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2,198 Princess Romantic Cruise Reviews

This is a beautiful ship for space and relaxation. We love the Piazza for dancing, just would like to see more music time. We saw some familiar faces from previous cruises which is always fun. That goes for other passengers and ... Read More
This is a beautiful ship for space and relaxation. We love the Piazza for dancing, just would like to see more music time. We saw some familiar faces from previous cruises which is always fun. That goes for other passengers and staff. Entertaining crew were great and always took the time to chat. I would like to see longer itineraries for this ship. The 7 day turn around comes too quickly. Cabin stewards were excellent as were galley servers. Lido food was excellent. Pate and fromage aside. Great selection for any palette. Both embarkation and disembarkation were excellent. Regal is a well oiled machine with very few glitches. We'll be back next season to enjoy a few more weeks. The lotus spa showers and sauna should be made available at no cost for passengers like all other ships we have sailed on. We enjoyed movies on the big screen on the upper deck. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
We just got back from sailing the Caribbean Princess on an 8-day Southern Caribbean cruise to the “ABC” islands from Ft. Lauderdale and overall had a great time. Background and Overview: My wife (35) and I (41) took this cruise as ... Read More
We just got back from sailing the Caribbean Princess on an 8-day Southern Caribbean cruise to the “ABC” islands from Ft. Lauderdale and overall had a great time. Background and Overview: My wife (35) and I (41) took this cruise as a 10-year anniversary trip. It also marks our second cruise with Princess, the former being our honeymoon cruise in 2007, also on Caribbean Princess, which also happened to be our first cruise. In between those ten years, we’ve sailed exclusively with Celebrity (X) 6 times, though this was our first cruise in 4 years. I wrote CC reviews for each cruise we’ve been on shortly after returning, and thus reflecting the experience at the time. We had an excellent time on this cruise, far better than our first for reason explained below. Also, I feel have more of a comparison with X now, and – with the break in cruises while traveling the world a bit – a better perspective on it all. As a result, I have some thoughts at the end of this very long review on my perspective on Celebrity vs. Princess. During our honeymoon cruise, we remember the fun, but there were literally over 1000 children onboard and it was a tough spring break cruise in that sense. My wife is a school teacher, so we have limited time to go during the school year, but with a few days off during MLK/inauguration week, we were able to make it happen, just we did 4 and 8 years ago. Obviously, very few children on this one—almost assuredly under 100 and probably under 50 of them. Moreover, their presence in terms of issues we had previously was a complete non-factor. Mostly very young and well behaved. The majority of the cruisers were 60-70 year-old baby boomers, with plenty 75+. Not so many sub-55 year-olds (fewer than Celebrity), but we never felt out of place. Over 400 Canadians, and almost 100 Brits, but no significant numbers of other nationalities. Pre-Cruise: we flew night before, and had no issues, from DCA on AA. Was in first class due to relatively small price differences with coach, so that was a nice start. Hotel was the modest Clarion Inn on N. Federal Hwy. in Ft Lauderdale. Nothing to write home about but when the Hampton Inns were pushing $250-$300 a night (a Friday night), a clean (if small and not particularly helpful reception) hotel for $117 AAA member rate, definitely worth it, and made feel better about splurging on first class flights. Went to a non-too impressive Publix about ¾ mile walk (not a bad walk, other than the rain) to get Cherry Coke Zero. Didn’t have tonic water in cans, so picked that up at a nearby liquor store. Took a taxi to Port Everglades pier for about $20. Embarkation: Cab drop off was slightly away from stevedores, but no biggie. Arrived around 11:45am, which was a bit early, but we had to check out of the hotel anyway at 11. Line to get in for non-Select/Elite was very long (took about 30 minutes to enter the building). Fine for us, but it was a bit exhausting for lots of the aforementioned 65+ year-old crowd hauling their carryon luggage. Once through security, there were no issues. Check-in (friendly) took maybe 10 minutes. Then, we walked on the ship (no additional luggage/body screening by Princess, which was nice). Brought in 3 bottles of wine—believe you are only allowed two without corkage fee, but no one was checking anything (other than port security). We drank 2 of the 3 in the dining room, so didn’t matter either way. Cabin: We had a balcony (BD) on the Caribe deck, C702. For those looking to get a sense of the cabin, CruiseTipsTV’s “Cruise Cabin Organization and Stateroom Tour” has an excellent tour of a nearly identical cabin. We greatly prefer this deck as the balconies, though partially exposed, are bigger than on the decks farther up. Also, we prefer being lower, as it limits the motion a bit more, which was significant on the way down. The ship is going into dry dock in March and could use an update to the carpeting, etc., but we found it reasonably well taken care of and clean, considering she’s now over 12 years old. Our cabin steward was a little serious and seemed at times stressed out, but handled all requests very well, and even had a light bulb replaced prior to us asking. I got the sense he was probably spread a bit too thin. One of the rare times I didn’t feel the need to tip beyond the standard amount. Main Dining Room: Had anytime dining, which went well (usually have fixed late seating on X), since we wanted a table for two (we enjoyed sharing tables for breakfast, lunch or tea, but view dinners as special). The first night we showed up around 815 in the Island DR. Had Seksan (Thailand) and his assistant Luis (Peru). Seskan struggled a bit with his English, but clearly warmed up, so we decided to make an informal standing reservation, which the assistant maître d’ (Davide) and his hostess (Lucy) seemed to keep track of superbly. Davide was and only sommelier in Island DR, appreciated a Margaux I had been saving to bring onboard as a 10 year anniversary wine. He brought out a decanter and provided better (bigger) wine glasses, which they set on the table for the remainder of the cruise. Perhaps because we ordered a bottle of wine each night, they weren’t even concerned about the already modest corkage fee for the two formal nights when we brought our own. Seksan made good recommendations and often encouraged us to try something new. He made us a table-side adjusted version of the menu’s pad thai, which we appreciated. By the end of the cruise, we felt like members of a club. Really nice experience, and of course, we tipped them additionally. As for the food, we were rather happy. There were one or two meats that were dry, but presentation and ingredients were impressive. As with X, the portions are reasonable, allowing us to order anywhere from a three to five course meal with a leisurely pace. As always, the meals on formal nights were the most solid. Hit entrees included beef wellington, pheasant, beef tournedos, veal on Italian night, and lamb. “Princess Selection” desserts were definitely a cut above. The only thing I ordered off of the “always available” menu was their cheesecake, which confirmed my previous impression those offerings often are the weakest. All in all, as great an experience as any previous MDR experiences we’ve had. Ultimate Balcony Dining. As superb as or better than remembered. Very nice, a bit extravagant having two dedicated waiters prepare your balcony and serve you course by course. Food was very good, except my lobster was a bit dry (filet mignon was perfectly done) and my wife’s pork chop was sadly very dry (but that was ordered off that evening’s menu, she not being a surf and turf type). Includes cocktails and half bottle champagne, a free photo (we got to choose from 4—be sure to stop by the photo gallery to claim it, as we never got a notice or picture sent to our stateroom) and no corkage fee for wine we brought ourselves. Champagne used to be Moet and Chandon, replaced by something far inferior, but UBD is still a bargain at $100 a couple. James and Kevin from the Philippines, our waiters, were great—even gave us a special Princess “anniversary” dessert, a signed note from the captain. They also eagerly volunteered to take numerous pictures of us with our personal camera (many of which turned out quite good). Obviously, we tipped them considerably. Crown Grill: Did this one night as well. It’s nice—the meats are definitely quality, and the rest of the food seems a little nicer, depending on the dish. Service is attentive and the atmosphere is quieter, like an upscale steakhouse on land, and definitely geared towards tables for 2 or 4. Not sure it’s an absolute must-do, considering it’s (roughly) $60 a couple vs. $100 for UBD and the later includes cocktails, champagne, photos and obviously very specialized service and a unique experience. But still a delightful experience. Other dining: 10 years ago, Scoops used to sell for modest prices Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. Now, it’s just (free) and absolutely inedible soft serve. Not worth it under any circumstances. Bought the $31 (plus tip) 15-use punch card for International Café for lattes, espressos, cappuccinos, etc. They seem to use Illy coffee. Significant, but tolerable (5 minutes), lines in the morning. Lines for the pastries/sandwiches, which are fee-free, are usually nonexistent. My wife’s hot chocolate was free due to card, which was nice, because otherwise it’s $1.50. As a result, didn’t use the entire punch card by a long shot. But you can save it for the next cruise, so glad I got it. Only ate at the Horizon Court a couple of times for lunch/breakfast. The waiters/service staff in there were good, but found the menu options a bit limited and seating at times can be hard to find (though staff does their best to clear tables). Activities: I think this is one area in which Princess could improve a bit, especially on sea days. There are just not that many enrichment activities, like lectures on the history of a port or shipbuilding, etc. Sadly, it seems exclusively based on shopping, art auctions, etc. I understand the desire to have revenue generating events, but perhaps a port talk could sell some books on the subject. We did watch some cruise staff games, which are mildly interesting, but there are too few of them. We played Bingo