The Princess Theater spans Decks 6 and 7, and is used for a variety of entertainment offerings from big-stage song and dance productions (there are usually three to four, depending on cruise length) to guest acts that on our 12-night British Isles cruise included an Olivier-award winning West End singer, a concert pianist, comedian and Harlem-based Motown cover group. Fun fact: Hidden in the arm of each seat is a drinks tray that you can pull out to put your drinks on if you'd like.
The best show (which ranks among the best we've seen at sea) is "Bravo!," which features opera's greatest hits as well as a few popular songs done in operatic style. Princess flies in a professional soprano for one or two days to do the most complex of the arias. Between the extraordinary talent of the singers and the ballroom dancing that accompanies many of the songs, the show is the one you don't want to miss.
Whether sea day or port day, Caribbean Princess packs in a lot of activities. Most days you'll find morning and afternoon trivia sessions, game shows, art enrichment lectures, spa seminars (be prepared for a hard sell), retail sales events, bingo, sports tournaments (free throws, golf putting) and classes that range from dancing to crafts and, on our British Isles sailing, pennywhistle.
Don't miss some under-the-radar activities in partnership with Discovery, including the High Seas Heist cruiselong mystery game and a pop-up, inflatable planetarium in the theater.
Movies are offered from early in the morning till late at night, both inside and at Princess' signature outdoor Movies Under the Stars. Film choices lean toward just-out-of-the theater hits.
Additionally, a selection of games are always available on digital wall portals including trivia, a word scramble game, a scavenger hunt and a shape matching game for the younger set. Those using the OceanMedallion apps on their phone can also play trivia or participate in a build-a-poker-hand pub crawl.
Caribbean Princess comes alive at night with live music or crew-led fun in virtually every available space on the ship, including the Piazza. The fun starts early in the evening and goes until about 1 a.m. (or later, depending on the crowd); you'll find big-stage entertainment in the theater, live or recorded music in the lounges -- sometimes with ballroom or line dancing -- and interactive game shows or trivia in the Explorers Lounge. Plus, the ship's nightclub opens at 10 p.m. with a buy one, get one for $1 happy hour.
The casino is also open until late whenever the ship is out to sea. Here you'll find lots of slot machines and table games including roulette, craps, blackjack, three card and Texas Hold'em. If you want to play Texas Hold'em against other players, it'll be on the electronic table and not with a dealer.
One of the ship's signature activities is the "Voice of the Ocean," created in partnership with TV's "The Voice." Interested karaoke aficionados audition the first two nights of the cruise for a spot in the final sea day afternoon finale. Those chosen practice with coaches throughout the sailing and then perform onstage in front of a packed audience to win it all. We were told by others who have seen the show before that it can be a lot of fun, but on our sailing the talent was fairly mediocre, the audience lacked energy and the entire spectacle became just too embarrassing to watch.
There are plenty of bars and lounges to be found on Caribbean Princess, with most used for various activities during the day and live music or entertainment of some kind in the evenings and at night.
Lobby Bar (Deck 5, midship): This small bar is located in the Piazza, near the International Cafe. You'll find a basic lineup of beer, wine and cocktails here; it's most popular in the late afternoon and evening when there's live music in the Piazza.
Vines (Deck 5, midship): Located in one corner of the Piazza, Vines is Caribbean Princess' dedicated wine bar with several varietals on offer. It also hosts wine tastings and extra-fee wine and chocolate pairings and wine blending classes. Additionally, all glasses of wine come with a choice of sushi and tapas, so you can make an afternoon snack or even light meal of your wine habit. Just a sampling of the wines you'll find on the menu includes Wild Horse pinot noir, Silverado sangiovese, Ancient Peaks merlot, Jekel Riesling, Estancia pinot grigio and Silverado sauvignon blanc.
