27 Princess Sun Princess Caribbean - Eastern Cruise Reviews

The embarkation process for the Sun Princess was flawless. Our hotel van, Hampton Inn Plantation, dropped us in front of the terminal and in 15 minutes the check in process was complete. We were through security, purchased our Coke cards, ... Read More
The embarkation process for the Sun Princess was flawless. Our hotel van, Hampton Inn Plantation, dropped us in front of the terminal and in 15 minutes the check in process was complete. We were through security, purchased our Coke cards, had our picture taken and were in our rooms. The only negative was the baggage handlers asking for a tip. Our rooms were next door to each other on the Caribe Deck and had balconies. We called our room steward and requested robes, and to unlock the balcony partition between our rooms, then left for the buffet. After eating and exploring the ship for a while we returned to find our requests were completed and our luggage arrived in the hall way. The rooms were very adequate and were kept very clean and well stocked by the excellent stewards. There seemed to be plenty of cabinet and storage space for a 10 day cruise. The bathrooms are small as are most but again were very adequate and kept well stocked. With the balcony partition open we could wonder back and forth between rooms to visit through the sliding doors and have room service together on the balcony. We spent a fair amount of time enjoying the balcony and the sea throughout the trip, especially on sea days. It was a great place to enjoy coffee, read a book, or just relax after a day on an excursion and enjoy the view. For dinner we selected assigned late night dining and were seated in the Regency Dining Room. I was impressed with the hand sanitizer located at the entrance to any eating venue, even at the grill by the pool, in an effort to keep illness to a minimum. Our waiter was Cheewin from Thailand and he did a wonderful job the entire 10 days. Some of the meals in the dining room were great, some were poor, and most were some where in between. One entrEe I ordered was a seafood pastry and it was very good. Our son ordered the venison one evening and said it may be the best meal he ever ate. One fillet mignon steak had so much meat tenderizer it was actually mushy. One evening the menu listed prawns but were actually medium shrimp at best. The rice pilaf served with the lobster was plain white rice. Many of the soups were purred and didn't have much flavor. The vegetables served with dinner were usually very plain like a boiled red potato cut in half, no sauce, no spice, just a plain half potato. My son and I ate at the Pizzeria one evening, he ordered the pepperoni and I ordered the Hawaiian pizza. His pepperoni was average and my Hawaiian was not good. When our glasses were empty they didn't get refilled unless we asked some one walking by. I ate breakfast in the buffet on most days and it was good. The pre-made omelets were somewhat dry and over cooked for my taste but there was a good variety of food and drink. I read a previous review that stated part of the buffet was closed to make room for the steak house and as a result seating was inadequate. On this cruise they only closed part of it after the lunch buffet so seating was adequate, plus you could take your food out the adjacent door and eat in the pool area. Weather was very nice so even breakfast could be eaten comfortably in the pool area. Lunch in the buffet was not very good. Many days we would try a few items from the buffet, then go to the grill and order burgers. The burgers at the grill were very good and it seemed to always have a line but they kept it moving and seemed pretty efficient. We did eat lunch in the dining room one day and it was just okay. Again the service was very good but the food needed help. On the last day the lunch buffet had fried shrimp and ribs that were very good. If part of your love for cruising is enjoying the great food I would suggest a different ship. We did enjoy the entertainment throughout the ship. We enjoyed different types of music, comedians, and shows. There was quite a variety so each evening you had a nice choice. Princess did a nice job of bringing different entertainers on during the 10 day cruise to provide a nice variety. Both the Vista Show Lounge and the Theater are very comfortable and are great places for entertainment. The Cruise Director and his staff were also entertaining and did a great job of keeping guests aware of all that was going on. Our first port was Antigua and we booked a tour with Carl and Gordon of Antigua Premier Tours on line a month or so earlier. They both met us as arranged, Gordon had other business and Carl took us on a great excursion of Antigua. We were impressed with Carl as he continually explained all aspects of Antigua, was very easy to understand, made sure every one was comfortable throughout the day and took us too many sites on the island. He had a cooler iced down with complimentary fruit punch, rum punch, bottled water, and soda. He also stopped and bought us bananas and black pineapple to enjoy. Both were very sweet and tasty. His van was very clean, ran great, had a good air conditioning system that cooled everyone on the warm day, and he spoke through a microphone which he adjusted