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Sail Date: December 2017
After a 5 year hiatus from cruising we finally got to sea again to celebrate a belated 30 year wedding anniversary. Traveling with both adult sons and future daughter-in-law, Christmas break was the best opportunity to get all five of us ... Read More
After a 5 year hiatus from cruising we finally got to sea again to celebrate a belated 30 year wedding anniversary. Traveling with both adult sons and future daughter-in-law, Christmas break was the best opportunity to get all five of us together. Ultimately port selection determined booking the Regal sailing as St Thomas, St Lucia and Barbados were islands we wanted to return to. Booked cruise through Cruise.com so didn't know upfront that the 8 day cruise out of San Juan was also a 11 day out of Ft L. (and also a 21 day out of Ft L). Overall - a great experience and good first impression of Princess. Definitely put Princess on the short list of cruise lines to consider in the future. Flew into San Juan on 19 Dec. staying in one of the hotels a few miles from the airport (Double Tree). Hotel was in good condition, as was a lot of San Juan that could be seen from the air. Most notable was that the good portion of the traffic lights we came across were not operating. Drivers seemed to be able to negotiate intersections w/o a lot of drama. Went to the Bacardi's distillery for their rum tasting tour. If you are into wine/beer/spirits tasting I think you will like this tour. Embarked ship around 2:00 PM as one of only 160 passengers getting on in San Juan. Best embarkation ever! Extremely quick and easy. On return to Ft L. opted to take our luggage off ship due to flight schedule. We were released from ship 20 minutes early and customs was a breeze. A relatively new ship, the ship was very clean. For the most part I liked the layout. Some pet peeves; I would like to see a promenade deck that runs the length of the ship and more than a jogging deck that only goes around the aft end of the ship. Also not a fan of the jumbo TV outside on the pool deck. Too loud and not necessary when everyone has an iPad for personnel entertainment. Darn few kids onboard. Ship has a teen lounge area but I don't think the ship had any staff/space set aside for younger kids. You bring them, you entertain them. Definitely an older crowd. Enjoyed traditional dinning, had a great wait staff. Food was OK to good, lots of variety. Wait staff very accommodating in mixing/matching different menu items. Buffet was well laid out, almost no crowding and always tables available. A first in my experience. Did not take advantage of other eating options as we spent most of our days ashore. Enjoyed 2-1 happy hour at Crooners lounge every afternoon. Say hi to Dumutri at Swirls ice Cream. Worth the stop. Surprisingly we did not take advantage of the shows other than the magician (not overly impressed). Ship has a TV studio where they run trivia events and game shows. We got hooked on those instead and general had a good time there (space could hold about 300). Cruise director staff running those events did a good job, always something to laugh about. We found service to be great, both cabin steward and dinner wait staff. Public bathrooms were always immaculate. We try to book our excursions on our own mostly to find opportunities to do something in a small group. Trip Advisor making this easier every year. St Thomas - wife had a special bracelet made for her in St Thomas before we sailed so got to avoid the dreaded shopping phrase "I'll know when I see it". Yeah me! Otherwise just walked downtown window shopping. St Kitts - what a beautiful island, breath taking really. Took a 15 passenger jeep tour of the island which included 1 hr beach time. Worth doing. We booked this excursion through ship after we found out ship had reserved all 7 jeeps of Greg's Tours already. St Lucia - horseback riding through Atlantic Stables. Went back to them after great time 7 years ago. Takes an hour by car to get there but that's an opportunity to see the island. The landscape the ride takes place is just beautiful. Barbados - Half day cat ride on the Moon Dance. Max 12 passengers made this a truly relaxing sail. Two snorkel stops, lunch, free swim. Open bar. Outstanding crew. Antigua - was going to hit a beach but we were all burned out from horseback ride and cat sail. Did a little shopping off the pier and called it a day. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2017
My wife and I are experienced cruisers. For my wife and her twin sister's birthday we did a family cruise on Regal Princess. The rest of the family had not been on a cruise so we went with Princess as they are one of the best cruise ... Read More
My wife and I are experienced cruisers. For my wife and her twin sister's birthday we did a family cruise on Regal Princess. The rest of the family had not been on a cruise so we went with Princess as they are one of the best cruise lines in my opinion. We found the ship to be as regal as the name. The decor was impeccable as was the layout. The food was some of the best we've had on a cruise ship (and that is saying a lot). The service was the best. Easily the best we've had on a cruise (once again this says a lot). I go on a cruise to relax and have some fun. My wife and I loved the food, the drinks, the dancing and most importantly the service. I got onto the Regal, got into a hot tub and within 30 seconds a deck waiter asked me if I wanted a drink. I expect that on a cruise ship and Regal Princess delivered. Very relaxing, super fun, amazing food and drinks. Terrific ship... Read Less
Sail Date: August 2013
I LOVE cruising, and even the worst day at sea beats the best day at work (and I love my job, too... so that says a lot!) So writing this review is a little bittersweet, but as I still to this day have a bit of animosity towards Princess, ... Read More
I LOVE cruising, and even the worst day at sea beats the best day at work (and I love my job, too... so that says a lot!) So writing this review is a little bittersweet, but as I still to this day have a bit of animosity towards Princess, and especially because we are booked on another Princess cruise (not by choice, but by destination and limited options), I am going to write this in hopes that perhaps they will make some improvements! Our first red flag, was getting on the ship in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Now all of us cruisers know that long lines at embarkation is a likely thing you will face, but this was beyond anything I have ever witnessed. Our bus (transfer bought through Princess) was scheduled to take us from the hotel to the pier at a specific time, but it was nearly an hour late picking us up at the hotel (an hour we would have preferred spending at the hotel's beach, right?) Then when we arrived at the pier, we were dropped off at the front, and told to walk to the end of the line that was formed outside. as we walked down to find the end of the line, we realized it wrapped around the entire building and extended down the parking lot. Now a long line in the hot sun with no shade or place to sit is one thing... but the rudeness of the staff as they walked by and answered questions was completely unacceptable. At one point a Princess staffer walked passed us, shouting out "Any Elite or Platinum members please come with me" I asked "How do we become an Elite or Platinum member?" and he said "If you have to ask, you can't afford it." REALLY? I was so shocked and offended that anyone even still says such a thing. We stood in the outside line for over 2 hours. We laughed it off but little did we know at the time that this was just a taste of the poor customer service yet to come. Now, let me say, to my fellow coffee drinkers out there... my husband and I love a good cup of coffee, and we have come to learn in our cruising and travel adventures that this is not always available. However, if a cruise line sells a coffee card with so many "punches" on a literal card that you prepay for... and if they advertise a coffee bar that has lattes - they should make sure they are working machines! Or, at the least, refund the purchase price of the cards when the machine breaks down. I am not a cheap person and will gladly pay extra for quality, and neither my husband or I are chronic complainers... but on the fifth time that we headed to the coffee bar and were told the espresso machine was not working, we did ask to speak to thesupervisor, her name was Beverly, and she wanted to argue with us, first telling us we could have hot cocoa. I told her we bought the cards for lattes and if those were not available, we wanted to know where we could return the coffee cards for a refund, and she rudely told us we could have cocoa, wait for the machine to be fixed, or use the cards on our next cruise. Our other concern may only be for a few of you. I am a smoker, and some lines, Princess being one of them, have eliminated the option to smoke on your balcony. I guess I can understand this for those non smokers out there, as the smoke drifts upward and backward. What I don't understand is why they don't allow "smoking balcony" rooms at the back top of the ship, which would not affect anyone. Instead they give us a few small sections on different decks, where people have to walk by us to get where they are going. The areas are too small to accommodate the number of smoking cruisers, and on this cruise we were on, they were grossly neglected. Ash trays were not emptied and dishes were left on tables for hours on end... many people asked staffers while I was there to help clean up and yet no one ever came. When we returned, I contacted Princess by email to share my concern about the coffee card and the dirty areas of the ship. I did receive a call, but I was made to feel like it was too bad, so sad, nothing they could do. Not that I expected anything in return, I just wanted to provide them feedback on the poor customer service so they could perhaps do something to improve it, yet after the conversation, I felt like the person who called was not listening and just doing her job by calling me. We cruised once before on Princess to Alaska in 2006 and it was wonderful, so I am hoping this was just a poorly trained and supervised crewand that our adventure on one of their ships this October will not be so frustrating. I do have to say that the Caribbean cruise took us to some of the most beautiful places we had ever seen, and that the food was fabulous! There was also a photographer named Emily who was AWEsome! Read Less
Sail Date: April 2012
We have sailed with the Captain and Cruise Director before and both did the same high quality job as before. Captain Mancuso made some decisions for our safety and comfort that did result in the Port of Dublin stop being shortened, but ... Read More
We have sailed with the Captain and Cruise Director before and both did the same high quality job as before. Captain Mancuso made some decisions for our safety and comfort that did result in the Port of Dublin stop being shortened, but that was fine with us. Better safe and enjoying a smoother sail than have the entire day in one of the Ports. Nothing is guaranteed when sailing the world's oceans. Dan Styne had the same enormous amounts of energy and this was evident in his staff's approach to all the activities. Sea days are what we prefer and they were so full of activities that I did not have time to use all my minutes of computer time. Up too early and to tired in the late evening. Having three shows each evening made it possible to see all the entertainment and not have to rush through supper. We really like this change from the two shows per evening. Embarkation went very smoothly once the doors were opened to the port embarkation building. The line from the port doors was very long, but once it started moving we were in our cabin in less than 30 min. Disembarkation was again done in a very efficient manner and we had our luggage gathered and were through Customs in less than 30 min. from our assigned gathering time on board. We did not eat in the Speciality Rest. this cruise so cannot comment on those. The Horizon Court had plenty to chose from for Breakfast and was different each day. The Dining Rooms at anytime seating were great with no waiting and the waiters honored my one small special request on the three occasions I put it forth. I still have not figured out how the waite staff can remember not only a special request but ones room number a week or so later in the cruise? Our room steward did a great job and was Johnny-on-the-spot with any requests we made, he also was quick to learn our familiar names and use them.(Not the formal names on the registration) All in all we really enjoyed our time on board the Caribbean Princess. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2012
We arrived in San juan late on Sunday evening after flights from Manchester via JFK. The airport is close to the Port and the princess arranged transfers were reliable and quick as normal. Boarding was very quick as it was nearly 10pm by ... Read More
