34 Quebec City Romantic Cruise Reviews

I wanted to see Canada during colorful Fall weather and I was NOT disappointed. Love that we have graduated to suite category now. Butler and Concierge are really nice touches. Was not as impressed with Teppanyaki chefs as I have been on ... Read More
I wanted to see Canada during colorful Fall weather and I was NOT disappointed. Love that we have graduated to suite category now. Butler and Concierge are really nice touches. Was not as impressed with Teppanyaki chefs as I have been on other ships. Although the food was good, their flare was not impressive.. Cagney's Steakhouse was great. Moderno Brazillian Steakhouse was not great except for the filet mingion, which was delicious. The other cuts were cooked too done, even tho I told them medium. .Breakfast there was good.. Shows were good and a great variety.. I do not like the fact that very few cabins have shower stalls. Majority have tub/shower combo and this one was too deep for me to get my leg over. I wish they would take this into consideration of us older folks. . It was not a handicapped room, but there was a grab bar by the toilet, which I appreciated. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Very disappointing cruise. Not the agenda but the overall vibe and feel of the experience. My expectations for the price paid was first class yet from cabin cleanliness , management team to the buffet food, I would rate it very below ... Read More
Very disappointing cruise. Not the agenda but the overall vibe and feel of the experience. My expectations for the price paid was first class yet from cabin cleanliness , management team to the buffet food, I would rate it very below average. Many employees especially senior staff avoided interaction by being on the ships phones as they walked by. Cabins was dirty and attendant did nothing more than make a bed. No table cleaning, no dusting, no vacuuming no scrubbing of toilet floor or tub. Caught the steward on at least 4 occasions just loafing in the room or daydreaming on the balcony. Food quality very average at best. Too much repeat ( or slight variation with different names] does anyone really like bread pudding that much to have it everyday ? Soups all tasted same, salad bar was poor choices and actually ran out of lettuce day 10. As for itinerary, great as originally planned and switching Boston from Newport was a bonus but missing the full day and overnight in New York City was a negative. Appreciate NCL taking cover from the storm overnight on Wednesday but trying to get answers why the ship didn’t sail earlier on Thursday to reach New York to arrive at least by noon on Friday. Shortly after leaving the cove north of Boston at 6 pm The Bridge report on the TV showed arrival at 10 am Friday which would have been acceptable. It also seems it would have been achievable at approximately 300 nautical miles assuming 20-22 knots speed. Ship never achieved more than 11-12 knots and actually headed towards Nantucket to hang out most of the day on Friday. My guess is they were trying to save $$$$ on docking costs instead of trying to please the paying customers. Many guests were questioning staff but very poor communication and answers as to WHY! As if NCL was afraid to be honest about it. Final complaint was the number of tender ports even though the ports had usable piers that were occupied by other cruise lines. This seems to me that NCL made the decision that it is cheaper to tender than pay dock fees. Tendering is a time waste for the paying client when there are piers available. Is this way for cruise line to improve their Gross Profit? Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Great cruise. We loved the Caribbean Princess ship. Enjoyed all the ports of call. Prince Edward Island was our favorite. We had an inside cabin B244. It was small but we were not in the cabin that much except to sleep and change ... Read More
Great cruise. We loved the Caribbean Princess ship. Enjoyed all the ports of call. Prince Edward Island was our favorite. We had an inside cabin B244. It was small but we were not in the cabin that much except to sleep and change clothes. It met our needs very well. It was in the front of the ship and it was a long walk to the rear of the ship to dine. The Medallion worked opening the stateroom door and entering or exiting the ship. It had other uses but we did not use them. The entertainment was very good. The shore excursions were excellent and we enjoyed them as well. The ship stayed in port at Quebec City for two days and that allowed time to see the city without having to go in a day early and spend time in a hotel before the cruise. Be sure and see old town Quebec City at the port it was very nice. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We chose this cruise because of the ports that were offered. The fjords of the Saguenay river are spectacular and offer the opportunity to see whales right from the ship where the Saguenay river meets the St. Lawrence. Unfortunately the ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the ports that were offered. The fjords of the Saguenay river are spectacular and offer the opportunity to see whales right from the ship where the Saguenay river meets the St. Lawrence. Unfortunately the ship travelled up the river at night so we missed most of the fjords and did not see any whales, but all ports provided us with opportunities to see some beautiful scenery. We had been looking forward to the fine dining onboard and were so disappointed by the food in the dining room. We heard complaints from other passengers all week. The buffet food was fine, but we expected much better in the dining room and often felt rushed. Also caution that the dining room now offers a menu for an additional cost. I heard someone order a lobster tail and decided to have the same, and was not told that it would cost me $19. And for that I received a shrivelled up piece of lobster that was so overcooked that it curled in the tail and was dry and tough. The lobster on lobster night was much better and there was no upcharge. The desserts were also disappointing. The cheesecake used to be a delicious option, but the one that was served was dry and bland. First time I didn't gain a few pounds on a cruise! The swimming pools are not heated and so the water was too cold to swim. Not sure why they bother with water at all if the pools are not useable. I would have swam each day, even in cooler weather, if the water had been warm. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Wait staff, ship's officers and crew, security & maintenance, as usual, are all top notch. Management is just the opposite. From 6 hours on the phone over 5 weeks unsuccessfully trying to get a return call from a ... Read More
Wait staff, ship's officers and crew, security & maintenance, as usual, are all top notch. Management is just the opposite. From 6 hours on the phone over 5 weeks unsuccessfully trying to get a return call from a "supervisor" at the NCL Air Department to rectify air connections that flew us into a City 200 miles from the port on the wrong day to condescending, rude, in-your-face "service desk" managers who couldn't communicate effectively and blamed you for their errors. We overheard one loud argument that would later echo our sentiment exactly. He was yelling "This is your mistake, not mine. I shouldn't be having to work for YOU to straighten out YOUR errors on MY vacation and spend MY time trying to resolve YOUR problems." They called security on him. We smiled and thought, well, he probably could have handled that better..." Little did we know that a day or two later we would find ourselves in the same position and being goaded by these very same incompetent, argumentative "service personnel" about our credit card and saying roughly the same thing and ultimately having to "go to work" on our vacation to correct yet another error by NCL. (I guess they figured since we let them get away with taking our $200 in airfare they'd attempt to go back to the well for more.) Ours is far from the only observation on the web that over the last 5 years, while the day-to-day personnel continues to remain gregarious, friendly, courteous and competent, there has been a tectonic shift at the Helm of NCL's home office & bean counters resulting in business management that just gets more pathetic with each passing cruise. Not vessel management, "hospitality" management. As for the air department in particular, don't waste your money. Read the plethora of negative reviews about this cruise and those who've been snookered into the Montreal/YQB switcheroo. Since no one would return our calls, we finally just wrote off the $200 airfare as a loss and booked ourselves into Quebec (YQB). NCL may have taken our money, but we refused to let them steal our joy. We spent 4 fantastic days enjoying Quebec Quebec City, and wished for more to be honest. Sadly we listened to horror stories each day of people with similar experiences who had to find their own way to the port from some far away city or who sat for hours on the side of a major highway, the bus rocking from the traffic whizzing by their broken down bus. They said it was terrifying thinking about becoming a statistic. One reviewer said it took NCL 12 hours to get them from Montreal Trudeau to the ship. It's so laughable even the comedian made their misery the butt of several jokes in his act. So if you think they'll actually treat you differently than all the other thousands of guests they've hoodwinked, then the joke'll be on you. One day NCL is going to screw over the WRONG attorney who's going to file a class action suit over their "bait and switch" tactics and false repeated claims that "there aren't seats into Quebec," to which we responded, "We've got 4 windows open with 4 different airlines with flights from 4 different cities into YQB all with empty cabins, so don't sit there and lie to me. I'm looking at planes I could play ping pong in and never hit a soul with a serve." It's a shame management is slowly sinking what was once a fine cruise line. The ship's older design must have been originally for the Caribbean or Mediterranean as the only observation areas are outside. A lot of women don't like their hair being blown around after they've fixed it up. There's no area aft to sit and watch the horizon recede. The ship has mysterious humps in the floor, odd, dead-end nooks and crannies and there is no bridge viewing room like there is on Jewel-Class vessels. The curries on the buffet were, as always, excellent. Healthy choices on the buffet were plentiful. Main dining rooms were on par with other ships in the NCL fleet. Specialty dining went from totally inedible in Los Lobos (other reviewers agree) to "OMG, this is the best meal I've ever eaten!" in the Italian Restaurant (La Cucina?) The manager Vaughn, was fantastic and very observant, not to mention funny. He's a true asset to the company. All of the ports were enjoyable other than maybe Halifax and simply because it's such a big city and industrial port. I mean there's nothing WRONG with Halifax, it's just not very walkable it's so large. Bar Harbor or Portland were likely our favorite, due to Acadia and the breath-taking views from Cadillac Mountain and the views of the lighthouses from Fort Williams. Still, each port was charming in it's own way. Quebec City is worth a week. Don't let NCL entice you