so all could hear him plainly. This was an excellent tour and I highly recommend Carl to all. Our next port was St Lucia and we booked on line with Herod for his island tour. Again he met us exactly as his directions stated and we enjoyed a wonderful day on a very beautiful island. Herod is very courteous and professional and made all feel very welcome. Herod, like Carl in Antigua, provided complimentary drinks for all throughout the day and made several stops for local snacks and lunch. The snacks, lunch and drinks as well as any entry fees at various stops on the tour were included in the price of Herod's tour which made it an even a better deal. The lunch was provided by Big Mama and her fish cakes with her banana ketchup and hot sauce were very good. I wish we could get them at home. We did purchase a bottle of the banana ketchup and a bottle of her spicy sauce and brought them home. She also gave us Johnny Cakes that are a sweet type of bread cake that is also very tasty. Herod is very knowledgeable and his tour takes you to many different attractions as well as stopping to show you the details of everyday life on St. Lucia. Another great day! We will use Herod again if we're in St Lucia and have already recommended him to friends. Our third day we visited the island of Grenada. Again, we booked a tour online with Mandoo prior to the cruise. Mandoo is a man with a passion for the island and the people of Grenada. He is a wealth of knowledge about the people, the island, its history, about global events and their impact on Grenada, and the needs and concerns for the future of Grenada. One of the highlights for us was the spice plantation. It was amazing to see the many spices grown and to see how they are processed on Grenada. We purchased a gift package of spices and brought them home as well. We were advised by the ship shopper that sealed spices seemed to make it through customs but didn't advise buying unsealed foods to try to take home. Grenada is also a very pretty island and the tour by Mandoo is very informative. The water fall was kind of small and disappointing and we were mobbed by the local vendors, but the rest was very enjoyable. The next day was the island of Martinique. The ship offered very few excursions and the few reviews I read for Martinique were mixed. I was told the taxi drivers do not speak English and things are kind of pricey. After three full days of excursions we decided to relax and enjoy a ship day. A day on a cruise ship is always a great day for us. It would have been nice if one of the sea days at the beginning of the cruise could have been inserted somewhere between the five days of island stops but this was still a great cruise and glad we did it. The next day we were at the beautiful island of St. Thomas. We started the day by going downtown to do some shopping. There is a new visitor center & shopping area by the Crown Bay dock but not many tenants yet. The cab fare to downtown is $4 per person. We enjoyed the shopping and all the variety as well as watching the people. When we were ready to return to the ship we just stood on the sidewalk as many taxi-tour trucks were always asking if anyone needed a ride. We went to Emerald Beach in the afternoon as it was close to the ship and again $4 per person each way. It was clean and not crowded. No one asked us to buy anything and we found a nice shade tree. The beach is by a hotel so there were drinks and food available at the outside cafe area. When we were ready to return to the ship there were taxi's at a station in front of the hotel that made the return quick and easy. The last port was at Princess Cays and passengers had to be tendered from the ship. This process didn't start until after 8:00 a.m. and the last tender back to the ship was listed for 2:00 p.m. We elected to stay on the ship and enjoy it for one last day. We were also informed that the "coke card" we purchased as we boarded the ship was not valid on the island and drinks would need to be purchased. When we were embarking the ship in Ft. Lauderdale they had several tables for passengers to purchase a coke card. We were told as on our previous Princess cruises that all the coke would be free by purchasing the sticker for $39. That seemed a little high but they charge $4.00 per coke plus 15%, so if you drink more than one a day the card would be the way to go. We found out that when you order room service they will not bring you a coke even though you purchased the card but you were expected to buy a can of coke that was in your room. So when the card wasn't valid on Princess Cays either, it makes you feel like they are not honest with you and just trying to get more of your money. The disembarkation process was better this cruise as we stayed in our rooms until our group was called, then proceeded to the gangway with no delays, then to the luggage area. We were directed to the proper area for our luggage and found ours without much trouble. Everything backed up for customs. As we entered the customs area there were three agents and a mob of people in no order. After a few minutes they tried to form the mob into three lines, which didn't go to well. I would think having lines roped off from the start would make it much simpler even though the process is slow when there are three agents checking over 2,000 people. Read Less
