terminal at about 1 and got our luggage checked in very easily and each station getting on the ship was timely and easy, but then again I was cruising with a very seasoned Princess Cruiser (14 trips so far). The weather was iffy at best with clouds and overcast, but the line can't control that. Once on the ship we went to the cabin and downloaded our carry-ons and got settled in before we toured the ship. Overall the ship was clean and in good order, and things looked very hopeful. On embarkation the rains started and the Verrazano Bridge was cast in clouds but again not a thing anyone could do. Our first day at sea was sunny and warm so we proceeded to the deck for what it was all about for us, LAYIN OUT IN THE SUN. This is when we had our first of what was to be many issues. We met our steward and asked for extra towels since we needed 2 towel each to shower, he agreed with us and we thought it was taken care of but we should have known he didn't know enough english to understand us. We had to keep asking throughout the cruise for towels and we finally just took them from the cart in the passage so we could have them. That was the first issue but we adapted. Well day 2 and the rains and rough seas reappeared but again that was up to a higher being. On night 2 we had or first formal night and we dressed to the 9's, I in my dress blues with all my shiney medals in order and my lovely lady in her new Pink dress and what a sight she was. Well we chose the any-time dining so we had to wait for a table and were given a pager but not a big deal, we just roamed and took pictures till our seating was ready. Well we finally went in and were seated and the waiter gave everyone at the table a menu (SO HE THOUGHT) and left for about 15 minutes. When he returned he started to take orders but before he could my lady informed him that not everyone was given a menu, yes, me in all my glory with medals and shining gold on that blue uniform was OVERLOOKED and I stood out so much people were stopping me to say thank you for my service. But oh well I was invisible to the staff. Well they corrected the issue and I had until they circled the table taking orders to decide what I wanted and the selection wasn't what my lady had told me it would be and we were both disappointed. Well, we move on to Grand Turk, our first stop and the weather seemed to be holding off and we planned for our first excursion a snorkling trip. Well we had decided on the later morning trip to allow us to leisure our way off the first stop. Well as we approached our meetup point the weather had turned for the worse and they cancelled all the excursions, but again not the fault of the line. We were refunded the fee and all was good. Spent the day on the beach looking at the ship and decided to get back to the ship before the rains came again. Good move on our part beat the rush. Day 4 and into San Juan, which we could take or leave for our taste, 2 other ships in port and streets smaller than and road stripe so we stayed on the ship to get some sun. Day 5 into ST THOMAS, the port of excitement for us. And wow, I got to try on more jewelery than she did, of course we were looking for my wedding ring. We then took a taxi on our own to Megan's Bay and if you go that is a must see. Well back to the ship before 3:30 for a 4pm departure so all in all a great stop. Well back on the ship and that night was a special occasion for me they were honoring my retirement at dinner that evening and they left a letter in our cabin for us to give to the Matradee wish we did and he looked at it and had us seated without taking the letter. This seemed strange so I showed our waiter and he had no idea what to do so I asked him to show the head waiter or the matradee and after a few minutes he returned and said it was taken care of. Well here come INVISIBLE INCIDENT #2, the photographer came to the table to take pictures and the night was "individual pictures" so she started with my lady and worked the way around the table opposite me, to finally get the the gentleman next to me saying "last but not least" about him and my lady went off saying "WHAT IS HE INVISIBLE?" and the lady said oh I'm sorry and took the picture. Well dinner menu was sparse again but made do, and in the end ordered a desert and just as they delivered it I was also given a personal chocolate cake for my retirement celebration, They could have told me before I started eating my desert I ordered, but had it boxed and sent back to the cabin for later. OK that was enough that night to the Casino, and now that is a dangerous place to be now that you can use your cruise card to play the machines and tables. Just like the alcohol you can run up a charge and never know just how bad if you mix the two. But that is a personal choice not the line again. OK, back to the cabin, the