twice ($30 for a full sheet, which my wife and split). Very popular with some serious players. Terrible odds, of course, so it’s only fun if it’s entertaining. We did the “maître d’” wine tasting. Nice wines, but pricey ($25) considering it amounted to – at most – 2 (smaller) glasses of wine. Let’s just say no one walked out of that tasting tipsy. Signed up for the cheaper one ($9.50), though those wines weren’t great. Celebrity definitely does better wine tastings, where you walk around the atrium (or dining room) sampling different wines at “stations.” More interactive, better value, and you get to sample a greater variety. We used the fitness center a few times and didn’t have trouble finding a treadmill for our long runs even on sea days. This is helped by the very well-used and attractive full promenade deck, where the walkers would go around in large numbers. Played two or three times at the casino. The craps table was fine—fun one night and not so much fun another, mainly due to luck and how superstitious/serious the other players are. Some seemed to forget entirely they were on a cruise. Blackjack was OK and the dealers vary in friendliness. The rules aren't the greatest, of course. I would play poker only if there were a live table, so I didn’t do that. When cashing out one night, a cashier tried to hard sell me on buying scratch off lottery tickets to the point of being rather annoying. Entertainment: the evening shows by and large were good, often excellent. The “Bravo” show in particular had wonderful singing and dancing, and they got deserved standing ovations. Comedian Troy Thirdgill was definitely amusing, both his smaller show and his main show. Musician Ric Steel was less to my taste, but many seemed to like his music, and I certainly was not part of the core demographic of this cruise. The only problem with all of these shows is that they literally run out of space in the venues. Not just for good seats, but any seat at all. I think having some more musicians (e.g., a string quartet, pianist) or lounge acts would help free up seating or at least offer more entertainment options to those who can’t get in. We got a photo as part of our Ultimate Balcony Dining. One minor quibble is that we never got a notice to pick up our picture. Quality of the photos was high, but believe the prices to be too high to justify the purchase of them. Understand that there is a "sweet spot" in terms of pricing to optimize revenue when the costs are relatively fixed, so where that is I assume Princess knows better than I do, but $20 a picture is too much for us. Curacao: Walked around colorful Willemstad, having been there once before. Toured the Mikve Israel - Emanuel synagogue (oldest continuous synagogue in New World) and adjacent museum. Small, but worth a visit ($10 entry fee). Had a couple of beers at outdoor café and took advantage of free internet (as were many of the younger, off-duty Princess staff). No deals on duty free liquors and prices generally high, which was actually true for all the ABC islands. So we actually bought 1-liter bottles of Tanqueray and Stolichnaya onboard Princess’s duty free for $18 and $13, respectively, a good bit better than back home, and way better than in port. Aruba. Did Stand Up Paddleboarding tour with Aruba Surf and Paddle School. Perhaps the best shore excursion we’ve ever done. 5 of us, and one was a friend of the fabulous owner/instructor, Dennis. His acclaim on TripAdvisor is very well deserved. About 2-3 hours, including superb instruction from Dennis. A very fair price at $95/person, considering the personalized attention, equipment and patience. Our first time doing it, and we had a blast. Only (minor) downside to the experience was that while paddling under a bridge that was under construction, my wife got relentless (to almost comical levels) catcalls from the Colombian construction workers repelling 50-100 feet above us. Bonaire: One of the few new Caribbean ports for us. Definitely a favorite. Not as poor as some, and not as built up as the richer ones (like Aruba). Booked Compass Bonaire half-day sail and snorkel independently for $55/person (like Aruba, found them highly reviewed on TripAdvisor). Another great experience. We later realized that they had a boat that served Princess bookings, which was rather crowded looking at about 20 people (and if I recall, more expensive). Evidently, our boat was supposed to have 11, but a group didn’t want to split up between our boat and the other. As a result, we were a group of 4, and the other couple simply wanted to sail, so we literally had two snorkel guides to ourselves. Impressive coral, very water clear the day we went, and a good variety of fish, though we saw only one (sleeping) sea turtle. The Dutch crew of 3 was very friendly and laid back. They offered us a light lunch and beer/rum punch, etc. on the return. 11 people on the boat might have made it a bit more crowded than I would have preferred, but certainly could have handled 8 with no problem. Highly recommended. Disembarkation: This was very smooth. After breakfast in the MDR, went to our assigned location and for our group to be called. They organize luggage well and it was relatively easy to find. Went through customs/immigration in 5 minutes. On the paperwork for disembarkation, Princess said we ought to consider buying transfers to FLL (something like $10-$15 person) since a taxi line “might be 1-2 hours”. Since I knew a cab would be cheaper and our flight wasn’t until early afternoon, I wasn’t too concerned. It turns out the only line was the queue of taxis waiting for passengers. Made it to FLL in 10 minutes. Then returned to reality, such as the overcrowded FLL airport, which I remember being unpleasant from 10 years ago. Also included getting bumped out of first class on the return due to American Airlines overbooking. It was an enormous hassle even getting a confirmed seat in coach. Got a voucher and currently waiting to for a partial refund. Hence, any quibbles about our cruise should be taken as extraordinarily minor. Tips. After each cruise, I think I learn a few tips to save for the next trip. Before providing mine, I would encourage readers to consider viewing the cruisetipstv youtube channel. Sheri has a wonderful set of links that even “seasoned” cruisers like I found valuable. That said, here are the ones I found helpful for this cruise: • Pre-order bottled water if you want it ($6.90 including tip for 500ml 12-pack. We ordered 2 of them in advance (24 bottles). Once you get onboard, they’re $2.30 each). You can bring your own, but it was already too heavy to carry Coke Zero and tonic as is through the long security line at embarkation, so glad we did. • Bring on your own soda (if you drink it), as it’s expensive/inconvenient if you do it on board (unless you get the soda package, which still isn’t cheap at $8/day). • Mainly for men: a cruise Card/ID/money holder—forgot it and missed it. X gives them for Concierge Class. Far easier than bringing the whole wallet around the ship. • Women (and men) with long hair: bring your own hairdryer. My wife says the ones on cruise ships are useless. After returning to Princess, I feel we have a good sense of how it rates vs. Celebrity. Of course, we have not sailed on all the ships, so this is primarily a comparison Caribbean Princess (and likely its sister ships) and the Millennium-class ships on Celebrity: Things about Princess we like better (in rough order of importance): • Ultimate Balcony Dining • One MDR is open for lunch every day (including embarkation day), with the possible exception of one port day. Hate that it wasn’t on our Celebrity cruises. Also Princess had an English pub-style lunch (fish and chips, bangers and mash, etc.) in Crown Grill one sea day (no fee, beyond beers, etc.). Having more options than the buffet at lunch is huge, at least on sea days! • Bigger balconies on Caribe deck. • Decent sized refrigerator in cabin (not a minibar, as on X). • Self-service laundry (not super cheap at $3.00 each wash or dry load, but very convenient and found an empty one multiple times). • More waiters/assistant waiters in MDR. Seems like they’re spread less thinly on Princess. Believe this is due to fewer sommeliers. I think on the whole that’s probably the right decision. • Afternoon tea every day • Lower corkage fees • A seemingly minor point, but they do a better job with drink/wine/specialty restaurant purchases. They just swipe your card and that’s it. On X, they bring back something that requires a signature for even the most trivial (e.g., a can of soda). More annoyingly, X has a space for “additional gratuity” which feels like you’re not tipping if you leave it blank. Princess just does the standard 15%. When compelled to leave additional tips (as I did for two comped drinks, specialty restaurants, a good buffet waiter), I left money in cash. Things about Celebrity we like better: • MDR food is (on average) slightly better (more interesting), but very close. Everything else (buffet, room service, etc.) seems significantly better on Celebrity. Pizza is about the same (neither I love, but slightly better on Princess). Buffet ice cream (not MDR dessert) is flat out gross on Princess (worse than McDonald’s soft serve). Pretty decent on X, and it’s made themselves. • Less crowded public spaces on Celebrity. Often difficult to find chairs in the various public rooms (theater, lounges, public spaces) on Princess. One night we showed up for the late (10pm) show at and there was literally not a single seat and about 30 people standing up, and tons of us just giving up. Happened previously, but we were early enough that we got seats in the back. Also happened in some of the lounges too at times. On X, this was never an issue. Dining rooms on X also have more space between tables, it seems. • The crowd is slightly younger and healthier on X. In both cases, we’re relatively “young”, which is fine, and I’m certainly not asking for kids. But more 30/40 somethings as well as spry 60 year olds on X. More slightly slower and older crowd on Princess with perhaps more health problems. Of course, each cruise itinerary is different. This probably skewed a bit older than equivalent X cruises during same time of year due to those being out of San Juan (therefore, more flying) and I would guess the older crowd prefers more sea days to active port days. • Enrichment activities (like lectures, etc.). I think Celebrity has fallen a bit in recent times, but I recall very good ones on our Alaskan and one or two Caribbean cruises. Princess doesn’t have very much in this regard. For instance, the only one I even noticed was a lecture on the history of rock n roll, which sounded possibly great, but it was at 9:30am on the first sea day. Things about equal between Princess and