Sail Date March 2007
I sailed with my family on Sun Princess departing March 29, 2007 from Fort Lauderdale. This was my second cruise (first was Carnival Legend). The group consisted of Myself a 38 year old Firefighter from New York, my wife, our four year ... Read More
I sailed with my family on Sun Princess departing March 29, 2007 from Fort Lauderdale. This was my second cruise (first was Carnival Legend). The group consisted of Myself a 38 year old Firefighter from New York, my wife, our four year old son, my sister in law (spinster) and my in laws who are retired. At Fort Lauderdale we had no problems reaching the port in the Hotel shuttle, which dropped us off right at the terminal. There were ample porters and the embarkation process was very smooth. We attached our tags to the bags and later we found them outside our stateroom despite my wife deleting the deck number from the tags. This compared to our last cruise which embarked from NYC was a dream in comparison. There port was clean fairly quiet and there were no lines to speak of. First let me say that crew on this vessel was impressive. I was so impressed that I will mention several by name in hopes that some Princess folks read this an take notice of the dedicated people they have in their employ. Once on board our room was ready immediately. We had to wait several hours on Carnival. We met our stateroom steward Eric from the Philippines immediately and he was great throughout the cruise. He always had a smile on his face and he immediately started calling us by name. The room was fairly nice compared to our last room on Carnival. My only complaint was that the bathroom is poorly designed. It is cramped and the toilet and shower are in there at odd angles. (I had a bigger bathroom on my last merchant ship) There was also a shortage of electrical outlets but Eric loaned us a 3 to 1 splitter so we were able to plug in our cell phones, laptops and I was able to charge my portable radios. We found the closet held everything we brought, and there was a safe that we put our passports, digital cameras and Ipods into. The TV was a little small and we did not use the fridge/icebox enough to comment on it. The beds were not comfortable but we were able to get enough rest despite that. Another departure from Carnival was that my room was quiet. In fact the only noise I heard was the constant rumble of the engines and on two occasions I heard the whine of the electric motors that operate the boat hoists. Exploring the ship for the first time is always fun. Our first stop was the Horizon Court where we hit the buffet. The Buffet food was good and we chose the buffet for every breakfast and most lunches (when on board). The buffet stewards did a fantastic job. There was always someone waiting to bus your table or get you a drink from the bar. We were always greeted by a sometimes very enthusiastic Princess employee who would hand us a pre warmed plate. My complaints about the buffet were 1. the drinks are limited ( I suppose this is to get you to use the bar) Carnival gave us free lemonade which we drank in lieu of soda from the bar. Princess only offers water, iced tea (unsweetened) milk, coffee, and tea to my recollection. Breakfast featured orange and cranberry juice. One annoyance is that a Princess Steward had to dispense the drinks for you . I guess if the guy wasn't there stupid/or slower people could back up the entire buffet. I found the coffee to be OK in the buffet and horrible in the coffee station which was outside the buffet in the seating area. I also found the coffee mugs to be smaller than I prefer, so if you like a huge cup of joe in the AM bring your own mug. 2. There was some inconsistencies, sometimes you received a real napkin at the buffet, and other times you got a paper one, sometimes the drink machines were just broke. 3. The plates were too hot. They have some kind of warmer for them. but they were uncomfortably hot in my hands and burned my 4 year old's hands. He resorted to getting the smaller round plates from the salad station which were not warmed. I guess this is a British thing. It's a minor complaint, but I think Princess should get a thermometer and turn the heat down to a comfortable level. The ship is laid out logically and as you would expect most things are where you think they were and everything was easy to find. The Atrium in the center of the ship is the hub and major areas are easily accessed once you reach it. Every elevator worked well with none being out of service or reserved for crew use. My only complaint about the layout was that we had to walk through the casino to reach our stateroom. A minor inconvenience for me (with asthma) and being with a 4 year old. My little guy understood the rules and held my hand in the casino, he only asked about the video machines once. A more careful stateroom selection would eliminate this problem. If you have kids or asthma just move to a different deck. The only convenient thing about the casino is that it was easy to break large bills to tip folks on the ship and in the ports. The dining room was outstanding. We opted for the freestyle dining, which worked out very well. It's more like going to a restaurant than a cruise ship. We were able to go anytime it was