Churchill Lounge (Deck 6, forward): Churchill is Caribbean Princess' cigar bar and also doubles as a sports bar, having access to some sports channels you can't find anywhere else on the ship or in the cabins. It's intimate, dark and atmospheric with comfy armchairs and sofas, but it does smell strongly of smoke.
Crooners (Deck 7, midship): Good luck finding a table at this small piano bar, especially once the music gets going in the evening. Located on Deck 7, two decks immediately above the Piazza, Crooners is not a sing-along bar in the traditional sense; nevertheless, you'll find yourself humming along and tapping your foot as song after familiar song is played.
On nights when the piano player/singer hosts music trivia sessions like Name That Broadway Show Tune, it's standing-room only, and even the hallway alongside the bar will be packed shoulder to shoulder with people. (On our cruise the Name That Broadway Show Tune session was so crowded that subsequent music trivia sessions were moved into the Explorers Lounge.)
Explorers Lounge (Deck 7, midship): We kind of love the colorful kitsch of this largish lounge with its Egyptian decor (think golden sarcophagi and paintings of Egyptian sand sculptures) and African animal-print rug in red, gold and green. At the front of the lounge is a small stage and sizable dance floor surrounded on three sides in an arc with three tiers of seating -- mostly lacquered wood tables with seating for four, plus loveseats and armchairs.
Explorers Lounge is used throughout the day and into the night for trivia and interactive game shows, art lectures and auctions, dance classes, live music and dancing, and occasional afternoon movies.
Wheelhouse Bar (Deck 7, midship): Probably the quietest of all the lounges on Caribbean Princess, the nautically themed Wheelhouse Bar is located between Explorers Lounge and Sabatini's and is a bit inset so it's easy to miss. Wheelhouse is mostly used in the evening for solo travelers and LGBTQ get-togethers; a live band plays jazz and soft rock.
Club Fusion (Deck 7, aft): A Western-themed lounge (think paintings of cowboys, lots of wood and leather, and a Western-style saddle displayed at the entrance), Club Fusion is packed during most events -- unsurprising since it hosts a roster of bingo, trivia and dance classes during the day and karaoke, concert broadcasts and dancing with either prerecorded theme music (50s jive, 70s disco, etc.) or a live band from early evening till late. The large space features a spacious dance floor and three tiers of seating, mostly round wooden tables with brown leather chairs.
Grand Casino Bar (Deck 7, forward): This small bar is used primarily by people playing electronic games embedded in the bar, as well as by the waiters who serve drinks to players sitting at the table games and slots.
Outrigger Bar (Deck 15, aft): This small bar is located way at the back of the ship and is quite underused on colder-weather itineraries. In the Caribbean, this is a popular bar due to its wake views and proximity to the adults-only aft pool.
Calypso Bar (Deck 15): This is a simple pool bar with limited seating located near the Calypso pool.
The Mix (Deck 15): Located between Salty Dog Grill and Slice Pizzeria, The Mix is a standard pool bar, located close to Neptune's Reef & Pool.
Tradewinds Bar (Deck 16, forward): Yet another pool bar, Tradewinds is located one deck up from Neptune's Reef & Pool.
Morgan's Bar (Deck 17, aft): Located at the back of the ship, Morgan's Bar is a relatively quiet bar most of the time, used mostly by parents hanging out by the kiddie splash area and pool and nearby hot tub. It's got a special menu of mocktails for kids, topped with cotton candy and Pocky sticks.
Skywalkers Nightclub (Decks 18 and 19, aft): This is the ship's nightclub, though it gets a lot of use during the day as a game room and a quiet place to read a book or watch the ocean. Most nights the dancing gets started at 10 with themed music (70s or 80s, Motown, Latin, British Invasion, etc.) and then continues with DJ'd tunes that span all music genres and keep people on the floor till after midnight.
Caribbean Princess has an impressive number of pools -- four, plus a plunge pool and wading pool for kids -- when most cruise ships have only one or two. Two pools are reserved for adults only.