into cheap airfare only to find they didn't give you time to explore this fascinating world of old and new. I'm told the entertainment on board was good. I don't go on cruises for food or entertainment, but my wife and other party members enjoyed the variety of shows. The pool deck was generally lightly populated due to the chilly temperatures. The library is in an odd, but very quiet place. I liked its location. Not alot of traffic due to it being isolated at the start of a U-shaped hallway of forward cabins. It's kind of where the health club "class" workout room is often located on the Jewel-Class vessels. We did not find the Ultimate Beverage Package to be a very good deal for us because we don't drink a lot so a beer or glass of wine would wind up costing $50 when you averaged it out per diem. And forget finding a Mountain Dew when you wanted one. I mentioned earlier the attentiveness of the staff. I should clarify that I mean wait staff, room stewards, etc. If you see an officer or security personnel, they are almost always approachable, congenial and helpful. On the other hand, any "hotel staffer" in one of the dark, business-like suits - is a waste of your time. The only solution they can offer is to write an email to the home office, because they have no authority to provide any solutions for you. Your room steward on the other hand can answer 90% of your questions and solve the majority of your issues, just remember all he did for you at the end of the cruise. Same with the food services. If you ask for something politely, if it's on the ship it will magically appear at your table generally within a reasonable time. Not always, but generally. A lot of it depends on your attitude toward your server. One final tip - and it's about tips. When we wanted to acknowledge a staffer who went above and beyond, we would add an amount above what was included in our prepaid tip package to the paper receipts at the restaurant only to learn that those tips went into the general pool for all workers, thus eliminating what we were attempting to do, which was let someone know we appreciated their specific extra effort. After learning that, we always carried a little cash around and looked for opportunities to make someone's day when it was deserved. I hope I can remember that the next time I cruise with Norwegian. They may be the American Airlines of the cruise industry, but they're cheap - sadly in more ways than one. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
DINING/DRINKS/SERVICE: We paid for the Meal Specialty Dining Package, Adult Ultimate Beverage Package and the Prepaid Service Charge. It was money well spent and a great value. We were able to eat at four specialty restaurants and the ... Read More
DINING/DRINKS/SERVICE: We paid for the Meal Specialty Dining Package, Adult Ultimate Beverage Package and the Prepaid Service Charge. It was money well spent and a great value. We were able to eat at four specialty restaurants and the food in each was excellent. The Venetian Main Dining Room also had great food. Some of the desserts were better than what we had in the Specialty Restaurants. The Garden Cafe was great for breakfast and snacks, fresh fruit, soft serve ice cream, salad, breads/muffins. O'Sheehan's Neighborhood Bar & Grill had good food. The dinner food in the Garden Cafe served was mediocre. SERVICE: The service throughout the ship was great and the staff works hard. I saw some of the wait staff, especially bartenders put up with some rude people and they did it gracefully. Even though we prepaid Service Charges we tipped our room steward extra and also tipped extra in some of the specialty restaurants (even though 20% was included). ENTERTAINMENT: What we saw in the Stardust Theater was okay. The seating in the main area is cramped, not much leg room which made it uncomfortable. The upper side levels had more comfortable seating. Because the majority of the people were older the Stardust was packed the two times we attended a show. BAND ENTERTAINMENT We really enjoyed the Jose and Patti AND the band Sonata. SHORE EXCURSIONS: All of our excursions were booked through Norwegian and most of them were excellent. The "Fortress of Louisbourg" was good; however, our bus arrived 30 minutes late and returned us to the dock 10 minutes early. The time was 10:30 AM-2:15 PM and we note each excursion states "estimated." It was an extreme rush to try to see and enjoy the Fortress of Louisbourg which was a disappointment. This excursion should be longer because there is a lot to see and they have reenactors in the buildings which are period dressed and it is very interesting. The "Iconic Towns of Nova Scotia" tour our guide on the bus was excellent. The area the bus stopped at in Mahone Bay is across from a beautiful church and next to the water. It is a beautiful area; however, there is only shopping here. It would have been better if they eliminated Mahone Bay so more time could be spent in Lunenburg and Peggy's Cove. Regardless, it was wonderful and the prices were very reasonable. HOT TUBS/POOL: The hot tubs (6) and swimming pool were great and often empty at night Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We chose this cruise since I have always wanted to go to Quebec City and we thoroughly enjoyed that French-speaking port. We had good weather--in fact in was hot in Quebec City. Our second favorite port was Portland, Maine, an attractive ... Read More
We chose this cruise since I have always wanted to go to Quebec City and we thoroughly enjoyed that French-speaking port. We had good weather--in fact in was hot in Quebec City. Our second favorite port was Portland, Maine, an attractive and charming town. We had been to Boston and Halifax before, but enjoyed both of them again. The trip was rather port-intensive and I would have liked more sea days, which are relaxing since you don't have to get up early for an excursion. We went on an excursion in almost every port. On the sea days I missed having any enrichment lectures on board. The ship itself is very attractive and we enjoyed the variety of food, especially in the buffet, where they had gluten-free and dairy-free choices and also left out cereal for a snack or to take to your room. The dancers and singers in the production company were excellent. The party band was also excellent. The sailaway activities seemed somewhat limited until halfway through the cruise. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
The Canada/New England colors were breathtaking. This was perfect timing and we really loved the trees. The ship missed two ports due to weather and we were very disappointed, especially Bar Harbor. However, we were compensated with ... Read More
The Canada/New England colors were breathtaking. This was perfect timing and we really loved the trees. The ship missed two ports due to weather and we were very disappointed, especially Bar Harbor. However, we were compensated with $25...SERIOUSLY! The Quality of evening dining room food was poor. Three nights the meat was too tough to eat and no I don’t have dentures. Nightly entertainment was fair, but to get a seat you had to be in theater an hour in advance. This was a very crowded ship and difficult to walk anywhere. Most horrible bed ever slept on. Asked for egg crate and it was shorter than the mattress. I know Princess is upgrading beds, but these should be burned immediately. Their process for getting on and off the ship for excursions was extremely slow and there appeared to be a lack of organization many times. We will not go on the Royal again Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
This was our second Norwegian cruise and our first "cold-water" cruise. It was also our first experience cruising in a suite. To start, as others have pointed out, the ship was wonderfully refurbished although the layout ... Read More
This was our second Norwegian cruise and our first "cold-water" cruise. It was also our first experience cruising in a suite. To start, as others have pointed out, the ship was wonderfully refurbished although the layout remains quirky. That said, by day 2 it was easy to figure out where everything was and the best way to get their. Next the staff, start to finish, outstanding. El, Nathaniel, Layla at Gatsby's simply made our cruise with their tremendous service and warm greetings. Also, the guitar player, Rob Ondras as a consumate performer who had a wide range of songs. We ate at all of the specialty restaurants and had good to great food. We ate at two of the main dining rooms, Aqua and Venetian and enjoyed both meals. Venetian is very large so we preferred Aqua for a more intimate experience. Now for the "suite-life". This completely changes the dynamics of cruising. We were in cabin 12030 what included a balcony and floor to ceiling windows. We had a couch and two chairs so if we wanted to read, relax, and watch the water go by, we had a great view at all times. Next our concierge, Roel, was great. At check-in, he whisked us onto the ship and brought us to Cagney's for lunch. As the Dawn does not have a Haven, suite passengers have Cagney's or Moderno's for lunch and breakfast. These amenities and priority boarding and disembarking, plus the little treats left every night, makes for an elevated experience. Finally , we enjoyed each port and each port was unique. Quebec is a charming, old world city with plenty to see and do. Sydney was a quite little stop with a great Irish pub and a charming local tour. Halifax has Peggy's Cover which is not to be missed, and Bar Harbour included a great local lunch and then a gentle hike around Acadia National Park. In summary, bundle up, get in the spirit, and you will love this ship and ports. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
The staff where OUTSTANDING. My wonderful wife required a little special diet items, the wait staff went out of their way to take care of it on a daily bases( even while serving 3,000 others). Like all our RCCL cruises the food ... Read More
The staff where OUTSTANDING. My wonderful wife required a little special diet items, the wait staff went out of their way to take care of it on a daily bases( even while serving 3,000 others). Like all our RCCL cruises the food quality was very good. We generally ate breakfast and lunch at the buffet , we loved the many choices available and it was done well. We ate our dinners in the MDR. We had anytime dinning and we were able to sit in the same waiters section each of the 13 nights. We really enjoyed the food but , I must say , doing a 13 day cruise the choices seemed a little repetitious . We enjoyed the layout of the ship, seems very similar to Freedom. The nightly entertainment for us was only so so. Even though we had major faul weather in Canada we really enjoyed the itentery , we’d like to go back agin. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
Thought we could see some fall colors along the St Lawrence. That just does not happen, as you cruise too far from shore. Once we got to the Nova Scotia coast area, the trees were all still green, and the skies were gray. Our biggest ... Read More