Celebrity: • Service is a little more formal/better trained/refined on X, though perhaps friendlier on Princess. But really, it’s basically the same. Both generally very good (especially MDR, specialty restaurants, cabin stewards), but on both, you run across exceptions (international café, some bar staff, etc.). • Evening entertainment. Catered to roughly the same tastes. At least Princess doesn’t have an a capella quartet, which I’ve never liked. More comedians on Princess, it seems. Slightly livelier and more lavish production shows on X, but very close. • Décor/condition of the ships. I would actually give a slight advantage to X for this because it’s more modern and stylish, but I recognize this is personal taste. The cabins generally look better on X, but I actually find the balcony cabins on Princess slightly more functional (except for the too small shower). • Hard-selling of (especially) non-cruise related goods (e.g., jewelry, art auctions, etc.). In the past, I would probably have given the nod to X, but on our last cruise, they seemed at least as bad as Princess. I actually don’t mind it that much provided there are more enriching activities on sea days, which I believe Celebrity still gets a slightly better ranking for. Either way, it’s usually tolerable for us. • Wine list. X has a broader selection, but also higher prices. Princess is more limited, but well represented and fair prices. So perhaps slight nod to Princess. Princess has better beer selection. Our cocktails are usually limited to gin and tonics on cruises, but I find on ships cocktails can wilt quickly due the ice not being as cold as it needs to be. Final Thoughts: We had a wonderful return to Princess and think four years in between cruises is likely too long. We don’t know where or when our next cruise will be, but we’re certainly going to look for a variety of options, including Alaska, Canadian Maritimes, or even Norwegian fjords, and Princess is certainly an attractive candidate cruise line. We still have a $100 deposit on Celebrity from four years ago, but the offer through Princess was less tempting (expires (but refundable), and the credit is smaller). As for the Caribbean, the latest we plan to be back is on a similar cruise four years from now during the next inauguration… Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
We sailed on the Coral Princess for the partial Panama transit from January 17 to 27, 2017. This was our twelfth cruise and our ninth with Princess. Having encountered a poor all around experience on the Star Princess in April 2016 for a ... Read More
We sailed on the Coral Princess for the partial Panama transit from January 17 to 27, 2017. This was our twelfth cruise and our ninth with Princess. Having encountered a poor all around experience on the Star Princess in April 2016 for a 10 day coastal cruise we were on guard as to what to expect on this cruise. Previously, we have had enjoyable experiences on Princess except for the Star. The Coral Princess cruise exceeded our expectations and renewed what we have always enjoyed on Princess. We were located in cabin D629 which was a balcony unit. Even though towards the stern of the ship being a smaller ship we found it very easy to get around. All of the staff that we passed or had dealings with were extremely pleasant. Thank you Boylyn for being such an attentive and friendly cabin attendant. Our waiter Manuel and his assistant Francis provided excellent service. It was a breath of fresh air to have a waiter with a great personality, sometimes he kept us in stitches. Their character and service made us look forward to dining each night (traditional second seating). Their service was so efficient we always had time to catch the evening shows at 9:45. The Cruise Director (Cory), Assistant (Mikey) and other staff developed a schedule that was full of fun activities for those looking for that. I can't believe their high energy. Our past few cruises have been on large ships, it was a breath of fresh air to be on this smaller ship. I think such enhanced the intimacy. The cruise and ports were great, just a perfect mix of ports vs. sea days. The only negative was the short period of time in Aruba (four hours). This short time either resulted in you taking an excursion or walking around town; there wasn't enough time to do both. Also, somewhat of a waste of time to get off in Colon. The only thing that is worthwhile in doing that is to say you stepped foot on ground in Panama if you stayed on the ship during the transit. It earns the name colon. We stayed on the ship through the partial transit. We watched it from our balcony going up then from the public viewing area on deck 10 bow going back down. A narration was ongoing during the transit by Chris Roberts. It was very informative but also worthwhile to attend his seminar a couple of days before. Throughout this cruise we were fortunate enough to have Project 5 as the house band. They were the best house band we have ever encountered. Unfortunately, there was only one production show called Encore performed by the dance and singing troupe in the Princess Theater. It was spectacular. They did perform at Explorers Lounge and at the Love Boat Disco Night on the Lido. The rest of the entertainment was very good especially pianist Tom Franek and comedian Scott Wyler. The food was well prepared, fresh and always had a nice presentation. I can safely say there wasn't one meal that we were disappointed with. Don't forget to have pizza in Sabatini's at lunch. The specialty restaurant is free for pizza lunch on sea days. Way to go Princess and the crew of the Coral Princess. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
We chose this itinerary because it left from Melbourne and we really wanted to see the sounds and explore more of New Zealand. I will start with the positives first, some of the staff were immensely helpful and friendly, embarkation and ... Read More
We chose this itinerary because it left from Melbourne and we really wanted to see the sounds and explore more of New Zealand. I will start with the positives first, some of the staff were immensely helpful and friendly, embarkation and disembarkation were half an hour each (which in my book is great!) we found our oceanview stateroom was big enough and loved the wardrobe, plenty of drawers and room for the cases under the bed. I loved the amount of pools on board and found the terrace on back of boat to be the warmest at 25'degrees and generally uninhabited as was the lovely alfresco area we ate most of our meals at which you can find at the back of the boat outside Horizon Court, say hello to Joe he is gorgeous. We both loved movies under the stars and appreciated the movies and Tv channels in the room. Neither of us care much for shows but we loved the piano entertainer AJ Clarke and the classical trio that played in the piazza. We enjoyed all ports except Akaroa due to gale force winds. Now for some negatives.....our room flooded as mentioned below, we didn't complain the first time as our cabin steward was very attentive and we dismissed it as an accident, the second time we went to guest services, whilst he organised a room for the night while they rectified the room, he seemed to be more concerned that this was the first time we had complained???then 4 days after the event he sent us canapés for our inconvenience. We both felt it could have been dealt with a little better. Besides the pizza and hamburgers ( which we thought were better than Royal Caribbean) we both thought the food in the dining room and buffet was a little limited. Our Wellington port tender, yes I said tender as Wellington is a working port we had to be shuttled to town by buses, this took roughly an hour and a half to get to town, I am glad we had not organised a private tour! The staff was the most disappointing thing, right from the start it didn't bode well, there was no greeting to the boat whatsoever, which we both found unusual and a lot of the staff in the cafe were rude and some of the bar staff were not necessarily rude but not exactly friendly. Whilst we had problems we still enjoyed our cruise and our experiences are based on comparison to cruising with Celebrity and Royal Caribbean. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
We had successfully sailed with Princess three times before and when I found that Princess had a cruise from Fort Lauderdale through the Panama Canal around my preferred date, we booked it without really checking alternative cruise lines. ... Read More
We had successfully sailed with Princess three times before and when I found that Princess had a cruise from Fort Lauderdale through the Panama Canal around my preferred date, we booked it without really checking alternative cruise lines. Well the cruise was not a disaster by any means, it was at times a frustrating experience and no way near the quality experience we enjoyed on previous cruises with Princess. The irritation started with the embarkation experience when our small bus could not get near the unloading area and continued with the slow, long line to actually board the ship once we checked in at the port desk. The next frustration was the confusion and mob scene at the Bordeaux restaurant (anytime dining). After 3 nights, I finally asked dining staff to explain their procedures. There is a new club class that gets priority with its own line, and a line for passengers who have reserved and then a third line for walk-ins (us). We mostly chose to arrive about 7:40 pm after the 7:30 reservations were seated. Waits were never long, but the confusion was constant. There were always several empty tables which we assume were reserved for the non-existent club class passengers. I have a hearing problem and after sharing a table for 8 a couple of times, started asking for a table of 6, 4 or 2. Most nights that request seemed hard to accommodate as they were currently sitting tables for 8. Due to the addition of an extra 220 beds in a 2015 renovation with no additional public space, public spaces were often overcrowded, The large Princess Theater could not accommodate everyone in 2 shows, so most nights there were 3 shows with the popular 7:30 time being filled by 7:05. For some reason, the late show at 9:45 was not offered on a few occasions requiring us to miss the sunset at 5:45 or sit in the theater for 40 minutes before the 7:30 show. The additional cabins have resulted in the promenade deck being blocked off at the aft of the ship, making it necessary to cut through the ship (2 sets of heavy doors) to complete a lap. We feel that there was a morale problem on the Island Princess. While there were many exceptions, there was generally a lack of smiles from staff and little effort to go any extra distance. Deck staff in particular seemed to be worn down. This while there were daily walk abouts by supervisors in white coats and clipboards. Near the end of the voyage, we witnessed an agitated dining room manager chew out two staff for 20 minutes in the public dining room while other staff attempted to avert their eyes. We got really tired of all the onboard sales promotions and the so called "Enrichment Articles" on watches, diamonds, art, etc. The photographers were aggressive and one gentleman generally would not take my "no thank you" as a clue to move on. Of course he never recognized us as passengers who did not want to be photographed. On the morning we were in port at Cartagena, the buffet was really crowded. We were offered $2.00 bottled water twice and one aggressive sales pitch for a $25 champagne tasting, before we could find staff to bring juice and coffee. We did find the food to be good to excellent. The nightly entertainment was top notch. Our room steward was great - efficient and friendly. Our cabin was spacious and well laid out. (We were at the bow with no balcony so the balcony area added an extra sitting area within the cabin.) This cruise brought us up to platinum level in the Princess loyalty program but I doubt if we will take another Princess cruise after this disappointment. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