The main pool is the Deck 15 Neptune's Reef & Pool; it can be quite crowded on a warm-weather sea day. Almost as popular is the nearby Calypso Reef & Pool, located right outside the World Fresh Marketplace. The adults-only Lotus Spa pool is accessible via the spa on Deck 16, but you don't have to use the spa or pay to use the pool; just be careful not to take the stairs up from the pool to the Sanctuary. That's a for-fee space, and you will be kicked out if they catch you sitting there without paying.
The aft-facing Terrace Pool on Deck 14 is an adults-only area with great views and lots of loungers. It's typically quieter than the two main pools.
Deck 17 features The Reef, a water play area for kids overlooking the back of the ship beneath the Skywalker's Lounge walkway. There's a whale-themed splash area with a toddler slide into a wading pool, small four-feet deep kid pool and a hot tub set at kid-safe temperatures. The Reef also has a bar (complete with mocktail menu for kids), whale murals perfect for selfie backgrounds and a semi-shaded lounge area with couches, shaded pod-style loungers and oversized games of Connect Four.
You'll also find seven hot tubs, all located near a pool. Children must be potty-trained to use either the pools or the hot tubs.
The ship's sports complex is at the back of the ship on Deck 18. It has a small (probably less than half court) basketball court, which can also be set up for volleyball games. Further midship on Deck 17 is the Princess Links course, a golf putting practice space; Deck 16 houses two Ping-Pong tables (one on each side of the ship).
There is no jogging track on Caribbean Princess, but you can walk around the perimeter of Deck 7; 1 mile is approximately 3.5 laps around.
There are numerous spots on Caribbean Princess to sun yourself, from loungers surrounding the midship pools (Neptune and Calypso) to the Deck 17 Sun Terrace to the adults-only, extra-fee Sanctuary. The plush Sanctuary costs $20 for a half-day or $40 for a full day; when you sign up, you'll get to pick which padded lounger or daybed you want and it'll be yours for the duration of your stay.
If you're thinking of sticking close to the pools, keep in mind there's usually a movie on the big screen by the Calypso pool. If you're looking to read or relax while sunbathing, that pool might not be the best spot.
Most of Caribbean Princess' main service desks can be found on Deck 6, including the guest services and shore excursions desks. You'll also find the Future Cruise and Captain's Circle offices on the same deck, tucked into a corner near the Crown Grill, kitty-corner to the shore excursion desk. Most of the ship's retail shops are on Decks 5 and 7. Nearby, on Deck 5, is the art gallery, where paintings by artists such as Peter Max are on sale.
Deck 5 is also home to the ship's combo Internet Cafe and Library, which is mostly decent-sized with one wall lined with bookshelves plus a couple of armchairs; it's not a quiet place for reading at all -- better to borrow a book and find somewhere else to read. The Internet Cafe is always open but only manned during set hours. A single internet plan is available for sale, and prices are reasonable at about $20 per day for the superfast, unlimited MedallionNet Wi-Fi ($10 per day if you purchase on the first day of your cruise).
Questions about OceanMedallion are handled at Ocean Front, located on Deck 7 at the aft end of the photo shop. Hours are limited, though the first few days of the cruise sees a longer schedule than during the rest of the sailing. You can also buy medallion accessories here including bracelets, necklace clips and more.
On Deck 7, you'll find the photo gallery, where hundreds of photos line the walls, and items like scrapbooking materials, GoPros and camera accessories are for sale. Photo packages are available for purchase, and you can also schedule a session with the Platinum Studio for professional studio photos.
Cruisers looking to do their own laundry will find launderettes on Decks 5, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 and 14. You need a token to use the washer and dryer; tokens, as well as soap are available through keycard-operated vending machines. Each costs $2.50, with the total cost added to your onboard bill.
Caribbean Princess also has a wedding chapel for anyone looking to get hitched at sea or renew their vows. A variety of wedding packages are available.
Other services onboard include a medical center on Deck 4 and an ATM located near the casino.