Thought we could see some fall colors along the St Lawrence. That just does not happen, as you cruise too far from shore. Once we got to the Nova Scotia coast area, the trees were all still green, and the skies were gray. Our biggest complaints however are the food, and public area layouts. The food, with a couple exceptions, was just a step above a Denny's. In the main buffet the food was nearly not eatable (think Days Inn Breakfast) and the two big main supper dining areas, the cuisine simply lacked the quality, and the taste of similar restaurants on other ships we have been on. The specialty restaurants are all squeezed into odd spaces, and, with the exception of the teppanyakki restaurant, lack any character. Ditto most of the lounges. And There really is no good pleasant spot to simple sit and read a book. By far the best feature of the ship physically is the atrium. Nicely laid out, with a sprinkling of pretty good entertainers. Jose and Patti were great. The service staff on the boat overall were good, and in a few cases exceptional. Because of the weather, the bars on the top decks, and the pool were pretty unusable. This ship needs to be relegated to four day cruises in the the Caribbean, serving lots of booze, and sun. No one will care then about the mediocre food, or so so entertainment. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
From the time we landed in Quebec to the time we took off from New York, this became the anniversary cruise I had only hoped for. The cabin was roomy and the bathroom was bigger than expected. And on our anniversary we had a card, ... Read More
From the time we landed in Quebec to the time we took off from New York, this became the anniversary cruise I had only hoped for. The cabin was roomy and the bathroom was bigger than expected. And on our anniversary we had a card, ballons , sign and a complimentary dinner. The Crown Grill is the top of the line for a steak and the sides were just as good. But as wonderful as the Crown Grill is my favorite restaurant on board is Sabatini's. We went twice, had our anniversary dinner there. Another surprise was the desserts. I fell in love with the coconut cream pie and key lime pie and discovereded they were suger free. In fact all the sugar free desserts are the same quality as the regular desserts. And just as good. Employees on the ship couldn't have been nicer whether you saw them while they were working or you saw them in port. Many of them would remember you and say hello and ask how your day is going. The ports were exactly as expected, with a few being better than expected. We will be going back to Quebec and the excursions were well worth the money and in fact, because we missed a few of the ship's excursions we booked private which we thought would be better and were disappointed. Entertainment was a pleasure to see and a great time to relax and meet other people. Dancing and music made us feel young again, and you were spoiled for choice in picking a place to listen to music. And there was always something going on. Trivia was the best. No matter what Princess cruise we take we will be staying on the Lido deck, and hopefully in our same cabin L202 Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
Have always wanted to see Quebec and New England States. Next time I will choose a smaller vessel, and earlier time of the year to travel. The ship needed a lot of updating, especially the bathroom in the rooms. Much too old, too worn and ... Read More
Have always wanted to see Quebec and New England States. Next time I will choose a smaller vessel, and earlier time of the year to travel. The ship needed a lot of updating, especially the bathroom in the rooms. Much too old, too worn and too small. The dining in the restaurants were outstanding, the buffet was just okay and your choices were limited as far as main dishes and desserts (except cookies) all tasted store bought. Fruit was not ripe and the help was very nice. Entertainment was poor. Elton John was horrid. Comic had poor taste in jokes. The quartets about the ship were great. Our service was always top notch. Port excursion expensive. Getting off the ship was terrible--very steep, with no one to help you down.Lines very long to leave the ship. Again, thought the staff was amazing. Would not travel this large of a ship again and this old of a ship. . Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
We have been traveling since 1995 by Princess cruise line only except one time in 2001 we took a celebrity cruise . We hated celebrity cruise experience that year so we only use Princess for over 16 cruises now. We chose this cruise ... Read More
We have been traveling since 1995 by Princess cruise line only except one time in 2001 we took a celebrity cruise . We hated celebrity cruise experience that year so we only use Princess for over 16 cruises now. We chose this cruise because of the ports visited . The embarkation process was the best this time . As soon as we got into our Balcony cabin on 14th floor, we wanted to get out because we noticed stains in the toilet and some leak between the tiles in the bathroom floor from the grout. We told the steward at once . Next morning we both had severe back pain-being 75 & 79 year old- because of sagging bed. We told that to our steward too. We used to get very efficient hardworking steward except in the celebrity cruise(who was not even changing sheet everyday), but this time we were not lucky in Princess in this matter too. Of course ships started getting bigger and getting more passengers -good for bottom line- but service had become less . Last two cruises in Ruby Princess and in Royal princess we were spoiled by their friendliness , and service with smile . As we expected after seeing the conditions , there was "norvo virus " infection in this cruise. First time after taking so many memorable cruises we were counting the days to get out of this ship. Usually we used to feel sad towards the end of cruise. There was not enough help in the Horizon buffet once the self service was discontinued due to Infectious diarrhea-which was a good attempt to control the spread of infection. We always love "Princess cruises" until this time. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
Just completed sailing on the Holland America Zuiderdam October 12th to 22nd, 12 day Atlantic Coast beginning in Quebec City, Canada to Fort Lauderdale, Florida. This was our 11th cruise and first time with HAL. We are 2 couples in our ... Read More
Just completed sailing on the Holland America Zuiderdam October 12th to 22nd, 12 day Atlantic Coast beginning in Quebec City, Canada to Fort Lauderdale, Florida. This was our 11th cruise and first time with HAL. We are 2 couples in our early 60's and have travelled extensively world wide. We generally choose cruises based more on the itinerary than a particular cruise line. This one offered 9 ports of call over 12 days, more than offered by other cruise lines for this route. We spent 2 days prior to the departure date in Quebec City and were not disappointed. Quebec City is a beautiful place to visit full of history and friendly people. We would suggest doing this prior to embarking on this port. Embarkation was quick and simple through a very modern terminal only a short cab ride away from most hotels and the airport. Onboard it was the usual have lunch on the Lido Deck at the buffet. Our adjoining balcony cabins on deck 8 were already open so it was a quick drop off of the carry-on bags and off to lunch. The Lido Market Buffet is well laid out with different stations for various foods. There is ample seating with most tables adjacent large windows. Turnover is quick and the service for drinks and table cleaning over staffed. The only difference with this buffet is that it is not a self serve as on other ships rather staff serve you instead along the various food areas. This gets confusing for a lot of people who for some reason ignore the "Serving Line Starts Here" signs and butt in halfway regardless. TIP: find an empty table first before wandering around with plates of food in hand looking for a place to sit. It amazed us that after 8 -10 days onboard people did not learn this. For breakfast both sides of the buffet are open with several stations offering a great assortment of food. Wait staff offer coffee, tea and most juices. Lunch is generally lemonade, Ice Tea and water. We did not have any complaints about the food in the Lido Market Buffet and time of the day. Check your daily cruise paper for hours. For evening dinning we opted for the Any Time Dining option which is in the Lower Vista Dining Room on deck 2 Aft. As we generally eat at the same time we were assigned a nice table for 4 adjacent to the window for the duration. This allowed us to get to know the Server and assistants for this station. Food was generally very good compared to other lines with a wide range of options for mains and desserts. Service was excellent and unlike most dining rooms the tables were spaced further apart rather than being crammed in. The staff there really enjoyed serving and everyone greeted you are enthusiastic as were ALL staff on this ship. Holland America does a great job of training their staff from cabin attendants, maintenance, hotel workers and all officers. This was a welcome change from the five other cruise lines we have sailed with. Not a single person working on this boat had a frown on their face and greeted you earnestly. This ship was launched in 2002 and despite her age it is in great condition. At the time of this writing the Zuiderdam is in dry-dock going through extensive renovations and when finished will be the pride of the HAL line. The ship is well laid out and easy to manoeuvre all decks. The only thing we missed was a Centrum in the middle of the ship with several stories of stair cases and indoor elevators where events take place daily. We spent a lot of time afternoons after excursions and sea days in the Crow's Nest on deck 10 forward. This room offers a 180 degree view forward with plenty of comfortable seating areas and large windows. Every afternoon Happy Hour runs from 4:00PM to 6:00 with great discounts on drinks and free snacks. Many activities such as Team Trivia are played there daily. There are plenty of elevators available forward, aft and mid ship and run quite quickly. Of course there are the stairs as well. The Vista Lounge where the large shows play is on 2 and 3 forward and has ample seating. The early show usually starts at 8:00PM and the good seats are taken as early as 7:00 so you have to get there early after dinner or go to the late show at 10:00PM. A must see is the B.B. King Blues Club where a live Blues/Jazz band plays nightly. Dancing is encouraged. Of all the cruise lines we have sailed on we have never had a Ship's Captain like Wouter Van Hoogdalem on this boat. He was everywhere and greeted people like they are his best friend. He provided a 1 hour seminar going into detail of the running of the ship like nothing we have seen before with a very funny Q & A. Evening entertainment was the typical cruise ship format with singers and dancers doing broadway type musical shows. All were worth seeing. We did miss the dedicated Comedy Club that Carnival offers though. Our Balcony cabin was well laid out with a King Bed, pull out couch and chairs. The bathroom has a 3/4 size tub and shower which if much nicer than the usual shower stall with tiny curtain. Storage is ample and the balcony much larger than offered on other ships for the same category. We were able to join the balcony with our travel companions in the adjacent cabin. The cabin attendants did a great job to cleaning and re-stocking several times a day. The small fridge is welcome however the tiny TV with only a handful of stations is a joke. After dry-dock all cabins are getting 42 inch LED TV's with 50 or so channels. We also found that his ship was very stable during high waves, more so than other ships we have sailed on this size. On this cruise there were about 2000 passengers and 800 staff. There never seemed to be a shortage of staff available. Ages ranged from early 60's and on up. We would guess the average age of passengers is about 72. There were plenty of walkers and electric carts so movement around the ship can be slow at time and extremely slow getting on and off coaches on the excursions. This line tends to cater to seniors and repeat cruisers. Many we talked to only cruise with HAL. We would not hesitate to either after this one. We loved the ship and the way staff made you feel welcome. The fellow passengers not so much. Smiles go a long way and being rude to staff does not make for a pleasant cruise. Remember, if you had a bad time on this cruise it was your fault not the Zuiderdam's. The only negative on this cruise was the Portland Maine Cruise Terminal security staff. They went out of their way to be rude and ignorant. We would not ever visit this city again. We opted for more private tours in port than ship's excursions which are over priced and we do not like being on a coach with 45 other passengers and being dumped off in a shopping area for more time than the actual tour. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