We arrived in San juan late on Sunday evening after flights from Manchester via JFK. The airport is close to the Port and the princess arranged transfers were reliable and quick as normal. Boarding was very quick as it was nearly 10pm by the time we got to the ship so majority of people were already on. I did hear some horror stories from people who Arrived earlier in the day as customs delayed boarding and the queues were very long as a result. We had a mini-suite on Dolphin Deck and it was a good size and very comfortable with the extra TV, sofa and bath being the main difference from the normal balcony room. We only had 15minutes in the room before we were mustered for our safety drill which had to be done then as we sailed at 11pm. The ship overall was in very good condition and all our favourite haunts such as sky walkers, international cafe and crooners were present and correct. We opted for anytime dining and ate in the island dining room most nights. Food was the usual high standard - I particularly like the variety of fish dishes. Service In the dining rooms was friendly and efficient and not to heavy handed in pushing extras such as wine, bottled water etc. we ate in horizon court (self service) a couple of evenings and the odd morning and found the food to be much hotter than previous ( on previous princess cruises I've often found it lukewarm). Service on the ship was excellent. One day we had a problem with the toilet not flushing, we reported to the front desk and was assured it would be fixed. When we returned to our room later in the morning there was a message saying the problem had been fixed, however on checking it still didn't work- we reported it again, they apologised and 10minutes later it was fixed. When we returned to our room that evening there was a bottle of wine waiting and a letter apologising for the inconvenience ! I think this was excellent customer service. We are platinum captains circle members so we took advantage of the pre dinner nibbles and cocktails each evening in sky walkers - which was a lovely way to watch the days port disappear into the distance, we didnt catch any shows preferring to spend our evenings in crooners listening to the singer/pianist Tommy McPhee - he was pretty good although his style was a little ott for what is meant to be a relaxing cocktail bar - but most people enjoyed him. As for the Ports - before going I guessed that 1 island would be much the same as the next and whilst to an extent that was true, each had its own unique style that made each one a pleasure to visit. We didn't bother with the ships tours as they are expensive opting to make each day up as we went along. Overall we had a blast and would recommend Princess and Caribbean cruising Read Less
Sail Date: April 2012
PRECRUISE FRIDAY We drove 2 hours to the airport through rain/ice/snow and the flight was delayed 2+ hours due to weather. The agent said our connection was iffy at best and that tomorrow (Saturday) and Sunday all flights to San Juan ... Read More
PRECRUISE FRIDAY We drove 2 hours to the airport through rain/ice/snow and the flight was delayed 2+ hours due to weather. The agent said our connection was iffy at best and that tomorrow (Saturday) and Sunday all flights to San Juan were completely sold out. There were already lots of "iffies" on this trip, so one more seems par for the course. We finally board our 1 hour connecting flight and land about the time our flight to San Juan was scheduled to take off, we run the corridor, get to our gate and they are holding the plane! Woo hoo, probably won't have our checked bags in San Juan, but we'll fight that fight tomorrow instead of relaxing in San Juan. Following an uneventful flight we head to the baggage claim and low and behold our bags are amongst the first off! Wow, dodged two bullets, but I'm still concerned about the ship being repaired and am looking into condo rentals as my requests for space on RCL and X were denied. SATURDAY Our hotel was in the Condado resort area and after a bit of exploring the area we take the bus (75 cents, exact change) to Old San Juan where we board the ferry from terminal 2 to take the Bacardi tour. It was OK, biggest thing I learned was that it is originally a Cuban company. Second biggest thing I learned was that the accent falls on the last syllable, not the second as is commonly used, even in their promotions. Upon returning to OSJ, we wandered around looking for a dinner spot and on the recommendation of a policeman, ended up at Raices for some local fare. I went with the skirt steak mofongo and it was the best dish I had the entire trip. Tender chunks of marinated beef mashed with plantains and a healthy dose of garlic... I'm actually salivating as I write this. All this time the Caribbean Princess is nowhere to be seen. When we get back to the hotel I find her sailing north of St Thomas headed east. I have this disturbing thought that she may be headed to Freeport to be dry-docked. A check at midnight shows her about 20 miles NE of San Juan. Can I get a WOO HOO! I'm all of a sudden feeling this odd sense of both relaxation and excitement. In spite of everything it looks like our plans are going to be realized. Sunday We check out of the hotel about 11:45, board a cab at 11:55 and are toasting mini-bar beers on the balcony at 12:25! The speed with which we went through the process was dumbfounding. We talk to several crew members about what they did during the time off. It was evident that they were not taking it easy. Our stateroom attendant said there was lots of deep cleaning going on. I've never seen a stateroom so perfectly clean. Usually the higher areas are dusty as are the corners in the room. We usually wipe everything down w/ Lysol, not this time. There was also fresh paint on the surfaces around the balcony. We relax, enjoy the view of OSJ and the stern cabins and crew lounge on the Adventure of the Sea and eventually go up to the buffet for some lunch. I'd call it nothing bad, nothing exceptional, just a nice fresh variety of food. Nap time for DW, I wander around a bit talking w/ crew. We were on the CB in June and I did not recognize anyone. Also was surprised when the onboard shops opened in the early evening. The gal said this is the only port they can do it in. DW awakens; we do the muster bit and watch the Adventure of the Seas sail at 8:00 (we sailed her three years ago today). We then head to the buffet for some dinner. Although we miss the lobster claws, I was very pleased to have perfectly prepared, succulent calamari steaks. CCL's Victory sailed around 10 and we pulled out at 11:00. I monitored my GPS as we left the harbor to see if she could attain speeds capable of a return from Barbados... when she hit 15kts I figured we'd be fine and went to bed. MONDAY St Thomas -- Nothing really scheduled here, but DW wants to do some shopping and then go to Meggan's Bay. We were docked at Crown Bay, which we'd not been to and which required a $3pp cab ride to get to town (or about a 2 mile walk). Getting off the cab we were met by a gentleman named Pasquale who offered all on the cab a tour of some of the island highlights ending at Secret Cove on the island's SE side. He said Meggan's Bay would be crowded and that there were also reports of jelly fish there. (I later talked to some folks who went to Meggan's Bay and they said it was great, not crowded and there were turtles and fish, but none of the jellied variety.) Anyway, he said $25 each and he would take us back to the cruise ship. He said to meet him back there at 12:15 (it was now about 10:30). So we made our way down jewelry street until we got to Effy's (DW dragged me into one in Aruba in December). Seems DW had her eye on a blue topaz ring and had been saving, so after much discussion between salesperson and manager (think used car lot), she got the ring. After the purchase we were talking to the salesperson and I commented that the other sales persons were really looking at her enviously and she said this was her first day on the job. So off we went with Pasquale, several picture stops (including one overlooking Meggan's Bay), a stop at a banana daiquiri place where you mix your own drink (they give you a glass of frozen mix and sit a bottle of 151 rum in front of you) and then on to Secret Cove which had a nice little beach w/ restaurant. We did some snorkeling, had some lunch and thoroughly enjoyed the experience (although I'm sure Pasquale was rewarded for his efforts). All in all it was a very good price for what was received. Cabs to Meggan's Bay were $12 each way per person. Back on board DW took a nap and I enjoyed the sail away from our balcony and the dusk to darkness which seems to come way too early. I set my GPS for Tortola and was shocked to see it was only 27 miles. I'm a bit mystified as to where our joy ride took us over the next 12 hours. Anyway, DW rises about 7, I lay down and the next thing I know it's about 8:30 and DW is watching Mr. Popper's Penguins, so much for formal night... No great loss as we've sort of migrated to the buffet after doing the traditional thing for many years. TUESDAY Tortola (new port for us) -- Room service breakfast scheduled for 7-7:30 arrives at 7:01. We're off by 9 and headed to Speedy's for the ferry service to Virgin Gorda. These are nice high speed catamarans which was a nice surprise. The ferry we took in San Juan was a noisey tub w/ benches (but was well worth 50 cents). Upon arriving at the baths (it is a National Park), there are two paths, one to Devils Bay goes to the left and one to the Baths goes to the right, about 15min and 10min walk respectively. We headed to Devil's Bay and discovered some of the best snorkeling we've done. It was like going from one big room into another into another, etc... After about an hour there we did the cave path/route to the Baths which was an incredible trek. There was little bar/restaurant so we got a couple burgers (don't be in a hurry) and then headed out for more incredible snorkeling. This was one of several highlights of this trip. Back on board DW does the requisite nap and I enjoy a great sail away through many small islands, many with sailing yachts moored. Set the GPS for Antigua and see it is 130 miles so no laps or joy ride tonight. WEDNESDAY Antigua (another new port) -- I was surprised to see 3 other ships in port (Serenade, Summit and Valor). Following another bountiful room service breakfast on our balcony (very nice to have the Princess McMuffin on the room service menu), we were met by our friend/driver/guide at the pier and headed off for a day of fun, fishing and frolic on this beautiful island. An extended drought has left the island less than lush, but the beauty of seascapes on the Atlantic side and the beaches on the Caribbean side made the day! I even managed to catch a few rock hinds that provided a fine dinner for our friend. I think this is the night we went to the comedy show in the Princess Theater and laughed till it hurt. The guy's "I'm just a man so don't expect too much", shtick was just a hoot! THURSDAY Dominica (another new port; accent on third syllable, not second as is often sounded. I learned this the hard way.) Following our "regular delivery" of breakfast sandwich, cut up melon and juice (I get our daily coffee fixes from Wilson at the coffee shop prior to DW rising), we head off the ship to meet our tour guide Martin of Exodus tours. We set out in his totally pimped, over engineered, and spotless inside and out Toyota van. When you see the inclines we negotiated you'll understand the need for a strong transmission. We were winding our way through the exotic rainforest. The roads were amazingly good; very narrow, but constructed of concrete and most look brand new. Our first stop was Titou Gorge and it turned out to be one of the most amazing places I've ever seen. I've was told that some scenes from the Pirates of the Caribbean movies were filmed here. Anyway, you swim under into this cavernous area and up to a waterfall and it was absolutely stunning in there. Best argument I've seen for a waterproof camera...or you may simply want to take something along to float your camera. Thanks to Martin's timing we had the entire place to ourselves. He said later on it would be teeming with cruisers and you'd be in there with a bunch of others. To have it to ourselves was very cool (pun intended, the water is cool, but you'll get used to it and you do not want to miss this). Before leaving Martin breaks out his guitar and sings a couple of songs, he is very talented and quite a showman. We then went to the Champagne Reef which was OK, but the seas were a bit rough that day and water clarity was not the best. They call it the Champagne Reef because there is an area where volcanic gas bubbles up through the water. We saw the usual assortment of fish and a lot of beautiful yellow coral pipes and some huge bowls. I can't wait to see it sometime when the water is clear. We had a very nice and reasonably priced lunch at the restaurant at the head of the walkway to the reef. Martin played and sang for all those in attendance. Soon we are off to Trafalgar Falls, winding our way up and up and up through the lush rain forest. Once there we were escorted by a park guide who was very knowledgeable and spoke about the prevalence of herbal medicines in Dominica. We finished the trip at the botanical gardens in Roseau. It was an amazing day. This is the lushest place I've ever been to. All the locals we encountered were very warm and friendly and Martin is a superb guide with a great sense of humor. He has been to the states and has a son studying music in Atlanta. Here is Martin's website: http://www.exodustoursdominica.com/ FRIDAY Barbados -- Yet another new port for us, you can see why we picked this itinerary. Nothing planned except a leisurely beach day. We headed off the ship about 10 and go to the taxi stand (which in hindsight may have been a mistake). We see a mother and daughter from CA that we'd met previously and they had similar plans. After speaking to the gal at the booth she escorted through a door to the awaiting taxis. It was like being thrown into a shark frenzy. It was pretty chaotic (or worse, depending on your tolerance for chaos), a dozen (ok, maybe 8?) drivers in your face shouting offers. We finally choose a shark and the van full of fellow beach combers heads north. After about 20min or so it is decided that the surf is too high so we turn around and head south. We ended up at Accra Beach a couple miles south of Bridgetown, at the SideShore Beach Bar & Bistro - sideshorebarbados.com . All was good. You could rent lounges and umbrellas for $5 each and it was applied to any food and drink purchases. The water was pretty churned up close to shore, but there was a manmade reef/break wall about 150yds offshore that provided some very good snorkeling. Not much coral, but all the usual swimming suspects including huge schools of yellow tail snapper. Back on the ship we grazed through the buffet then DW napped (seeing the pattern?), while I found wifi from the terminal on our balcony and caught up on a few correspondences. The ship wifi was weak to non-existent in our stateroom/balcony. The ship was scheduled to sail at 4:30, which I think was the norm for the week. At about 4:45 as they started letting the lines down, here comes a couple of young ladies just sort of lah-ti-dah, taking