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Sail Date: May 2015
Don't quite know where to start - the queing, cold food, no seats in bars after dinner, so many small things resulting in a disappointing cruise. Breakfast was a nightmare having to queue to get into Horizon. Other mornings I was ... Read More
Don't quite know where to start - the queing, cold food, no seats in bars after dinner, so many small things resulting in a disappointing cruise. Breakfast was a nightmare having to queue to get into Horizon. Other mornings I was actually in Caribe and had to ask to get out as the gate had been locked. our cabin was shabby to say the least with mismatching unpressed, fading duvet covers and on one occasion our twin beds were made up with duvet covers as bottom sheets leaving about a foot of mattress uncovered - I found this quite unbelievable certainly not what I expected and totally unacceptable. When we asked our cabin steward to change these she did so explaining to us that there was a shortage of bedding for beds made up in single configuration - that was certainly a first! Trying to grab a sun lounger was impossible unless you were out before 8 am. The beds were so close together you had to crawl up from the bottom as there was no space between - most undignified! We were 4 females travelling together and had our request to be on a table for 8 or 10 confirmed, however we were put on a table for 4 and I spent my holiday looking at a wall at dinner each night. We did ask to be moved but were told there was nothing available. These are just a few of the many complaints we had certainly not what I expected. I had been looking for something on a par with P&O but nothing could have been further from the reality. This was my first Princess cruise and whilst I 'never say never' I can't see me taking another - we can be much better served on other lines. This cruise was just a huge letdown an experience not to be repeated. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2015
I have sailed with princess since 1977 and I have sailed on Emerald Princess several times. My last trip was out of Athens on the 16th of May 2015 and from the embarkation it had lots of issues. On arrival at Athens Port no one to help ... Read More
I have sailed with princess since 1977 and I have sailed on Emerald Princess several times. My last trip was out of Athens on the 16th of May 2015 and from the embarkation it had lots of issues. On arrival at Athens Port no one to help with luggage. The staff were actually sitting on the Trolley's smoking great impression, did not rush to help at all. I was sent into a embark hall to wait with no one in the hall then moved into another embark hall. Being a Platinum member I did not even get welcome back, just can I have your cabin number and not even enjoy your cruise. What do they say first impressions really matter. My cabin was fine but my steward had absolutely no personality at all. He forgot to clean my stateroom twice, left all his cleaning products in my bathroom for a week and left rotten fruit in my cabin. No attention to detail at all. I had no complaints about the dining room my waiter and assistant waiter were superb and so was our Head Waiter. The food has certainly changed since the last time I was on board. The Crown Grill which I ate in twice was marvellous, but the experience at Sabatini 's Restaurant was less than memorable, if they are going to charge for an Italian Restaurant they need to have Italian Waiters. The entertainment was shocking and the stage shows were there four years ago If they flog that Love Boat Theme once more I would scream, this is 2015 not 1977 yes they are celebrating the 50 years but really when leaving a fabulous place like Istanbul at 10 pm in the evening don't play the Love Boat Theme, seriously. The Female Cruise Director was dreadful They really need to pay attention to their staff and the way they dress, some uniforms have been in since Princess started and you need to get rid of the white pursers uniform on woman it is not flattering. I recently went on a Costa Cruise and I have nothing but praise for how beautifully the staff were attired. The front Desk staff were rude, cold and unwelcoming The boutiques need a massive revamp they are still in the 1980's The rudest person on the ship was the guy in the Internet café you are honestly doing yourself no favours having him aboard. My biggest beef was the fact that I had prepaid my departure transfer and nd it took 11 goes to get it right. I have cruised with Princess for a long time, I still had a good time on board but to keep up with the newest ships in the market they need to change. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2015
Overview: This was probably one of the best cruises I have ever taken in my life. The ship was elegant and beautiful, the staff was superb with excellent service. I had the most amazing table mates possible and was even a part of a ... Read More
Overview: This was probably one of the best cruises I have ever taken in my life. The ship was elegant and beautiful, the staff was superb with excellent service. I had the most amazing table mates possible and was even a part of a Cruise Critic member's (foolds) proposal to his girlfriend. I met lots of great friends on the ship and I am so lucky to have had this experience. Embarkation/Bon Voyage Program My grandfather joined me on the ship before it left port as part of the Bon Voyage Program. As soon as we arrived we were taken in and led to the priority check-in line and were taken to board the ship. The whole process was very smooth. He absolutely loved the ship and one of the bar servers, Nhorman, helped us get him and his wheelchair on to the ship. He was exceptionally nice and friendly to us and to my grandfather. Ship Overall the ship is pretty nice. There are a few design issues such as moving between dining rooms but overall it is nice. The public areas are well decorated and somewhat elegant. Overall the ship appears well maintained. I find some people have unreasonable expectations for ships (remember that they operate 24/7/365). I saw plenty of maintenance taking place and did not feel the ship to be in disrepair or dirty. Crew/Service I must say that the crew on the ship was very helpful and kind. Dining room service was decent but not outstanding. The bar people were nice and friendly. My cabin steward (it's steward, not stewart by the way) was great. I take a medication that I have to mix with water. I usually use a fork to mix it in a cup so the first night of the cruise I went to Horizon Court and picked up a fork and brought it back to the cabin. The next morning the steward took the fork, which I figured he would, so I went to and picked up another fork that night. Well the next morning the steward brought me a clean fork and extra glass and left them in my restroom for me to use with the medicine. I find this to be extraordinary service that he did this without me having to ask. I gave him the Consummate Host card. Ports/Shore Excursions I have been to Cozumel and it is more of the same it has always been. The only excursion I took was in Belize which I really loved. I took the open air trolley tour. I am kind of torn because I loved the tour and the people seemed nice but Belize is a horribly homophobic place so I do not plan to spend any money at all there in the future. Mahogany Bay at Roatan blew me away. Let me say this now: I heard an Princess Elite member telling people on the ship that they could NOT use the beach at Mahogany Bay because it is owned by Carnival. This is 100% FALSE. The beach is free for any cruise passenger that docks at that dock. If someone tells you any different they are simply misinformed. I spent the day at Mahogany Beach and it was simply amazing. The water was beautiful and so was the atmosphere. Entertainment The only show I really attended was the magician, Michael Barron, and he was excellent. This was probably the best magic show I have ever seen and was very entertaining. I did attend the Princess Pop Star competitions as a friend I met on the ship was competing and they were amazing. We (a group I met on the ship) also went to Skywalkers most nights and had a blast. LGBT Get Together There was a LGBT get together every day at 5:30 in one of the bars, usually Wheelhouse. I met a few other guys there and we all hung out together for portions of every evening. The only thing I would like to see them change is maybe have a crew member host it (there are plenty of gay guys in the crew) and have some way of marking where the event is within the bar such as a sign. Cabin I was in cabin A403, an interior cabin on deck 12. The cabin was small but comfortable with adequate storage and closet space. The bathroom was small (as all are) but it served it's purpose. The Elite bathroom amenities were nice. Captain's Circle Elite Benefits The Princess Captain's Circle is awesome. The benefits are outstanding. I received a free mini-bar, priority service at the pursers desk, 10% boutique discount, priority tender embarkation, 150 free internet minutes and much more. These were all awesome benefits. Bad Parts Avoid the shopping show on the second sea day. You will lose part of your life if you go. There was little to no actual port info given and the whole thing was a long, drawn-out sales pitch and the man (Vince) was repetitive and not very genuine. I would not lose sleep if they did away with his position. Disability Accommodations I have some medical problems including a damaged spine. I did not ask for or sign up for any disability accommodations but the facilities seemed ample and appropriate. I did use the elevators which were usually available but sometimes had a wait. There were quite a few mobility impaired people onboard who seemed to get around easily (as easily as possible). The tender ride in Belize and the trolley were a little uncomfortable and I had to take pain meds after returning to the ship but that was the only real annoyance. Solo Cruising I have taken many cruises but this was my first solo cruise. I was nervous at first but it worked out really well. I did not attend any of the SOLO cruiser meetings as they all interfered with the LGBT get together or other activities. Summary The cruise was amazing. I absolutely loved it and am looking forward to another. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2015
Embarkment-a breeze because the times were staggered so no build up. Disembarkment - my 10th cruise, but disembarkment will never be pleasant and smooth it is what it is. cabinc321; plenty of hanging and drawer space for 2 people; ... Read More
Embarkment-a breeze because the times were staggered so no build up. Disembarkment - my 10th cruise, but disembarkment will never be pleasant and smooth it is what it is. cabinc321; plenty of hanging and drawer space for 2 people; suit cases stored under the bed . bathroom is well designed the shower would have been bigger if it had a sliding door instead of a plastic curtain which clings to you thankfully we were of average weight and size otherwise the cabin was very comfortable. As always the steward did a fantastic job we were very impressed. Finding our way around this ship was easy as we have done the diamond before in 2006. Dining; of our 10 cruises we have done 5 princess cruises and we can certainly say the food has improved in all areas and the staff were well drilled they could not be faulted. Enterainment;not so good-some very limited in what they do even the band and dj why geta ballroom and latin dj who does not understand what to play-must blame the cruise director because only a handfull attended because it was not promoted. Movies under the stars was very good,a choice of latest movies which was shown in our cabin the following day Overall a well maintained ship for all ages we did our own tours on land Ps i met many people who withdrew their gratuities why,after all it goes to the crew who bend over backwards to look after us,maybe it should be included in the cruise fare , even if it reduced everyone will contribute ,this is happening on all cruise lines. Although there was a flu virus outbreak on board it did not deter us as we were ultra careful returning to cabin, we always wiped all areas we touched and sprayed with our own antiseptic spray. Ports of call, varied and interesting but very very hot and most times could not wait to get back on board where the crew gave us cold facecloth, nice touch diamond princess Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2015
I preface this review with the fact that I cruise exclusively on Princess. I embark on my 10th cruise in September and have three more booked in the coming year on various ships. I have sailed on every class of ship in the Princess ... Read More