This was our 6th voyage aboard. First since the Re-Mastering in 2016 . The Service and general ambience continued very good as expected . Dining also was as good as it gets. Kings Court improvements were well received by most . ... Read More
This was our 6th voyage aboard. First since the Re-Mastering in 2016 . The Service and general ambience continued very good as expected . Dining also was as good as it gets. Kings Court improvements were well received by most . Caronia Lounge was also a big improvement over the old , very underutilized Winter Garden. I was suprized that the cabins added on deck 13 seemed hardly noticeable and loss of that rarely used wading pool and bar were not missed. Cabin TV's and Hot water pot were a nice improvement. Now a few big negatives as far as we are concerned. Reducing the Casino size to make room for more cabins , I feel was a mistake. The congestion at popular casino times , turned us off from using it. Transfering all that interior space that use to be the photo gallery , making it into a hardly visited permanent Art Gallery , is a shame. The Logo Store has been reduced to a small corner of a larger store . Tiny selection of Logo items , Logo clothing , etc. Godiva Candy shop seemed seldom used . Planetarium had only 2 different shows for this 7 night cruise and 1 was broken , so it was the same 1 show every sea day.(why not just substitute an older show ?) Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
I would never recommend this cruise to see the foliage with a mid-Sept embarkation date and so I struggled with giving it an excellent rating since it was advertised as "10-day Colors of Canada & New England". But it could be ... Read More
I would never recommend this cruise to see the foliage with a mid-Sept embarkation date and so I struggled with giving it an excellent rating since it was advertised as "10-day Colors of Canada & New England". But it could be I guess if the weather had been cooler than normal instead of warmer than normal. We wore shorts every day except one and that was the last day in Newport. But that being said, the cruise was great. We met some fantastic people from Canada, Germany, London and of course the US. We arrived in Quebec City four days early and did most everything we wanted before we boarded on Wednesday. We chose to board after 1 pm to miss any crowds and we walked on with no lines. Our SS suite was ready and luggage delivered (we had dropped it off in the morning before we went exploring). Suite 6072 on port was close to elevators, mid-ship and really quiet. We didn't even know we had neighbors. Rarely saw anybody in the halls. There is plenty of closet space and bathroom is large with 2 sinks, tub and separate shower. Great beds, pillows and sheets. A few of the bath towels were pretty thin, but most were good quality. The balcony is about twice the size of balcony staterooms'. Our room stewards Komang and Reinaldo, were great - in and out very quickly and always professional and called us by name. Dining - breakfast - several omelet bars, lots of fresh fruit, other stations had many choices, pretty much the same everyday, but a nice variety. Lunch - Italian bar much better than most with make your own pasta and really good pizza. Hamburger station was cooked to order and very good. Buffet was different daily and had a large selection. Dinner - we only ate once in the dining room and weren't impressed with service or food. It was better in the buffet, but then again we ate anytime dining and we choose to eat late so they were trying to end the night. Dinner in steak house was excellent, service was still a problem. We never got asked for more water, wine, bread, etc. We did not leave a tip and told them we weren't happy with it. Our reservation was at 8 pm. Now the Italian rest. was good with no problems. We really liked the buffet because of the selection, timing and service. We weren't thrilled about the buffet closing at 8 pm, but another opens from 10:30 to 11:30 and although it was limited, it was quite good. The service in the buffet is outstanding. There are servers who get all of your drinks, basically anything you need. Don't set your coffee down without something else, because it will be cleaned when you get your food. Entertainment - the piano bar was packed every night and we agree it was great. But the Zuiderdam production shows were very good - we were surprised how good they were. The non Holland acts were also excellent. The activities were pretty standard and at times we wished there was more going on, but loved the Crows Nest with the library, computer stations, coffee bar, although, we understand it is going to be changed in the Nov. update. It was a great place to have a nightcap after dinner because it was quiet after 7 pm trivia. Service - no complaints at all. Joel, John, Stephen, Reuben, I can't even name all of them in the bar service from the Philippines are wonderful. We ran out of Crown Royal and Baileys with about 3 days left in the cruise and I complained on my daily comment card. We were in Boston that day and to my surprise, the bar was replenished. Excursions - We only booked a couple with the ship Baddeck on your own and Titanic Cemetery and Peggy's Cove and they were as described. Folks complain about Sydney, but they should relax and enjoy the weather. We don't need to be entertained 24/7, just enjoy the view. We will definitely cruise Holland again, but our fall foliage will be a flight from Texas to Vermont/New Hampshire and rent a car. Problem - disembarkation - may not have been HAL problem. We were at least an hour late from leaving the ship from our appointed time. We were ready to get home and even though it was nicer on the ship than at the airport, we hated the delay. Better info on airport transfers would have been GREAT. A cab to LGA was $65 and we could've given HAL $58 if we had known how far it was. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
We chose this cruise so we could see as much of Canada & USA in one cruise - 9 ports (one with an overnight stay) on an 11 day cruise is pretty much unheard of as most other cruises of this duration would have at least 3/4 sea days ... Read More
We chose this cruise so we could see as much of Canada & USA in one cruise - 9 ports (one with an overnight stay) on an 11 day cruise is pretty much unheard of as most other cruises of this duration would have at least 3/4 sea days included so to see so many different places the cruise was great value for money. It was our first time sailing with RC (we have approx 15 cruises under our belt) and had recieved some negative feedback prior to the sailing in both to the ship and RC's attitude to selling and upgrading. I am happy to say that both were unfounded. Prior to the cruise we did upgrade to the 5 night gourmet package which is worth its weight in gold - the Chops grill is excellent followed closely by Giovanni's. When we booked the cruise it included a free standard drinks package (which was discontinued 6 months ago), on the first night one of the bar staff advised that for $10 pppd (plus 18% gratuity) it could be upgraded to the ultimate package - again worth its weight in gold as this was by far the least expensive end of cruise bill we have ever had so very happy of RC's phylosophy to trading up. The ship is 'old' being aunched in 1998 but we found it very smart and tidy and have been on much younger ships that were in a poorer state. The staff/crew were great across the whole ship and we ate and drank in every resturant & bar (on quiet a number of occassions) and did not have any need to groan or moan (unlike some of our fellow American travellers who seemed to enjoy doing so for no reason). Every one was helpful and anything we requested was provided so what more can you ask for. The entertainment director Chris is a star and does a sterling job although the entertainment was not as good as we had experienced on other cruise lines. Food is very good with a wealth of choice throughout the day - the steaks in Chops Grill are to die for. We did not do any of the trips offered as we always do our own thing so cannot comment on these. Overall both my wife and I had a throughly enjoyable trip and will definately be sailing with RC again. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
Repositioning from Quebec to Ft. Lauderdale, where our home is in Hollywood. There were only 3 children on board, making it an adults only cruise. Great people to enjoy a treat and coffee at the International Café. The original ... Read More
Repositioning from Quebec to Ft. Lauderdale, where our home is in Hollywood. There were only 3 children on board, making it an adults only cruise. Great people to enjoy a treat and coffee at the International Café. The original production shows in the theater were outstanding. Very relaxing and the food as always was spectacular. MILK: I really enjoyed the whole milk as a treat on board. I asked but never found out the source of the dairy milk, but it was good with every meal I had on board. It could have been a little colder, but I put ice in it and it was memorable. By accident we joined the Cruise Critics for lunch, but were welcomed and had a enjoyable time. We are dedicated Princess Repositioning Cruisers. We have been to China, Europe, Panama Canal, and South America. As soon as we get home we start looking for our next cruise Lee and Lourdes Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
Amazing QM2 history! We had a queens grille suite and was quite impressed by the space and service the butler was a quick call away . The restaurant was amazing for the queens grille we could pretty much order anything we wanted as long ... Read More