their time... then they must have noticed the gang planks were gone and they suddenly broke into a sprint... About 5:00 here come a couple of guys, running for the ship. I greeted them with a, "RUNNNNN FORREST!" This evening was formal night and also lobster night so I broke out the coat and tie and we enjoyed our first MDR dinner of the cruise. Lobster was typical cruise fare lobster tail, small and so-so at best, but the scampi served with it was quite good and about the same size. This evening we finally went to the Hypnotist Show in the Princess Theater that we've somehow avoided for years. It was hysterical and I doubt we'll miss another. SATURDAY -- final thoughts Day at sea... The port intensive itinerary has left us in need of this day to relax our bodies and minds. DW, the consummate sun-seeker finds a quiet spot to lay out, I go to the theater for the cooking demo and banter between the maitre de and executive chef. I've seen this many times, but it is always entertaining. It would be nice if they'd change the dishes... Linguini w/ pesto, Caesar salad, Mediterranean style scallops and tiramisu... again? Oh, well at least this time I positioned myself near an exit so I can breeze through the galley tour, which was a great ploy; it took all of about 5min instead of 20-30. Tonight we finally made it up to Skywalkers for the suite/elite/platinum happy hour. They were featuring a $3.99 cosmo and some cold hors d'oeuvres including a shrimp fountain. We enjoyed the offerings and had a nice chat with the only other two people up there. Nice, but it sure seems like a waste of prime real estate. For dinner we grazed through the Trident Grill and Pizzeria and then over to the buffet for some salads and desserts. The brat w/ sauerkraut and fries may not be the best for my heart and waistline, but I sure enjoyed it! We went to the crew talent show tonight. It is always amazing to see the amount of hidden talent. Final thoughts -- whew, I need a vacation to get rested up from this vacation. We played pretty hard. We thoroughly enjoyed all the ports and were particularly smitten with Dominica. It is unfortunate that Princess is pulling out of San Juan next year as I'd do this again and will likely be looking at competitor's offerings. I do understand that it is all a numbers game, but hopefully they will return. As for the negatives of this trip, there is only one. We had some rather inconsiderate neighbors; we shared a wall with two twenty-something British bimbos and then in the next room was a twenty-something American young man we'll refer to as Bellowing Tool. "Bellowing" because he did not seem to possess a quiet voice and "Tool" because he displayed the mental agility of a small plastic soap dish. Monday night was the worst; at 3:00 a.m. we are awakened by screaming, thump thump thump running around, pounding on doors. It lasted about 30min. The next night DW is in bed about 11 and I'm relaxing on the balcony when there is a sudden scream from the balcony next door. Bellowing Tool somehow managed to scare one of the bimbos and she let out a shriek likely heard back in Tortola. It was time to say something, so I lean my head over the rail and say to the bimbo that I would really not like to have a repeat performance of what transpired at 3:00 a.m. last night. She gave me a blank glance and mentioned something about being scared out of her wits. The rest of that night was pretty quiet. The next afternoon I was enjoying a beautiful sunset/sail away while DW napped. I hear the balcony next door open... no issues until about 10min later when Bellowing Tool comes out on his balcony and engages the bimbo in some small talk... Only now he has adopted this pathetic Cockney accent to better match that of his quarry. His lame attempt at humor to impress her was countered by bimbo giggles which only got him excited and thus louder, all the while maintaining this pathetic Cockney accent. I finally had enough and sought respite in my cabin, but alas, the powerful voice of Bellowing Tool is no match for the stateroom walls. DW is now up and around so we dress and head out for the evening. Throughout the rest of week it was sort of on again off again. A couple of evenings between 2 and 3 it would get loud for a short period and then instantly quiet and then build back to a crescendo. These seemed be in about 15min cycles lasting a total of maybe 30 min (two crescendos). I envisioned that once a certain noise threshold was reached the bimbo would suddenly recall disturbing the %^&$# next door and hush Bellowing Tool. I believe alcohol may have been a contributing factor. But enough of the negative, putting up with obnoxious kids was pretty minor in the grand scheme of things. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2012
Although this was our first Princess cruise, we booked the trip with my parents, who has almost TWENTY Princess cruises. My husband & I have sailed for other cruise line and told my parents that we didn't know what they were ... Read More
Although this was our first Princess cruise, we booked the trip with my parents, who has almost TWENTY Princess cruises. My husband & I have sailed for other cruise line and told my parents that we didn't know what they were bragging about all this time. After this trip, my parents do not care for ever booking a Princess cruise again. The service of our steward was wonderful, the staff on the ship is very friendly, especially the waiter and the asst. wait staff in our traditional dining. But, the ship was seriously lacking. Here are the pro's and con's - going to start with the Con's since they outnumber the Pro's. CONS: - I like to watch TV to unwind. Poor selection of channels, too much Princess commercialization!!! - The "Movies under the Stars" needs work. Surround sound is needed. Music was way too loud. Bass was giving me a migraine, yet I could not hear the voices of the people in the movies. - I had heard from other Princess cruise-goers about how great the milkshakes are... I thought they had sucked royally. I have had much better milkshakes at Steak N' Shake or even McDonalds. The milkshakes were like milk (very runny, not even the slightest bit thick). My husband and I got their unlimited sodas and more package because we love milkshakes - what a disappointment and waste of money! Did they change to ice milk or something? - The ice cream quantities was too meager. They would give you the littlest bit of ice cream on the cone. All cone and too little ice cream. - International Cafe is where they serve espresso and desserts, its very hit-and-miss. Once in a while you will find some fabulous desserts, but most of the time, they are don't have much of anything notable. - No good soups. No Lobster Bisque. No snow crab. The menu did not find the fab foods that you would find in other cruise lines. - If you wanted steak and/or seafood, get prepared to pay $25/per head!!! The good seafood is in Crown Grill, but there is a $25 cover charge per person and they are booked WAY IN ADVANCE, so plan accordingly! - Dress code is strictly enforced in traditional dining room, which can be a good or a bad thing depending on the way you look at it. It became a bad thing when there was a particular young lady who would wear crop tops showing her belly piercing and other extremely trashy clothing, but if my husband wore a pair of khaki shorts, he would have to leave and go change clothes! That's when I began to have a problem with it. BE CONSISTENT! - The ship needed better plumbing or a better septic systems! There was continuously problems with toilets not flushing, this includes public bathrooms, which I might add, were disgusting! I have seen cleaner bathrooms at 7-eleven. Come on Princess, hire a cleaning crew to maintain the bathrooms! - Porting: there was always a line when trying to get off the ship, whether you got off as soon as they ported or if you purposely waited around a couple hours, lines that went up and down the staircases to get to the gangways. - Another porting issue: Not sure why we ported so late at some of the locations. Some ports were at 10AM, another one was after 12PM??? Why so late? - Inside staterooms for 4? We need some more space. It was way too cramped. I have had inside staterooms on other cruise ships and they had more room. - LAUNDRY ROOM FACILITIES - Whoa $2.00 to wash a load, $2.00 to dry, and $1.25 for a one-load box of detergent. The laundry room facilities was cluttered and dirty. Also they had iron boards and irons there, but there was rust marks all over the irons (ruined a brand new dress shirt of my son's). I have seen much cleaner laundry facilities in the slums of a local community. - No alcohol package. Like to drink? Better be prepared to spend the cash! Other cruise lines offer various alcohol beverage packages. Princess does not. - Website - I hate unorganized, difficult to navigate websites, the princess so-called "cruise personalizer" is one of them! Also, it should allow you to find out the specifics on drink packages, you shouldn't have to wait until you board the ship to purchase one! - Soda/Pop - Princess please list the types of sodas on your website. I ordered the soda package for my daughter, but wouldn't have if I had known you don't serve Coke-Zero and do not serve Dr. Pepper or any other equivalent. Only soda they have is Root Beer (not diet), Diet Coke, Coke, and Sprite. That's it. - The alcoholic drinks. - The frozen drinks are pricey and sickening sweet!!! I like how they tell you what's in each drink on the menu; however, each of the drinks have sugar syrup added. Real Daiquiris are not made with sugar syrup. They are made with either ice, fresh fruit, with rum OR with frozen fruit and rum!! I would expect so much more with the prices of their drinks!! Tropical blend was the only one with real fruit in it and no syrup. So after having a couple different frozen drinks, we had the tropical blend drink every time thereafter. PRO's: - Kid center seemed to have good activities for children, although it was seriously lacking children that attended. - Wait staff was great and seemed like they enjoyed their jobs. They would go out of their way to help you. - Service was all around good. We had many apologies for the toilet-flushing issues because obviously it was out of the control of the stewards. This includes bartenders in the clubs, wait staff in anytime/buffet dining, passenger services, the DJ's or bands, etc. - all stellar. - For Karaoke-lovers, there are plenty of opportunities to cash in! The evening activities and parties were fun and had excellent organizing! Well done. - Liked the "themed" nights. Many cruise lines have this, but on this ship, it was very well done. Decor, the wait staff would be wearing different apparel, and when you walk in they would be all standing in a line singing songs to whatever the theme is. There was Italian night, formal nights (2), and the last night. Overall, I would say I liked Celebrity Cruise line better. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2012
We sailed on the Caribbean Princess for our first cruise in 15 years. We found service to be impeccable. Most staff was eager to assist you with anything. Our room steward, Tito, was efficient but not obtrusive. Loved having wine and ... Read More
We sailed on the Caribbean Princess for our first cruise in 15 years. We found service to be impeccable. Most staff was eager to assist you with anything. Our room steward, Tito, was efficient but not obtrusive. Loved having wine and snacks at Vines. Pool bars were great as well. One mild disappointment was food offerings at International Cafe. It never changed - ever. So about mid-week, we were sick of the same pastries in the morning (although they do offer one hot sandwich - think Egg McMuffin) and the same sandwiches for a snack. And we weren't overtly impressed with buffet offerings. We didn't avail ourselves of main dining probably as much as we should have, and the food there was pretty good when we did eat there. Overall, we liked this ship and the cruise experience. Our cabin (mini-suite)showed a tiny bit of wear and tear in bathroom but it was clean. And I saw them replacing carpet in other rooms during the trip. Public spaces were very clean. This cruise is a bit slower pace than our last one, and since there were a lot of ports on this itinerary, we did not participate in cruise activities that much. Shows aren't really my thing but entertainment seemed to be good quality. I recommend Princess and would cruise again with them. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2012
So I decided to that I would search for a cruise which was in the US Virgin Islands on the day of our actual aniversary. The only cruise ship to be there on the date I wanted was the Caribbean Princess. I read the various reviews on this ... Read More