I preface this review with the fact that I cruise exclusively on Princess. I embark on my 10th cruise in September and have three more booked in the coming year on various ships. I have sailed on every class of ship in the Princess fleet. All have different advantages and comforts. Everything that has worked so well on other ships has been rolled into the Regal Princess. I'm a ship person anyway. The amenities on this ship are second to none. Anyone cruising today know there is a varied clientele aboard. It seems Princess took the time to accommodate everyone. Let me start with the furniture in dining and public areas. Seating is very comfortable. No narrow armrests, plush upholstery, and even upholstered seating everywhere around the pool areas. Even with my being on a sold out cruise I never felt crowded any time. The showers in cabins are such an upgrade to all other Princess class ships. Shows were by far the best I have seen on any cruise. Horizon Court buffet has set aside an entire serving area for desserts. There are nicely appointed hand washing stations at all entrances and of course hand sanitizer at the entrance of each serving line. The seating is fantastic with both traditional and counter height tables. Areas set aside for outside dining are not just tables lined up along the sides but grouped seating areas giving the effect of dining in an outdoor café. There was so many things to see and try that the seven days on this trip flew by, maybe that's why ill be on a 21 day cruise next year. Some will say my frame of reference is limited as I only cruise Princess but the is by far the flagship of Princess cruises. I am looking forward to the third "R Class" ship in 2017. I've heard it will serve China\Asia itineraries, I've already bought my piggy bank. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2015
Terrible odor permeated my cabin. It was the filthy shower curtain that had pink mold and smelled of urine. Balcony not finished with slip proof flooring as others are. Very small and tight. Food was simply terrible. It was always cold ... Read More
Terrible odor permeated my cabin. It was the filthy shower curtain that had pink mold and smelled of urine. Balcony not finished with slip proof flooring as others are. Very small and tight. Food was simply terrible. It was always cold which is scary because that is how one gets ill. Limited food options. Over salted. Disgusting. Omelet were premade egg patties they simply threw fillings into. Kind of Subway breakfast sandwich. Who decided it would be a good idea to give folks who paid $150 for ultimate ship behind the scenes tour a heavy bathrobe. What about the weight when flying? Dumb. Very little to do. No fun activities. Casino is so tight, only house wins. Never again. Will stay with Carnival! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2014
My wife and I went on a ten day Princes Cruise on the Crown Princess to the Mexican Rivera. We departed from Los Angeles. Our first stop was San Diego where we walked the old town area. It was a nice quiet easy day. Cabo we took a ... Read More
My wife and I went on a ten day Princes Cruise on the Crown Princess to the Mexican Rivera. We departed from Los Angeles. Our first stop was San Diego where we walked the old town area. It was a nice quiet easy day. Cabo we took a snorkeling excursion which was uneventful but the boat ride and scenery to and from the area was worth the excursion. La Paz we docked about two miles away, we boarded busses that took us to the small town. It was fun walking around this town, fun shops and the people were very friendly. Loreto was a beautiful small town like you would see off the beaten path, loved it. It was an easy walk from the ship exploring the quaint town. The high school children preformed at the town square in their traditional garb, what a delight. Puerto Vallarta is a large town but each to walk in. We did the zip line which was quite a site. When we returned to LA we decided that this was such a great cruise we will defiantly take it again. The Crown Princess is a great ship with very friendly staff, good food and the night entertainment can't be beat. We would highly recommend this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2014
This was my 51st Cruise!!!!!!!! Love Cruisin'. Been on Princess many times and do love it (but other lines have more new ships). So because I liked the itinerary...I decided to try Caribbean Princess (a small ship). It only has ... Read More
This was my 51st Cruise!!!!!!!! Love Cruisin'. Been on Princess many times and do love it (but other lines have more new ships). So because I liked the itinerary...I decided to try Caribbean Princess (a small ship). It only has 600+ passengers. (the smallest ship I've ever been on). I loved it! It is older..expect that. But everything is so accessible. My favs are formal night (everyone cleans up nicely for formal night). I personally like a little "bling" now and then. I spent two nights in a hotel in Rome (my travel companion had never been to the Vatican). She was mesmerized by the Vatican Museum (as am I every time I return there). Embarked in Civitevechia. My favorite port is Rhodes. Love all the Greek Islands I've been to: Hydra, Patmos, Somos, Santorini, Mykonos, Crete, etc. But Rhodes is my favorite. It offers great history, and is tremendously clean and inviting! Great food there in the Old Town. I never get tired of Kusadasi/Ephesus. (Good thing..because each time I arrive there..I'm with someone who has never been there). Can't beat the history and very early architecture there. Food in Kusadasi restaurants is very good. Athens has an unfortunate air pollution problem now. I was disappointed in this. In fact, tho I have no history of asthma.. I came down with a severe asthma attack due to auto exhuast pollution. They appear to be using the cheapest (dirtiest) fuel they can get their hands on...due to the economic crisis in Greece. It's so sad because Athens is truly the Cradle of Civilization. Food and Service on Caribbean Princess is excellent. Great Experience! I love the Production Shows...and tho some have told me Princess has cut the length of their Production Shows..I didn't find that to be true. And the talent and costumes are awesome! Hope you enjoy your cruise on Caribbean Princess !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2014
My mom and I went on the 7 day cruise with 4 Ports (more later) We stayed in a hotel close by with transportation to the port which was very convenient. We had an amazing lobster dinner that night at the Ruskin Inn (highly recommend ... Read More
My mom and I went on the 7 day cruise with 4 Ports (more later) We stayed in a hotel close by with transportation to the port which was very convenient. We had an amazing lobster dinner that night at the Ruskin Inn (highly recommend great value). The next morning we had a nice leisurely light breakfast at our Hotel the Fairfield Inn who also provided transportation to the port (very organized) Once we arrived at the port we stood in line for about 20 minutes but it went rather quick. Our cabin was ready once we boarded so we were excited to check it out and put away our carryon's. We loved our cabin mainly because of the nice large balcony, aft location and walk in closet! (C752). Buffet was complete with a great selection so you had your choice of pretty much anything you wanted to eat. Very well organized and service was fantastic, as the wait staff anticipated all your possible needs. We enjoyed our assigned dining experience as we enjoyed visiting with a very nice family who ate with us. We also enjoyed getting to know our Maître d' and the staff and they even got to know our tastes offering some fabulous recommendations! I think my mom had a secret crush on him. We also loved the serenades during dinner from our consummate host Hector, truly loved our dining experiences every night food and entertainment was tops! Our first port was Princess Cays and we signed up for the tour of the Island and Colleen was a very informative, kind tour guide. We enjoyed many stops including a beautiful church on the beach in Eluethera. We fed the fish at the Ocean Hole at Rock Sound. Our final stop was for lunch on the beach and was good. My mom enjoyed dancing the Junkanoo with the locals right on the white sand beach and beautiful blue waters. It was an absolutely wonderful excursion and well worth the money. We lunched at Vines where they had some delicious sushi & tapas and wine tasting. The service here was a bit slow but we're on vacation so no worries! Enjoyed the entertainment on the ship too especially the Piazza flamenco Express!! We tried out the casino and had some fun but didn't have much luck winning any jackpots! We loved the Champagne waterfalls and all the festivities in the Piazza! We thoroughly enjoyed relaxing in the Sanctuary on at sea days. We didn't leave the ship at Ochos Rios but went on an amazing excursion at Grand Cayman Islands! Our guide Native Way Watersports (booked through cruise) was by far one of the top highlights of our trip. We went snorkeling, swam and held stingrays, shopping, lunch and even got our hair braided. Very well ran tour with a small group from our cruise. Highly recommend this tour guide. Really enjoyed formal nights on the cruise, great opportunity to get dressed up!! Princess does a great job of making it a very special evening with a 6 course lobster dinner and all the best entertainment! Our last port was Cozumel and we booked the VIP Dolphin Encounter at Chankanaab which was very exciting once we were in the water. There's a lot of waiting around with this tour (2 hours) We were in the water for about and hour and got to interact with the Dolphins which made all the waiting well worth it. It was truly a magical experience learning how to interact with the Dolphins!! My mom is not a swimmer and they made sure she felt comfortable and helped her with the push, boogie board, etc..(They said she was the oldest participant so far at 78, lol) We both loved it!! We had a great lunch after at the venue La Laguna and took a taxi back to port to board the ship. easy peasy! We also did a lot of shopping here, great bargains to be found I can't say enough about how much we enjoyed Princess, if you want to relax, enjoy new sites, great food and impeccable service Princess is for you! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2013
We used Princess transfers from the airport for the first time and was pleasantly surprised. They were easy to locate and other than waiting for the bus to fill up as others took longer to get their luggage, we were under way within about ... Read More
We used Princess transfers from the airport for the first time and was pleasantly surprised. They were easy to locate and other than waiting for the bus to fill up as others took longer to get their luggage, we were under way within about 45 minutes to an hour. Once there, embarkation was a breeze, there may have been 10 people in line ahead of us. The room itself was great, it was a minisuite on Dolphin deck and was spacious. Never felt cramped or crowded. Having the tub is a great perk of the minisuite, as is the extra sitting area. It was located very close to the elevators/stairs which would have been nice, except for it's location right outside the casino 3 decks below. As there is smoking in the casino, every time we opened our door we were hit with the smell of smoke that rose up through the staircases. The ship itself is not laid out that well, even towards the end of the 15 days I was getting lost on decks that didn't traverse the length of the ship. That being said, my more geographically strong room mate had no problem navigating the ship, so I may be in the minority that found it confusing. The casino is on deck 6 and cannot be avoided if you are walking on that deck. The smoking there is foul (in the opinion of a non smoker) and pollutes most of the ship. In a discussion with a crew member about the smoke, he said that it was kind of like having a peeing and non peeing area of a pool which describes it exactly. It doesn't matter that the rest of the ship is non smoking when there is a large smoking area that you must transit and that keeps its doors open the entire time. The library, which is usually my favourite spot on the entire ship is almost unusable on this ship for a non smoker. It is located right outside the doors to the casino and the smell in there is as powerful as being in the casino itself. The staff were good, but no real standouts, either bad or good, except for the entertainment staff. At the dance parties where I am very practised at remaining at the edges and just observing, the staff had me participating and having great fun. Callie is amazing as Deputy cruise director, probably the highlight of the cruise. The shows itself were not that great, they have reduced the length of them. The history of dance used to be much longer, but none of the production shows now seem to exceed 30 minutes. Also maybe I cruise with Princess too much, but all the production shows are the same. There hasn't been one I haven't seen in quite a few years. I was really looking forward to this cruise as I haven't been to Hawaii before other than one trip to Maui and sea days appeal to me. The weather was incredible, I think in the entire 15 days we only had a couple days of rain, though a lot of the sea days were quite cool, sometimes too cool to be out on deck. Inside there are not enough seating areas and most people ended up congregating in the buffet dining room for their cards, games or reading. The ports were nice, but it felt like there was not enough time in each. Hilo poured rain which is common there, perhaps Kihei would have been a better option there. (for me, as it rains at home a lot, not something overly enjoyed on vacation, other people may enjoy the wet lushness there) The tours in Hawaii are more consistently