beds as most know are hard at best for most but when you are used to a soft bed it is almost impossible to sleep on them, we had asked for a matress pad to help soften it and were told none were available. I'll get back to this on the last night. Well a day at sea again and out  to the Pool for some sun all in all a good day, OK, here is another issue, in the buffets we always had an issue with silverware and drinks it took over 10 minutes each time to get either or both and refills were NONE EXISTENT. We began to order 4 Lemonades with no ice so that we would have enough to hope to get through the meal. Cups and ice were easy to get at the stations at each end anyway so again another adaptation. Again goes back to what I was told that they wait on you to make sure you are happy, so far not luck there. Into Bermuda, for day 7 and this is such a beautiful place but not near enough time to see even a portion of it, Just going to have to take a dedicated cruise on NCL for 7 days there for that. Well day 8 at sea and last formal night and the rented tux was great and for a change the dinner was an enjoyable experience for all. Now back to the cabin to pack up for the debarkation the next morning. Well after packing the bags and placing them in the passageway we notice of all things a rolled up matress pad in the hallway. And we think to ourselves I thought they didn't have any of those. We know they did because our bed had one on it to connect the 2 twin beds to make the queen so there has to be a storage place on the ship full of them should one get wet, dirty, or damaged, again WHY WERE WE TOLD THERE WASN'T ANY ON THE SHIP. Again not enough english comprehension is our thought. So over all we both decided to do the only thing we could do to complain at this point and have the Gratuties backed out of our charges and low and behold we had to stand in line at the Purser's desk because we were not the only ones. This we believe is a key factor in the level of service because not everyone is told they can do this and the service staff will get the rewards regardless. We are going on a RCL cruise in May 2010 for Wedding/Honeymoon and next will be Celebrity for that adventure. If Princess makes changes then we may return but since Carnival owns them now we doubt that, just hope they don't fall to that level. Read Less
Sail Date June 2009
Background Information:My husband and I are from South Dakota and this was our 5th cruise on Princess and second on the Caribbean Princess.  We flew into LGA the day before our cruise and stayed in Brooklyn.  We arrived, by car service, ... Read More
Background Information:My husband and I are from South Dakota and this was our 5th cruise on Princess and second on the Caribbean Princess.  We flew into LGA the day before our cruise and stayed in Brooklyn.  We arrived, by car service, at the cruise pier at about 11:45am and were on board within 10 minutes!  The embarkation process was a breeze and very well organized.  Our room was C-750 the St. Kits Suite.  Excellent room, lots of storage, wonderful shower and Jacuzzi tub with jets, spacious balcony with comfortable furniture.  However, our room steward was not very friendly or energetic and rarely went "the extra mile."  He seemed burned out.  I asked him how long he has been with Princess and he said 14 years.  On three occasions I was had both of my hands full, with food and beverages, and he'd see me in the hallway and would not help open our stateroom door.  The 4th time this happened I said aloud, "could you please help me open my room, my hands are rather full."  Things we found to be exceptional: Laundry service Sergio and Franco, both head waiters in the Coral Dining room.  Both gentleman were very helpful, friendly, and truly looked like they enjoyed their job and enjoyed seeing guests happy.  They always treated us with respect and went the extra mile to make our evening dining experience terrific. As a "perk" for suite guests we were offered a seated, formal breakfast each day in Sabatinis.  Terrific, cook to order, breakfast options with very pleasant and helpful service.  A delightful way to start each day and one of our favorite parts of our vacation was breakfast each day at Sabatinis.  However, the head waiter at Sabatinis was distant and cold towards us.  He never made an effort to visit with us, or check on our meal. The two servers were always working their tails off as he stood at the front of the restaurant looking bored. Both my husband and I were very impressed by the cleanliness of the ship and also the professional appearance of all of the crew.  Their uniforms were always pressed and clean and ship looked very well taken care of.  Walking on the promenade each day we always saw the deck crew cleaning, repairing, painting, etc. The fruit on board was delicious and they had a wide selection of fruit each day.  