open, and sit with whoever we liked, sometimes we ate with the inlaws, sometimes by ourselves, and other times we chose to share a table with random passengers which was fun. The head waiters who are in charge of getting your table for you were outstanding. We did hit a rush one night, and had to wait ten minutes with the Outback style pager/coaster, but every other night we were seated immediately. You get a new waiter and junior waiter every meal (usually) which gives you a chance to meet more people than a traditional ship. We got the same waiters for a couple of times and they get to know you. (what you drink and what you like) The standouts were Kerdboon from Thailand who was great with my kid and Raj from India who is probably the best and friendliest waiter there. Three days later he remembered what we drink and hooked us up with extra entrees and desserts for us to try (without asking). My only complaints about the dining room is that it takes a long time to get you drinks from the bar. This is due to Princess's system, they make the waiters do it. Carnival had a special waitress to get your drinks. It also takes a long time to get through your meal. Sometimes we were in there for two hours. I was getting antsy, nevermind my kind. It just takes a long time to get through the courses. Some people enjoy the experience, but I prefer to get my food and get out. ( I guess being a firefighter has trained my to eat quick before the next alarm). My other complaint is the formal nights. I'm not into dressing up at all (I hate it)and I refuse to wear a tux on vacation. For the life of me I can't imagine why cruise lines insist on the tradition. Anyway on Carnival they didn't care and would serve you on formal night no matter what you were wearing within reason. Princess actually requires that you wear a jacket. Well almost. When I arrived at the dining room the head waiter very nicely asked me to carry a jacket to my table. He said I didn't have to wear it just carry it. He produced one from nearby his podium. My wife in anticipation of this problem purchased a blazer for me, and brought it. So I had my own. So if you are like me and formal night is scaring you out taking a cruise or you don't want to be relegated to the buffet bring a cheap blazer. Mine still had the tags, and my wife will return it when we get back. I did not eat in the Sterling Steak house so I will not comment. I heard it's the same beef as you get elsewhere on the ship. My next section will deal with the pizza parlor. For some reasons cruise lines cannot get this right. Running a pizza parlor is a fairly simple operation, but both Carnival and Princess both failed miserably in this regard. First one of the benefits of pizza is convenience. If you take that away you might as well eat other food. Princess actually has a pizza parlor that strictly prohibits takeout. It was explained that it is company policy. You cannot get a slice or even a whole pie to take out. You must get a table, complete with waiter and order an entire pie. The pizza once you get it tastes pretty good, but they are small, about the size of a dinner plate and they take about 45 minutes from order to getting it served. On Carnival you can take them out but they never had any slices ready when you wanted them, especially after the bars close. Princess was just completely lame. They only reason I was able to even taste a pie was because my wife had the patience to wait at a table for a couple of them and then literally stole one, once it was served and brought it back to our room. Princess please fix this travesty and run the pizza place like a NYC shop. Your operation is a joke. Room service is good for a snack. They have a very limited menu, but it's convenient and it gets delivered pretty quick. My son crashed in the middle of the day and needed an emergency nap, so we ordered a few sandwiches from room service and it worked out really nice. The continental breakfast is also convenient especially on days when you want to get out early, you can skip the whole dining room or buffet thing. Next is the kids center or fun zone. The staff up here was great with Zita the manager doing a great job. My kid loved every minute, and we literally had to drag him out a few times. He loved playing with the other kids. They have enough activities so you kid never gets bored. They will even give you a pager in case something happens with your kid. Pagers only work on the boat and will not reach ashore if you happen to be ashore that day. I have only two complaints. 