more expensive than other cruises I have been on. Next time I think investigating private tours might be a better option. Lahaina was incredibly beautiful, there are tons of things to do without a tour, just in walking along the areas close to the port. Nawilliwili was beautiful, we rented a car there for less than $50 and ended up just driving around and looking at things we wanted to see. Gorgeous island. Honolulu was spent at the Arizona memorial and City tour and while in the beginning was not all that convinced about seeing, I was glad we went. It is a sacred experience that makes one more grateful for what we have and helps to recognize the sacrifices that went into providing it for us. The 5 sea days heading back from Hawaii towards LA were very long. The weather cooled off the closer we got and there seemed less to do. Towards the end of the cruise, they started repeating the Movies under the Stars which seems strange. It wasn't a back to back, it was 15 days roundtrip and after the movies were on the big screen, they were played the next day in your room. So towards the end of the trip when you have done most things onboard that you want to, why would they also repeat the movies? We watched the Movies under the Stars almost every night until they started repeating them. After that the days got a bit boring towards the end and we were just kind of looking forward to it being over. Ensenada was a great stop. Wasn't really expecting it to be, but it was stunningly gorgeous weather, the wine tour was good and just walking around close to the port was good shopping. We used the first self walk off as we had an early flight and it was completely painless with very little waiting. Not sure how it was later into the process, but as we were one of the first groups off, it was very smooth. One thing to note, Princess has never really enforced their alcohol polices before, (in my experience) but one couple we met on board had alcohol poured out from their suitcases before it arrived on ship. It seems like they are now enforcing them, so adhere to it so you don't lose your alcohol. All in all I enjoyed this trip, mostly because of the stops. I wouldn't sail on the Smoky Sapphire Princess again.   Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2013
I recently traveled on the Royal Princess. They recently worked with Match.com to offer a singles cruise. We had over 375 singles on this cruise. If you are single that is a great way to travel and make new friends. As for the ship I just ... Read More
I recently traveled on the Royal Princess. They recently worked with Match.com to offer a singles cruise. We had over 375 singles on this cruise. If you are single that is a great way to travel and make new friends. As for the ship I just want to offer my point of view to statements made by others. First the elevators, yes at times they are slow but that will not make or break this cruise experience for you. I found them to be the busiest the first day of the cruise when people are trying to find their cabins, around the ship etc. My cabin was on the Riveria deck so it was convenient to use the stairs to get up to the lido deck were the buffet and pool were. That was just two floors using the stairs at the back of the ship. But to get to the dining rooms I had to use the elevators as it was 7 floors down for me or up depending which way I wanted to go. I usually used the elevators towards the back of the ship. But by the middle of the cruise I start using the central elevators more. I heard there were people on board to work on the elevators to calibrate them better so they would work more efficiently. I didn't book a spa treatment right away. They had specials from time to time so I think they offer a cheaper rate if you use the couples room. My friend and I had no trouble sharing this room getting our Top to toe massage and facial. We got it for $119 usually $139 per person. It is a bit confusing to find your way around. They don't really explain well where you are suppose to go. When I entered the locker area you first enter a room with a chair and basket with some robes. I thought it was a private dressing room at first and locked the door to the hallway. Luckily I didn't underdress there as the locker room in thru the next door. After changing into a robe you go to another waiting area til they are ready for you. You can have some delicious tea and snacks. We were disappointed that the sauna is not free on this boat or the showers. We have enjoyed on other ships using the sauna then jumping in the shower. This is not possible here unless you want to pay $39.00 for the day to use this area. The enclave, I did take a look and it does look nice with several different rooms for steam, sauna and a herbal scented room. They have heated water beds, heated stone beds, whirl pool and 4 different showers with scents or temperatures. This is co ed and you would have to wear a bathing suit in this area. I did hear that the spa can be a bit noisy if you book a treatment when one of the shows is going on above you in the theater at night. My treatment was at 9:30 am so I had a perfect peaceful time. They will try to sell you products and also suggest a free consultation with the doctor. But I chose not to buy anything. I had quite a few activities with the singles group so I did not do too many things through the ship but the free dance lessons in the atrium area were informative and fun. The Beatlemaniacs did a great job performing the Beatles tunes and the ships dancers and singers were first rate. The bathrooms for inside cabins are quite small I felt like I was in an RV camper bathroom. But it was fine. If you travel and are sensitive to light you might want to bring an eye cover for bedtime as the light shines all around the edges of the door to the hallway. I did check out the sanctuary for adults only which cost $15.00 for a half a day or $30.00 for a full day. There is no pool in that area only lounges. The adult pool is more quiet than the main pool which was fine for me. But if you want even more quiet than it might be worth it but register for it early because it gets full fast.   Read Less
Sail Date: November 2013
This was our second Princess cruise and we've already booked another for February. Must admit it helps living in Central Florida as there's no need for airfare, etc.! I'd registered for the CC Roll Call so already ... Read More
This was our second Princess cruise and we've already booked another for February. Must admit it helps living in Central Florida as there's no need for airfare, etc.! I'd registered for the CC Roll Call so already "knew" several others that were on the cruise from information we'd exchanged on this site. It was so much fun as we already had others to meet for Anytime Dining, etc. A roll call member had set up a Meet&Mingle with the Island Princess and there were about 25 people that showed up. The cruise director and six other senior staff members came and spent about 15 minutes talking with us. The cruise director said that Princess enjoys CC members who are on cruises as "we" are all pretty knowledgeable about what o expect. We went mostly to see the Panama Canal and are happy we did the cruise as a partial-transit. As it was, we spent more full-days at sea than we'd have liked. It would have been much better to have days with shore-time mingled better with full-days at sea. The Canal was as expected. I'd read the Princess excursion that went through all the locks to the Pacific side was worthwhile, but also that it was too long. I agree and wish we'd done something different. Once you've gone through the first lock into Lake Gatun,you've seen how the locks work, no real need to see them all. Plus, the long bus ride back at the end of the day takes you through rush hour...ugh! We were in a mini-suite A-503 and enjoyed the space with so much time at sea. The cabin was mid-ship and so convenient although the balcony was smaller than most due to its location. It was a short walk up one flight of steps to the Lido deck so it was easy to go up for meals at the Horizon Court or the pools. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2013
I have sailed on three of the Princess ships now and the Sapphire is the largest so far. My stateroom was in the front quarter of the ship and the dinning room was at the stern so I had to walk three footballs in length to get to supper! ... Read More
I have sailed on three of the Princess ships now and the Sapphire is the largest so far. My stateroom was in the front quarter of the ship and the dinning room was at the stern so I had to walk three footballs in length to get to supper! And you can't get there from here either. It turned out that the best way to get there was go walk the length of the ship to the aft elevators to get down to the proper deck. You are unable to get there from any of the decks in the middle of the ship. And the first seating is at 5:30 PM. I like to eat early due to acid reflux, but that was a little too early. Then, from the main dining room, it is quite a hike to the bow of the ship and the theater for the evening's show. Aw well. Exercise after dinner is probably good. I knew it is a big ship, I just didn't realize how big it really is. There are lots of good things about the Sapphire Princess though. For one, the promenade deck goes all the way around the ship. Nice. And passengers can get to virtually everywhere on the far upper decks too. That was really nice as we entered, and left, exotic island ports, especially being able to get on top of the bridge! Some of the dining room menus were not as interesting as they were on the other Princess ships I have cruised on. But the other venues well made up for those few days. Sabatini's was wonderful as always. The Sterling Steakhouse is actually a section of the Horizon Court that is divided off in the evenings so the ambiance was lacking a little. But the service and food there was definitely up to par with the other ships. Alfredo's Pizzeria, in the atrium has caused me to decide to never again partake of the pizza on the pool deck. And the cafe in the atrium, with all the little hot sandwiches and great deserts proved to be a great place for a light lunch. There was absolutely no problem finding too much good food on that ship! And they managed to always have something interesting going on. Maybe too much. You just can't take it all in. We had 8 sea days getting back from Tahiti to LA and it went by like it was only a couple of days! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2013
This review favours the ship more than the destination. My TA offered me a cruise for 869. pp incl taxes for 2 wks in Alaska August 28 - Sept. 11, 2013. My daughter and I cruised strictly for r & r. As "destination cruisers" ... Read More
This review favours the ship more than the destination. My TA offered me a cruise for 869. pp incl taxes for 2 wks in Alaska August 28 - Sept. 11, 2013. My daughter and I cruised strictly for r & r. As "destination cruisers" we sailed w/ apprehension as "journey cruisers". First we'd been to Alaska before and as natives of British Columbia we were not impressed . northern B.C boasts more dramatic and stunning landscapes unless.the traveller is seriously into ice burgs, but Vancouver is our home port. we took public transport and walked straight onto the ship about 2 pm. we cruised w/ carnival (1st and last time) elation and Norwegian star (tolerable w/ a balcony cabin) in feb. (see my reviews) and i was hassled over wearing my glasses for pics, so princess' laid back, but efficient boarding was a treat. our cabin was ready and lucky us we'd been upgraded from an inside to a window cabin. as always we headed straight to the spa and purchased access to the thermal suite (99 per wk) -the special area (10 for a morn or aft) is just plain silly in alaska and was deserted - whose going to pay to sit outside in a cabana in freezing weather? who would sit there for free? the thermal suite offers heated bed similar to HAL, but less elegant and 3 wet spas - eucalyptus, tropical and plain steam. open 9 - 10 my daughter and i went up every night at 9 and relaxed. we had set early dinner, but princess offer "freestyle" if desired. warning - long lines for couples who don't share and large groups. if that's you i'd opt for a set time. dining rm opens at 5:15, but couples got in at 5 somehow and glommed on to a window seat. there was a mix up in our reservation and we were led to a table for 6 --mario, the mgr quickly found us a table for 2 and that worked well for the rest of the voyage. Food - less than HAL, better than NCL or Carnival. i'm diabetic so i eat 5-6 small meals a day so i usually opted for 2 appetizers and 1 desert. sugarless desserts were scrumptious especially the mango mouse cake and taramisu. salads few and mostly inedible w/ bitter greens which drove me to discover .the buffet on the Lido deck had a sumptuous salad bar - we also took to going up there for dessert because of the variety and they were identical in qaullity to dining rm fare. formal night - always the second night at sea uually has surf and turf, but on our cruise it was available first night -- odd. i don't eat red meat, so i was offered 2 servings of prawns (no lobster on the pacific coast). lunch was in the buffet. indian food w/ a different curry every day, great