Our goal was to take a Panama Canal full transit cruise for a birthday celebration and the timing and itinerary fit our needs. Due to the total distance traveled in just over 2-weeks time we had as many sea days as days in ports but it is ... Read More
Our goal was to take a Panama Canal full transit cruise for a birthday celebration and the timing and itinerary fit our needs. Due to the total distance traveled in just over 2-weeks time we had as many sea days as days in ports but it is something you know up-front and either like or not. The canal is a bucket list experience and took a full day but well worth the effort. The Central American ports are interesting but definitely 3rd world with some still using horse & wagon. We avoid the +40-person bus tours so opt for 4-6 person independent tours whenever possible. Our exception is at tender ports because of the challenge to get ashore so it is easier to take the ship's tour. Since we have been on several Princess cruises, the Island Princess felt like 1-step nicer than the other ships in the fleet. The buffet area and particularly the desert area is beautifully done ad there were many more "healthy" options to choose from for fruits and salads. There is a very nice Air-Conditioned enclosed Lotus Spa pool area with comfortable seating that is N/C and open to all which is better than other Princess ships. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
Yes, there were long queues at embarkation but it's a world wide issue as port authorities ignore the need to rethink the embarkation process/facilities. All cruise lines are limited by the design of the terminals. Port authorities ... Read More
Yes, there were long queues at embarkation but it's a world wide issue as port authorities ignore the need to rethink the embarkation process/facilities. All cruise lines are limited by the design of the terminals. Port authorities need to allow for multiple entry points to the ships instead of funnelling thousands of passengers into one entry point. Enough said. Once on board, the Princess crew were all over the place providing assistance to locate our cabins. Food was already being served and it never stopped for the eleven days we were on board. The decor on the Emerald Princess is tasteful and subdued with a mix of many shades of blues and browns but lacking a little pizzazz. Nonetheless all areas and venues are clean and comfortable. Our mini-suite (D526) was immaculately clean and our cabin steward couldn't have been more helpful and responsive to our requests. As cabins go our mini-suite was very spacious and comfortable. When selecting the cabin, we didn't realise the balcony was open/visible to the decks above but worse, there was no relief from the sun. We did change the pillows for smaller ones as the standard ones were so big and luxurious we were almost smothered as our heads descended into pillow overload. The air-con all over the ship was on the cold side for my liking so make sure you take some longer sleeved items and a cardi/jacket. Of course you can buy on board! We didn't bother with the specialty dining venues (at additional cost) as the food in the main dining rooms was perfectly fine. A few misses but in the main, the options were many and varied and well cooked and presented. Still amazed at the precision and quality considering the number of passengers. We chose "anytime dining" and shared tables at lunch and dinner and we met many delightful people, some of whom we will keep in touch with. Great staff in the dining rooms too. We are not fans of buffets but when in port, it's the main eating venue on board. Food was fine. A tip for coffee lovers... there is often a long queue to order lattes etc. in the International Cafe (deck 5) despite having to purchase them. Just sit down at a table and flag a waiter who will order for you and deliver it to your table (even if you want takeaway). There is a variety of entertainment from musical stage productions, to comedy, mood music, ballroom dance lessons, line dancing, Zumba, a full gym, in cabin TV/movies, a giant screen for movies under the stars, a kids club, games on deck, art auctions, shopping sales, spa services, competitions, giveaways and if that's not enough you can attend churches services too! Excursions are not always good value for money but if you do your own thing you really need to do a lot of research beforehand and be aware if you don't get back to the ship on time, it doesn't wait for you! Some South Pacific Islands are really beautiful like Isle of PInes (not visited this trip) and Champagne Bay but Noumea is very tired looking and the locals not particularly friendly. Port Vila is run down and dirty but the people are all very friendly and chatty. Of course there is no need to go ashore as the entertainment just keeps going on board. We met many people who have cruised on Princess ships many times and some debatable incentives are offered for loyalty. There are still other cruise lines I wouldn't mind trying but I have no hesitation in recommending the Emerald Princess and may well cruise on her again. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
We're just one day off the Ruby Princess after a wonderful seven day Mexican Riviera cruise. Everything was fantastic. The Ruby shined both inside and out. Carpets and upholstery in both public areas and staterooms looked fresh. ... Read More
We're just one day off the Ruby Princess after a wonderful seven day Mexican Riviera cruise. Everything was fantastic. The Ruby shined both inside and out. Carpets and upholstery in both public areas and staterooms looked fresh. The marble and tile floors gleamed. The staff were wonderful too. Everyone greeted us with a smile. Princess must be doing something right to create such a warm welcoming attitude among the crew. We opted for traditional dining at 5:30. We had a great table by a window that we shared with my brother and his wife who accompanied us on the cruise. Waiter Cesar and assistant Mario did everything they could to ensure we had a positive dining experience. My sister-in-law had some dietary restrictions. Cesar guided her through each day's menu to make sure she was able to enjoy each dinner. The food was delicious and beautifully presented. We didn't eat breakfast or lunch in the dining room this cruise, so I can't comment on those meals. We usually had a late breakfast in Horizon Court. The food was good and we always were able to find a table. The International Cafe was great for sandwiches or light snacks. The coffee bar was good too, but could get a little crowded at peak periods--especially in the morning. We did enjoy--really enjoy--two dinners in the Crown Grill--still our favorite "for fee" specialty dining on any cruise line we've ever sailed with. Filet mignon and lobster tails were cooked to perfection. Great service and a warm traditional ambiance added to our enjoyment. Crooners was our favorite bar--it usually has been--with great bartenders and wonderful servers who remembered our names and favorite drinks. We enjoy sitting in Crooners and listening to the music performed in the piazza down below. We opted for a bargain Lido deck balcony cabin on this cruise. We found it cozy--certainly enough room--and quiet. There was good storage available in both the closet area and the small, functional bathroom. Our room steward Jackie ensured that everything was ship-shape and spotless. The weather wasn't perfect every day on this cruise, but we had good weather for our stops in Puerto Vallarta and Mazatlan. We chose not to get off in Cabo because a tender is required and we weren't there that long. It's nice to enjoy uncrowded pools and decks when most passengers are ashore. We did this cruise last year on the Crown Princess and enjoyed ourselves so much we booked again this year. The Ruby is a beautiful ship in fantastic condition. We look forward to our next Princess cruise. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
Having completed 7 & 10 day cruises, we opted for a 14 day experience. It was so fabulous. The itinerary was quite diverse - mostly chosen for my parter to dive in new destinations. The ship was a nice size, easy to navigate and well ... Read More
Having completed 7 & 10 day cruises, we opted for a 14 day experience. It was so fabulous. The itinerary was quite diverse - mostly chosen for my parter to dive in new destinations. The ship was a nice size, easy to navigate and well appointed. Dining was good every where - we like anytime dining and it seems the entire she did as well. Long lines with restaurant buzzers were very annoying - so we opted to make a reservation for the entire cruise. That was much smoother and felt more relaxed. The entertainment was ok, nothing spectacular. All staff were pleasant and no bad experiences with anyone. We were on board for the playoffs and game was shown in lounge, on deck and on TV in room - We bought 2 chairs in the sanctuary for the afternoon on a days at sea - loved that we had a private spot that was comfy and pampered. We looked forward to tea with scones every afternoon. Absolutely no complaints. Purchased the baggage service from the ship to the home airport. Perfect! Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
We picked a cruise to Hawaii and it was the most disappointing cruise we have ever taken. Our cabin had a very loud banging noise under the floor of the cabin. It took 9 days to get moved to another cabin. We didn't get any sleep ... Read More