Amazing QM2 history! We had a queens grille suite and was quite impressed by the space and service the butler was a quick call away . The restaurant was amazing for the queens grille we could pretty much order anything we wanted as long as we gave them notice at lunch! Had caviar and vodka Queen Mary style!! The FOD get togethers were fun and there was a nightclub behind the ballroom floor! The ports were all amazing and even if the queen mary excursions were full if you get off at the ports they have excursions you can buy there which are usually cheaper! We got on board at Quebec city a little later in the evening so it was a bit of a ghost town but the security guard called someone from the boat to get us on board. He thought we were crew since we were younger! LOL ! There are a lot of older people on the ship but everyone had an interesting life story! We wore tuxes for the formal nights and that was fun but wouldn't want to do that every night! The QM2 had bits of history everywhere and you had a new area to explore on the ship alomst everyday. Overall an amazing cruise on an amazing ship! Canada was beautiful in the fall! Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
My wife had always wanted to do this itinerary but we never could find the time when the colours were out. This year we made it happen. We had cruised on the Caribbean Princess before so we knew what to expect. I know the ship is going ... Read More
My wife had always wanted to do this itinerary but we never could find the time when the colours were out. This year we made it happen. We had cruised on the Caribbean Princess before so we knew what to expect. I know the ship is going to be undergoing a renovation in March so this review is just good till then. We arrived at the Quebec City airport and found that taking a set fee taxi is much more economical than taking the ships transfer. The fee is $34.25 + tip total against $34 p.p. for the transfer. The embarkation went very well, we arrived at noon and we were aboard and in our room in fifteen minutes. We had an inside cabin (C728) that is one of the smallest aboard. I really don't care about the room size, you are never in there during the day. I am concerned about the bed comfort. I really hope they replace the beds in the retrofit. I am sure they specified long lasting over comfort when Princess purchased the beds. One word HARD! We asked our steward for foam mattress pads and that just made it tolerable. The pools were open and I am happy that I can now say that I swam in Newfoundland in October. Unfortunately one day the pool was heated the next it wasn't. Not sure why and it seemed to rotate between the four pools. The food in the main restaurant was good as usual, varied and with enough choice for every taste. The entertainment was decent as usual but nothing special, the comedian did a very good job though. He filled every venue he played in and I noticed that he is more immediately topical as his performances were varied between shows. The cruise itself was very busy, with only one sea day at the beginning we were in port every day. It didn't allow for a lot of relaxation. First and second day was Quebec City. The city is very interesting to walk around but is not for the mobility challenged. There are many hills to climb and lots of stairs. There is a funicular to transport you to the top of the walled city for a reasonable $2.50. I wasn't as happy with Princess's set up for re-boarding already checked in passengers. You have to walk back and forth, up and down within the port terminal. it seems worse than when you first embark even though it is the exact same process as your first boarding. And this is just a little pet peeve, Princess why do you make us show our card first to get into the port, then to get into the line to re-board, then five feet later to get on the gang plank finally when you get on the ship. Twice should be more than enough, once to get into the restricted area of the port then when you scan me onto the ship. I know it is just nitpicking but it irritated me all the same and I can't be the only one. This happened in almost every port on this cruise. I have been on quite a few cruises over the years and it just seemed that this cruise was worse than the others for this over checking. Ok enough of that rant. Our ports of call were Corner Brook NL, Sydney NS, Halifax NS, St. John NB, Bar Harbor ME, Boston MA, Newport RI and ending in Brooklyn NY. Corner Brook- Not a lot of tourist things to do in the city but they have a very nice woods walking trail in the city. The city also provides a shuttle and a very warm greeting from the locals. before and after going into the city. Sydney-Also not much for the tourist in the immediate city but you can organize your own tour to either see the Cabot trail or to see the Alexander Graham Bell museum or even the Fortress of Louisbourg. Halifax-Many tourist sights to see near the port or rent a car and visit Peggy Cove. St. John-lots of tourist things to see and lots of shopping near the port or make your way to see the reversing rapids. You can walk there or take the #2 bus from Market Square for $2.50. Bar Harbor-This is a tender port. Very quaint town for the tourists. The free shuttle buses provided by Island Explorer are excellent. They take you to all the spots you want to see in Acadia National Park in a hop on hop off format. You are on the honor system whether you purchased your pass for the park. Unfortunately they stop running on Columbus Day and don't start back up till June. If you are on a budget and in Bar Harbor during the summer times, I highly recommend the buses. Boston-Lots and lots to do for the tourist. From the historical freedom trail, USS Constitution etc. to Quincy Market or visiting Fenway Park. What I can say is the port is in a very industrial area and not walk able to anything. But the #2 Silverline bus has a stop immediately outside of the port and will take you to the subway system where you can get to anywhere your heart desires for $2.75 cash. Newport- This is also a tender port. The mansions are the biggest tourist attraction. I recommend walking north from the tender dock to the tourist centre and purchasing your tickets for the number of mansions you wish to visit. You can also purchase a all day pass for trolley bus #67 for $6 where you can get on board right next to the centre. Brooklyn-This is the embarkation/disembarkation port. It is in a very industrial area and is not walk able to anything. Cabs only come here when a ship is in port. The NQR subway line is walk able and will get you into the city. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
This review involves a 19 day cruise/tour during which we voyaged for two weeks on the Caribbean Princess, October/November-2015. Beginning in Toronto and ending in Houston. My rating is an overall 4 points, however, I give the land tour ... Read More
This review involves a 19 day cruise/tour during which we voyaged for two weeks on the Caribbean Princess, October/November-2015. Beginning in Toronto and ending in Houston. My rating is an overall 4 points, however, I give the land tour portion a # 5 rating. We have sailed with Princess since 1990, over the last year we have sailed on the Regal Princess, Regal's sister-- Royal Princess, Coral Princess and now the Caribbean Princess which gives us 209 total days sailing with Princess. Would we sail again with Princess? You betcha. We find much to like in the Princess overall cruise product, this sailing on the Caribbean was no exception; we encountered the same on our three previous Princess cruises during the last year. We prefer the smaller vessels but lately have began to see some benefit of voyaging on these larger ships. So, this was a very good memorable cruise, it would rate a four plus star in my opinion except for the main dining room, which has a few issues. The Caribbean is eleven years old and one of the Princess "Grand Class" ships, however it carries 500 more passengers than its three sisters do, this is due to an added deck, the Riviera Deck, otherwise it is pretty close to identical in most aspects to the Star Princess which we have also sailed on. Princess actually reduced the crew on the Caribbean over that on the Star, so the obvious is evident, one gets significantly less crowding and more service on the three sisters. We have read and heard comment that this vessel is not kept up. I find that not accurate at all. The ship was very clean, with new carpets throughout. One person told me on this cruise that it was a "rust bucket" another C.C. review commentator mentioned the "dents" in the interior walls. I find the crew continually painting and scraping, rarely do I notice rust spots. Sometimes on cabin balconies next to the gutter area, subject to salt water spray, one sees rust but only because it is difficult to remove since the cabins are almost in constant use. If one wants to moan about a bit of rust here and there, then look at the HAL ships or even Regent's for that matter. With respect to the "dents" the commentator does have a point, however, I believe that is in reference to a design deficiency with placement of the wainscoting in all corridors in almost all of the Princess ships constructed within the last 15 years or so. These "dents" are all located on the corner of the alcoves leading into stateroom doors. (Alcoves are great, in that they allow a space to get out of the corridor when entering or leaving ones cabin and a place to leave baggage during disembarkation/embarkation.) The corridors are wainscoted with a beige colored rug material, the dents occur on the corners leading into the alcoves. This means that the wall board material to which the wainscoting is attached is not strong enough to withstand impact by utility carts, motorized wheelchairs, etc. We first noticed this on the Royal when it was less than a year old, on the very new Regal last month we did not notice any dents, if so, perhaps they beefed up the supporting material on the corners under the wainscoting. It does look terrible on this ship and other Princess ships, particularly when the rest of the corridor and rug is maintained in impeccable order. Almost 80% of the alcove corners on the Caribbean suffer this damage. Princess has let this go on for too long, new ship after new ship, makes for a blemish on their normally good creditability. Here is my "Outstanding" through "Ugly" assessment for this particular cruise/tour and ship: OUTSTANDING: ---I consider the "Skywalkers lounge" on the Princess Grand Class ships to be an outstanding feature. They are located high up on the stern, higher than anything else except the stacks. A panoramic view exists from them and during daylight it is something else to look forward as the ship races through the seas. --On the ground portion of our cruise tour they had names on all the coach seats each morning. This was great, no pushing and shoving to get ahead in the queue and the first on each morning, your seat is ready for you regardless, which makes for a much more relaxed start to the day. Also, they switched name tags around each morning to make certain everyone got a good seat at least once. First time we experienced that. Bravo. --Formal Nights--We do love formal nights, they had three on this cruise. Quite a few appear to prefer no formal nights at all. For us, it hearkens back to the days of yore, days of romantic ocean travel which many yearn for the return thereof. Those who shun the penguin suit nights try to avoid the MDRs in favor of the buffet and other venues. It appears that among