salads, lots of cheese, cold cuts and sandwich fixins', fresh roast of lamb or pork or beef sliced to order, chicken entrees, and fruit and veggies galore. also a burger bar available and an ice cream station. breakfast in the dining rm - pastries, juices, waffles, pancakes,oatmeal, lox and bagels, eggs bennie, and any other way you might order your eggs, ham bacon sausages, hash browns wtx. the buffet also available. In Ketchican (the salmon were running) we had a fresh salmon bar b q. room service - free - pizza $5. rm service offers little variety and the food is ho hum. mostly sandwiches, the ceasar salad was inedible. we discovered we could order the fruit plate and cheese plate from the dining room (marius strikes again) and they would deliver it to our cabin. cabins big and comfortable w/ 2 lg beds side by side and a small table. usual amt of closet spc. safe. shower in bathroom. cabin smaller than HAL; bigger than NCL. robes available on request. our room server was always available and honoured our request to skip the nightly cheap chocolate and towel animals. he knew we ate on schedule and serviced our room when we were at breakfast or dinner. service was fine, but i expect that on a cruise. no complaints; no kudos. room clean (my daughter is fussy). vacuumed weekly. Ports - Ketchican - rains a lot - opposite Prince Rupert, BC (90 min drive) - small and accessible by walking off ship. shopping and small art galleries on Creek st. tours for whale lovers and animal lovers. architecture ho hum. you can walk in the woods - no tour, but be careful not to get lost.not great for shopping wait for Juneau (next port) Juneau. - capital of alaska. pop. 32K. only accessible by ship or plane. first stop on the turn of the century gold rush trail shoppers paradise w/ great sales in sep. - every week in sept. the prices drop except inketchican.. walking distance from ship (10 min to town). Red Dog saloon complete w/ sawdust on the floor -- worth a drink to soak up the ambiance. adequate band w/ a sense of humour.. we were there on a sunday and tried to go to church, but the priest was stuck in a nearby town and his lane was delayed by fog. that info was almost as good as mass. Skagway - it was cold and rainy. took shuttle from ship to town. ($2). museum of gold rush has film and a few artifacts of the bygone era (free). first stop on the gold rush trail and my personal favorite town in alaska.did you know wyatt earp dealt farrow on a ship off the coast for 28 years? train trip booked on ship (1 1/2 hr) gives you a great tour of the surrounding landscape and fun to spot animals. the six block old town in the centre of town is preserved exactly the way it was at the turn of the century w/ wooden sidewalks and freshly painted, but authentic buildings (if you like architecture bring your camera). be sure to see the former mayor's office made out of drift wood.great little restaurants and snack shacks w/lg portions of plain , but hearty fare. shoppers paradise, but diamonds international here is like Juneau. if you get tired of souveneer shops-- try the russian store and for you ladies "temptations" is a fine boutique w/ enchanting styles. i can't resist a visit and always buy something -- remember sept. sales. Red Onion saloon and brothel (offers tours of the brothel along or town and brothel museum at ridiculous prices. still, ladies in authentic dress serve lunch and drinks. Wittier - stay on ship. pop. 225 fork and 90 per cent live in one bldg. from ship you can see the bldg surrounded by train freight depot. really ugly site. Ship - lots to do - we went for a lecture on how to take better pictures, a craft class (on the way up we mad birthday cards and on the way back, boxes), the spa had a health seminar - beware spas are pushing a seaweed cure that my doctor says is bogus. all seminars, even the footprint analysis, end up in selling the algae cure. the spa offers a stretch class 7-7:30 am followed by abs crunch .lots of state of the art fitness equipment. we got hooked on trivia offered 2 times a day, great fun. scrabble and card games offered. i met a woman who entered the elevator chuffed at getting a word for an enormous amt of points. the casino offers bingo as well as the usual slots, cards etc. i was pleased to see the casino was tucked aft and could be avoided if you so choose. taking and perusing and hopefully, on the part of the photographers, buying pics seemed to be a major pastime. Entertainment:the usual hoaky musicals provided w/ the exception of the New Orleans musical that played great music related to new orleans that was so entertaining we watched it on the way up to seward and back. a vegas type music man was pretty good if you like soul. the motown musical was ok as was the world offering. there only the celtic music fit the dancing.-- how could you get jive wrong? the illusionist was disappointing -- he pulled his wife out of ten different boxes - yawn! skipped the comedian. princes offers movies unders the stars, but in alaska its music under the ice, on our trip to the spa at night we saw a few hardy souls who were covered in blankets and cloths that coverdevery part of their bodies excet the eyes. who cares if they offer free pop corn. noone ate it because they would have to remove their mittens. i am happy to report a couple of the movies were shown inside, for example the latest star trek rip off -- it was sad - a rehash of "the wrath of kahn" w/ action and a muddied storyline. a tom cruise sci fi was also shown -- so forgetable i forgot the title. at least i as warm. drinks available during evening performances. The highlight of the trip was dr. ryan, a naturalist. who lectured on the history of the gold rush, whales/otters and took you on deck to see them, and ice burgs. a movie on the people who live in alaska (available on your cabin tv) was enlightening. real survivalists. also park rangers came on board for 6 hrs and taught about the ice burgs and wildlife. while i appreciated that others were thrilled w/ alaska i like the philosophy of a man on deck who said to me, "what is the socially acceptable length of time to stare at an ice burg?" my sentiments exactly. tourists who come to alaska are a hearty breed. on the whole i enjoyed my trip. there was plenty to do on the ship. sometimes i felt like i was running from activity to activity and i skipped a lot. there was time to read and relax. there was also dancing in the bars. and late night activities i skip. i came for r & r and i came home rested and happy. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2013
This was my first cruise on Princess and my wife's first cruise ever. My wife was very impressed with her first cruise experience and now has a better understanding of why I love it so much. The Sapphire Princess is a beautiful ship ... Read More
This was my first cruise on Princess and my wife's first cruise ever. My wife was very impressed with her first cruise experience and now has a better understanding of why I love it so much. The Sapphire Princess is a beautiful ship with excellent amenities. My wife uses a wheelchair full time so we booked an interior handicap room and I was so excited when we first stepped into E-310 and found it to be double the size of the stateroom I had as a solo, At 318 sq ft it is like being in a suite.The accessibility features (such as the roll-in shower and lowered clothes closet) were better that most handicap hotel rooms that we have stayed in and she had little trouble getting around and was quite comfortable living in the room for the week. The food in the MDR was quite good (not great) for me but my wife is vegetarian and her meal selections were quite limited and the food she was served was inferior in terms of quality and taste. We particularly enjoyed the Piazza with Alfredo's Pizzaria where we ate lunch 3 times. Soooooo much nicer than the buffet. Entertainment on board was also quite good with nice music in the Piazza and impressive talent from the singers and dancers in the Princess Theater. The Pacific Coast itinerary was not one that I would care to repeat. The weather was too cool and rainy in Vancouver, Victoria and Seattle and we did not stop in Astoria because of the weather. California weather was nice enough but not as nice as the Caribbean. This first cruise on Princess was nice overall but did not exceed my expectations. Having cruised a couple times on Celebrity I thought this would be a similar experience. Based on this cruise Princess falls below Celebrity in terms of food and entertainment. This cruise was more like Carnival (which I do like because it is an excellent value for the price) but on a more tastefully decorated ship. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2013
Staff was very friendly and attentive, I felt welcomed and appreciated, unlike a recent NCL trip. Food was good to very good in the traditional and anytime dinning rooms, the Horizon court buffet was packed during breakfast and lunch but ... Read More
Staff was very friendly and attentive, I felt welcomed and appreciated, unlike a recent NCL trip. Food was good to very good in the traditional and anytime dinning rooms, the Horizon court buffet was packed during breakfast and lunch but the food trays were mostly kept full and tasted OK. Seating here was always an issue and I usually ended up with a table next to a busy main traffic isle as those with window seats around the perimeter did not seam to want to leave anytime soon. The issue here was I ALWAYS had a fellow cruiser walking by me, bumping into me or hovering over my table as I ate, not a relaxing enjoyable experience, unlike the main traditional dinning rooms which were great and I always looked forward to. The Ship was clean and well maintained and the entertainment that I saw was acceptable. The Star does have a lot of heated fresh water deep swimming pools and many hot tubs so I could always find someplace to get wet or soak depending on the weather. The only reason I will not sail on the Star again is I do enjoy a few fine Cigars while on board and the Star does not have a Cigar Lounge, they have designated only ONE Place on the ship were you can smoke a cigar and it is a heavy cigarette smoking, noisy and rowdy sports bar with your basic bar stools and bar table and chairs and a dozen TV's with all the same sports programming. It is true that Cigar smokers are a minority but for me it is an important part of the cruise experience and the Star Princess did not meet my expectations in this regard and as such I would not sail on her again, which is unfortunate as I had a overall good time on a good ship. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2012
Just got back yesterday from a relaxing trip aboard the Grand Princess. The ship: beautiful interior, well- appointed and exceptionally clean. We have been on some bigger ships with slightly better amenities that come on the newer mega ... Read More
Just got back yesterday from a relaxing trip aboard the Grand Princess. The ship: beautiful interior, well- appointed and exceptionally clean. We have been on some bigger ships with slightly better amenities that come on the newer mega ships, but this ship is very nice. Service: Overall service was excellent. My only complaint was bar service was very slow during peak times. They named to have more bartenders available during those times as it often took over ten minutes to get served. Stateroom staff was excellent as we're the wait staff in the restaurants. Food: Food was good, fesh and plentiful. One night I got a steak that was not as ordered. The waiter noticed I wasn't eating it and asked if anything was wrong. I told him it was over cooked but not tomworrymI wasn't all that hungry. Then as if by magic, a new plate appeared with a perfect steak. I don't know how he got it so fast. Food isn't gourmet by any standard... But well done considering the 15,000 plates they serve per day. If you're a foodie, you'll need to adjust your standards a little. Dining Room: We opted for the Anytime Dining. Loved the flexibility of eating in main dining rooms anytime between 5:30 and 10:00 or choosing their buffets in the Horizon Court which were quite good and offered a huge variety. The buffet allows you to eat much more quickly if you're in a rich to do something else. And Horizon Court's desert selection looks like a European bakery--- lots of tasty choices. We didn't opt for the optional cover charge restaurants because I was too cheap to spend an extra $75 for the three of us.Entertainment: This is where we were very, very disappointed. Maybe because of the time of year (week before Christmas) but there were a lot of geriatric cruisers complete with canes, walkers and electric mobility scooters... And sadly for us, the majority of entertainment options were programmed for them. I'm 62 and felt like a youngster compared to many of the passengers. The big live production shows were average. No wow factor. All a bit dated. When the cruise staff's talent show is better than the professionals on board, there's a problem. The bands on board were all very average and didn't play anything more current than the 1980's at best. The "big star" in Crooner's lounge is an "entertainer" who plays moldy oldies on the piano accompanied by a very loud karaoke track. Steel drums every day on various decks for seven days made me feel like tossing those tubs overboard. It's fun for the first day but... Activities: Also for the elderly crowd. Bingo, line dancing, trivia contests, several 50's & 60's musical events, etc. Seems their Cruise Director is frozen in timel like the 1980's. My 18 year old was totally bored with almost no options for his age. And my wife and I weren't far behind him. They do have a huge Super Bowl sized outdoor television screen and run movies at night and have popcorn and pizzas available as well as the ability to lay on sun loungers for total comfort. They even provide blankets if it's chilly at night. Ports of call: Aruba, Caracao and Princess Cays. Enjoyed all three. Logistics for getting on and off ship were excellent. If you like to snorkel, I highly recommend Aruba Bob in Aruba. Excellent snorkeling with this operator but you must book them online. We've snorkeled all over the Caribbean and they are by far the best. Nice, experienced and make sure everyone is safe in the water. Per our observation they are excellent teachers for beginners too. Embark/Debark at Port: Princess needs to teach our airlines how to move passengers quickly and efficiently. They provide an excellent experience coming and going. Summing it up: As stated a beginning of this review, we did relax, ate well but were grossly disappointed by the activities and entertainment. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2012