We picked a cruise to Hawaii and it was the most disappointing cruise we have ever taken. Our cabin had a very loud banging noise under the floor of the cabin. It took 9 days to get moved to another cabin. We didn't get any sleep for 2 nights and there were several cabins with the same issue. Food in dining room was very good but the Horizon buffet was poor. Cold eggs, bagels you could use as hockey pucks, cold toast, and French toast you needed a steak knife to cut. Very disappointed with this ship. The pool was empty until we arrived in Hilo and then it was filled. 5daysmlater when we could use it on a sea day, it was empty again. Went to the enclosed pool but really wanted to lay in the sun. We have sailed 8 times with Princess and have another one scheduled, but we will never go on the Star again. Crown Grill was excellent as usual. We were in a mini suite and the balcony needed maintenance work. We were on the Tegal in April, 2016 and going on the Royal next. Loved all the other cruises, but this one was not worth the money. Embarkation was excellent as well disembarking. Entertainment was just ok. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
I had planned to park on site, but I figured out that Regal was leaving from Terminal 21 and guessed (correctly) that it would be returning to Terminal 2 so we went with Park ‘n Go and were very satisfied coming and going. Perhaps the ... Read More
I had planned to park on site, but I figured out that Regal was leaving from Terminal 21 and guessed (correctly) that it would be returning to Terminal 2 so we went with Park ‘n Go and were very satisfied coming and going. Perhaps the passengers who care about which terminal are a small minority, but I would have found it useful to get an email from Princess with this information. Thanks to the many Cruise Critic members who provided advice that led us to a successful parking choice. Embarkation involved about a 30 second wait (at 12:30!). Again, based on Cruise Critic advice, we immediately signed up for the ship tour and the Sanctuary. The former was a snap. The latter took a half hour, despite only three parties being ahead of us. Some process improvement is needed here. It’s the first (and hopefully last) time I’ve had to use a rain umbrella while on board a cruise ship. In the end, we had no trouble finding good lounge chairs, despite the ship being sold out, and cancelled the Sanctuary. Overall, I would rate the ship, the cabin and the crew attitude as very good to excellent and we were well pleased. The photo staff was great to work with. We particularly enjoyed the food at the Horizon Court and the International Café. The entertainment was not so much to our taste, so we mostly passed, but there was no shortage of opportunities to keep occupied. The ship’s trumpet player did a series of three bush survival lectures which my wife particularly enjoyed. At $150, the ship tour is no bargain, but we found it worthwhile. Ashore, we did the Martha Brae river raft in Jamaica and Xplor Adventure Park in Mexico, both of which are outstanding and highly recommended. The latter is quite expensive. Indeed, out of 5600 passengers and crew, only one passenger and two crew members elected the tour, beside my wife and me. It was worth every penny. Disembarkation was similar to embarkation, except there was no 30 second wait. We walked right off. How Princess accomplishes these miracles on a sold out ship, I cannot say. From reading other reviews, I’d say we had some unusual good luck. So, are we lining up our next cruise on Princess? Well, no. It all fell apart at dinnertime. First, there was the scheduling. The maître d’ was available on boarding, and we did talk to him, but after that none of the headwaiters or the Passenger Services staff would share any information on how to reach him. We figured out his phone extension, but there was no voicemail. In the end, we wrote him a letter, and he was gracious and helpful. He said he had been on board only three weeks, was not aware that it was so hard for people to contact him, and promised to sort it out going forward. That was only part of the MDR experience. The service was, shall we say, variable. But the principal shortcoming of the entire cruise was the dull, insipid food. It was not so much the preparation as the menus that failed. This was my ninth cruise and I had never before been bored by the dinner menus. I last cruised with RCCL and, with the possible exception of the entertainment, Princess was superior in all respects, save the dining room. They would do well to consider cutting back on the elaborate selection in the Horizon Court and shifting the savings to improving the dinner menus in the dining room. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
This was my second cruise with Princess and my first on Regal. I have cruised on the Royal (sister ship) before so I've only had experience with this class of ships on Princess. One of the main reasons I wanted to go on the Regal ... Read More
This was my second cruise with Princess and my first on Regal. I have cruised on the Royal (sister ship) before so I've only had experience with this class of ships on Princess. One of the main reasons I wanted to go on the Regal was the amazing experience I had at the Enclave. Wow, I cannot say enough good things about the Enclave Spa. It is a little pricey but my husband and I thought it reasonable. The room was a balcony on the Aloha (A117, forward and Starboard) deck. We were one of the first to Embark (I am only the Gold status so we didn't have extra boarding perks, etc) but embarkation was incredibly easy. We went to our room which was ready (it was small but clean), but since we had to wait for our luggage, we went to get something to eat. After that, we went to the Enclave to sign up (I had already done this before, and I knew husband would want to do it too). We got talked into signing up for the three spa treatments/30% off sales pitch. I had acupuncture, facial, and couples massage; he had acupuncture, couples massage, and something else (I can't remember). The treatments were great, but each time they do a sales pitch on more treatments (acupuncture) or products (expensive). We did end up buying an Elemis muscle rub and body wash, for about $100 which is probably a reasonable price on a cruise ship. The spa staff also knew us by name (LOL). The food was average, with the exception of Alfredo's pizzeria (included) and Crown Grill (an extra charge). The dinner dining room experience was often slow, with average food or occasionally, food that was not cooked to order and had to be sent back (this happened at least twice). Breakfast dining room was also very slow; would recommend buffet as the choices were better and there was a pretty good chance the food was hot. The "upsell" was EVERYWHERE. Photographers literally following us around the ship, trying to book a private setting. Dining room waiters trying to book us for a wine tasting. Spa as was mentioned. It got really old. We have already spent a lot of money to go on this cruise, and I feel like we are still being badgered for money. SERIOUSLY. This was probably the biggest negative to the cruise. We did the all inclusive drink package, as we like to have wine with meals and an after-dinner cordial or two, depending how late we were up. It was worth it to us. I also liked being able to grab a couple of bottled waters for the room and for excursions. It was also important for me to get sparkling water which often times I would get the large bottle and it would last me the day. Excursions--on Princess Cays, the snorkel gear and floats were cancelled when we arrived to the island, I guess for weather? It was a little windy but otherwise not inclement weather. It took us two days to get the refund for that, as the ship said we could not get a refund, but the rental shops would not release the items. I swear I felt like I was speaking a different language...how can we be charged for something we didn't even have the option to receive? It did eventually get fixed. At Montego Bay we opted for the jungle float. Totally enjoyed it, but it didn't feel long enough. We did snorkeling and stingrays at Grand Cayman; the stingray experience was really over-rated as there were no less than 5 other boats there on a small sandbar; the snorkeling was just so-so as the water was a bit choppy. In Cozumel we did the National Marine Park reef snorkel and Playa Mia beach visit afterwards. This snorkeling was ah-MAY-zing! Would do this trip again in a heartbeat. We did not do a lot of the night activities on board (sometimes because dinner took so long, and we did anytime dining); but it seemed there were always a lot of activities to do. The age of the passengers is a little on the older side (?50s-60s) compared to the Royal Caribbean trips I had taken, but we had no issues with that as we aren't late night partiers much any more either. Disembarkation was a breeze; we were one of the first to disembark as we had an early flight. No issues getting to or from the airport (except traffic going into port was heavy, so be sure to leave early). We uber'd to the ship and used Princess transfer back. All in all, I would definitely go on this ship again; we are tentatively booked for the Royal (sister ship) for an Eastern Caribbean tour in the fall again as I am just in love with the Enclave. We will likely be more prepared for the upsell and will be smarter in how to handle it. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
We received a good promotional price for the cruise about 6 months prior. To we took advantage of it since I wanted to go cruising on the biggest ship on the Princess Cruise line. Ship was ok and laid out well. Yet I still like the smaller ... Read More
We received a good promotional price for the cruise about 6 months prior. To we took advantage of it since I wanted to go cruising on the biggest ship on the Princess Cruise line. Ship was ok and laid out well. Yet I still like the smaller ships like the Emerald and the Caribbean Princess. The ship just seem so big especially when your used to being on smaller ships. Enjoyed a special wine tasting dinner at Sabitini's Restaurant which we met some new friends that where from our state. Many shore excursions available to go to and do but many days we just stayed and enjoyed the various activities on board. This ship is better accommodating with lounge chairs to sunbathe or watch the big movie screen on the 16th deck. Food was good and plentiful as either your choice of buffet or anytime dinning for dinner meal. Was a good cruise yet I liked the smaller ships better. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