So I decided to that I would search for a cruise which was in the US Virgin Islands on the day of our actual aniversary. The only cruise ship to be there on the date I wanted was the Caribbean Princess. I read the various reviews on this board and thought long and hard about spending what would be nearly $8000 USD for a two week cruise plus airfare from LA and hotel for one night along with the expenses of nine ports. Nevertheless the romantic in me won out and I put down the deposit last July on the two week cruise on the Caribbean Princess. I could not have been more pleased with my experience on the Caribbean Princess. It goes to show that the eye of the reviewer may not accurately reflect each person's individual preferences, life styles or even what is bad food to one palate could be delicious to another. I have traveled on Princess before so I was familiar with their cabins, ships and food. I must admit that the reviews of this particular ship at first gave me pause because most reviewers had more negative than positive things to say about the ship. Then there was the scare in March 2012 when the ship broke down and limped its way back to San Juan for two weeks of dry dock. And yes, I am a smoker, so I was not happy to hear about the no smoking policy effective January 31, 2012 on the balconies after I had already paid my cruise fare. (to give princess credit they did give me the option of a refund when the policy was first announced) It took me a few days to figure out where the smoking sections were (cause other than the sports bar and casino they are not clearly designated on any ship map) Yes, it is true that they do charge $250 for the second offense of being caught smoking in your stateroom (and no I was not the one who got in trouble) so if you are a chain smoker think hard about cruising with Princess. The food was good. Yes I did not care for the one dinner I had in the Buffet. I will admit I am a picky eater. The hot dogs at the pool were not stadium quality but the pizza and hamburgers were good. Joe and I had the balcony dining on the night of our aniversary and the food was excellent, the service spotless and the flowers/champagne and deserts included made for a truly unforgetable night. Highly worth the $100 cost to celebrate a special day We ate several mornings in the dining room and while the menu was never different, the service was prompt and the food good. I personally prefered the Palm dining room for dinner (service seemed faster) but the menu was same. Having learned last summer on the Epic that one can save more than two thirds of the cost of port excursions by booking outside the cruise line, I cannot comment on the Princess shore excursions cause we did not book any. But I did not hear any complaints from other passengers about the excursions other than the costs. My favorite port was Bonaire as I like to snorkel and the snorkeling there was perfect at Klein Bonaire with Winwood which was a recommendation I got from someone on this board. I also liked of all places Granada and the day we spent at Papillote Estate. Cant say enough about the gardens the food and the soaking tubs themselves. I would say that my least favorite port was probably Aruba but the beaches are wonderful and I just was too tired to enjoy. Also be aware that Smugglers Cove on Tortula no longer has services as the government closed them down about four weeks before we went there. Beach is lovely so just take food and water and your own snorkel equipment I want to also comment on St John and St Thomas in general. I spent a week there in 1987 for our honeymoon. I have not been back until April 2012 but have been to other islands in the Caribbean in the last 25 years. I was extremely disappointed with St John. Gone is the island I remeber as unpopulated, lush, and well maintained. Cruzan bay St John, while not quite looking like a third world country needs a serious face life and spruce up because the town is really seedy and gone done him. Traffic in St Thomas is horrible in the am, and on St Thomas Princess cruise ships have been put out in the farthest warf on the island. NOT WICO were Carnival gets to put in. So budget more time that you think you need to get back to the ship or to get to or from the Red Hook Ferry if you are going to go to St John (which in my opinion is no longer worth going to) cause it was a close call getting back on the ship in time. I would go back on the Caribbean Princess in a heartbeat. The service from the waitstaff to the barristas to the cabin attendants were efficient and always plesant. I bought the spa pass for the week and the was never any issues with crowding in the back pool adjacent to the spa. While it may not have the glamor or newness of the Epic and is a totally different experience Princess still by far is the more classy ship line of the three I have been on (NCL and Carnival) so I would recomend the Caribbean Princess. It may not be the most modern ship in Princess's line, and yes, the carpet in someplaces is worn, and the tv's are not new flat screens with interactive services. Nevettheless maybe the better approach is to look at the ship as a classic n older ship with different qualities one cannot find in the newer megaships. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2012
This is my 7th cruise and third with Princess (Crown and Caribbean in 2009). I was very nervous the week before sailing because the problem with one of the ship engine but was more relax after they made a test of 27 hours in the sea prior ... Read More
This is my 7th cruise and third with Princess (Crown and Caribbean in 2009). I was very nervous the week before sailing because the problem with one of the ship engine but was more relax after they made a test of 27 hours in the sea prior our voyage. Princess made a new cruise with the fix of the engine was a totally relax voyage all 7 days and don't feel any movement of the ship with an exception of 2 hours in the sixth day. Embarcation- We arrived at 1pm to the pier and at 1:30pm we was in our cabin. Was an inside cabin very clean and organized. The TV with ESPN, Movie Channels and CNN was excellent. Dining= Anytime was the better option because we dinner when we wanted and for two formal nights I recerved a table the day before. Great meals, hot all times and very fast. The buffet area was excellent also with a great variety of food. Breakfast buffet was the same day by day. They need to make a change with the omalet station. Crew in the Dining and Buffet was excellent and friendly. Entertaiment- They made an strong improvement since my last ship in 2009. Latin Connection Group and Rhapsody Band was excellent performance all days in the Pool Deck and in the Lounges. Ports- St. Thomas, Tortola, Antigua, Dominica and Barbados was not a better Island but we wasn't interested in the ports in this voyage. In resume the Caribbean Princess was above my expections 4 years after my first voyage. Outstanding crew, dinning and entertainments groups. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2012
April 1st cruise leaving from San Juan, Got on the ship around 3pm, Very fast check in. Went to our room ate and then went walking around San Juan. Food: Great Food all around. Buffet food was just as good as dining room. Went to ... Read More
April 1st cruise leaving from San Juan, Got on the ship around 3pm, Very fast check in. Went to our room ate and then went walking around San Juan. Food: Great Food all around. Buffet food was just as good as dining room. Went to Crown Grill steak house and it was well worth the 25$. Only negative I will say is that they have 2 anytime dining areas and we went to 1 and they did not tell us to go to the other one which we only found out 2 days before the cruise ended about the 2nd one. Entertainment:was good, not the best, There was only 1 comedian, which was great and the Broadway shows i do not attend because it is not my style of entertainment and finally an amazing Hypnotist!! Ports: All amazing but I am not a fan of Dominica, only because my gf and I are beach ppl and Dominica is not a beach town. Fav port had to be Tortola. I want to add that the cruise staff are absolutely amazing, they always smiled and always said hello, I talked to a crew member and they said that Princess policy is that the Crew always and always have to be friendly.. They did go overboard when someone gets out of the Buffet line and takes there plate to there seat... I find that a bit too much and I never accepted once because they are not slaves.... I cant believe some ppl accepted. debarkation: We were out completely in 15 min!! I cant believe how fast it went and no rush at all. Went walking around Old San Juan, Beautiful!! Would go back ! Love Princess Cruise line and we already made a deposit for another cruise! Read Less
Sail Date: April 2012
Itinerary: San Juan, St. Marteen, St. Lucia, Grenada, Bonaire, Aruba, & San Juan Cabin: L301 Overall, the cruise on the Caribbean Princess was a very good experience! Unfortunately, I can't say my overall experience was ... Read More
Itinerary: San Juan, St. Marteen, St. Lucia, Grenada, Bonaire, Aruba, & San Juan Cabin: L301 Overall, the cruise on the Caribbean Princess was a very good experience! Unfortunately, I can't say my overall experience was perfect, but their was defiantly much more good than bad. This was my first time cruising with Princess, so I will first tell you about areas that I thought could be improved and then tell you what I really enjoyed. Opportunities My wife and I have had balconies cabins on both Carnival and Celebrity and we have always gotten robes with our cabin. On Princess you will have to make a special request to your cabin stewart for a robe or robes. Princess's customer service department on the ship was very responsive and they had our cabin stewart give us 4 robes within a few hours after my wife filled out a comment card. Princess has a training opportunity for one sales rep in the jewelry store and one person who works in the spa. A sales rep was very cold and condescending to my wife about a piece of jewelry that was in the store. This was unfortunate for Princess, because my wife ended up buying a similar piece of jewelry on land from a person that had better people skills. In the spa, we had a nice lady with a great personality tell us a lie about being able to get into Sanctuary with the Thermal Spa Pass. Thermal Spa Pass for $150 per couple is worth it without the access to Sanctuary, but it's just the principle about being truthful when making a sale. This person who has sold us the Thermal Spa Pass needs to be more truthful to others in the future. It was my first time purchasing an excursion that takes you to the airport after disembarking from the ship. It was confusing to me and my wife to how the whole luggage transfers worked when we purchased the excursion. Granted if we didn't get separated from the excursion group by Customs I'm sure there would have not been any issues, but we did get separated from the group. In a nutshell, all Princess reps helping with the Customs process need to know how the baggage transfers work for excursions. When a Princess Rep escorted us to a Customs agent for further questioning based on a purchase my wife had made. The agent should have known where we needed to go to get our bags and that our bags were not to be automatically transferred to the airport. To make a long story short, I had to return to the cruise terminal after we got dropped off at the airport to get our bags. I barely made our flight home. Strengths I will start off saying the Caribbean Princess is a beautiful ship with a very friendly and helpful crew! Our cabin stewart was very friendly and did an excellent job maintaining our room. Our cabin Stewart was very helpful by finding a bucket, so my wife can soak her toe since she had her toe nail removed the day before our flight. Our dinner waiters Jozef and Jaime were very professional and fun to dine with at dinner. Jozef was had excellent meal recommendations and a pleasant personality. Jamie was very entertaining with his various sounds, singing, and dancing along with great professionalism with a very nice personality. I purchased a watch in the jewelry store from Analize from South Africa who was very helpful and personable. Analize answered all my questions and made my buying experience enjoyable. I really enjoyed smoking cigars in the Churchhill's Lounge in the evening. Churchill's provides a nice atmosphere for smoking while getting caught up on your sports. Marisol is one of the servers in Churchill's and she provides excellent service with a friendly attitude! The Thermal Spa is an excellent place for couples to spend time while relaxing for $150 per couple throughout the cruise I really enjoyed reading books from the thermal beds. In addition, I really liked the eucalyptus room with the mint aroma. The cooking demonstration and kitchen tour is a very nice experience! I purchased a Princess cookbook and was able to have the ship's Executive Chef and Head Maitre'd autograph it. Skywalker's and Outrigger's bars are both great places in the aft to have a drink and have nice views. I also enjoyed cocktails poolside in and around the adult pool in the ship's forward. I will conclude by saying I would defiantly sail with Princess again. I felt Princess has had the best food selection based my experience cruising with Carnival, Celebrity, and NCL. I would rank Princess #1, Celebrity #2, Carnival #3, and NCL #4 based on my experience regarding food selection and quality. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2012
My husband cant wait to do another cruise. We loved the itinerary. We went to st. Thomas; Tortola; Antigua; Dominica; and Barbados. Antigua is our favorite island. Beautiful beaches. We went to runaway bay which was stunning. Dominica ... Read More
My husband cant wait to do another cruise. We loved the itinerary. We went to st. Thomas; Tortola; Antigua; Dominica; and Barbados. Antigua is our favorite island. Beautiful beaches. We went to runaway bay which was stunning. Dominica wad a beautiful island and was a nice break from going to the beach. We took a tour through the botanical gardens and we went to the emerald pool. Some advice. Don't book excursions thru the ship. There are people standing outside the ship with the same tours for half the price. Our tour in Dominica was 30.00 while people that booked thru the ship paid 60.00. The food was really good. Something different on the buffet everyday. We went to the crown grille one night at a 25.00 cover charge each person an was worth every penny!!! The steaks were awesome and the service was impeccable!! Our room steward checked on our room at least 3 times a day. She always left fresh towels each time. I didn't think formal night really meant formal!!!!! People really get into it!!! But next time we know to pack groans and suits!!!! If you don't you will not be allowed on the promenade if you don't on formal nights and also men must wear pants at night to yo be allowed on the floor. Service on the ship was awesome. Everyone was helpful and yes I let them take my plate from the buffet line and seat me. Didn't see anything wrong with it and they just go the extra mile to let you escape completely!! Read Less
Sail Date: March 2012
We were all excited to go on this cruise we picked it because of the itinerary, we have never been to the southern islands before and this was our chance so we booked it. We had heard before that Caribbean Princess had engine troubles ... Read More