those other "venues" the specialty high end restaurants are being targeted. So, Princess has responded by requiring formal dress in their specialty restaurants on formal nights, you have to agree to that or you get no reservation. They are supposed to not sit those who dress inappropriately. Humorously and coincidentally, as I was composing this review we had a formal night dinner reservation in Prime Seven. Soon after being seated, there erupted a heated altercation between the maitre d' and a guest, the guest, dressed in a white short sleeve T-shirt with a collar, commonly called a "polo shirt", was getting the heave-hoe, and not liking it at all. VERY GOOD: --The specialty restaurants were pretty good, particularly Sabatini's and the Crown Grill. We also booked the "Crab Shack" almost every time we had the opportunity (Do yourself a favor and don't miss that if you love shell fish). The only disadvantage is the specialties have the same menu each night so if you eat there a lot it can become mundane. Be advised to keep track of what is going on in other eatery venues too, since some of them have specials that you will only know about by reading the daily "Princess Patter". For instance, one Sunday morning on the Regal I noticed that the Crown Grill/Wheel House Bar was having a "Traditional British Pub Lunch" at no extra charge except for drinks, it was outstanding, it was from 11:30 AM-2:30 PM we got there about 12:15 and joined a small line, when we left the line was over a 100 feet long. --We had a very clean mini-suite with a new carpet and were pleased with the size of the room, but it does not have a curtain divider making for a clear separation of the bedroom, which has a new flat screen TV, refrigerator (ice bucket therein kept full every day), open cabinet and a desk, from the living area which has a large sofa, coffee table, seat, open cabinet and a new flat screen TV. Pulling the curtain allows one to read while the other watches TV or sleeps. The balcony size is significantly larger when compared to the two new and larger Princess ship's mini-suite balconies, Regent and Royal; also the suite proper is slightly larger on this ship as well. (I'm torn between preferring a curtain separating the room in two parts or liking the layout of this cabin which does not have a curtain but has a half moon shaped open and closed cabinet system against one wall in the middle and against the opposite wall, is a partial divider wall with a desk connected to it). --I use the hot tubs everyday, there are nine hot tubs on this ship while the huge newest Princess ships offer only six and one of the six has no jets. Two on the Caribbean are much hotter than the others which is about time they got the temperature exactly right for me. Those two are found along side the outside adults only swimming pool you can access from the Lotas Spa and Fitness center. The other hot tubs are a little too cool for my taste, too cool is what I found as well on the Regal, Royal and Coral as well as most voyages we have taken on Regent. Unlike our sad experience on the Coral Princess in January there were always towels everywhere all the time, and I mean all the time, no exceptions, good going. --The before dinner Exclusive Elite Lounge for elite and platinum guests where hors d'oeuvres and half priced cocktails are available is much appreciated. This occurs in one half the Skywalkers Lounge high above the rest of the ship in the stern rendering a beautiful panoramic view of the surrounding sea. --This ship's fitness center is great. Not overcrowded and has plenty of good equipment so there are almost no wait lines. We use it every sea day. --Shore excursions including the land portion on coaches, were all well organized and very good, at least all those we took, which involved every port. The area tour in Newport, Rhode Island and the New York Brooklyn Bridge walk and area tour rate extra credit. So did the day at Niagara Falls on the land portion. --After we began to get some sea days to do it on, Princess provided an excellent enrichment lecture series by Dr. Harold Tinberg. Judging from the way he absolutely packed the theatre, standing room only, others must share my opinion. Princess has always done a pretty good job in my opinion of providing for good lectures, this often is one of my favorite aspects of the voyage. I would suggest however that the lecturer presentations get back to focusing more on the areas being visited from historic, cultural and political perspectives, instead of dealing with subjects not remotely connected to the pertinent voyage. For instance, on this voyage and associated cruise-tour we traveled the entire length of the St Lawrence Seaway, an area of the world rich in hundreds of years worth of history and historic events, not one mention of this at all on this ship. This is not to say they shouldn't have had Tinberg or another equivalent, they should have both. I have a hunch that two enrichment lectures on a sea day might detract too much from art auctions, the casino, wine tasting and other money raising events. --The "Elite" Captain's Circle benefits, like complimentary wine tasting, initial free mini-bar set up and upgraded bathroom amenities, are greatly appreciated. Number one of these perks, for my wife, is the free laundry and for me, the free internet time. GOOD: --Unlike Princesses' newest and larger ships, Regal and Royal, this ship does have an real promenade deck, deck 7, and if you include the staircases leading up to the deck 8 wrap around walkway at the bow it is a complete wrap around promenade. --It appeared to us the buffet area (Horizon Court) had better than usual good quality food. The ship did not seem to run out of desirable food and drink items which is often common on ships toward the end, like bananas, other fruits, good wines, ect. Like all buffets there is crowding at times but it was really bad during many our visits to the buffet and at times almost impossible to locate a place to sit. I do much prefer the layout of the Horizon Court on the Caribbean to those on Regal and Royal though, in that the seating and tables are much more cozy and private and pleasant to sit at while the seating in the two larger ships is more like a army chow line setup. Unfortunately, the space available in the buffet on the Caribbean is grossly inadequate for a full boat. Now, in fairness most this voyage occurred in fairly cold climates, spitting snow at times, therefore all the very abundant outside seating for eating was not used, forcing everybody inside, once we reached warmer climes, i.e. Charleston and south, the outside seating was utilized and the buffet seating situation became tolerable. Wife says she misses the custom made omlets of the past, now all you get is a pretty much generic omlet, take it or leave it, on the Caribbean the special order options are even more limited and worse, she says. The crew must bring you a juice drink after you locate a table, this is okay and the juice glasses they use on the Caribbean Princess are of a decent size, the problem on the larger ships in this regard is that the glasses they serve you the juice in are half the size of what they used to be. What is next, orange juice in a shot glass? --We used Princess Air, Princess transfers and Princess hotel accommodations at the beginning of the cruise and at the end we had our own air but used the Princess airport transfer which included a local tour of Houston before airport drop off. Were well satisfied with each. --Sure nice to have free ice cream available almost all day from the ship's "Scoops" shop. No nickel and diming there. Even though I watch my diet, a little, and don't eat ice cream, I do like malted milk shakes and they make those for me for a couple of bucks extra. --Some of the musicians playing at various times throughout the ship are pretty good. --Princess Stateroom new large flat screen TVs (two in mini-suites) on the Regal are great. I certainly appreciate receiving BBC, MSNBC and CNBC and inclusion of major sporting events, for instance, just about every big NFL game was provided on the big screen over the swimming pool, in the bars as well as cabin TVs. The same held true for the World Series baseball games. Good going. --We have earned free laundry perks but it is nice that Princess still has self service pay laundry facilities on their ships as it takes the load off of the ships laundry facilities, so we don't have to be rationed. HAL has quit putting self serve laundry facilities on their ships so you have to pay them to do it. --The ships main desk personnel and its shore excursion personnel were very knowledgeable and due their hard work and attention handled most awkward situations professionally. Actually, all this ship's personnel are very friendly and exhibit excellent demeanor, I suggest a Christmas bonus for them all. --There were very few times we had to wait very long for an elevator. Same number of elevators as the two larger new Princess ships have, where we were continuously waiting and waiting, however, those two both lack a central public staircase, which the Caribbean has in all three elevator towers, this may have a lot to do with the elevator jam ups on the two other ships. --Very little smoking on this ship. It is only allowed at: In the casino at a limited number of slot machines except on non-smoking days and no smoking at gaming tables, the port side of the open deck Tradewinds Bar on deck 16, a 30 foot or so stretch for standing only on the open deck portion of the promenade on the starboard side, and in a enclosed lounge called "Churchill's" dedicated for smokers only. It appears smokers shun this Princess ship or refrain from lighting up on it. We observed no cheating, that is someone sneaking a puff where they were not supposed to, I'm sure there are exceptions but rare. That is good. --Normally I'm not much on onboard shopping but I have to admit I'm impressed with the selection of sundries, drugs and other items in the boutique shops. One advantage the larger ships have over smaller vessels is the ability to stock and sell a lot of items not otherwise available. For instance, if your luggage doesn't connect with your sailing or if you forget something it is a comfort to know you might be able to find it on the ship, some of our cruises have resulted in weeks on end in parts of the world where ports had no helpful retail outlets. --On port days, when we have to muster early, we have began to use room service for a hot breakfast. This works out well and Princess does a great job with the meal and getting it to the cabin on time. We notice some lines now charge for room service or only allow you to have a continental breakfast unless you pay for "butler service". Hang in there Princess. --Princess is very good at keeping the corridors uncluttered. They don't like it if you put your dirty dishes out in the hall and if you do the steward usually asks you to keep it in your room. But for those who ignore this, dirty platters are usually whisked away. One time a couple stuffed their trays right out in the middle of the corridor so wheel chairs couldn't get by, didn't even bother putting them in their alcove. Some people just don't have any couth. --Embarkation and disembarkation on cruise lines always seems to be controversial and stressful. We really can't complain, no long line waits, things actually went pretty