This was my sixth cruise and my third cruise with the Princess line. My flight arrived in Fort Lauderdale on the day before embarkation and I spent the night at the Fairfield Inn & Suites near the airport. Although the hotel is ... Read More
This was my sixth cruise and my third cruise with the Princess line. My flight arrived in Fort Lauderdale on the day before embarkation and I spent the night at the Fairfield Inn & Suites near the airport. Although the hotel is close to the airport, there was little noise from aircraft. The Fairfield offered shuttles to Port Everglades for $8.00 which I used. The Island Princess suffered an outbreak of the Norovirus on the previous cruise and embarkation was delayed until 1:00 p.m. while the ship was disinfected. This was only a thirty minute delay from the original schedule. I arrived at the terminal at 1:10 p.m.. Quite a few passengers were already there and a long line formed. Still, I was in my cabin at 2:25 p.m. and this included checking my luggage at the curb, check-in, security check and getting to my cabin. My luggage arrived shortly before the Emergency Stations drill at 3:45 p.m. My inside cabin B724 was located aft and was clean and in good condition. There was little noise from other passengers in this area and it was three cabins away from a partially covered balcony at the stern. The TV was a 26-inch ViewSonic flat screen. Two 115V outlets were available at the cabin's desk. The cabin door seemed to be a bit warped at the top and required a little more force than usual to close it. It wasn't a problem for me but some might find it annoying. The Island Princess seemed less crowded than the Crown Princess and Emerald Princess that I sailed on previously. The public spaces featured a decor of light wood with brass colored metal and were all in good repair. Norovirus precautions were in effect during the first days of the cruise and passengers could not serve themselves at the buffet and even the bread in the dining room was handed out with tongs. Despite the added workload, the crew members I encountered were friendly and seemed in good spirits. Food in the Provence (traditional) dining room was very good. The twice-baked goat cheese souffle was my favorite appetizer and chocoholics shouldn't miss the Love Boat Dream dessert. Service was excellent and food was always served at the appropriate temperature. The always available fettuccine alfredo was delicious, but needed more sauce. The Horizon Court buffet was busy on the mornings of port calls, but I was always able to find a seat. There were themes such as Oktoberfest and American BBQ for lunch or dinner on some days. In addition, a British pub lunch was offered on three days in the Bayou Cafe. Production shows consisted of "Piano Man", "Motor City", the high energy "Do You Wanna Dance" and "On the Bayou" which featured a New Orleans voodoo theme and was held in the Universe Lounge. The schedule was: "Piano Man": Thursday 3/29 at 8:15 p.m. & 10:00 p.m.; Friday 3/30 at 9:30 p.m. "On the Bayou": Saturday 3/31 at 8:00 p.m.; Sunday 4/1 at 6:45 p.m. & 8:30 p.m. "Motor City": Wednesday 4/4 at 8:00 p.m. & 10:00 p.m. "Do You Wanna Dance": Thursday 4/5 at 8:00 p.m. & 10:00 p.m. Other entertainment included The Comedy Magic of Lorenzo Clark, the hypnotist Asad, comedian Billy Vader (one night only) and the music and comedy of Duncan Tuck. Piano player and singer Tom Franek attracted a following in the Crooner's lounge and did two shows in the Princess Theater as well as one in the Universe Lounge. Author L.C. Hayden presented a series of entertaining and informative lectures on writing techniques and publishing for aspiring writers. Excellent port lectures were provided by former Canal Zone resident William Fall who also did the on-board commentary as we passed through the Gatun locks. One comedian aboard described our port call in Aruba as a drive-by. Passengers were allowed off at 7:00 a.m. and all aboard was at noon, although the ship waited an extra 45 minutes for a passenger with a medical issue to return from the hospital. My Princess excursion was the Semi-submarine, Shipwreck & Island Drive which left at 7:30 a.m. and included a semi-submarine trip around the sunken German ship Antilla, a visit to the Casibari rock formations and a bus tour of the north side of the island which included stops at the California lighthouse and the natural bridges, the largest of which has collapsed. On the semi-sub, we circled so that both sides could see the wreck while the guide gave a lively narration about the Antilla and the marine life we saw which included a sea turtle and many small fish that swam right up to the windows. At the Casibari rocks, I climbed the steep steps for a panoramic view, but the climb required squeezing through a tunnel-like gap in the rocks and was not recommended for people with mobility issues. There was a botanical garden at the base of the rocks. The tour took the entire time we were in port. The next port was Cartagena, Columbia. I booked the Highlights of Cartagena, Fortress & Las Bovedas tour through Princess and was in the Princess Theater at 8:50 a.m. along with passengers going on other tours to await disembarkation. Princess issued a sticker to wear with the tour number, but Columbia was quite humid so I put it on my hat where perspiration wouldn't affect it. The first stop on the tour was the massive Fort of San Filipe (started in 1536), considered the most formidable of Spanish defensive complexes. The climb to the top of the fort was steep but gave a good view of the layout of the defenses. Also covered on the tour were the old city walls near the ocean, a brief stop at the small shops (former dungeons) of Las Bovedas, the Inquisition Palace, San Pedro Claver Sanctuary and a walk through part of the old town. A final stop was made at the Pierno Gallo shopping center which featured jewelry stores although there was a shop with coffee products and souvenirs. They offered free samples of their coffee candy which was tasty enough for me to bring a bag home. The tour took most of the time in port and all aboard was at 2:30 p.m. for our next stop in Panama. The Island Princess lined up for its approach to the Gatun locks at 6:30 a.m. the next morning and passengers lined the decks to watch the transit and listen to commentary by port lecturer William Fall. It took over an hour and a half to transit the locks and the ship then anchored in Lake Gatun. At 8:40 a.m. tours were called to commence tender operations. My tour was the Panama Canal & Locks Transit by Boat. At 9:30 a.m. I was on the bus headed for the town of Gamboa to embark on the Fantasia del Mar, a 434 passenger tour boat operated by Canal & Bay Tours. Our tour left the dock about 11:30 a.m. and the buffet lunch started at noon, done by sections on the boat to control crowding. Food included chicken skewers, ham and cheese sandwiches, pasta salad, fruit and muffins. Tubs of iced soft drinks and bottled water were available throughout the cruise. We passed through the Galliard (Culebra) Cut, under the Centennial Bridge, transited the Pedro Miguel and Miraflores locks, where a thunderstorm struck, and finally passed under the Bridge of the Americas before docking in Balboa (Panama City) on the Pacific side at 3:15 p.m. Meanwhile, the Island Princess had passed back through the Gatun locks headed to the dock in Colon. Our bus to Colon from Balboa arrived back at the ship at 5:10 p.m., hindered somewhat by heavy traffic. Departure for Limon, Costa Rica was at 6:30 p.m. Photographers found their lenses fogged up immediately when coming from an air-conditioned cabin into the humid morning air at the Canal. It took about twenty to thirty minutes for lenses to warm up. Wiping a lens only helped for a few seconds. Island Princess docked in Limon a little after 7:00 a.m. and the call for my Veragua Rainforest tour came 45 minutes later. The bus arrived at the combination research center and park around 9:30 a.m. and we were offered a choice of the more strenuous path to the 65 foot high waterfall or a less strenuous path through the rainforest before being split into groups, each with a guide. Next our group visited the day and night frog exhibits featuring live poison dart frogs and then entered the insect hall with its colorful collection of mounted butterflies and a live butterfly garden. Following an included lunch of a turkey sandwich and fresh fruit our group watched a researcher mount a butterfly for display and then took the roughly ten minute ride down the aerial tram. Our guide pointed out a sloth in the trees and other items of interest on the way down. Once down, we followed the guide along a boardwalk to a viewing platform at the Puma Waterfall. The walk involved going up and down a number of wooden steps which would have been very difficult for persons with mobility issues. After viewing the waterfall we rode the aerial tram back up to the last part of our tour: the reptile habitat. Here we saw live lizards and snakes including the highly poisonous Fer-de-Lance. A thunderstorm started as we approached the reptile habitat, but we were able to view it and return to the bus without getting soaked and departed at about 12:30 p.m. for the hour and fifteen minute return trip to the ship. All-aboard was at 5:30 p.m., so I used the time to buy some t-shirts and carved wooden items from the vendors set up near the ship. After a sea day the Island Princess anchored off Grand Cayman Island shortly before 7:00 a.m. and tender operations started shortly afterward and I was able to get on a tender 45 minutes later. I chose the Atlantis Submarine Scenic Adventure which left from the North Terminal at 10:05 a.m., so I walked around a bit and took the local bus to the Hell gift shop and rock formations. The bus (really a van) left from the bus terminal on Edward Street near the Public Library and took about 40 minutes to reach Hell, as it stopped to pick up and drop off locals who worked at the resorts along Seven Mile Beach. It only cost $2.50 each way and the friendly drivers accepted U.S. currency. After mailing a postcard from Hell and taking a few pictures of the rock formations, I waved at the next bus, they picked me up and 25 minutes later I was at the North Terminal (across from Margaritaville) in time to join the excursion group. The Atlantis dock was just past the South Terminal on South Church Street (near the Hard Rock Cafe) and our group walked with a guide to the ticket office and boarded the boat to the submarine. The sub was air conditioned with large windows, very smooth underwater and the air pressure stayed at sea level so there was no effect on the ears. We saw a sea turtle and numerous fish including a barracuda and a lionfish. The narrator on-board was humorous and knowledgeable and the entire trip took about an hour and a half with around 45 minutes of dive time. This left plenty of time to check out George Town as the last tender left the North Terminal at 4:30 p.m. I visited the Cayman Islands National Museum located in the Old Courts Building on the corner of Harbor Drive and Shedden Road (across from the harbor). The small but interesting museum had a short film, a Natural History Gallery with a sea turtle nesting diorama, a submarine model with underwater video, exhibits on the geology and habitats of the islands and a Cultural History Gallery which featured a catboat with an animatronics fisherman. The staff was very friendly and the museum was a welcome break from the souvenir shops. After another sea day the Island Princess docked in Fort Lauderdale along with five other cruise ships. I booked the Everglades Airboat Ride & Flamingo Gardens tour since my flight didn't leave until late afternoon. Passengers on this tour met in the casino at 8:10 a.m. and ten minutes later we were allowed off the ship. It only took twenty minutes to find my luggage, clear customs and find the waiting tour bus. It took until 9:20 a.m. to collect all the people going on the tour. Our first stop was at Everglades Holiday Park where we saw the Gator Boys (as seen on Animal Planet) alligator wrestling show. We then took a thirty minute ride through part of the Everglades in a covered airboat holding about 25 people and spotted an alligator and some birds. The park was quite crowded as it was a Saturday during spring break and six cruise ships were in port. We left the park at 11:25 a.m. and went to Flamingo Gardens, a sixty acre botanical collection and wildlife sanctuary featuring native south Florida wildlife and a walk-in aviary. The bus left the park at 1:10 p.m. for the Fort Lauderdale airport. One nice feature of this tour was that your luggage was carried on the bus and you could leave carry-on items inside while at the parks. In addition to the driver there was a guide with us throughout the tour who was quite informative. Princess also offered a service called EZCheck where they pick up your luggage the night before disembarking, deliver it to the aircraft and issue your boarding passes on-board, eliminating the need to check in at the airport, just proceed to security. The cost was $20.00 (added to your shipboard account) plus any regular baggage fees charged by the airline. A Princess shuttle cost $14.00 to the FLL airport and $19.00 to MIA. There were a total of four times changes during this cruise. The Princess Patter always notes them on the front page and the cabin steward places a card on the bed on the night before the change which occurs at 2:00 a.m. In conclusion, I was very pleased with the Island Princess and the service provided by its crew. The itinerary was varied and interesting and I enjoyed all my shore excursions. Hats off to the crew for their handling of the Norovirus outbreak on the previous cruise. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2012