We were all excited to go on this cruise we picked it because of the itinerary, we have never been to the southern islands before and this was our chance so we booked it. We had heard before that Caribbean Princess had engine troubles before (3 times) but honestly thought that they would have fixed the problem by now. Well we were so wrong! Lets start from the beginning our transfer from the Airport to the cruise ship went off without a hassle which was good. Getting on the ship there was no problems and we were able to get to our room immediately. We booked a mini suite but it was far from what we expected they needed to call it a balcony room only, They said we would have a walk in closet it was the same size as the inside room closets. When we sailed Royal Caribbean our mini suite there was twice the size with a actual walk in closet and a large bathroom. Our room attendant Marlon was wonderful! I am 6'6" tall and I had a problem walking around the ship the ceilings were just to low and I found that I was ducking everywhere to make sure that I didn't hit my head. The problem with the ship also was it was to broken up, so many rooms that there was a hard time finding a quite space to sit. Once we were told that our cruise was canceled due to the engine breaking we were to spend two days in St. Maarten then head back to San Juan. When we got back to San Juan that is where everything fell apart again. They brought us back to the Pan American port which was a distance from Old San Juan and they didn't offer free shuttle to town until the next day. And I only think they did that due to an almost Riot outside to get a cab to town the day before. But they held us captive each day and we couldn't get off until late each morning. The food was just not good I have never been on a cruise that when I got back I have actually lost 3 pounds! The buffet area was like corralling cattle they have this space that is blocked off and crew member's stand guard and so many people enter and you cannot move. There sitting space was small and usually you couldn't find a seat so a lot of times we just ate outside. The food in the dinning room wasn't any better. The majority of the staff was good but the majority of the ones we had in the dinning room were clueless. I love using a steam room and sauna when I am on a cruise it is a great way to relax for me. The steam room was so hot that if you cracked an egg it would have cooked it 3 minutes or less I had to ask three days in a row to have them lower it as no one would go in because it was so hot. They need to pay attention to the showers also and clean the mold off of the tiles. The crew did there best to keep everyone happy but I have to say I feel sorry for them as the next two cruises are canceled so they are out of money and as we heard they do not get paid. Princess did refund our cruise but I think they could have done more a 25% credit for a future cruise is just not worth it! I cannot even fathom taking another cruise with them my vacation is hard earned and when you take it you want to do something just not sit in port and hear excuses from the line. They knew that they have had this problem with the engine before they should have fixed it. Disembarking was awful they, they were an hour and half behind they blamed it on customs. we decided to just get off the ship because if we didn't we would have missed our flight back. The paid transfer we had was awful they dropped you off across the street from the terminal. we were traveling with one in a wheelchair and one who is blind and we had to navigate with all of our luggage across 3 lanes of airport traffic. I don't think I will ever travel with Princess Cruises ever again and I do believe that goes with our party of Seven. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2012
My wife, son (13) and I were on the Caribbean Princess for the scheduled southern Caribbean cruise leaving San Juan on March 11th. With well over 20 cruises behind us, this was only our second with Princess after a not-so-satisfactory ... Read More
My wife, son (13) and I were on the Caribbean Princess for the scheduled southern Caribbean cruise leaving San Juan on March 11th. With well over 20 cruises behind us, this was only our second with Princess after a not-so-satisfactory first experience over 10 years ago. We opted for this cruise after deciding that maybe we owed PCL another chance, but mostly because its itinerary, which included Grenada and Bonaire, two of the few ports in the Caribbean we had never visited before. The itinerary had special additional appeal because we have a daughter attending medical school in Bonaire and we had scheduled a rendezvous with her and a tour of her school and her favourite island haunts. Now in spite of the fact that it's a few years older than many of the mainstream ships, the Caribbean Princess is a beautiful craft. Tones are subdued; the decor is modern and attractive without some of the garish qualities that we see on the RCL or Carnival Ships. We had a balcony cabin, amidships on Baja deck and it was more than comfortable even for the three of us. Our cabin service was excellent and Raul looked after us very well even though the circumstances of the cruise (as described below) meant that we were to spend much more time on board the ship than would ever be the norm on a 7 day cruise. Ours was an ill-fated voyage. The ship left San Juan on time Sunday evening, but somewhere along the way, developed what turned out to be a serious problem with its port propulsion engine. We limped our way to Saint Maarten arriving after two the following afternoon. We waited close to the ship for all of Monday and Tuesday while engineers flown to Saint Maarten assessed the damage to the engines. Frustrations were building as we resolved ourselves to the fact that the next port (St Lucia) would likely have to be skipped and we started to fret about our visits to the our only two virgin ports, Grenada and Bonaire, and our much anticipated reunion with our daughter. Then during dinner on Tuesday night, the Captain came on the ship's PA to give us the worst possible news; the engine damage was more serious that thought, the rest of the itinerary was being cancelled and the ship was returning to San Juan. Now San Juan is a great place to visit and there is much for new visitors to see and do, but it had been our port of embarkation many, many times and the thought of being stuck there in a hotel until the following Monday (when we were scheduled to fly home) or the alternative choice of cancelling our holiday and paying through the nose to fly back to Toronto (on Spring Break fares) left us with two negative options. As well, we were all disappointed that our much-anticipated visit with our daughter would also fall victim to Princess' mechanical problems. I also expected that a battle would be looming to extract any level of fair compensation from Princess Cruises. We all know what grief we go through when air travel is interrupted by the airline and the token redress that they offer. Carnival (PCL's parent) is big company with a stock price to protect and 3,400 passengers seeking fair play isn't going to help their fiscal quarter (especially with the recent Concordia and other incidents in the Indian Ocean and the Mexican Riviera already creating a disaster with their bottom line). But now here is the good news of this epic. First the Captain announces that, although we will be tied up in San Juan, we are all welcome to stay on board to eat, sleep, be waited on, entertained, relax and enjoy all the benefits of the shipboard cruise experience. Princess would be arranging a tour itinerary for San Juan and would have a shuttle in place to move passengers from the pier to Old San Juan etc. Ok, not bad, but not quite what we paid for? Then the Captain goes on to say that we would be receiving a FULL refund of our cruise fare including all fees and taxes. Additionally, each passenger would receive a credit equivalent to 25% of their fare towards another cruise. I am not dumb enough to not realize that keeping passengers on board to buy drinks, gifts, photos etc and to build up the tip pot for the crew was also in the cruise line's better interest, but a full refund and a credit was more than fair. Sure we still were out-of-pocket our airfare, but we ended up with seven days on an all-inclusive floating resort on a tropical island in March for the price of our airfare and incidentals. Not a bad deal for snowbirds from Canada. My wife ended up flying from San Juan to Bonaire to visit with our daughter for a couple days and the rest of the week was spent lounging on board for the equivalent of five consecutive sea days. Good food and service from Felipe and Alesandro in the dining room, sunshine, a great cabin steward and lots of onboard activities all for the price of the airfare! Princess; we were impressed. They gave us lemons and turned them into lemonade. We are already planning to take our credit and refund to apply against our next Princess cruise to the Med in August. We were impressed and give the cruise line very high marks. Now if they would only get rid of the awful syrup they use to make their coffee in the dining rooms and replace it with the good coffee available in the International Cafe, we would have nothing at all to complain about! Read Less
Sail Date: March 2012
The schedule: Fly to San Juan, cruise to St. Maarten, St. Lucia, Grenada, Bonaire and Aruba. Then one sea day while we would sail back to San Juan. The reality: lots of San Juan with more of St. Maarten than expected. We are regular ... Read More
The schedule: Fly to San Juan, cruise to St. Maarten, St. Lucia, Grenada, Bonaire and Aruba. Then one sea day while we would sail back to San Juan. The reality: lots of San Juan with more of St. Maarten than expected. We are regular cruisers, primarily with Princess and Celebrity. We had sailed the Caribbean Princess out of San Juan last year and enjoyed the more southern itinerary. We wanted to do it again and since 2012 is the last year Princess is sailing from San Juan, we chose to sail her this year. Our pre-cruise hotel was the Airport Best Western which was perfect for that purpose. We were arriving after midnight and planned to head to the ship as early as possible so our planned stay would only be about 10 hours. The rooms are tiny and the breakfast is crowded but it's clean and extremely convenient for our specific need. For a longer stay in San Juan, there are much better choices. We got to Pan American Pier about 30 minutes early but since we're Captain's Circle Platinum we were able to wait in the Priority Boarding Line and boarded shortly after noon. After lunch and exploring, our bags had arrived, giving us time to unpack before visiting the Platinum Lounge for pre-dinner drinks and appetizers. The Caribbean Princess sails at 11:00 p.m. out of San Juan so the muster drill is 8:00. At 7:30, we were sitting at dinner in the dining room and realized that the muster drill would begin in 30 minutes. The wait staff told us not to worry; we'd have another chance so we pushed thoughts of the Costa Concordia out of our heads and finished dinner. That night Movies Under the Stars was showing "Midnight in Paris" and while we relaxing in lounge chairs enjoying Owen Wilson's Parisian adventures, it was announced that everyone who had missed the earlier drill needed to proceed to Club Fusion. Being good little cruisers we did as we were told and got the refresher course on what to do in case of an emergency. During breakfast Monday morning the captain announced that we were having problems with the motor for one of the propulsion engines and would arrive in St. Maarten later than planned. Some engineers from Princess were flying in to meet us and they'd keep us posted. Okay, cue the rumor mill! Everyone had heard something from someone on good authority and their information was the most up to date, etc., etc., etc. The fact was that no one knew what was going on, probably even the captain. I suspect they'd worked out several scenarios to be implemented once the repair was complete, whenever that was. We decided that we'd just wait to hear what the captain had to say next. And the news from the captain was that they were still working and that we'd spend the night in St. Maarten. We were also advised that we'd have complimentary passes for the water taxis that sail from the dock to town so we looked forward to an easy way to get to the beach. On Tuesday, we took advantage of the free ride to the downtown beach. Since we didn't plan to stay long we passed on the offer of two beach chairs, an umbrella and five beers for $25. We dropped our stuff, jumped in the water, spent about an hour there, got out, dried off and headed back to the ship. It may not sound like much but it was just what we wanted. That night, about 8:00 p.m., the captain announced that the ship needed to return to San Juan. We would all receive a full refund of our cruise fare as well as a credit towards a future Princess cruise. We were welcome to remain on board until our scheduled disembarkation on Sunday but could certainly leave if we wished. Since we hadn't planned to spend much time in any of the ports, we felt we were getting a great deal. While we stayed on the ship, all of our food and entertainment were free. We had a pre-paid reservation at a resort west of San Juan starting Sunday so we just continued our vacation as planned. Obviously, we were not among the disgruntled passengers who left the ship early. Some had chosen the itinerary because of the great scuba and snorkeling options in the remaining ports so I understand their disappointment. For those of us who remained, there were a few issues. Because immigration does not usually work the Pan American Pier on the days were docked there, agents had to be arranged to clear the disembarking passengers. Those leaving permanently were allowed to go first; once they were cleared, the rest of us could leave for the day -- that was at about 10:30 a.m. each day. We chose to visit Old San Juan on Thursday. To leave the ship, we just showed our driver's license to immigration and were cleared to leave. Then there was a madhouse of people trying to hail cabs outside. We got lucky and joined some others and the cab just happened to drop us right next to where we wanted to be. Once we