We have been with Princess for now 12 cruises, and in the past there were more activities that did not require money to have fun. The shows were cut down to 25 minutes, Anytime dining has screwed things up and cannot make some of the shows ... Read More
We have been with Princess for now 12 cruises, and in the past there were more activities that did not require money to have fun. The shows were cut down to 25 minutes, Anytime dining has screwed things up and cannot make some of the shows and the ChampagneFountain, is all about taking photo's. The Lotus Salon hustles people and hair care is expensive and since formal nights have changed into the Night of the Beverly Hillbillies, don't really enjoy formal night-all about the money, and not the event it was even 10 years ago. Also take an inventory of all your belongings, some of my hair clips could be found after the1st day, and searched forever, made a report to the Purser on the 3rd day and stated so in Princess questionnaire. Watch your valuables and know where everything is. Misplacing items can put a damper on your trip. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
Aside for combining the cruise with a visit with my son's family in San Fran, Hawaii, like most people was on our bucket list. As well, my wife was turning 65 the next month...... Sailing right by ALCATRAZ and under the GOLDEN GATE ... Read More
Aside for combining the cruise with a visit with my son's family in San Fran, Hawaii, like most people was on our bucket list. As well, my wife was turning 65 the next month...... Sailing right by ALCATRAZ and under the GOLDEN GATE bridge was something to look forward to. Albeit windy and overcast it was enjoyable. The weather didn't really improve until we approached the islands. The ship was in good condition (1998 I believe) but it did show signs of aging. Service was friendly. The food and entertainment both diverse and enjoyable. The cabin (deck 4 for) was clean and comfortable. We had booked our excursions on line with known excursion companies. Very satisfied. The only excursion we booked with Princess was In Maui. Unfortunately that is the one where we were notified ONLY when we entered our cabin that it had been cancelled. All the islands were unique and pleasant. Of course a day is not enough but we got a good taste of each. O'ahu has the most for tourists but with it the traffic and people. Quiet and relaxation on the others. My only beef is with the CRUISE industry as a whole. My wife and I started cruising about 14 years ago and this was number 13. What is changing is what is taking place in most industries. The accounts are now in charge and are nickel and dimeing as well as starting to create different passenger classes on board (in the shared areas). (Akin to the old European immigration days). When we started we all had the same treatment and food etc. Blending. No bias. No one made to feel uncomfortable. Now. Specialty restaurants. Specialty shows. Pay $20 per half day on the Princess Sanctuary to enjoy a quiet and improve ambiance......... The booze is not cheap and the casino's don't pay out nearly as often as Vegas. I and other people I know that cruised enjoy someone making their vacation simple, relaxing and enjoyable. As much stress as possible removed. Now, the quality and quantity of food that was available to all has been reduced and only those paying a Premium can partake. As with certain areas of the ship. Well I'm not going to the back of the ship anytime soon. If the lines don't be careful they will lose clients. I pay for a certain category of cruise ship and I do not wish to be discriminated against. Please serve accordingly. I have sailed RC, Princess, Norwegian and Carnival and they are all heading that route. Get the accounts out. Bring in Marketing people again. Make us feel SPECIAL. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
It was a fantastic cruise to Hawaii. Had great weather and calm seas. Grand Princess had been in dry dock before our cruise. We had the new bedding and the ship looked like new. Enjoyed all the shows in the Princess Theater. Best ... Read More
It was a fantastic cruise to Hawaii. Had great weather and calm seas. Grand Princess had been in dry dock before our cruise. We had the new bedding and the ship looked like new. Enjoyed all the shows in the Princess Theater. Best entertainment ever! Aaron and his staff keep everyone entertained. Bought on a local Hula show in Honolulu. Rented a car in Maui and went to eat at Mama's Fish House. Did the boat to the Fern Grotto in Kauai. Volcano in Hilo. Hop on/Hop off Bus in Honolulu. Did the Steak House, Crab Shack and Sabatini's. They were all good. Recommend buying your Photo Package in advance to save money. We also bought the Coffee Card and Soda package. Spent the night at a Hilton close to Fisherman's Wharf. Enjoy seeing the sea lions and the view of Alcatraz. Had a Balcony cabin and enjoyed the balcony on the warm days and nights. trudallasite Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
We chose this cruise because it began and ended in San Francisco, which is only about an hours drive from our home. It was our first long cruise, and Princess Cruises kept us informed on line through their website of all that we needed. ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it began and ended in San Francisco, which is only about an hours drive from our home. It was our first long cruise, and Princess Cruises kept us informed on line through their website of all that we needed. We were informed in detail of our identification requirements, suggests on packing and made us fully aware of what to expect. It was more than we expected. Food was award winning, and the dining room service was an experience in itself.. Dining rooms, including the ever popular buffet, were orderly and well decorated.. Our Room steward was exceptional. He serviced every detail and always said Hello and Have a nice dinner, or breakfast. On one particular rocky evening, I heard him call out to me by name to hold the railing. Entertainment was varied and current. Lectures were informative. If there is a complaint it is that there weren't enough hours in the day to do all you would like to. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
This cruise opportunity came along at the right time without much forethought and proves that long-time plans aren't always necessary for a great trip. We found it easy to become familiar with our way around the Ruby and felt at home ... Read More
This cruise opportunity came along at the right time without much forethought and proves that long-time plans aren't always necessary for a great trip. We found it easy to become familiar with our way around the Ruby and felt at home right away. Since we were turned off by the smoke in the casino, we learned to walk to the midship lifts on 12 when going to the dining room or Piazza. The bed was comfy and our cabin attendant took great care of us and our cabin. Room service was johnny on the spot with our morning coffee and tea to get our day started right. We enjoyed having a set dining time and found the meal selections were interesting and delectable. The entertainment in the Princess Theater and other venues was top-notch. The production numbers were entertaining and the comedian on-board kept us laughing long after his show. All in all, we'd sign up again in a heartbeat. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
We chose the cruise because of the Mexican ports and first time there. Also hubbys first cruise. Boarding was seamless and we were on with 30 mins with bags at the door. Very efficient. Cabin steward was friendly and always a smile ... Read More
We chose the cruise because of the Mexican ports and first time there. Also hubbys first cruise. Boarding was seamless and we were on with 30 mins with bags at the door. Very efficient. Cabin steward was friendly and always a smile when we saw him - he seemed to work mostly 18 hours a day. Some of the entertainment was good some not really. We didint like the Pool DJ slamming out rap music around lunch time - heloooo this is an older generation cruise - they dont know or like rap crap. The other so so band was Starwave - an young english band - whenever they played 70s the floor was packed then they changed to something slow and boring - floor empty. ..the singer was sweet . The best singer was a soloist Rebecca Jean from Australia - brilliant. Ok now food - yes these cruises are feeding frenzies for the outta towners. - didnt much like the lining up and confusion of which restaurant you could dine at certain times when we had Anytime Dining chosen. Maybe because the ship was packed. Overall the food was great though mass produced. The drinks could be expensive but depends how much one boozes. There was a constant sell sell so art was flogged at auctions. None of it that brilliant. The ports were great - we will def be flying back to Mexico for longer stays. pax were mostly over 60s a few families and couple around 30s. Mostly all kept to themselves only met folks when we dined but that was it. Would I go on another cruise ? hmmm maybe in 10 years on a ship with around 1500 pax. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
My wife and I sailed aboard the Ruby Princess for the 7 night Mexican Riviera Cruise Departing February 3rd, 2017. We had sailed this itinerary before with DCL, but the stop at Mazatlan was new for us, since in 2011 cruise lines were ... Read More