I enjoyed my obstructed view cabin as it was not really obstructed. I could see out just fine and loved the natural light. My cabin stewart was wonderful and after we sorted out my need for ice all was well. Good things: Lots of ... Read More
I enjoyed my obstructed view cabin as it was not really obstructed. I could see out just fine and loved the natural light. My cabin stewart was wonderful and after we sorted out my need for ice all was well. Good things: Lots of swimming pools, large and small. Plenty of chairs, chair hogs were out and about too!! Good shade if you needed it. First day embarkation went smoothly, nice luncheon on the lido deck. Loved the itinerary although I was so tired that I missed their private island. So so things: size of buffet areas. First day we had salt n pepper shakers on table. after that it was packets only. Buffet areas are small, and very disorganized. You had to double back to get salad, or dessert, and were always handed hot plates. They do not use trays on Princess. The dishes are way too big and tend to add to your putting too much on the plate. Many times I ended up just getting a small plate and still had plenty of food. The eggs tasted like instant, very gritty and gross. One day however for breakfast was a cranberry hash that was good. Things that were not so great: Their tea in the dining room. What a disappointment. No organization, shoving dessert in your face before you could manage a tea sandwich. And the most disappointing item was the scones. Hard as a rock and no raspberry, just strawberry. Yuk. They do a "Pub Lunch" on sea days.. ok so Fried shrimp and fries.. yea. so? They had fried shrimp later in the week that was just as good without a line up. Terrible things: The coffee.. OM Goodness.. can we say yukkk. I cannot remember having such a nasty cup on a ship before. I then learned that in order to get fresh brewed coffee one has to "purchase" it for $2.00 plus tip. WHAT?!!?? Excuse me but I have paid a goodly price to be on this ship and now you make me pay for a decent cup of coffee? Not me, and not again. Best things about the ship, a lovely dinner in their steakhouse, good crew. I picked this for the "itinerary" and a change to try a singles group. Ok, so we are all consenting adults, but it is not my thing. I do not need events planned for me as I am used to travelling alone and enjoy my own company. I tend to meet more folks using cruise critic than on a singles group. My next trip it will be back to Celebrity for me. Thanks for reading. K Read Less
Sail Date: March 2012
Hey everyone! First and foremost, we had a great time on the cruise! We left out of Port Everglades, FL, went to Grand Cayman, Roatan, Honduras, Belize City, Belize and Cozumel, Mexico. The weather was perfect, seas calm, until we got to ... Read More
Hey everyone! First and foremost, we had a great time on the cruise! We left out of Port Everglades, FL, went to Grand Cayman, Roatan, Honduras, Belize City, Belize and Cozumel, Mexico. The weather was perfect, seas calm, until we got to Cozumel, it drizzled in the morning, but the sun came out later in the day and the seas were a little choppy, but nothing unbearable. The entire crew was very accommodating and friendly! Kudos to Allen in the DaVinci Dining Room, everyone at the excursions desk, Amanda, the Captains Circle Hostess, our Cabin Steward, ALL the bar staff, especially the guys on the ramps, helping you get on and off the ship and tenders(amazing!), and the Hostess at the DaVinci Dining Room(sorry I can't remember her name, she is from Mexico, though.) I have a few favorite ports: Tortola, Antigua and now Roatan! The Island isn't as commercialized as Grand Cayman, The Bahamas or St. Thomas, which is what I love! I have a scooter to get around, due to a broken knee, and there are some doors you can't get out onto the decks, due to the scooter being low to the ground, but there are designated doors that open automatically. If you have a walker, scooter, wheelchair, electric chair, etc. You definitely need a handicap cabin, the doors to the regular cabins won't work. C312 is right next door to the laundromat, which wasn't a problem at all. Only thing, when the carts are in the hallway, it can be a challenge to get around them, but the cabin stewards are always happy to move them out of the way when needed. Prior to booking a cruise with a disability or handicap, please make sure you check if they use tenders or docks when in Port. If they use tenders, per Se, in Roatan, they use their own tenders, so they let me take my scooter on the tender both ways. In Belize, they outsource tenders, so they didn't let me go on the tenders with my scooter, so make sure you double check before booking, just in case. And first thing on the ship, go straight to the excursions desk to see which tours would suit you best. We had to cancel the tour in Belize, because. there was nothing in the "easy" section to choose, and in Cozumel, we changed to a different tour, so we weren't able to see any of the ruins. If you get the DVDs at the end of the cruise, all the tours are included, so you don't miss anything. I have sailed 5 time prior, and 3 times on Princess...A couple things I noticed on this cruise: We chose Anytime Dining; the waiters didn't dance around like they usually do on other ships, usually one night out of the week. (I would not recommend Anytime dinning if you are younger than 40 years old, we are 33 and each night, we were sat with a big table of older people that like to one-up each other on how many grandchildren they have and how many cruises they have been on and train trips around the world-not that there is nothing wrong with any of that, we were just there to have a good time, not hear about their lives.) One night we were sat with a couple, the wife ordered EVERYTHING on the menu 3 times and we missed the last show in the Princess Theater because of her. If you can Choose a dining time, I highly recommend it, but if you don't mind taking hours to eat dinner and listening to people, Anytime Dining is for you. There were no carved ice sculptures; and NO midnight Buffet, although the buffets were open until midnight. This was the first cruise I have been on that that had happened...they did have a beautiful Champagne Waterfall in the Piazza on Formal Nights, maybe that replaced ice sculptures?! And no towel animals, like on Carnival-which was fine- a lot of people would expect it if they haven't cruise Princess! I do think Princess should include hard liquor, beer, wine, etc in a drink plan that people could purchase, instead of paying for each drink....it would be nice. I know Celebrity has several of those plans to choose from. You can purchase 2 soft drink plans, I think they started at $49/pp/wk-includes coffee, hot chocolate, soda, juice, milkshakes, etc, which is extra. I think when you book the cruise, it would be a nice option to add onto your cruise, so as soon as you board you don't get bombarded with people trying to sell you drink plans. The food was great, plenty of options for everyone, you can even ask for the children's menu if you don't see anything on the regular menu/vegetarian menu to your liking, which is nice, there is also the Buffets/Pizza/Ice cream/Burger Bars as back up. My Brother said the Seafood at dinner was amazing...so if you eat seafood, go for it! The Ice cream is so good and get the Dream Boat for Dessert! You will not be disappointed! The dining rooms are loud, so once everyone starts leaving it quiets down some. The entertainment was fantastic. We haven't been on a Princess Cruise in years, so we didn't see all the shows/acts/etc...everything was great! Lisa Ball was our Cruise Director, and she does her job well. She seems to be all over the place at the right times, if not herself, her Deputy Cruise Director, Stu and her Assistant Cruise Directors. We had fun on the tours, but please keep in mind, there were no "Handicap Accessible" transportation via the excursions, so if you can walk steps to get in and out of the vans/buses, the tours are for you, if not, I would make other arrangements. Grand Cayman-the sidewalks are not scooter/wheelchair friendly, just be careful. The tour bus was a mini-bus, not a motor coach, but had A/C! Roatan- TONS of walking(really long walk) from the ship through the port shops to the buses, and even if you want to go to the beach, so if would be great if you had a scooter, if you are older and can't walk long distances or if you are going on tours, you can take the scooter to the bus and the security guards will watch the scooter while you are on the tour, and will be there when you get back. The tour buses are little mini buses, not motor coaches, so it's a tight squeeze. They have A/C! Belize- As I said earlier, you can't bring scooters on the tenders, and the boat ride is about 25 min to Belize from the ship, there are stores right at the doc and a Fat Tuesday's right there, so if you can walk into the boat and walk a little, you can do what we did, took the tenders, went into the shops, bought souvenirs/beer, waited on line to go back on the tenders. We can say that we went to Belize. My brother walked outside the gates and said Belize City right there is scummy, within 5 steps he was offered a massage, tour, drugs, taxi, etc, so he turned around and came back. From what I understand anything outside of the City is beautiful, but we couldn't do a tour, so I can't say for sure. The ride is nice to and from, though! Cozumel- Great Tour-the tour guide had beer/soda/water waiting for us on board, then we went Tequila Tasting, then to a show, the show was a little hot and dark, so we kinda took a nap, because. of all the beer and tequila, but it was a fun tour! I was able to take my scooter and they put it in the compartments under the coach bus. And plenty of A/C to go around for all! Port Everglades- we had to fly in the night before and Stayed at Sleep Inn in Dania Beach-I've stayed here prior, and love the location bec. there's a Walgreen's in the parking lot and across the street-a Strip Mall with Publix Supermarket, a Chinese, Mexican and Italian Restaurants as well as a dollar store. There is free transportation to and from the Airport and Cruise-port, but we had to take a taxi bec. of the scooter, it was just easier. If you scooter comes apart like the GoGo I'm sure you can get on their free vans, but it's just a hassle sometimes. I did have to go to the infirmary because I had bronchitis the entire cruise, and the staff were great! If you are traveling with illnesses, make sure you fill out the paperwork on Princess.com and have your doctor fax it to Princess, bec. it helps the doctors a lot when have to go visit them. There are tons of pools on the ship, the Adults only pool is in the back of the ship, but there are steps to get down to it, there is a bar too, so it's nice not to have kids running around like maniacs, like at all the other pools. The shops are basic, clothes, trinkets, souvenirs, Duty Free, etc. Wait until the last few days of the cruise, things go on clearance, and will be cheaper to purchase at that time, they do have jewelry, purses, ties for $10/ea during that time. I bought two bangle bracelets at a nice discount! The Casino is a good size, and on certain nights they have no smoking, which is really nice for those of us that don't smoke. There are also designated areas on the ship for smoking....they even have "how to play" Activities throughout the cruise, for those of us that have no clue how to play games! It's a Cash Casino. The Photo Gallery- Photo's are $19.99/each and there are tons of opportunities to take portraits all over the ship. If you don't want to shell out $20/picture, just take your own, and kindly decline on photo's. They do have photo packages available for a reduced rate. I purchased the DVD Package, includes 2 DVDs from the events and each port/excursions and another DVD with still photo's that you can print/upload/set screen savers etc.