smooth, coordination as to where you are supposed to muster at disembarkation could use some improvement though. POOR: --I almost dread going to the Main Dining Rooms anymore (except on the almost all inclusive's). In the past, for an enjoyable cruise experience one needed to appreciate the MDR. Not always possible today, unfortunately, in my opinion. The MDR really had me debating whether or not to reduce this cruise's experience rating. At the risk of being too harsh on dining experience here, I must point out that ironically, on this cruise, the MDR kitchen and service staff were pretty good and worked very hard, plus, the food not bad at all, (That was not the case on the Coral in January, in addition to long wait times the kitchen and service personnel were grossly understaffed resulting in a very poor dining experience.) However, overall, the Caribbean dining rooms are grossly inadequate for the volume of guests they serve at dinner time. We only use "anytime dining" as we do not want to be relegated to two time slots for dinner as is the case with "traditional dining". On our first four visits to the MDR our wait times averaged about 45 minutes. This MDR problem is seemingly axiomatic throughout the majors as rating services now often say "At open seating you may have to wait a considerable time for a table". Some argue that a 30 minute plus wait time for any good restaurant on shore is the norm, therefore, cruise lines should not be held to higher standards. We are working our way toward 600 sailing days. Rarely have we ever ran into a situation where we had to wait more than a few minutes before being seated in the MDR, until last January on an 11 day voyage on the Coral Princess and now on the Caribbean Princess. Oh, yes, you can make reservations for anytime dining, LOL. Maybe traditional diners do not experience the grief, confusion and long seating wait times that anytime diners do. Or, perhaps the dining venues are adequate in size and layout but the organization and scheduling of such is deficient to the point it creates much more confusion and consternation than is necessary. Speaking of organization and scheduling, we do know this, there are three main dining rooms on this ship, 1.5 dedicated to traditional and 1.5 to anytime. Except, traditional gets the first two hours of the dining room split between the two. When that dining room finally opens up for anytime, a "cannon could be fired through it" so to speak, without hitting anybody. Us on C.C. also are aware that 75% of us usually book anytime. Those of us who also use all inclusives are aware, that for the most part, they only offer anytime dining. The all inclusives have very little problem with seating, why doesn't Princess get rid of "traditional"? Who knows, except Princess, but they better start paying attention as it is getting worse in their MDR. Toward the end of this voyage, however, things became more tolerable for us in the MDR because we delayed our preferred dinner time from 6:15 PM until about 7:15 PM. Tip #1: If the MDR becomes objectionable, try to eat as many meals as possible in the specialty restaurants and other venues, such as on "Crab Shack" nights. The buffet isn't all that bad either, except of course when the crowding there is severe and service is limited, which is often, due to the relatively limited passenger space on the Caribbean and the poor staff to passenger ratios--most all these problems result from the addition of another passenger deck. In summary, limit the use of the MDR to about 25%-40% of your dining on board, that is if, you can not come up with a combination to get you into the dining room after a reasonable wait. --It has been our experience to find, as a general rule, the Princess captains more outgoing an informative and easy to comprehend than captains with the other two lines we use, HAL and Regent, who often times offer only a dearth of information about what is going on. That does not mean however we haven't had a bummer for a captain on Princess in the past or real good captains on both HAL and Regent. That said, we never heard from this captain once, or at least I didn't hear him, the officer of the watch did all announcements. It would be nice for the bridge crew to explain difficulties they appear to be having, for instance with the stern thrusters, all one day they had a big marine outfit with divers and all working on this problem, parts and stuff spread all over the dock near the aft portion of the vessel. Other passengers with cabins in the stern had been talking about the heavy vibrations resonating throughout the ship when the stern thrusters were being employed. Judging from all the difficulty the ship had during sail away at Fort Lauderdale, apparently the deficiency is not yet corrected. Hope the next cruise isn't goofed up because of this thruster thing, when we disembarked in Houston there was quite a bit of attention being paid by the crew to this area of the hull, up to and including the bridge, who would activate the thrusters at a signal from those on the dock, only to be met by a grinding roar. Previously, our Princess captains and others have kept their guests in the know regarding similar problems. So, the captain might be great, who knows, he kept us safe though, which is the main thing. ---We don't attend the theatre productions very much anymore in order to see the comics, jugglers, and dance entertainment groups. One thing I do not care for is the crowded theatre in the evenings where some of the rows have close to 24 seats in them; many people come very early and grab the isle seats compelling those coming later to squish by the knees of as many as 12 people to get to a open seat, furthermore, these people are reluctant to stand when someone walks by and there is not much more than a few inches between their knees and the seat in front. If one chooses to order a cocktail while seated like that, forget it. I miss the theatre layouts from before, although there is one advantage with this ship, there are no ceiling posts to block views. I do use the theatre for enrichment lectures, although these draw impressive audiences it isn't as overcrowded at those times. --Finally and unlike the newest Princess ships, this one does have navigation charts posted on the ship. Daily progress however is not updated and other seagoing information pertinent to the voyage is still lacking. After we passed Charleston an additional chart was put up, so we could see how we navigated the Florida Keys, which was good. Apparently the Carnival Corp is beginning to rely on passengers to glean info regarding the daily progress of the vessel from their cabin TV. It is true that technology has allowed for this but we find that info on the Royal and Regal TVs is not all that informative. On this ship I couldn't find any daily voyage info on the TV, in the daily Princess Patter there is an abbreviated comment or two about this from the "Navigator". Maybe most passengers don't care where they are or what surrounds them, position wise, channel wise, country wise, etc. Not me though? --Not certain why Princess has significantly reduced the number of hand sanitizer stations once found abundantly throughout their ships. Are they going back to the era of mass epidemics or do they know something we don't about sanitizing? Certainly hope it is not a cost saving ploy. For what it's worth though, this voyage was "bug free". I.e.,no hacking and coughing all around in theatres etc. late in the voyage. Hurray. --There were a couple of smudges on my white dinner jacket, so before the next formal night my wife sent it to the ship's cleaners, which you pay extra for. They sent it back, saying they didn't have the necessary equipment on board to remove spots. First time we ever ran into that. --Their Internet cafe is small but larger than those on the much larger newest Princess ships, Regal and Royal. Both it and the library are obviously not designed for long world excursion style voyages. The library and the internet cafe on the Caribbean Princess share the same location. The internet is very good and one of the fastest we have experienced on ships, additionally, we get the signal on my laptop almost anywhere on the vessel. Pricey, but we have some internet perks due to our "elite" status so that helps. --Big on this ship as well as most others in the industry is that many cruisers like the art auctions, part of the on board entertainment programs. Okay, but not for me. These art appraisal prices are done by the art provider, a company that pays the cruise line to be onboard. I guess that is acceptable since so many guests seem to like this, the same goes for the casino as well, even though they know the house always wins in the long run. However, as with the casino, the art exhibits take up huge amounts of on board real estate. I find myself tripping over these exhibits when trying to negotiate the cluttered maze they present when trying to find my way around the ship. They simply get in the way and detract from a quality cruise for yours truly. UGLY: --Shore excursions and overloaded coaches---Apparently the days when Princess didn't load the coaches to the max on shore excursions is gone, I guess. Just about every coach we traveled on during this cruise/tour was almost packed. Speaking of coach travel problems, one of which is not necessarily a problem relegated only to Princess tours but one I have a real problem with, is the people who pull the window shades down during sightseeing. Twice on the ground portion of this trip folks felt compelled to pull their shades down due to "sun", they could see the landscape under the shade though while folks behind and across the isle could see very little in that direction. Unfortunately, due the packed coach, there was no seats to move to in order to get away from the curtain pullers. Makes one wonder why they even booked a "sightseeing" tour. --Princess just can't seem to get a handle on developing a functional system under which they can locate passenger wine bottles stored between meals. It is not just us either, we have witnessed similar wine debacles taking place at tables near us. Tip: take your wine bottle or what is left of it to your room after dinner, I think they prefer you do that and it works out well for us. Make sure they leave the cork at your table and not take it with them, they usually do but not always. --I am not at all satisfied with the emergency procedures, facilities for such and the drills etc, or the lack thereof, needed to cope with a disaster at sea involving a vessel of this size. The complexities of such give me the chills when I contemplate the potential of a catastrophic accident at sea involving fire, collision or other seagoing eventualities, particularly if the vessel experiences a rapid list to one side or the other. It doesn't appear to me that Carnival Corp learned much from their Costa Concordia sinking. --Already mentioned, wainscoting dents on corners of cabin alcoves. --Throughout the cruise, but more noticeable toward the latter days, "really bad" the last day at sea, is the smell of sewage in the forward elevator lift area of promenade deck 7, this is immediately outside of the Princess Theatre. It is also noticeable on the starboard outside promenade deck at that location and sometimes wafts upward to where it is noticeable on decks 9 and 10 balconies. Since Churchill's Lounge must also vent out near that same location the cigar smoke is almost a relief when it overcomes the smell of the sewage. --One area that has always irritated me on all our cruises and most buffet venues on shore is that tongs are allowed to drop back into the food after someone has handled and touched them. Princess is no exception. In fact some buffets have little trays where one is supposed to lay the tongs or forks or spoons after dishing up the food, for the most part Princess has very few places to lay the tongs so many passengers just drop them right back into the middle of the platter, they might as well handle the food directly. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