My wife and I sailed aboard the Ruby Princess for the 7 night Mexican Riviera Cruise Departing February 3rd, 2017. We had sailed this itinerary before with DCL, but the stop at Mazatlan was new for us, since in 2011 cruise lines were cancelling that call due to security concerns. Our experience was really wonderful, and we had such a great time. The only problem was that when we came back into port, I really didn’t want to leave! Room: We had a mini-suite on the Dolphin deck. These mini-suites are terrific. There is a lot of space, and it feels both cozy and roomy to me at the same time! My favorite part was the area just inside of the balcony which had a large sleeper sofa (which we never pulled out), a little coffee table and a nice chair. There are two flat-screen TV’s in the room, one angling towards the bed and one angling towards the couch/chair, so you can easily sit here and relax. Since there is plenty of room for your stuff, you don’t have to clutter this area up. The bed was so comfortable. It was easily as good as my bed at home! There’s a large closet for hanging things, as well as a shelf for your clothes with mirrored doors. For 2 adults, there was more than enough space for everything including our suitcases. Bathroom was nice - small as you’d expect. The mini-suites actually have actual porcelain tubs and very nice showerheads. The counter is pretty narrow, but there’s a little shelf for your stuff. Being a cruise ship bathroom it is compact. If you want to spread out and relax while you do your “business" you might want to head to one of the public bathrooms! The decor was pleasant, though not super current. I was looking at my pictures from our 2001 cruise aboard the grand princess, and they certainly updated the rooms, however I think they used the same supplier for the built-in room furniture. the mini-suites feature larger balconies. They are functional but not really fancy with that utility rubberized flooring. The nice thing about the mini-suite balconies is the clear open view of the sky. The only downside is that everyone on the decks above can look right down into your balcony. The mini-suites are mainly on Dolphin (deck 9). Its one of the lower passenger decks, however that’s not really such a bad thing as you only go down 2 flights of stairs and you’ll be in Promenade with easy access to the Piazza. It is a bit of a climb up to 15 for Horizon Court and the pool, but honestly with all I ate and drank I was eager for the exercise. Remember there is no deck 13 so it goes 10, 11, 12, 14, 15 - 5 flights of stairs. There are elevators of course! The other thing I’ll mention is that the rooms are very insulated from noise next door - i couldn’t hear my neighbors at all. There was some hallway noise, but it wasn’t a problem. Tips: On tender port days, or on days that they could be testing the life-boats (or - in the hopefully rare scenario that they are using the lifeboats - it which case you’d have bigger things to worry about!) the machinery for the davits and winches for extending and lowering the boats sounds like its right beneath deck 9. So, when we arrived in Cabo, we heard this extremely loud “whirring” and were a little alarmed until we figured out what it was! I think the drains get slow from time to time with all the hair and junk. Don’t be shy - tell your stateroom attendant. On our cruise, a plumber actually came by one day to check it, and I said I was glad he did because it was slow, and in about 5 minutes it was clear as a bell. Food/Dining I have taken several galley tours, and I can see how challenging it is to provide elegantly prepared food for 3000 people. I think Princess does a great job. We ate in main dining 5 times on the cruise, then 2 nights in specialty restaurants: Share by Curtis Stone and the Crown Grill Steakhouse. Of course we also ate in other venues: Horizon Court, International Cafe, and Caribe Cafe. Main dining: I enjoyed the main dining food. Everything for the most part was really well presented. The taste ranged from really good to good enough. Personally I think they do a great job given the huge numbers of dinners they have to serve. The service was at times really good, and at times just ok. Its important to note that we chose “Anytime Dining,” which means you likely won’t have the same server more than once, and they are a little more rushed than if you choose a specific table and dinner time. We knew that going in. We like to eat by ourselves, and I think the tables for 2 are nice - You’ll likely be sat at one of those areas where there is a very long “bench,” and then tables for two spaced just wide enough for someone to slide in, then chairs on the other side. Its not as intimate as having your own table, but its really not any different from something you might find at a fancy restaurant where space is at a premium. Tips: On Ruby, you can “Anytime” dine at either Michaelangelo or DaVinci. The food is the same, and the decor is different, but not that much different. We varied - a few nights in one, and a couple in the other. One night, we had this Jamaican server in DaVinci that we really nice and attentive. If they are busy and you request a table for two, they might try to “Sell” you on eating with other people - its just an option if you want to eat right away. If you are willing to wait, then you can eat at a table for 2. Or, try the other dining room - they are right on top of each other, so you may just go upstairs or downstairs and find there is a table available right away. Share by Curtis Stone My wife an I agreed that this is the best meal we have had at sea (mind you we are not that experienced! This is just our 4th cruise). The emphasis here is totally on quality and not quantity! I would not expect to leave with the buttons on your shirt bursting! You select choices from about 6 different courses. Everything is fascinating combinations of flavors and textures. The presentation is elegant, but the restaurant is not at all stuffy and overly formal. The brand new decor is contemporary and home-like. Everything is fresh and hand made. Crown Grill My wife is not a steakhouse fan, but we decided to go here because we intentionally did not bring any formal wear, so we added a 2nd night of speciality dining. I thought it was excellent. Now, though the food is high quality, chances are you will leave with your belt and shirt fitting tighter - the portions are very large. The centerpiece, the steak was really excellent. I love that they are serving it with these different types of salt that you can add in the amounts you want. They had himilayan, black hawaiian and an herb salt. The other item I loved was their unique take on French Onion soup. Horizon Court I am a huge fan of buffets. I admit it. Its probably one of my favorite parts of cruising! Guilty as charged. The Horizon Court food is good - its high quality. At night, you’ll find some of the items also being served in Main Dining. Its also nicely presented. However, the selection is fairly limited as buffets go, and the space itself is pretty small and cramped at times with a fairly poor flow. Buffet design has changed over the last decade and Horizon Court doesn’t really incorporate any of those innovations. Still, its not bad! I just wish they had more salad offerings. Believe me - I still spent plenty of time at Horizon Court. The view is terrific. The service is good too - you can get your own drinks, or the servers will bring them as well. Tips: Caribe Cafe is basically just an extension of Horizon Court - I didn’t really see very much that they had out that was very different. So, if space is tight and Caribe is open, you can always eat there. When Caribe Cafe is closed, you can still use the seating area, at least from my observation. Don’t be afraid to use those seats. Trident Grill We got burgers at Trident Grill a couple times. They were very good, not too big and made right in front of you. They come with Fries. Neptune Pizza I got one slice of pizza there - my wife did not like it, but I did. Its more of an italian style pizza - not too much cheese, and a very nice crust. I liked it, and it too was made fresh. Bars: All the bars were fine. On the first day, we got several drinks at the Pool bars. International cafe We absolutely loved the international Cafe! I think this is a great addition to the ships. Its the one place that is open 24 hours a day, just in case you are hungry at 3am. The International Cafe serves freshly brewed coffee and espresso drinks, as well as drinks from the bar, and all day and night they have sandwiches and small plates of salads and desserts. Its the perfect afternoon sack (or post dinner, post bedtime, etc…). There is no charge for any of the delicious desserts or food items - they are served on small plates though, so if you want a lot you might just need to make a few trips to the counter. They appeared to be giving people what ever they wanted though (I’ll have a tuna sandwich, and a roast beef sandwich, and a tiramisu.”) The coffee at International Cafe is good, and is a step up from the Nescafe Alegria coffee served everywhere else (which honestly is not bad either!) They brew fresh drip coffee however at International Cafe. The prices are very fair - about what you’d expect to pay at your local starbucks - around 2.50 for a large coffee. We opted for the Princess Coffee Card. Its around $35 for 15 punches that can be used for any specialty beverage (cappuccino, latte, mocha, espresso,etc), then you gut unlimited drip coffees. I know we got our money’s worth with the card. They don’t seem to care if you get smalls or larges with the speciality beverages, so feel free to indulge. The espressos and cappucinos were very good. There’s a nice little seating area just off the Piazza, and its really a nice place to be, day or night. If you do grab one of the chairs first, there is a waitstaff that will come and take your order. Shops The shopping is decent on the Ruby Princess. The main gift shop has some nice items, and the prices really aren’t bad. They have some fun Princess logo items, duty free liquor, chocolates, and some clothes. The price of the clothes appears to be about the same as you’d find on land, minus the tax. There’s also a perfume shop. Being a dude, I don’t have much need for perfume and I haven’t worn cologne in a long time (maybe I should start?) But, its a pretty cool looking shop. We bought a sampler pack for our teenage daughter that was really a hit when we returned. In addition, there’s a watch store - they had some nice stuff, and a new “Effy” jewelry store. There’s also a women’s store with purses, sunglasses, etc. Shore excursions/ ports This was a Mexican Riviera cruise. We had done the same itinerary back in 2011 on the Disney Wonder, though that year the Mazatlan port call was cancelled amid fears of crime. The itinerary was: At sea, At sea, Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan and a short day at Cabo, followed by one more day at sea. If you live along the West Coast, or even in Las Vegas or Phoenix, this itinerary is just a no-brainer! Its almost as nice as the Caribbean (not quite, but not bad!) but with just a short flight and little or no time change, its so much easier to get to LA than Florida. Puerto Vallarta: We did the snorkeling trip to Marietas Islands. It was so much fun. The company was called “Vallarta Adventures,” and they were phenomenal. They were so hard working, friendly and seemed to want everyone to have a safe and great time. We were also very blessed to have apparently one of the best Humpback whale watching days ever. We saw a dozen or more breaches, some quite close. Mazatlan: We chose the Faro (Lighthouse) Hike excursion. Again, the tour guide was just great. He took us on a slow hike with plenty of stops up a large hill. Along the way, he stopped to talk about the local plants and animals (including a friendly local dog that joined our group). He was funny and knowledgeable. The view was amazing. Overall, it was a tremendous trip! Can’t wait for the next one. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