-$39.99, so DO NOT purchase the stock photo's on board if you are getting these DVDs, you will save a boat load of money. There are tons of activities every day on ship for everyone....just make sure you make it out of dinner on time, or you will miss some of the late shows, like the one we missed. Don't miss the Shows in the Princess Theater--they were fantastic! The Comedian, Hypnotist, Pianist and Magician were great as was the International Crew Show! You will laugh! There are also little things going on in the Piazza throughout the day, like Hula Hoopist- Ashley Winn, don't miss her! And some of the dancers/singers perform throughout the cruise there, as well as the Choir, on the last day, performs, which is interesting. There is Bingo, Dancing Lessons, Art Workshops, exercise classes, trivia, etc. all day, as well. I didn't have anything done in the Spa/Salon, but the staff is friendly and the facilities look nice and clean. On the last two days they have specials, so be on the look out for those packages in the Princess Patter. We went to the first Art Auction, I wasn't impressed. The Guys running it only catered to the people that were actually going to shell out money for art, which irked us, because, I am an artist, and I would of bid on some things, but their attitudes turned me off. Princess has their own auction company, so it was a little different than on Carnival or our previous Princess Cruises...BUT there was free cheap champagne. There are nice decks that you can just sit and look out, that are nice and quiet. The TVs have The Wake Show with Lisa Ball & Stu, to tell you the goings on the next day/that day, and there are shopping channels, excursion channels, Movie Channels, Ship View Channel, Ship Stats Channel, which has the clock, so if you sleep with that on, you will catch a clock. We had to change time zones in every port, so It's a GREAT Idea to get a wake up call, because. the phone's clock that you can't see, automatically change, which is helpful. OR BRING YOUR OWN ALARM CLOCK! There isn't one in the cabins. The Wake Show explains Disembarkation, so you should be all set, and pay attention to your Princess Patters/mail at the door/on the beds/desks/etc....valuable information! I hope my review helps you understand the ship/cruise a little bit more than, coming from a 33 year old Single Female that has a scooter, other than the average person. (I know it was long, but I had to share!) If you have any further questions, feel free to contact me: iaminadaze@yahoo.com Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2011
Ok, it wasn't quite perfect. Close but no cigar. From my viewpoint, the food was great. I had one bad meal (Duck-very tough) and that was it. All the desserts were great, the meals were very good to excellent. There was usually a ... Read More
Ok, it wasn't quite perfect. Close but no cigar. From my viewpoint, the food was great. I had one bad meal (Duck-very tough) and that was it. All the desserts were great, the meals were very good to excellent. There was usually a bit of a wait for 5:30 seating in the Non traditional dining room, but it went fast. A smile and a thank you went a long way with the Maitre D. He was a bit harassed. The ship was great too. Lots of places to go and relax or not. That's what I love about cruising, the choices are yours to make. Not sure I got my money's worth with the soda package, but it was fine. I didn't get the coffee package because I drink one cup of coffee in the morning and I'm not a gourmet about it. I most often got coffee from room service and had it on my balcony. The bed wasn't horrible, but it wasn't great. A bit hard for me, but not that bad. The Trident Grill was nothing to write home about nor was the Pizza parlor. The ports were fine, although I have no comparison, since this is my first trip to Hawaii. I loved the way they organized the departures for the excursions. It was really well done and absolutely no waiting on a dock to find out where you were going. You waited in the Princess Theater until your group was called, went to the disembarkation deck and got right on the bus or van. It was truly great. They do need more seating in the Princess Theater. I only got to see one show because there was no seating. The 10:30 was too late for me because I get up at 6 am, without an alarm clock. I'm not sure what I missed, but everyone said the shows were great. My only issue was my flight home. When I left, I was flying out on US Air 6344, but when I got to the airport, they said there was no such flight. Finally, I got on a 10:10 flight that took me to Philadelphia. Not my first choice, but at that point I didn't have any choice. I'd have liked to know about the change before I left the ship. I spent money trying to check-in on line. It was frustrating. Can I blame Princess for that snafu? I don't think so, but they should have let me know about the change. US Air's people were great. They helped me all the way along. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2011
This was my 7th. cruise and my second on Princess. This is how cruising should be and was better than my cruise in 2010. Mind you, anything was better than last years (see my review Celebrity Infinity October 2010 Panama Canal). The ship ... Read More
This was my 7th. cruise and my second on Princess. This is how cruising should be and was better than my cruise in 2010. Mind you, anything was better than last years (see my review Celebrity Infinity October 2010 Panama Canal). The ship had a refit in May of this year but the internal decor and general layout of the ship is much the same as the Golden Princess (and the rest of the "Grand" class of Princess ships). We sailed from Miami to go around the eastern Caribbean visiting Princess Cays (a private island owned by Princess), US Virgin Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Bonaire and Aruba. The weather did not get off to a good start as we caught the end of a tropical storm out of Miami which lasted a couple of days. But the temperature was in the high 20's/low 30's so I can't complain! Embarkation. An absolute doddle! Despite the fact that I didn't have a boarding pass-I refused to input my credit card details to allow me to print it off at home. I was asked for my boarding pass and when they found out that I didn't have one, I was redirected to a secondary queue in which I was given a small form to fill out and told to go onto the main embarkation lines. The whole process was extremely well organised and took less that 20 minutes. I was given my room keycard and boarded the ship. PLEASE NOTE: Princess, like every other cruise line, makes a charge on your onboard account of between $10 and $15 per person, per day-this includes children!. On Princess, this is called a "Hotel Charge". This charge is put on EVERY passengers account-and is distributed amongst the staff as "gratuities". For a family of four, based on a charge of $10 per person/day for a 10 day cruise, this will cost $400 (around £300) on top of your onboard spending. If you don't know about this, it could come as quite a shock. The first thing you must do is go to the Guest Relations desk and ask to be removed from this charge. Princess cannot refuse to do this if a guest asks to be removed. You will then be free to tip as you see fit and not as Princess wants you to. Princess will encourage guests to use a credit card for onboard purchases although all purchases are done via your keycard as cash is not accepted onboard. Your credit card will be charged at the end of the cruise. I refuse to do this and opt to put a cash deposit on my keycard. I can then keep an eye on my account so that I can keep to my own budget. Cabins. My cabin had an oceanview window which was a free upgrade from Princess. It does make a big difference as opposed to an inside cabin which I normally have due to the cost of travelling alone. The cabin felt light and airy and was well fitted out. My steward-John-was extremely helpful and couldn't do enough for me. Guests. These were mostly American (we did sail from Miami) with a small amount of Brits. I didn't hear any other language apart from English from the guests. I would have expected a small amount of Spanish/European accents but this wasn't the case on this cruise. Food. Excellent! I opted for the traditional dining at 8.15 in the Botticelli dining room. I was on a table of 8 but after the first night, a couple of my fellow diners disappeared. One of my table-Paul from Bournemouth-did bump into them later. They said they had met some friends who they didn't know were on the ship and had moved tables. I can't comment on this but it seemed that they were quite aloof and didn't want to know about other people. Two of the guests allocated to my table never even turned up so that left four of us. The other couple was Phil and Dale from Chicago. I was also disappointed that many of the tables in my dining room were empty virtually all the time. On one night, I counted ten tables in my immediate area empty. Yet in the other two dining rooms-Michealangelo and Da Vinci-which were for the "Any Time" dining, were full all the time. Considering that the menus were the same for all the dining rooms, why book a traditional dining table and then not turn up? The exception was the two formal evenings then all of the dining rooms were full. Go figure! The menus in the main restaurants was quite varied and very good but the general choice didn't flick my switch. An exception was the second formal night which featured Beef Wellington-possibly my favourite meal. The Horizon Court and Cafe Caribe buffet didn't disappoint. The breakfast menu didn't change much and was in the American taste with hash browns, corned beef hash etc. but the lunch and evening meal menu changed every day, and the food on offer was of the best quality. However, if you decide to go for a late breakfast-say between 9.30 and 11.00, be prepared to wait a very long time. I had a few beers on one night and didn't get up until 9.30. I went to the Horizon Court buffet and was confronted by queues that snaked right around the self-service buffet and out into the main seating area-which was also completely full. I had to wait until 11.15 to even get a look-in at the buffet. In fact, I was so late that the lunch service had opened! In the Wheelhouse Bar on two occasions, there featured a British "Pub Lunch". These two days were very popular indeed with the queue for a table quite lenghty. The luches included genuine British fish and chips, a ploughmans lunch, steak and kidney pie along with a selection of meals that you would expect in a traditional British pub. There are several speciality restaurants including the Crown Grill (a steak house), Sabatinis (Italian) and a few others. These restaurants have a small cover charge-typically around $15-$25 per head not including alcohol. I would recommend trying one of these as I have done on past cruises. The food is prepared to order on an individual basis by the chefs actually in the restaurant so that you know that it will be cooked to your own taste. Entertainment. I can't comment of any of the shows as I didn't go and see any. I am not a "show" person and I don't like musicals. The rest of the trip included the usual karaoke and a Princess Cruises Talent Contest. This was basically "X Factor" by another name. There was also a couple of comedians, one of which did an "adults only" late night show which, I was told, was very good. All of the bars had some kind of band or pianist which played MOR music and was not intrusive. The bars were well attended with the Explorers bar being the most busy. The Skywalkers nightclub on deck 18 was not well attended. Initially, after say 11 pm, it could be quite busy. But at around 1 am, people started to drift off back to their cabins which left the club very empty. On my last trip with Princess, the nightclub regularly didn't shut until 3 or 4 in the morning. On the first formal night, the Captain started a "Champagne Fountain" on deck 5. I wanted to video this, but space was extremely limited and I estimate that almost a quarter of the guests (around 500 possibly more) were mingling about. This made it very busy indeed and I eventually gave up trying. Princess need to sort things out so as many people as possible can see this. I was very disappointed. Excursions. The excursions provided by Princess are very good, very reasonably priced and can be booked online before you go-and you don't have to pay for them until you get on board. The charges are added to your onboard account. The trips cater for all tastes from general sightseeing right down to certified deep sea diving, swimming with dolphins and even a submarine which dives down to 100 feet! I opted for sightseeing in Princess cays, an eco-hike in the US Virgin Islands, Trafalgar Waterfalls in Dominica, Seven Sisters Waterfalls in Grenada and an Ostrich Farm in