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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 perfect, but ... 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 our almost ... 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 gourmet, but very ... 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 lottery ... 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
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