We love choosing Princess and the Regal has raised the bar. Service was outstanding across the board - the quality of the food (in my opinion) has gotten better. I really enjoyed the Crab Shack specialty dining.The Food in the Horizon ... Read More
We love choosing Princess and the Regal has raised the bar. Service was outstanding across the board - the quality of the food (in my opinion) has gotten better. I really enjoyed the Crab Shack specialty dining.The Food in the Horizon Court (did not do dinner there) was much improved with many more selections offered - the over easy eggs were just perfect!! There are a few more bars that really thin out the crowd... you never have to wait for anything and you get the the chance to have conversations with the crew... they are proud of their ship and it shows... Very professional service and they have fun too!! Getting on and off the ship has tremendous improved - no more waiting in lines when arriving or leaving... Disembarkation was literally only 10 minutes from the time I left the dining room to when I was in a cab at 9:45am!!! we finished breakfast about 8:30 had waited in the dining room, but once called walked to claim the bags (no big pile of suitcases to sort through!!) and only waited for two other couples in customs... walked right out and walked up to a cabbie, loaded up and we we were out of the terminal Boarding was just as quick - we took a bus from the hotel last Sunday and got to the ship and boarded right away about 11:30am... I know I had my first beverage poolside before noon!!!!! My only complaint during the entire cruise was the high pressure sales at the spa... makes me want to skip going next trip... I had two massages and my wife has a facial and nails done...The staff just not take no for an answer... I don't mind them offering the product, but when i say I'm not interested, they should stop... that is what the bar staff does and it keeps everyone in a good mood!! The entertainment was top notch - we did not see any of the shows, but everyone rotated through the Piazza and did a very nice job!! Lastly the photo package ($99 on line pre boarding / $199 ship board) was lots of fun... I has 96 pictures taken of my wife and me over the week and you get them all - digital copies as well for that price) nice to get some professional quality of the two of us once in a while!! To sum it up, we had a fantastic time and I think this is one of the best vacation values you can get Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
I have challenging food allergies and I cannot say enough about how much the crew helped me in all the dining areas to stay away from foods that are offensive. In the main dining room they made special gourmet versions of the meals with ... Read More
I have challenging food allergies and I cannot say enough about how much the crew helped me in all the dining areas to stay away from foods that are offensive. In the main dining room they made special gourmet versions of the meals with sauces that I could eat. They even made special deserts and even my own custom Birtday cake. I cannot tell you how amazing this made the dining experience and further enhanced my loyalty to Princess. Watching the Super Bowl on their huge screen surrounding the pool was also an amazing experience. I cannot say enough about how much we love the Regal. It is great fun watching movies and concerts up at the main pool. Entertainment has improved as they now have 2 bands that play in different venues on the ship. They play a great variety of music and We enjoyed dancing under the stars. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
Love Princess! Rarely disappointed! Our room was terrific and ditto for Eddie our cabin steward. Loved the room location at mid-ship. Our wedding coordinator, Alex, from customer service was outstanding! Loved breakfast at Sabatini's. ... Read More
Love Princess! Rarely disappointed! Our room was terrific and ditto for Eddie our cabin steward. Loved the room location at mid-ship. Our wedding coordinator, Alex, from customer service was outstanding! Loved breakfast at Sabatini's. The buffet was a little sparse at times. The dining room menu has been reduced and the always available menu portion was lonely. Room service menu was outstanding....maybe better than the dining room. The service was faster, too! The casino seemed a little sparse with the slot machines. We spent some time there with so many sea days. The shopping was disappointing in quantity and selection. I did buy perfume and aftershave for my new husband! The weather was a little cooler and so we didn't use the balcony as much as I had hoped. We saw a couple of movies but it was chilly. Most days at movies under the stars but soft throws were provided for those who wanted to stay. The shows were enjoyable with a magician one night and the singers and dancers one night. Enjoyed shows in the Piazza frequently. The International Cafe was good and convenient. Played Bingo....and lost! It was fun with the Captain calling the numbers! The Captain was fun and always mingling with passengers. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
Our relatives chose this cruise and we tagged along. However, it was very convenient for us, living in the LA area, that it was a round trip to and from LA. Captain Michele Tuvo was an exceptional captain - he was friendly, funny, fun ... Read More
Our relatives chose this cruise and we tagged along. However, it was very convenient for us, living in the LA area, that it was a round trip to and from LA. Captain Michele Tuvo was an exceptional captain - he was friendly, funny, fun and everywhere. Very informative - kept us informed and up to date in a humorous, endearing way. Andrew Kadlec - the cruise director was outstanding. He was a great entertainer as well as a creative and innovative cruise director. We especially loved him on the Wake Show along with Duval, another entertaining young man. The food was as good as any food we've had on any ship (and we've done Royal Caribbean, Celebrity and Holland America) if not better! Warning - the deserts on Princess may be hazardous to your health! The shows were great - aside from one magician that failed to wow us at all we were very favorably impressed by all shows. The singers and dancers on this cruise were phenomenal. Top notch entertainment. One note - the "Voice of the Ocean" show was hurried and overlooked some great contestants and skipped to one that was good but not necessarily the best. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
We wanted a cruise in February in the Caribbean and this one offered some ports that we hadn't been to before. We've done a lot of cruises on Princess and Celebrity. Princess does a lot of things really well. Here are some ... Read More
We wanted a cruise in February in the Caribbean and this one offered some ports that we hadn't been to before. We've done a lot of cruises on Princess and Celebrity. Princess does a lot of things really well. Here are some of the things that we really like about Princess: 1)The cabins are a good size and the design is very good with a lot of storage--we like the position of the closet and the shelving and the bathroom has a lot of space to store things. 2) The service was very good-no complaints at all but I do think the Celebrity crews that we've had are more enthusiastic and friendly and seem to be a happier group. 3) We did the Crown Grill, Crab Shack and the Chef's Table and had amazing food in all the those. Especially the Chef's Table. The dining room was hit and miss, some dinners were good but some just okay. We had anytime dining and made reservations so we were always able to eat when we wanted to. 4) We did several of the wine tastings in the Vines Bar and they were very fun and a good value for the money. 5) We felt the music onboard was geared to the age group onboard. Most of the music played by the house band Atomic was 50-60's as was the music at the pool. They were very enjoyable to listen and dance to. They also played quite a bit around the ship and in the evening there was always several choices of music to listen to in the different bars or venues. We don't usually go to the Production shows but we went the first night and like most of them the singers and dancers were not that good so we didn't go back. 6) The prices on Princess are more reasonable than on Celebrity. Glasses of wine were usually in the $7-8 range as compared to $10-13 on Celebrity. They also did BOGO for $1 twice a day. 7) They also do a nice happy hour for Platinum and Elite and Suites every evening with a discount on drinks and great appetizers. 8) A couple days there was sushi and boiled shrimp for lunch and the hamburgers and pizza and ice cream by the pool are great. 9) Disembarkation was a breeze! 10 minutes at the most from walking off to getting a taxi. 10) Love the EZ Check luggage service! 11) Having the Princess App and being able to check activities on your phone or iPad was nice. Now for some of the things that we thought they could improve on. 1) The food in the Horizon Court buffet. It's pretty much the same every day and it's not displayed so that it's inviting. Toast sits in a pan under a light so it was usually cold, fruit was old looking several times, a few sandwiches are pre-made and the salad bar was lacking. As compared to Celebrity's buffet, there is a sandwich making area where you can choose from several breads and rolls, meats, cheeses, tuna, chicken and egg salads and the staff will make a custom sandwich for you. They also have Mexican, Italian, Chinese, Indian every day as well as hot food section, carving section and several days they have specialty made Caesar Salads, fetticine, paella etc. So Princess could greatly improve their buffett. It's also pretty unorganized and a lot of repetition so there's a lot of wandering around trying to find what's available. Also on other lines there's more choice in beverages. Orange juice is the only choice for breakfast and water or ice tea for lunch. 2) The senior officers are not visible. We only saw the Captain at the Captain's Welcome aboard and the cruise director isn't around unless she's presenting the entertainment or doing the Wake Show. On Celebrity you see them around the ship all the time talking and joking with passengers and crew and they are involved in activities on the ship such as water volleyball and game shows. I think that's why the staff on Celebrity seem happier and having fun because the officers are more outgoing and friendly. 3) The balconies on the Royal are terrible!! 4) We thought the choice of Movies outside during the day and at night were poor. One day at the pool we had " Finding Dory" and there were maybe 10 kids on board. Interesting choice. But it was a great cruise and hated to see it end. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
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