1. They normally do not feed your kid. So you have to spring your kid and feed him then put him back in the coop. They do have pizza and ice cream parties where they feed the kids, but I would prefer if they fed them every day at lunch time to avoid having to get your kid out for lunch. This is especially annoying if you want to do some shopping in port, lunch time comes right in the middle of the limited hours you have. 2. My other complaint is an isolated incident (I believe). At the Fun Zone thy require you to sign in your kid and present photo id (this was not enforced) to retrieve them. The door is kept locked and you have to be buzzed in and out. Despite these precautions they allowed my 4 year old to escape. My wife just happened to be returning to our stateroom from doing laundry and imagine her surprise when she saw our son roaming the hallways alone, apparently on his way back to our room. She immediately returned with him to the Fun Zone and they had not quite realized he was gone, they were reviewing the sign out sheet and trying to determine if there was a discrepancy. The manager Zita apologized profusely and I believed her to be very sincere. So there was no escalation. She actually told me later that she sometimes has nightmares about losing a child. She struck me as very dedicated. I think the incident was mostly my son's fault. We got out of him later that when another kid was signing out with his parents he bolted out the open door, I guess nobody saw him. There is a small area outside the fun zone that has some kids toys and a small splash pool. However there is never any water in it. I think it's dangerous to have there unsupervised, and princess should incorporate the area into the fun zone. The pools contain fresh water which is a welcome improvement over Carnival. I also found the size to be better. Carnival Legend's 4 foot by 8 foot pool is ridiculous. Princess had one much larger and other smaller ones that were still bigger than Carnival's. They also had many hot tubs that were a good temperature. I accidentally found some wet paint or caulking near one of the pools and ruined my trunks. I did not go into the gym so I won't comment. The hot dog and burger stand also needs improvement. The burgers were OK and did in a pinch if you are hungry. However I feel that that if they buy Boars Head or another decent patty they can improve the experience. The Hot Dogs sucked. They weren't really hot dogs, they were kielbasa or bratwurst. Princess should just buy Boars Head, Sabrett or any other American hot dogs and they would become edible. They also make you eat this at the Princess Cays stop as it's supposed to be a BBQ. Princess has a lot to learn about the American BBQ. Send a couple of chefs to Texas to see how it's done. My next criticism is regarding the soda on the ship. They shake you down the first day and offer you unlimited soda for the duration of the cruise for about $40. Unless you can't get by without soda this not a good value. They tell you it works out to $3.95 a day. But they do not tell you that you unlimited soda does not include the stop at Princess Cays, so you must subtract one day when figuring the value for yourself. My wife got this and I think between both of us and my sister in law drinking her unlimited sodas we broke even. Princess please make your soda cheaper. Real soda drinkers can buy soda on shore and keep the staterooms stocked, but this won't fly in the dining room or in the bars. Lastly Princess has really cut back on the entertainment over the years. I am not a Broadway show person, but we managed to stop in and check out a few shows. The comedians were funny especially ventriloquist Dan Horne. The other acts sucked royally. Even the acts in the lounges sucked especially the male female duet in the Wheel House Lounge. These two belonged at a bad open mic nite and not on my cruise. We had the most fun at Karaoke and just drinking hanging out with the other passengers. The Jerry Lewis imitator was also really lame (I can't believe he made it past an audition) Maybe he's the presidents nephew or something. My wife and I could only tolerate about 5 minutes of his act. Although some of the older passengers and the Filipino crew members seemed to enjoy his act. Debarkation seemed much more hectic than embarkation. It seems Princess has an elderly hiring initiative at Fort Lauderdale, which is fine, but they seem to pick really crotchety folks for key positions. The first person you see when you come ashore should be pleasant, not an abrasive and impatient old senior citizen. Seriously Princess, get a people person for this job. After we found our bags and a porter everything went smoothly including Customs and Immigration. A shuttle was waiting for us, and dropped us off at the airport. Even with the angry old guy in the terminal this was a far far far better debarkation that you could ever hope for in NYC. I will embark on my next cruise there even though I live 50 miles from the port in NYC. We had a great time on the ship and at all our stops. Some other minor annoyances are that in St Thomas the ship docks at a remote pier because Princess has the franchise there. Other ships dock right downtown which eliminates the need for a $4.00 cab ride to downtown. We also had a similar problem in Antigua, tendering into a remote part of the Island instead of right downtown where the action is. Princess Cays is another lame attempt to extract even more dollars from your wallet. It's a beautiful stop, but I think Princess should give you the snorkel gear for free and give free rides on the banana boat etc. Hint to Princess put a 7/11 type store at the stop that sells everything at reasonable prices. You might actually sell some beers and sodas that way. If you follow the advice from the other reviews you should have an excellent cruise on Princess. It's a smaller ship compared to the new ones but I prefer the intimacy of the smaller ship. One tip I would consider is buying a cheap snorkeling outfit either stateside or at the first stop, this would