finished our wanderings, it was much easier (and cheaper) to get a ride back to the ship. Naturally, on Friday they announced a free shuttle into Old San Juan. To add insult to injury, Friday afternoon we moved to the dock in Old San Juan so we only had to walk a few steps to see everything. We stayed there until the early hours of Sunday morning. I grumbled about it but I think they were making arrangements as fast as they could. As to other aspects of the cruise, our cabin was fine; we love the closet space on this class of ship although it does make the cabin a bit smaller. Our cabin steward, Lino, was very competent and took care of our needs immediately. This was our first venture into Anytime Dining and we really enjoyed it. I wanted to make a standing reservation for 7:00 p.m. but I was told that they would not take them for that time. However, whenever we arrived at the dining room and said we were willing to share a table, we were seated within minutes. We didn't have the chance to establish the relationships we often have with traditional dining tablemates but we loved the flexibility. Overall the food was good and Princess always excels with their desserts. We did not spend much time in the buffets since we've found we enjoy the dining room more. We enjoyed the chance to experience Chef's Table a second time, the first being a year ago on the Caribbean Princess. I called to request it as soon as we boarded and we got the notice to meet with the Maitre D' on Monday evening to prep us for dinner the following evening. Two things were different about this Chef's Table from last year's. By Tuesday they knew that possible problems were in the works so rather than schedule two Chef's Tables for the cruise, they put us all together for one -- that meant 22 people rather than 10 or 12. I preferred the more intimate atmosphere last year but I certainly didn't get any less food or wine this time. The other different aspect was that Chef Alfredo Marzi, the Master Chef of Princess Cruise Lines was on board so he was our host. It was made quite clear to us that we were in the company of a celebrity and I was entertained by watching the head chef of the Caribbean Princess defer to the big guy. Everything else was pretty much the same: a tour of the galley that included appetizers and champagne followed by a multi-course dinner in the dining room. Most of it was prepared (or at least finished) tableside and appropriate wines were matched to each course. If you enjoy fabulous food in the company of other people who feel the same way about it, Chef's Table is a great option. As to the entertainment, the shows were a repeat from last year but I think they've made some progress in modulating the mics in the theatres -- I actually understood what some people were singing. Our favorite music venue is Crooners. Chris Turner at the piano plays a wide range of music and the bartenders are exceptional. There was one last issue -- disembarkation on Sunday was very slow; we left the ship about noon rather than the scheduled 9:45 a.m. We were told it was an issue with immigration being short-staffed so I think Princess was simply trying to help by holding us in a comfortable place rather than having us line up in the terminal. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2012
Last year we sailed on the Disney Dream for a way-too-short 4 day cruise (actually 3 days), but it was enough for us to convince us that "hey, cruise ship holidays aren't that bad." That said, this year we decided to skip ... Read More
Last year we sailed on the Disney Dream for a way-too-short 4 day cruise (actually 3 days), but it was enough for us to convince us that "hey, cruise ship holidays aren't that bad." That said, this year we decided to skip our almost annual week-long trip to DisneyWorld and take a cruise with the kids instead. As the date approached and after reading some less-than-favorable reviews on this site, we started worrying that maybe we had made a bad decision. Had we spoiled by the luxury, service and attention to detail on the almost new Disney Dream? In comparison, were we going to be disappointed? Was 7 days too long? All our fears were totally unfounded. Two words: Awesome vacation! True, the ship is a little more worn than the Dream...perhaps, the service is slightly below the elevated Disney standard...but no matter...we had a great time. The food was exceptionally good (almost surprisingly) and I would have to say that it's actually better than the fare served on the Dream. Our 15 year old hung out with us for the cruise, but we couldn't keep our 7 year old away from the kid's club. Excursions: I'm a pretty frugal guy and I like to make my own adventures in new places, but I figured it would be a safe bet to book a couple early in the cruise to see what they were all about. Of course, they're overpriced, but I'd have to say that the Pirate Schooner Cruise, Turtle Cove & Snorkel was worth every penny. Very cool boat, awesome snorkeling and we all had a blast. If you're planning on hanging out at the beaches DO NOT BOOK any excursions. Grab a cab in any of the ports, negotiate the price and ask him to take you where you want to go. All the drivers we had were eager to tell us about their island and had no problem stopping to let us take pictures. Ports: St Thomas: Town is cab distance. Tortola: Town is walking distance away. We had a roadside fruit smoothie and it was hands-down one of the best I've ever had. Antigua: All the towns have these duty-free shops and coffee shops that start looking the same. We hopped on a cab and had an entertaining drive around the island. Dominica: Clearly the jewel in the crown. Natural, almost untouched. Barbados: Nice, I suppose. Walked to the beach from the port (long-ish walk, but doable). Obviously, this town has a major rat problem. Look out for all the traps everywhere. Hung out at the beach (the sand is fine and soft)...After about 20 minutes of being propositioned by all sorts of peddlers, we were able to relax and enjoy ourselves. They're tenacious but leave you alone if you say now...they may try to chat you up, but they're not too pushy. Food: Had the sit-down dining 3 of the 4 nights. We had the late service but it was a bit too late for our youngest one who wanted nothing more than to return to the kids' club. The food at the buffet was often the same as the dining room so we decided not to be tied down to a specific time and ate at the buffet quite often. Food quality....excellent. Service was ok, but uneven (I'm not a very good reference since I've been fortunate enough to eat at quite a few Michelin-starred restaurants). I much prefer to eat from a buffet line than have someone pretend to offer good service. That said, the waiters were very nice, regardless. Kids' club: Very well equipped and as evidenced by our son's refusal to spend any time with us, very fun for the kids. Entertainment: was ok, I guess. We're jaded and cynical so we don't get turned on by cruise ship entertainment. But as long as the entertainers are making an honest effort to be entertaining, then it's all good. Fitness Center: Excellent facilities. On par with some high end gyms. Great spinning classes. Condition of boat: definitely not on par with the Dream, but that's almost impossible. However, it was evident that they were continually making efforts to make it look good. Carpet was changed in a few places, painting the hull almost daily... Anyways, bottom-line: We had a great time and would have no problem recommending this cruise to any of our friends. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2012
We just returned from our sixth family cruise on the Caribbean Princess. We noticed most passengers come on the ship with the anticipation of the wonderful time they are going to experience on their trip. We booked the Caribbean this ... Read More
We just returned from our sixth family cruise on the Caribbean Princess. We noticed most passengers come on the ship with the anticipation of the wonderful time they are going to experience on their trip. We booked the Caribbean this year with the knowledge that Princess will be leaving Puerto Rico in May.However, for my family it was actually a moment of sadness as we boarded the ship knowing we will probably not board the Caribbean Princess again, or at least not in the near future. Somehow we always got into a routine and did the same things every cruise. For example we usually ate at the buffet and just walked around in the different islands. This time we decided to go on some of tours that Princess had to offer. We did a very nice island tour in Tortola, and a beach tour in Antigua and Dominica. In Barbados most ship passengers go to Broad street to shop. That is great if you want to buy diamonds or a Rolex watch. The most fun shopping is on Swan st., One block behind Broad street. This is where all the locals shop. Very fun time there. This time instead of going to the buffet we choose anytime dining for the entire cruise. Somehow they were understaffed or the staff did not care. Service was very very slow. Somehow there seemed to be a lack of communication between the main waiter and the bus boy, etc. We did treat ourselves to the Steak House and it was a wonderful experience. Both the food and the service was exceptional. It was nice to see the Latin Connection band from Columbia. They are great. We were very pleased to see the Rubin Ruiz show and the Hypnotist Fernandez. We have seen them in the past and always have enjoyed their shows. The comedians for us are a total waste of time as we just don't understand their humor. The Explorers Lounge is now filled with activities for the entire evening. The new 30 minute shows are a waste of time. The middle show your waiting time is longer then the entire show. You can no longer go to Explorers lounge to relax, get a drink, or just listen to the band. In the past we have avoided the musical shows but this time decided to see at least one of the shows. I must admit my family did enjoy the show despite the fact they didn't understand what they were singing. I guess we will now be forced to seek another cruise company for our cruises out of San Juan. We have only known Princess and somehow feel a little betrayed by the company. Our parting words with Princess is please come back soon. You will be greatly missed. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2012
Although I wouldn't consider St. Maarten "nowhere," that was the only port we got to see on this cruise. We stayed there 2 days and limped back to San Juan. The pluses were many: The food was really fine. Not super ... Read More
Although I wouldn't consider St. Maarten "nowhere," that was the only port we got to see on this cruise. We stayed there 2 days and limped back to San Juan. The pluses were many: The food was really fine. Not super gourmet, but very good. No complaints there at all. The cabin was great; liked the balcony (see room review for more details). The steward and all the help were superb. I can't pronounce our cabin steward's name, but he was great; Don, the bar tender in the Churchill bar (smoker's bar), and Mirasol, the waitress there, were both exceptional. I love Princess and would definitely book them again. This was our 3rd cruise. Like all lines, they are not perfect. Here's the cons: If you use wifi in the internet cafe, you are (more or less), properly charged. You will find wifi VERY SLOW and you pay for extra time you spend just waiting. AOL has the worse problems. They will make adjustments if you complain, but only to 50% once the charge is on the bill, so make them as you go. IF YOU USE WIFI IN YOUR CABIN, you have to read the "red print." I have used it twice before so I didn't notice the "red print." It says something about TYPING IN 'LOGOUT.COM' in the browser to actually stop the charges AFTER YOU CUT OFF THE INTERNET CONNECTION. There is nothing to warn you of this that most sites would use. They should make you agree to this term before you sign on. Also, the internet connects BEFORE YOU CHOSE YOUR TYPE OF PACKAGE. If you take "pay as you go," this happens EACH TIME YOU LOG ON. You are paying before you can actually use it. JUST NOT RIGHT. I knew I wasn't going to use the internet much so I took "pay as you go " for $.75 per minute. I calculated I used it about 35-40 minutes (about $25-30). My bill was $188. I got it cut back 50% but that's still almost 3 times what it should have been. Buyer beware. Princess does things like this with tours, etc. You get no warning when you need to book 2 packages to get one tour, as in Beijing's transfer tours. They put the onus on your EVEN IF THEIR OWN AGENTS at 1800 PRINCESS tell you you only need one tour. The other con is that they use EVERY OPPORTUNITY to sell you on anything from soda packages, coffee packages, shopping tours/discounts (for which they get a kickback), their high-priced tours, etc...always selling. Sometimes you feel like you are on the beach in Mexico or the Caribbean. I know they must make about 35% of the $$$ onboard, but it wears you out. I was pleasantly surprised to find you didn't have to pay extra for pizza, fries, hot dogs, hamburgs, ice cream, etc. on the open deck or inside at the deluxe desserts at their gourmet coffee bar. Also, some of their onboard shopping prices are really good. You should have some idea of the worth, but their sale items are generally very well priced and decent to excellent quality. They have gold, watches, jewelry, sunglasses, bags, shirts, blouses, skirts, dressy clothes (some surprisingly well priced), etc. Their outdoor movies are great. You can even see them during the sunny daytime. The best thing Princess has going for them is their cruise itineraries. They save some $$$ by not having the best locations in port. Sometimes it's because of the size of the ship, but other times, it's simply to save $$$. Setting that aside, I often pick Princess because they truly do have interesting, diverse itineraries. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2012
Booked a 14 day cruise in a gty mini suite expecting the worst mini suite on the ship. 4 days before the sailing, we were given room #L107 which is the Cancun Suite. We couldn't believe our luck and even though about buying a ... Read More