Our cruise began on October 1st from Quebec City. Boarding was quick and painless. We were able to go to our stateroom immediately. Our luggage was delivered very quickly. The ship does show some slight signs of wear. Walking around ... Read More
Our cruise began on October 1st from Quebec City. Boarding was quick and painless. We were able to go to our stateroom immediately. Our luggage was delivered very quickly. The ship does show some slight signs of wear. Walking around the deck, we could see supplies being readied for updating the interior. We did not worry about whether or not the ship showed wear as we were more interested in the itinerary. The food was delicious. Our wait staff, Richard and Rey, were fantastic. By the second evening, they knew our beverage requests and were always helpful with our dinner selections. We were traveling with two friends. Both my wife and she wanted cookies with their desserts. Richard and Rey went out of their way to get them cookies. This is service above and beyond the call of duty. Thanks to both of them. I rated the Shore Excursions as average. The reason for doing so was not because of the type of excursions, but the tour operators. Let me explain. The Caribbean Princess is a 3,000+ cruise vessel. Many of the ports we visited could not handle the sheer numbers. I am glad we booked our excursions early. as many of them were sold out or the price increased. The biggest reason for the rating is the fact that we were late getting off the ship to our tours. Therefore, on at least two occasions, our tours were cut short because there was another tour that the guide and driver needed to get to. I feel we were shortchanged. You could see the guides checking their watches to make sure they got back to the ship quickly. Also, when we did see the sites, they were often cut short for the same reason. When you put more than one ship into the smaller ports, there is a problem. Overall, my wife and I and our friends enjoyed the cruise. This was the second time we did a Canada/New England Cruise and loved it as much as the first time. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
This was our 13th RCI cruise and our 3rd cruise to Canada/New England. It was also our first RCI Crown & Anchor "member" cruise and our first cruise on the Serenade. We stayed in a Grand Suite. We are a married couple in ... Read More
This was our 13th RCI cruise and our 3rd cruise to Canada/New England. It was also our first RCI Crown & Anchor "member" cruise and our first cruise on the Serenade. We stayed in a Grand Suite. We are a married couple in our early 40's. We are Crown & Anchor Diamond members. We expected the passenger demographic to be much older, which it definitely was, and we were fine with that. Member Cruise Because this was a "member" cruise, we did receive RCI-branded gifts (sunglasses, selfie-sticks, USB charge sticks) in our cabin a few of the nights (not every night), so that met our expectations. There were some member activities offered on several days (not every day), such as craft classes and trivia. The disappointing part about the "member" cruise was that, compared to our past cruises, RCI did not adapt their planning of Diamond and Diamond+ events to consider the very high numbers of Diamond and Diamond+ passengers on this cruise! For example, the Diamond welcome back party (early in the cruise) and Diamond event (later in the cruise) were held in the usual area for this class of ship (the lounge on Deck 6), but were so crowded that you couldn't get in or had to wait in a huge line just to get in. Once inside, there weren't enough bar staff to handle the crowd. Captain Well, what can I say, we did make it to all of the ports safely, so that's a definite plus. But his personality was a zero. He really looked/sounded like he didn't want to be there. RCI screwed up and scheduled the Diamond party (the one late in the cruise) at the exact same time while we were sailing out of one of the ports, so he couldn't be there. Apparently, neither could the orchestra. They had a couple of crew members (they said had won a crew talent show or something) come on stage (in front of all of us packed into the lounge during the special Diamond event!!) and sing. Not karaoke style, just really trying their best to sing and entertain us. It was bad. They looked scared to death. Oops .... Cruise director and staff Carly was outstanding! Great energy, great effort. She related well to the passengers. Entertainment A lot of comedy, most of it was good. Musicians (RCI orchestra and other performers) were wonderful. RCI singers and dancers were on par with our other cruises (good). Dining Room (read this ... you can't make this stuff up!) OMG, I thought we were on candid camera or something. It was THAT bad. We have NEVER had such poor dining room service. We actually wanted to stay away and eat in the Windjammer buffet some nights. And this was from TWO separate tables! We started at our assigned table. We had a table for 6. We requested a big table because we really enjoy meeting others and didn't want to dine alone. Only the 2 of us on the first night (not too unusual). The server came over, looked across the room the whole time (never at us), said a one-word hello (still without looking at us, which was weird!) and started reading the menu from top to bottom. Then, she said "so what do you want?". Um, OK, we put in our orders. Assistant waiter poured drinks and didn't talk to us at all. Both of them looked confused the whole time. Night two, still just the two of us. I ask our server, "where are the others?" She says "I don't know. They should be here". Night three, I still just the two of us (the head waiter has strolled by all 3 nights and saw us sitting alone). I'm thinking, maybe he'll offer to move us? We could see some empty seats at other tables all of those nights. I finally called our Suite concierge and mentioned that we've been dining all alone. When we got to dinner on night 4 (after my phone call), the Maitre-D came over and apologized and escorted us to one of the other tables that had some empty seats. That (different) server came over, didn't even notice we were new, and started reading the menu from top to bottom and said "so what do you want"? (ARGH!) The assistant came over with rolls, asked for our drinks. We always get the same rolls, same drinks. I noticed that everyone else at the new table got the same rolls, same drinks each night. But each night (and this 12 night cruise was starting to seem VERY long), the assistant waiter kept asking each of us, which drink, which roll? Over and over, and it was always the same answer. In past cruises, the assistant would at least remember your preference! It was really awkward, and everyone at the table noticed it (why can't he remember?) It gets better -- our new server kept giving the wrong plates to us (not what we ordered). We'd have to switch them around. Like every night, sometimes appetizer, sometimes main course, sometimes dessert. No apology, nothing. Just "oh, I guess that one goes here". The head waiter passed by on most nights, and corrected her out loud in front of us, "no, we serve the ladies first", and she had to be corrected multiple nights. Does RCI even train these people anymore? We didn't want to even try a 3rd table. Oh, and apparently My Time Dining was very overcrowded on this sailing. There were head waiters on walkie-talkies running around the dining room while we were eating our dinner trying to call out empty seats at the tables around us. They would bring down My Time diners and seat them at our tables, even if we were half-way through dinner! Then, we would all be interrupted as they had to sit down, get menus from the server, order, wait for their food, try to join in our conversation, etc. Then, we would be finished by the time their food arrived and leave them sitting there. Awkward! Windjammer buffet This was our saving grace and our lifeboat for dinner a few nights! Good food, great service (compared to dining room, at least). Crepe station for dessert? Yes! We ate lunch here most days also. Specialty Restaurants We only visited Chops, but oh, my, what a waste of money. We have really enjoyed the quality of food and service in Chops on other ships. Chops on the Serenade is located on Deck 6 with a terrible view (there's even a lifeboat outside one of the windows). The steak and service was exactly the same as the dining room. Nothing special. We paid $60 ($30 each) just to eat there. We came close to asking for our money back (which we've never done), that's how bad it was. Suite perks (Before you roll your eyes and accuse me of whining about Suite perks (I was guilty of this when we first started cruising), look up the cost of a Suite and then you'll understand) .... First of all, the concierge on this ship (Mario) was outstanding. The breakfast served in the Chops restaurant daily was nice (except for the view), not as crowded as the Windjammer. The tours for Suite guests that we've had in the past (backstage tour, bridge tour) were not offered on this cruise. The reserved balcony seating for Suite guests was often full -- because it is offered to Diamond+ and Pinnacle also -- but on this cruise, there were tons of Diamond+ passengers! So perhaps RCI could have anticipated that and increased the reserved seating area on this cruise? Conclusion Overall, we were disappointed in our "member" cruise experience. We did send an email to Crown & Anchor and hopefully some of this will be corrected. We will cruise RCI again, but probably not on a "member" cruise. If you're cruising on the Serenade anytime soon, be flexible with your dining options -- you may want to consider the Windjammer! Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
Stayed in 14500 NCL Dawn Quebec to Boston. Unbelievable luxury. 3 bedrooms all with King beds. 3 Baths, 2 had whirlpool tubs. Huge living/dining room with baby grand piano and amazing floor to ceiling windows overlooking the pool. Our ... Read More
Stayed in 14500 NCL Dawn Quebec to Boston. Unbelievable luxury. 3 bedrooms all with King beds. 3 Baths, 2 had whirlpool tubs. Huge living/dining room with baby grand piano and amazing floor to ceiling windows overlooking the pool. Our own steam room and hot tub and even a private top floor sun deck. Service was amazing from butler, steward and concierge. Food in dining rooms average. But everything else was first class. Photo tour of Bay of Fundy a wonderful excursion. Tour of Maple Factory a waste, really just a store and guide needed to retire. Food walking tour of Quebec we found on Trip Advisor was wonderful. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015

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