Aruba. I didn't go on a trip in Bonaire, opting to do my own thing for the day. NOTE: If you decide to do your own thing and explore the ports without going on an official tour and you miss the ship-tough. The ship will not wait for you. We picked up a couple in Aruba who had missed their own Princess ship two weeks previously and were left to fend for themselves. If this happens to you it's your fault and no recompense will be forthcoming from Princess or anyone else. There are a couple of flies in the ointment. On my excursion to the Trafalgar Waterfalls, the trail to the second of the falls is treacherous! The trail was littered with tree roots and rocks, was extremely steep, very slippery and you have to be very careful indeed. Some of my fellow travellers-senior citizens-had to be assisted by the rest of us. I don't mind helping but Princess should have warned people that the trail was only for the adventurous Not only was the trail difficult, it was at tree-top height. The guard rail was very flimsy and at times the trail was only a couple of feet wide. I dread to think if anyone fell as we couldn't see the forest floor. The trail almost resembled a rock face and even an experienced rambler would have difficulty with walking on it. Not only was this dangerous, several tours turned up just after us which meant that there were up to 80 people going up and down this trail making passing very difficult. On my trip to the Seven Sisters falls in Grenada, we got to the visitors centre (basically a wood hut with a lean-to shed nearby) and the heavens opened. At this point I will concede that I am in the Tropics and in a rain forest so rain is expected. But not like this. This rain was of monsoon proportions and was bouncing off the floor to waist height. I estimate that around two inches of rain fell in about three hours. Our tour guide-Kendrick-went back to one of the buses to put on some waterproof clothing. I spoke to him about the fact that I was not prepared to carry on with the walk in this weather. Six of my fellow guests agreed with me and we stayed behind under the lean-to. Kendrick and I got into an argument in front of around 40 people with him saying I was "another Brit moaning about the weather". I replied with I was not prepared to carry on in monsoon rain getting soaking wet and told him to "p*** off with the rest of the tour". I would like to add that a sign at the entrance to the waterfalls said "enter at your own risk". Kendrick also told us that we would have to cross a river (there was no bridge) and when we got to the falls it could be "a little muddy". I later learnt that "a little muddy" meant ankle deep mud and the river had to be crossed by stepping stones. After a couple of hours, the tour returned with several of the people stripping off down to their undies (male and female) due to the fact that they were completely soaked. I'm glad I didn't go and in my opinion this tour should have been cancelled. I have spoken to my travel agents about these excursions and I have been advised by them to put my concerns in writing to be forwarded to Princess. Disembarkation. Again, extremely well organised. I opted for a trip to the Dolphin Mall shopping centre as I had a few bits to buy for friends and family. We had around three to fours hours in this centre which was very clean and I am reliably informed one of the safest shopping centres in Miami. We were then taken directly to Miami Airport for our flights home. In conclusion-a very good cruise, great food, very clean ship, great staff and very relaxing. The guest ages were very varied and there was not many children on board. I would recommend Princess Cruises to the first-timer and to experienced cruisers. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2011
Norwegian Fjords 7 Nights 28th July 2011 My Mother and I are experienced cruisers and have sailed with Princess, P&O, Royal Caribbean, Holland America, Fred Olsen & Cunard. Pre-cruise information by email was good, but I did not ... Read More
Norwegian Fjords 7 Nights 28th July 2011 My Mother and I are experienced cruisers and have sailed with Princess, P&O, Royal Caribbean, Holland America, Fred Olsen & Cunard. Pre-cruise information by email was good, but I did not like having to print my own luggage labels. I had to reinforce the paper with sticky back clear film, otherwise they would have pulled off too easily. However I understand you can ask your travel agent to do it for you, but whether they would have gone to this amount of trouble I am not sure. Also Princess do not provide any printed literature about excursions. In contrast, P&O still send a beautifully presented bound folder with all the information about your cruise, excursion information and ready printed luggage labels. We arrived at the Ocean Terminal in good time and after leaving our car with Cruise & Passenger Services we had a speedy check in (we had priority check in). Then it was through security and onto the ship. All our cases arrived within 30mins of arriving in the cabin. Our Cabins Mini Suites on Dolphin deck were excellent in every way, very spacious, pristine condition, large sitting area with three seat sofa and large 5sq Mtr balcony. There was a large walk in wardrobe area and the ensuite had bath with shower. Shelf space was good, but drawer space however was minimal. Our cabin steward arrived to introduce himself and he looked after us very efficiently throughout the whole cruise. After a freshen up it was off to the Horizon Court (Lido Cafe) for a drink and something to eat. The food here was very good indeed, we had our breakfasts and lunches here and our evening meals in the Cafe Caribe which is adjacent to the Horizon Court at the rear of the ship. The service in these areas is first class, with staff anxious to assist you at every turn, very useful for elderly or disabled passengers. Once seated they are constantly at your side to assist with more food or drinks. These waiters are in addition to the staff clearing the tables, who do so efficiently and on a constant basis. A wide range of hot & cold food is available, in the evening sometimes with a particular theme. For us the only thing missing at lunch time was cold meats such as Ham, Beef or Pork, but there was always cheese and a very varied choice of salad items. We never had to queue when eating in these areas. It is also worth mentioning that hand gel was actively insisted upon whenever anybody entered the cafe and was freely available in all areas throughout the ship. Another aspect of hygiene was that milk was dispensed in jugs and jam and butter was in bowls with tongs or spoons which removed the process of multiple fingers diving into bowls for small packs of butter, jam and UHT milk (which we experienced on P&O Oceana the following week - see our separate report of this cruise) We ate only twice in the dining room, so cannot really comment on the standard of service here. The menu's we felt were not to our taste, a little too European and on one of the occasions for us, under cooked and poorly presented. However the evening meals in the Cafe Caribe were very good with plenty of choice and excellent desserts. If you are on anytime dining, there can be long queues if you want to eat in the dining rooms, so it's best to book a table early in the day. The layout of the ship is good, very easy to get around, the elevators are fast and numerous. The Piazza (Atrium) which covers three decks is the central hub with an attractive Coffee Bar which has lovely pastries throughout the day including sandwiches at lunch time (all free with the purchased drinks). We did not book any tours on the short cruise so cannot comment on how efficiently these were organised, but had no trouble getting on or off the ship at the various ports. PORTS OF CALL BERGEN city has some attractive areas in the town, with a large central park area with fountain and bandstand. The main shopping areas have wide pedestrian areas, although on our visit the pavements seemed very dirty and there were a lot of buskers. The attractive port area (with the pretty coloured quay side buildings) was rather spoilt by the covered market stalls and food outlets. The small harbour has some major building work on the quay side at the moment so it's in a mess. GEIRANGER We did not get off the ship here as it was a tender port and mostly for people going on tours who would be meeting up with the ship later in the day at HELLESYLT. The scenic cruising of the fjord here was very pleasant. HELLESYLT Service call only for passengers returning to the ship from overland tours. OLDEN is a small village at one end of the Nordfjord which has a few useful shops. The old church in Olden (the one in the village) was built in 1759 on the site of a stave church dating from around 1300. It's pew doors and jambs are made from timbers of the old stave church. This is well worth a visit and is only a 15 minute walk from the ship. During the Summer a small motor driven train with passenger cars does a shuttle service up and down the main road leading into the village. STAVANGER our final port is of course very large, we were docked very close to the Cathedral which is worth a visit if time permits. At the time of our visit a certain air of sadness prevailed due to the numerous memorials left in memory of all the students who died in the recent shooting tragedy. We did not go to any of the shows or entertainments so cannot comment on these. The usual array of daytime activities were available on board, including shuffle board, quoits, putting & table tennis. Disembarkation was smooth and trouble free. Overall an enjoyable relaxing cruise on a well run ship, with excellent service, accommodation and food. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2011
We live in upstate NY so just an hour to travel to the Red Hook Pier. Embarkation was such an easy process. From the car to our cabin in under 15 minutes! We had a mini suite mid ship. We liked the location and have absolutely no ... Read More
We live in upstate NY so just an hour to travel to the Red Hook Pier. Embarkation was such an easy process. From the car to our cabin in under 15 minutes! We had a mini suite mid ship. We liked the location and have absolutely no complaints about our stateroom. Wish we had better weather to enjoy our balcony but at least we had a couple of beautiful days. We made the decision after always using traditional dining to go with eating in the Caribe Cafe each evening. It was so much easier for us and no time worries or dress ups. The food and variety were great. We did 4 excursions through Princess and enjoyed them all. The whale watching in Bar Harbor was the highlight of our trip. To be so close to giant whales and watch them diving under the water was amazing. The other excursion we both liked was the Upper Deck Trolley in Boston. We had never been to Boston before and felt like we got a great overview of the city. We are not great walkers so this was super for us. The singers and dancers were the best we have seen on 6 Princess Cruises. We found all staff to be polite and friendly. Cruise director was top notch. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2011
I will keep it short and sweet.First and foremost, I could not find the dining room the whole time I was aboard the ship. They have the funniest way of where to put the dining rooms. I had to figure on extra time just to make sure I ... Read More
I will keep it short and sweet.First and foremost, I could not find the dining room the whole time I was aboard the ship. They have the funniest way of where to put the dining rooms. I had to figure on extra time just to make sure I could get to the dining room.As a previous poster said, I had "Anytime Dining." That meant that you could go to the dining room "any time" between 5:30 and 9:30 or something. The first night was fine but then when it came for the first formal dinner, they asked if I had a reservation. Why should I need a reservation when I had "anytime dining?" Then, because I traveled by myself, I asked for a table for one. They didn't have one and sent me to here and yon to another dining room. Then they decided that I would eat there at 6:00 and at a specific table. Not a good start.I also agree that the dining staff left something to be desired. Because the first night I ordered a bottle of wine and they said they would keep it for the next night. So when I got to a table on the formal night, it took a long time to get my bottle of wine. I was so upset with the way I was treated I ate at the buffet dinner the next two nights. The food was marginal, at best. The food was way much better when I used to cruise 15 years ago.The tours I went on were to the beaches. I went to Cayman and Cozumel. I found a gem of a place on the beach "accidentally" I'm sure from the taxi guy. I asked to go to the Carlos & Charlies on the beach and he dropped me off at another beach club. It was great as there was no one there and it was nice and relaxing.Due to my experience, I am not going on Princess again. There has to be a cruise line with everything.Both embarkation and de-embarkation was a breeze. For a fee, Princess obtained my boarding passes for my flights and shipped my suitcase to the airport without me having to deal with it. Money well spent. Read Less
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