Booked a 14 day cruise in a gty mini suite expecting the worst mini suite on the ship. 4 days before the sailing, we were given room #L107 which is the Cancun Suite. We couldn't believe our luck and even though about buying a lottery ticket. I googled the room and found several complaints including noise and vibration from the gym which is located above the bedroom as well as the private balcony is overlooked by the observation deck and your not able to use it when the ship is moving. I can confirm the ceiling, walls and bed shake, vibrate and rattle worse than you can imagine and it starts at 6am every morning. The balcony is so windy they should play "gone with the wind" when they sail and you have the lead role and don't last long enough for the applause at the end. Yes it's that bad. Called customer service (lots) and after several days they finally admitted they have the same problem on other ships and shut the 3 treadmills above the bedroom off until 8am. 3 days passed and finally I was able to sleep until 8:01am. Only 1 customer service rep made any attempt to help which she did. The rest couldn't care less..... I'm not hard to please. When I cruise I like to sleep till....., maybe have a nap in the afternoon and sit on my balcony and watch the water go by. I like to rest and recharge the batteries. I like my food hot and drinks cold. That' really all I need to be happy!! I don't expect to be treated like a king and I can assure you that WE WERE NOT!! even though we were in a $11,000 suite. Caribbean singers are loud and in my opinion, terrible. Only 50% of the crowd applauded and the theatre was not full. 2nd week the game shows had the same questions, answers and one liners as the previous week. 3 comedians were great but most of the singing acts had people leaving after the 2nd song. The grill has excellent hamburgers and fries. Buffet was ok but not a good as NCL. Did one sit down meal as the 15 minute wait was really 50 minutes because they "forgot about us" then sat us beside the table where the left over bread and menus are. Had room service once and the food was ice cold. They show movies all day and they are very hard to see in the sun and very loud. Not enough deck chairs for days at sea. There isn't enough time or space to list all the negative stuff and I can say this was our worst cruise we have ever taken. Princess in our mind has really dropped the ball on great cruises. We had 10 ports which all were great. Be careful in Aruba. I found there were too many jewellery stores and we ended up with black diamonds on my wife's ears "that wouldn't come off"..... lots of great deals. Overall the in suite perks were great but would have traded that $11,000 suite for a balcony in a minute. I guess I know why it wasn't booked. Just google L106 or L107 and read the comments. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2012
My husband and I went on Caribbean Princess to the Southern Caribbean in February 2012. This was our 5th cruise and our first on Princess. Our previous cruises were on Carnival and Royal Caribbean. We had heard that Princess was a ... Read More
My husband and I went on Caribbean Princess to the Southern Caribbean in February 2012. This was our 5th cruise and our first on Princess. Our previous cruises were on Carnival and Royal Caribbean. We had heard that Princess was a "step above" these other two lines but we did not agree with that. We were not impressed with either the ship or the service. Although we had no major complaints, there was no "wow" factor. I guess if this had been our first cruise, we might have thought differently. But after cruising a few times you come to expect a certain level of service. Here are a few notables: The food in the MDR was pretty bad. We have always had dinner in the MDR as we enjoy the sit down dinner experience and chatting with other passengers. The food was tasteless and unappealing and the menu choices were limited. However, the food in the Horizon Court was pretty good. So after 3 nights at the MDR we never went back and ate every night at the buffet. The coffee on the ship was the worst ever. We ordered room service in the mornings and the coffee was always cold. The coffee was cold in the MDR when we went the 3 nights for dinner. The hottest coffee was at the buffet but still didn't have much taste to it. Even when we purchased a coffee at the Cafe it wasn't any better. The ship itself was confusing and nothing special. To get to our dining room you had to go down a level and then back up. It was on the 6th floor but you couldn't access it from that floor. The Sanctuary is a waste of space. You have to pay to use it and it was pretty much empty every time we went by it. It would have been nice if we could all use that space. We also didn't care for the MUTS. We are not movie buffs and you had to walk through that area to get to the buffet and it was always so loud. There is a pool there as well but not many people used it as the noise was annoying. The atrium itself is very understated. No "wow" factor there. We had a balcony room and found it very odd that the balconies were staggered so that we could see into the balconies below us. One couple was having a special Valentine's Day dinner on their balcony, complete with a waiter and photographer, and we could all look in and watch. I believe if you are paying the extra money for a balcony, it should be a private one. The entertainment was okay but not great. The theater was pretty much empty most nights. On the other ships we've been on, we always had to plan on getting there early to grab a seat. There was no diversity to the theater entertainment -- no magicians, special guests (except for one comedian) - every night's entertainment was similar. Part of why we enjoy cruising is to see different entertainers and the live music in the lounges. Again, nothing special. There were no towel animals, ice sculptures, fruit carvings, no added extras. Now for the pros: The staff was very friendly and our room steward was great. The embarkation and disembarkation went smoothly and quickly. The shower was the best one yet -- it seemed more spacious and you didn't get water all over the bathroom. The beds were comfortable although the pillows could have been better. We enjoyed the ports of St. Maarten, St. Lucia, Grenada and Aruba. We found nothing at all to do in Bonaire. All in all it was an enjoyable vacation. However, we will probably not cruise on Princess again. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2012
This was a very fun cruise leaving out of San Juan visiting St Thomas, St Johns, Tortola, Antigua, Dominica and Barbados within one weeks time. I only saw a handful of children throughout the entire week, which made the vacation very ... Read More
This was a very fun cruise leaving out of San Juan visiting St Thomas, St Johns, Tortola, Antigua, Dominica and Barbados within one weeks time. I only saw a handful of children throughout the entire week, which made the vacation very enjoyable with allot of very nice Canadians on the cruise. The entire staff was exceptional and May our room steward for R623 was the best we've ever had. I have a few Pros and Cons to share: Pros - Excellent Staff, Great itinerary, Movie Under that stars was always good, and the ship was in very nice shape. All the excursions except for St. Johns were great. Cons - The beds were hard as rocks and I couldn't get a good nights sleep. Princess it's time to update those old mattresses to something softer. The food quality could have been better as we were served allot of fish and pasta, but we certainly didn't go hungry. Now for the real problem our excursion out of St Johns for the scenic drive with a driver named Chris on Cab #124 was terrible. He was rude, disgusting, drove like a maniac and ruined the entire day at St. Johns. I went back to the cruise ship and told Princess Customer Service that we refused to pay for such a terrible experience and thankfully Princess took the $119.00 off our bill. Thank you Princess and hopefully that person is no longer representing Princess Cruise Line. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2012
Having sailed most of the mainstream cruise lines, this was our first Princess cruise. We pick our cruises by itinerary so we have no distinct loyalty to any one cruise line. Princess had been "hyped" to us before as being the ... Read More
Having sailed most of the mainstream cruise lines, this was our first Princess cruise. We pick our cruises by itinerary so we have no distinct loyalty to any one cruise line. Princess had been "hyped" to us before as being the best so my expectations were high, although we had a good time, I was somewhat disappointed. While I do believe that on any cruise line, the shorter Caribbean cruises (maybe because of the discounts), are lacking in some areas. From my experience on the Caribbean Princess, while I was expecting a more luxurious voyage, was more like any RCCL or NCL trip that we have done in the past. Not to say, it was not fun! Ship: Nice, but does not have any "wow" factor. It seemed well maintained, although the public restrooms were always a mess, ladies room near the International Cafe always had a least one stall, out of order. Piazza area is nice, although it gets crowded quickly and seemed small for a ship with 3100+ passengers. I was surprised to see the plastic Walmart style table and chairs in the pool area, between the Trident Grille and Horizons, lounge chairs did seem to have nice covers. The Promenade Deck is very narrow, the first I have ever seen that cannot accommodate lounge chairs as this is my favorite place to spend a sea day, disappointing. MUTS is a nice concept, although it makes that area very loud and for some reason, I thought they only used it at night. I did not care for the Theater seating, preferring the lounge type seating with tables. I cannot comment on the spa, internet or library, as I did not use these services. Cabin:I liked the layout of our cabin, loved the closet and storage area, close to the bathroom. The bathroom shower was the smallest we have ever had on any ship, miniscule to say the least with a flimsy shower curtain. The beds were a little on the hard side, but fortunately for me the motion of the ship helps me sleep. Staff:Cabin steward Roy, was great, helpful when needed. Crew in all areas seemed fine. Dining/Food:We had Anytime Dining, had no problems being seated, we were a party of 6 and ranged between 6:30-7:30 with little or no wait. Noticed empty tables, mostly large ones, always empty when we left. The Crown Grille was excellent, the main dining room is typical cruise food, fancy names for dishes that were just OK. Used main dining once for breakfast, no eggs benedict so we did not go back. Horizon buffet, crowded for breakfast unless you get there early, again typical buffet breakfast food. The International Cafe is the best place to get a bite to eat, fresh donuts, breakfast sandwichs and pastries in the mornings and sandwiches, cookies and desserts in the afternoon, along with the coffee bar. The coffee served around the ship is made from syrup, very surprised by that, and in my opinion was not good. We bought the coffee card for $29, it gives you 15 specialty coffees with a punch card, which you can share, and when you want a brewed cup of coffee, you can get that without using a punch, worked out well for us. Entertainment:Not good, singers and dancers perform with no live music, seemed like karoke on stage to me. There was 1 good comedian out of 2. Random entertainment in the Piazza area was much better, in my opinion all of the cruise lines, need to update and rethink what kind on entertainment they offer. Enjoyed the crew talent show more than anything....... Embarkation and Debarkation: Went smoothly and seemed organized. We were on the ship early and was happy to have our cabin available immediately. Ports:5 in 7 days a busy itinerary with nice ports, St. Maarten, St. Lucia, Grenada, Bonaire and Aruba. All walk off, no tenders, which is nice. Overall, a good time, would cruise with Princess again if the itinerary is what we are looking for. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2012
I have learned so much on the CC site I thought I would try to give back by posting a thread about our recent cruise on the Caribbean Princess. I am going to try to keep it in perspective of the first time cruiser and leave out some the ... Read More