Sadly about half way through the cruise I asked for some berries, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, etc and they told me they had run out... Pursers desk staff were always very helpful and pleasant.  We only visited the pursers desks a few times, however when we did they were always quick to help and never seemed to mind. Showers/bathrooms- excellent water pressure and selection of bath products provided.  The robes in our suite were also amazing and both my husband and I used them often. Pizza and ice cream!  Each day in the formal dining room for both lunch and dinner Princess has 3-4 homemade ice creams, sorbets and yogurts.  They were simply amazing...the best ice cream I've ever had.  The desserts overall on Princess were terrific.  The internet worked much more quickly then I had expected and the computer room "manager" was helpful in answering questions. The Head Waiters did a nice job of enforcing dress code in the formal dining rooms at night.  The servers who delivered room service were always very pleasant and helpful. The comedians and magicians on board were terrific.  Things we found to be good, but could use some improvement My husband and I both bought the soda card.  When getting a Diet Coke at one of the bars it was very hit and miss as to if it would be a "good" Diet Coke.  Too often the soda was flat and was low on carbonation.  In the Coral dining room at dinner time it was very difficult to receive a Diet Coke.  We would often have to ask 2-3 times for a Diet Coke and only got a refill twice...both times we had to ask for the refill.  The servers were not eager, or helpful to go and get fountain soda at dinner time.  Overall food choices and quality.  We had good luck with the food selection and quality on board.  We of course had some truly exceptional meals and a few that were a flop.  However, over the course of 9 days and lots of snacks, and of course full meals we were very pleased.  The art director was pleasant and moved the auctions along at a rather brisk pace.  I was impressed by his knowledge and his speed.  We didn't buy anything on this voyage, however enjoyed attending a few of the auctions. Room service was good...not great.  Another "perk" for being in a suite was the opportunity to order off the "formal" dining room menus for both lunch and dinner.   We LOVED being able to enjoy lunch on our balcony vs. going to the dining room.  However, you could only order lunch until 1:30pm.  We often had a later breakfast so would call about 1:00-1:15ish each day to order.  Frequently we got "scolded" by the crew calling in our too late.  "Don't you know the dining room closes in 15 minutes?"  After being spoken to rudely twice I refused to place the order each day and had my husband call.  J  On a funny note- one day they had four-cheese pasta on the menu.  We order the four- cheese pasta that day and when our food arrived we received four orders of pasta!    Below Average/ Needs Improvement ·        The Lotus Spa, in my opinion, way over sold passes to the Thermal Suite.  I often tried to utilize the thermal suite to find all the thermal beds had been taken.  This created for a lot of frustration.   ·        Our room steward was lacking in energy, and the "drive" to do more then just make our bed.  ·        Where have all the sports and leisure activities gone?  My husband and I were very disappointed that the Caribbean Princess has eliminated a number of their recreational games/activities to increase space for services which require a "nominal fee"  The paddle tennis court, mini golf, walking and jogging track, shuffleboard, and all but 2 ping pong tables are gone!!  This was very frustrating and disheartening to see.  The ship only had 2 ping pong tables and the paddles were in horrific shape.  Not one was in good condition... ·        The floral department did an absolutely horrible job on our bouquet that came with our suite.  In fact, I was certain that the flowers were left in our room from the previous week and were being reused.  The flowers looked half dead and the leaves were wilted and old.  The majority of the flowers were carnations...cheap!  Well before our cruise was over the entire bouquet was dead. ·        Lots of sales push throughout the week.  The one that still sticks out in my mind was they had a Lotus Spa employee on a table rather close to the dining rooms before dinner one night receiving acupuncture!  She had needles in her head, arms, hands and feet.  Not the most appetizing image before a semi-formal dinner.   Overall we enjoyed our time at sea and came home relaxed and overall pleased with our vacation.  Our next cruise...maybe Princess...maybe time to look at a change.  Read Less
Sail Date June 2009
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