The ship's Lotus Spa is located on Deck 16 and offers a variety of facials, massages, seaweed wraps, acupuncture, medi-spa treatments and more. Prices are similar to what you'd find in a big city, with massages ranging from $159 to $259 and facials costing $165 to $184. There is also a special spa menu for teens.
Serious spa goers should take advantage of the 10, 20, 30 package -- purchase three treatments and receive 10 percent off the most expensive one, 20 percent of the second most expensive one and 30 percent off the least expensive of the three. Also keep your eye on the daily Princess Patter for spa specials.
Inside the spa, you'll find the ship's salon, offering manicures, pedicures, and hair treatments and styling, as well as services for men.
A 15 percent gratuity is automatically added to the price of each treatment.
Also inside the spa is the ship's Thermal Suite, which features a Turkish bath, dry steam room, aromatherapy steam room, heated lounge beds and fog mist shower. You must purchase a full-cruise pass to use the Thermal Suite. Fares vary by sailing length and can be priced per person or per couple.
There is one sauna and one steam room in both the women's and men's changing rooms in the spa.
Right next to the spa is the ship's fitness center, which seemed small for the size of the ship, but offers a good variety of equipment from ellipticals and treadmills to weight machines, standard exercise and recumbent bikes and rowing machines. There are also free weights up to 75 pounds. Fitness classes including free Zumba and extra-fee yoga, TRX and spinning. Sixty-minute personal training sessions cost extra.
There is no jogging track on the ship, but you can walk around the perimeter of Deck 7; 1 mile is approximately 3.5 laps around.
Princess replaced its kids' spaces in 2017 with the Camp Discovery program. The program is divided into three age groups: 3 to 7, 8 to 12 and 13 to 17. Programs typically run from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. on sea days, with time off for lunch (noon to 2 p.m.) and dinner (5 to 7 p.m.). Port days offer longer hours and include lunch. Special kid dinners in the camp are held on formal nights so parents can have a date night.
Princess does not offer in-cabin babysitting but does offer evening group "kidsitting" from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. every night (except on the last night when it closes at midnight). The cost is $5 per hour, per child.
Families should be on the lookout for kid-friendly activities outside of Camp Discovery, including family fun fairs and live animal events in the Piazza, the High Seas Heist mystery game, pop-up planetarium and breakfast with Princess mascot, Stanley the Bear. The Reef water play area on Deck 17 is the go-to sea day retreat for families with young kids.
Kids' menus (plus complimentary baby food), high chairs and booster seats are available in onboard restaurants. Kids and parents can enjoy creating tagalongs, playing games and taking part in a virtual scavenger hunt via the Ocean Medallion portals around the ship.
Kids ages 3 to 7 are welcomed in The Treehouse, a brightly colored forest-themed space, where kids can participate in arts and crafts, watch cartoons and learn about animals through the line's partnership with Discovery, Inc. and the Animal Planet TV channel. The play area has an indoor slide and an outdoor water table depicting iconic locations on Princess Cruises itineraries. All children must be signed in and out of the club by their parents or an appointed guardian.
The Lodge is where those ages 8 to 12 go to hang out in a room painted to look like a cozy log cabin set in the mountains. In the two-room lounge, kids can play computer games and participate in science-related activities, arts and crafts, dodgeball in The Lodge's outdoor section and foosball, Skee-Ball or air hockey competitions. Kids going to The Lodge may sign themselves in and out without a parent present.
Both The Treehouse and The Lodge are open on both sea and port days, and parents may leave their children in the club while they go ashore.
The Beach House is the space reserved for teens. It's more about hanging out than participating in activities, though there is a movie screen, dance floor and computer gaming nook, as well as Skee-Ball and air hockey. Afternoon and evening activities that might be offered include mocktail making and hot tub party, MarioKart tournament, T-shirt design, secret agent game, basketball games and crew selfie photo hunt.