I have learned so much on the CC site I thought I would try to give back by posting a thread about our recent cruise on the Caribbean Princess. I am going to try to keep it in perspective of the first time cruiser and leave out some the gory details about each port and excursion. A little about us -- we are both right at 40 years old. We have been married for 7 years, no kids, live near Madison WI and are fiscally conservative and socially liberal, and found Dave Ramsey (quick shout out) several years ago. The cruise is our out of debt celebration and we have been planning it since April 2011 (for the Dave Ramsey fans - we are now on Baby Step 6). I have spent inordinate amounts of time on CC and elsewhere doing research and planning. We happened to book all of our excursions through Princess. We are pretty conservative and liked having the guarantee if an excursion was late (one of which was!) Hear goes: Friday 2/17/12 -- Park and Fly in Chicago. We stayed at the Hyatt Rosemount for our flight on Saturday at 7:30 am out of O'Hare. We live near Madison, Wisconsin and you never know about winter weather... Went smoothly -- beautiful hotel and well worth the price (parking included). Saturday 2/18/12 -- Travel day to San Juan, PR. Woke up to take the 5 am shuttle to the airport. Were at the gate by 5:50 AM -- smooth sailing through O'Hare. Arrived in Charlotte NC via US Airways for flight to SJ. Mechanical problem with original plane and they now downgraded to a smaller plane (from 767 to A321 I think). The smaller plane does not have as many seats, nor does it have a Row G. Anyone who is in Row G is now out of luck. There are several irate passengers who are embarking tonight from SJ and have one member of their party who doesn't have a seat. Note to self -- seat in rows A-F for return flight. Flight is a little late, but arrive in SJ with no issues. Collect luggage and find Princess staff member and they lead us to a large charter bus which drives us to our hotel. We booked a pre-night at the Sheraton Convention Center and were pleasantly surprised. Got checked in and then took a cab to a restaurant called Waikiki nearby. Had a nice dinner outside. Walked the Condado area for a while and then took a cab back to the hotel for an early evening. Overall it was a very easy travel day, and we were totally relaxed and stress free! Sunday 2/19/12 -- Embarkation Day! Up early because we are excited. We are told that we can place our Princess luggage tags on our luggage and leave it in our room @ the Sheraton and it will magically appear outside our stateroom later than day. I am very skeptical and double check with several staff members -- I am assured this is normal. So we hail a cab for OSJ around 9 am and cross our fingers for our luggage (we are pleasantly surprised later when it's delivered to our stateroom around 4 pm). We walk around OSJ on Sunday -- there is lots of shopping and even a protest about a gas pipeline to watch. We basically people watch and walk around until about 2 pm. At 2 pm excitement overtakes us and we head to the boat via a cab. We arrive at the boat and make through check in and to our stateroom in about 15 minutes. We are pleasantly surprised! Luggage shows up around 4 pm. We head back into dock area and buy some soda and water to bring on board. We had chosen anytime dining and were pleasantly surprised by eating with 2 other couples that night. We never had to wait for dining, but we were also willing to share (which turned out to be one of the best parts of the trip). We took a nap in the early evening so we could stay up for sailaway. We were glad we did! Monday 2/20 -- St. Thomas -- We booked the Catamaran Sail and Snorkel through princess. This is run through http://thevicat.com/ We had a GREAT time and really enjoyed this excursion. This was formal night and we ate at Sabatini's -- which we really enjoyed. Tuesday 2/21 -- Tortola -- Did the Cane Garden Bay beach day from Princess. Frankly we were pretty disappointed by this one. The beach was VERY crowded. We found out that we had to "rent" the lounge chairs for $5 each when we got there....and they were packed in side by side with maybe 4 inches spacing. The people working here just seemed disinterested. Ordered food at Myett's Garden Grill (the drop off point) 1 hour before leaving and 45 minutes later our food still wasn't out. We left hungry. This was a low point on our trip, but future excursions made up for it. This was the only one we wouldn't do again. Managed to get an anytime dining table for 2 this night. Also caught Miguel Washington's comedian show -- which we enjoyed. Wednesday 2/22 -- Antigua -- Spent the morning by the pool on board (we aren't pool people really, but it was very nice). Did the eco kayak and snorkel tour in the afternoon. This was really a blast and we really enjoyed it! We ordered room service this night and were pleasantly surprised! Thursday 2/23 -- Dominica -- Did some shopping in the morning. Lots of pushy people trying to sell tours in this port. This day we had chosen a tubing excursion through Princess. http://www.hibiscusvalley.com/ We really enjoyed this tour -- even though the water was low. The guides were GREAT and we had a great time. Due to some road construction and low water, we got back after all aboard, but because it was a Princess tour -- they were awaiting our arrival. Saw a voice impersonator that night in Princess Theater -- enjoyed it a lot. Friday 2/24 -- Barbados. This was a very commercial port, more of a shipping port than anything else. The ship was docked and we took a bus to the terminal. This day we had arranged for a zip-line excursion, which we enjoyed very much too. A bit crowded, but overall very fun. This night we tried to get into the Crown Grill, but couldn't get a table. We went to the Cafe Caribe buffet which was Asian night. Then watched a show in the Princess Theater -- a piano/comedian. Good times. Saturday 2/25 -- Day @ Sea. This was our only sea day, and not being ones to lounge around the pool, one sea day was enough. The pool areas were very crowded and we were glad to have our balcony. We had a wonderful dinner in the MDR with 2 other couples, one from Tulsa OK, and the other from Toronto, Canada. We really enjoyed both the food and conversation. Sunday 2/26 -- Disembarkation. The ship was late getting into port. We were supposed to be in around 6 am and I think we tied up right around 7:45 am. We had arranged for a rain forest tour through Princess, which they adjusted the times due to the delay. Disembarkation was smooth and we put our luggage in a large truck prior to the tour. The rain forest tour was OK, but we mostly did it to kill time since our flight wasn't until 5:30 PM. Got to the airport around 2 and had some overpriced airport food. All our flights were on time, but we didn't make it back to Chicago until 11:30 PM. Then had to find the car and drive north into Wisconsin. Got home around 3:45 AM realizing we had been up for 24 hours -- would not have done that again as the drive home was brutal despite being fine weather. Things I learned, or just random thoughts in general: - The best advice I read before leaving -- "Bring half the clothes you think you'll need and bring twice the money" -- that advice was dead on. We packed almost perfectly for this trip. One more day and I would have needed to do laundry. - Despite being told that it was relatively quiet, I was surprised at how much the ship moves. Toward the end it was moving enough that people were walking down hallways like drunks, and the curtains were swaying. Not a big deal, but just surprising for a first timer. Others told me it's not rough until the glasses slide off the table at dinner. - I never used my jacket -- I was always warm. - We had a strange phenomenon in our room if we left the sliding balcony door open, it was as though the hallway had a huge negative pressure and the air was sucked through the cabin door vents making an annoying whistling sound. Could have used a small fan in the room just to keep the air moving. - Coffee -- we brew our own coffee (~$9/lb) every morning and consider ourselves to be picky. I didn't find the ship's coffee objectionable and we had it every morning with Breakfast. We did treat ourselves twice to a Latte at the IC which was nice... - We started this cruise evaluating whether or not a balcony was worth it for us. It definitely was. I would cruise half as much if I had to, just to get a balcony. We enjoy our quiet time though, so this is likely specific to us. - Cruise Length -- We thought 7 days was perfect for us. At the end of the 7 days, we were almost ready to go home. We had explored most areas of the ship. Ports were starting to blur together. - Excursions -- We enjoyed staying active -- and the excursions were good for that. We liked the variety and the convenience of booking through Princess. I know we could probably book cheaper on our own, or just take taxis to random places, but it's not as much our style. We had ample time either before or after to explore the ports. - Jewelry -- It's amazing how many jewelry stores are in the Caribbean ports -- not our style -- but crazy how much jewelry is being sold. - Food -- I think the food was above average in the MDR. We consider ourselves foodies and I would rate it a solid 7 or 8 out of 10 on most nights. The buffet was pretty average, but not bad. Sabatini's was really good. - Staff -- The staff overall was extremely friendly. We were impressed overall. - The ship itself -- we found it to be in good condition. Some have asked about overall condition as it ages -- we didn't find anything too objectionable. The stateroom bathroom was starting to show a little age, but nothing egregious. - Seasickness -- Right after Embarkation I got a little dizzy. I put on some sea bands and it went away. I was surprised later on in the trip how much the boat moved when we had "moderate" seas. People were having some difficulty walking in a straight line, towels were swaying in the bathroom, pools were sloshing over...etc. I didn't have any troubles until I got *off* the ship and it took me two days to feel normal again. - Small bills -- we took lots of $1, $5, and $10 bills -- came in handy when negotiating for things. That's all I can think of for now -- any questions, just ask! -Mike W. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2012
Princess cruise b2b 02/26-03/11 First we are multiple princess cruisers, 60+ from chicago and we booked a back to back southern cruise out of San Juan leaving on 2/26. The flight from Chicago had mechanical difficulties and was 2 hours ... Read More
Princess cruise b2b 02/26-03/11 First we are multiple princess cruisers, 60+ from chicago and we booked a back to back southern cruise out of San Juan leaving on 2/26. The flight from Chicago had mechanical difficulties and was 2 hours late, (thank you AA) No problem we arrived at about 5pm and being elite passengers quickly checked in. We made to our cabin B601 on deck 11 a great cabin. We met our steward Jeffrey and I gave him $20 immediately. Service was great, gave him a 20 every few days. I find tips to the cabin steward are the best money spent on the cruise. For the ship and cabin, it was fine though the Caribbean Princess was showing some wear. Name on the back was rusted etc. No real mechanical problems except that some of the bathrooms on decks 6 and 7 occasionally backed up. The food was fine, we liked the pizza on our balcony, burgers by the pool, or lunch in the horizon court. One thing that has changed is that the dining room is only open for lunch on days at sea. Bummer. We used to spend the morning at the beach or in town, get a nice lunch and then go back ashore. Another cost cut. Dining room breakfast was open every day but we were happy with room service or horizon court so made it only once for breakfast. The entertainment on the ship was ok. I was never impressed with ship entertainment and in many ways I think it is upgraded. The production shows were better and they had some comedians on board and a hypnotist. Shows were only in the princess theater. The explorers lounge had some ship game show, newlywed game or something. This was a change, in the past the explorers lounge had some comedians etc. The game shows were entertaining so this was not a big deal. Food was fine but we are easy to please. Princess did bring back the baked Alaska parade. I am an elite passenger so we usually went to the elite lounge for cocktails and appetizers. Enjoyed this. The elite free laundry was great. Turn around in 2 days and professionally done. Shirts were ironed, sox folded it was great. I used the internet some but it was an ordeal slow as it was. I also went to the international cafe for cookies about 3 every day. Food was good but on past cruises they had a piano player or something. Not this time. We watched the academy awards on deck to start the cruise but never could find a movie worth watching so we did not go to any movies at night. All In all I had no complaints. As for the ship, it was mostly retirees ( I would say 60%), a lot of Canadians. Hardly any kids to be seen. That is not untypical for feb/march cruises. Weather was not horrible but not great. Temps in the 70s and overcast mostly. Barely fit for swimming. Following is what we did ashore St. Martens We taxied it to orient beach. Actually string beach(in the center of orient beach), 8$ pp taxi ride and 7 pp for chair and umbrella. Competition was rife all around and many bars had chair and drink specials. The umbrella price included a free drink. Good drink too, I had a rum punch and it was really strong. I watched the French bartender make it, several different rums. The beach was fantastic very pretty, shopped in town some too. Grenada, We went to grand anise beach in the am via a water taxi, nothing special there. 6 pp water taxi and 20 for 2 chairs and umbrella. 3 beers. Nice beach but not great. St. Lucia, Never really liked this island. We were docked far from town. Just walked around the town area a little. We have been to st. lucia many times so we have seen the sights. Bon Aire I went snorkeling on the mushi mushi tour. That was a disappointment. The ship and the staff were great and very entertaining. There was plenty of rum punch, beer, and soda, but the snorkeling was very bad, I saw maybe one fish. The mushi mushi docked in the marine park but no one was around us. Maybe because the snorkeling was bad. This was the 3rd snorkeling tour I have taken in Bonaire and I found the beach snorkeling to have the best fish. Curacao. We took an island and cave tour. It was ok, nothing special St. Thomas. We usually go to magens bay but this time we decided to go to st. johns since we were never there. Took a taxi to the ferry(11pp) then the ferry (6pp) then a taxi to turtle beach (8 pp) then paid admittance(5pp) then rented a beach chair (7pp) It was expensive. They have a nice snorkel ing trail set up and have a life guard on the trail. He asked me how I was doing (I am not a strong swimmer) It was ok but it was a long swim. I had my own snorkel and mask but no fins so it was a difficult swim. Saw some fish but nothing spectacular. We stay at magens bay from now on. Travel was well over an hour to the beach in the am. Much longer due to traffic in the pm Tortola We taxied to cane garden bay (6pp) and 7 pp for a chair. Very beautiful beach, great bar with good drinks. We had conch fritters for lunch, they were very good. No snorkeling but minnows Barbados We went to harbor lights beach, I forget the name of the beach. It is right down from the boatyard. 5pp taxi and 8pp for chair and umbrella, Nice beach for swimming no snorkeling Antigua. We were going to go to the beach but it was very cool and overcast so we just walked around Domenica Just walked around town a little and then went back to the ship and hung around the pool. All in all a nice cruise. Nice people on board and the service were very good. Money well spent. Read Less
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