eliminate the rental fees. Also bring a few bottles of water with you, the ship water sucks and the bottled water in the room is expensive. This should get you by until the first stop. The only place your cellphone will work is St Thomas (Sprint PCS). In Antigua i found it useful to have my HAM radio, which also does the marine band. VHF 68 is used by most cabs and businesses. With my cell phone not compatible it the only way for us to call a cab from the beach we were at. If you take a cab to get there, don't worry, they will either wait for you or come back and pick you up. We hiked to the beach and my sister in law wussed out on the hike back. Another tip, bring a couple of cheap lanyards, the type you would use to hang keys around your neck. The ones they sell on the ship suck and are expensive. What you do is have your key card punched at the pursers desk and wear your card around you neck. You are in shorts and bathing suits a lot of the time, but you need to carry your card with you for obvious reasons. If I think of anything else I will write an separate review. Read Less
Sail Date March 2007
We had a wonderful Christmas cruise on the Sun Princess. This was our fifth cruise on Princess, having sailed previously on the Grand, Golden (twice), and Star Princess. One nice thing about the Sun is that it's a smaller ship than ... Read More
We had a wonderful Christmas cruise on the Sun Princess. This was our fifth cruise on Princess, having sailed previously on the Grand, Golden (twice), and Star Princess. One nice thing about the Sun is that it's a smaller ship than the Grand-class ships. We like this size ship more, even though it does lack some of the amenities of the larger ships, such as the specialty restaurants--Sabatini's Italian and a separate Sterling Steakhouse. On the Sun Princess, there is a Sterling Steakhouse, but it is only half the Horizon Court buffet area changed over at night and not a separate venue. Embarkation at Fort Lauderdale was slow due to the ship being cleaned more thoroughly because of an outbreak of norovirus two cruises before ours. We had to wait around 90 minutes. There was a man handing out numbered cards as you entered. Somehow he missed us. When I found out they were required and explained how we had been there half an hour already, he gave us cards for the first group of passengers. Check in was quick for us once passengers were allowed to start. We were on the ship within 10 minutes. Our cabin was a category I inside cabin at the bow of the ship on the Aloha Deck. It was smaller than the category I cabin we had on our second Golden Princess cruise, and the layout of the cabin was more square. It had less closet space, but we managed. Each cabin has a small television, a room safe that you can program a code for, and a small refrigerator. We had room for a six-pack of drinks in the refrigerator plus a couple of small bottles. Our cabin steward kept the ice bucket well stocked. It's also kept in the refrigerator, which helps keep the ice better. Although we had requested the beds made as one, they were made up as twin beds when we arrived. Somehow Princess never gets our request right. Our cabin steward, Dexter, managed to put them together while we were at dinner. He was a great cabin steward all cruise long. Our room was always tidied and cleaned. We had second seating traditional dining in the Regency dining room. I would prefer not to have "Personal Choice" dining again after trying it once on the Golden Princess. When we booked this cruise after the final payment date, there was a short waitlist for second seating. I took a chance that we would make it, and a few weeks after booking, we had second seating confirmed on our Cruise Personalizer on the Princess website. Our primary destination is the ship. The ports are secondary to us after having been on several Caribbean cruises. We were not disappointed, but several passengers on our ship complained about our being late to St. Thomas due to an engine problem and rescue call from the U.S. Coast Guard. They also complained that very few shops were open in Martinique on Christmas Eve, Grenada on Christmas Day, and St. Lucia on Boxing Day. We stayed on the ship through lunchtime when it was in port. We like it when it's less crowded. We did walk around each port a little bit. Due to our late arrival in St. Thomas, we did not make it past the marina at Crown Bay, where our ship docked. There is a little grocery store there where we picked up a 12-pack of Diet Coke. I had planned for us to take a water taxi to Water Island if we had been on time. As a goodwill gesture, the captain gave all passengers a $100 shipboard credit. That was great for us, since it covered all our onboard tip charges. Food in the dining room was usually very good. Our waiters were Marcelo from the Philippines and his assistant Hristian from Macedonia. Marcelo was usually efficient, but I could tell he was getting tired of being on the ship. He gets his break after two more cruises. Hristian was on his first contract with Princess and still learning. He has a way to go. We also ate breakfast and lunch in the Regency dining room almost every day. Our only occasions not doing so were the first day when it was not an option and when we tried out the pizza at Verdi's, which is the pizza place in the atrium of the ship. The pizza was good, although only thin crust is offered. I did not like the Horizon Court buffet area. The norovirus outbreak had the ship in a heightened sanitation mode, with staff members serving passengers each item instead of having it a self-serve buffet. The monotony showed on several of their faces. I was pleased with the way the ship handled the norovirus outbreak. Each family received a notice before boarding that emphasized washing hands and using the hand sanitizer before eating. And staff members were at the entrances to all the dining facilities to make sure passengers used the hand sanitizer. Fortunately, we did not become ill. One of our tablemates at dinner did. She was quarantined in her cabin for five days. Entertainment on the ship was varied--both in content and ability. I enjoyed the cruise director and his staff. They were high-energy, enthusiastic people. The night-time piano player/singer (Eric Stone) did an outstanding job. Unfortunately, he was placed in the atrium and had people passing through all the time. He did perform once in the Vista Lounge. I would have liked having a smaller intimate venue for him. The two guys who played the other atrium piano were lousy. One used a back-up tape and played schmaltzy music. The other was just not that good of a pianist. I noticed lots of mistakes in a couple of pieces he played by Chopin and Debussy. The featured entertainers included Tony Cherry (a lounge singer who talks like Jerry Lewis but sings a little better), Carl Strong (a very funny comedian), a magician, and a violinist. The production shows were pretty good, but nevertheless not that exciting since we had seen a couple of them on other Princess cruises. I enjoyed the male singer, Ralph Daniel, but did not like the female in a lot of numbers. She finally pulled off a good performance in the last production show when she sang a few songs from Cabaret. The pool areas were nice, although a lot of passengers can't read. There was one pool designated as "adults only" that always was full of children. There are also huge signs saying "No Jumping or Diving" that were frequently ignored. We turned away a couple of small boys when they tried to get in our hot tub and pointed out to them that they were supposed to have an adult supervising them. I don't understand how parents can let their children run around unsupervised. But I guess it's not like the parents were paying any attention to the rules either. One afternoon on a sea day we were looking for a couple of chairs side by side on the Promenade Deck. I found one by itself. The couple next to me left a few minutes later, leaving a book and a towel in each chair. I called my partner over to use them, thinking we would leave when they came back in a few minutes. Ninety minutes later they still had not come back. I heard other complaints about chair hogs around the pool area, but we did not go there until late afternoon. I also got upset at smokers who ignored the no-smoking signs in certain areas and the staff members who let them. Overall, though, we did not let any of the problems spoil our cruise. Being away for Christmas is our ideal way to celebrate the holiday. Read Less
Sail Date December 2006
First day back from our Christmas Cruise aboard the Sun Princess. Thought I would provide some feedback on how it went. The reason we decided on this cruise over some others was due to the fact it went to Princess Cays, Martinique, Antigua ... Read More
First day back from our Christmas Cruise aboard the Sun Princess. Thought I would provide some feedback on how it went. The reason we decided on this cruise over some others was due to the fact it went to Princess Cays, Martinique, Antigua and St. Lucia which were some destinations that we had not been to on our previous 5 cruises, the other 2 stops being Grenada and St. Thomas. I am in my mid-forties and my wife and I have taken our daughter (currently 14) on all but 1 of our previous 5 cruises. This was our second Princess Cruise, the first was aboard the Golden Princess out of San Juan in Dec 2005. Let me start by saying the ship seemed in good shape, all public areas were clean and well maintained, the layout of the ship was fine. Although this ship was older it did not necessarily feel it. We found all of the islands were nice, we are not big snorkelers but we do like to spend some time at the beach, we typically hop in a taxi and like to explore the islands. Princess Cays is strictly a beach and we spent about 4 hours there, it was a nice day and the beach is very well maintained. We have been to St. Thomas 3 times previous and have always gone to Meaghan's Bay, this time we decided we were going to Trunk Bay to be a little bit more adventurous unfortunately due to high head winds we found ourselves 4 hours behind schedule and time did not allow us to make the trip. We shopped instead yippee. The cruise line gave everyone on board a $100 credit which we thought more than made up for this inconvenience, kudos to Princess for this gesture. The next island was Martinique. Had an island tour with a taxi driver, spoke good English but did not always speak load enough to hear in the back of the mini-van. Showed us some local sites but there was not a tremendous amount of attractions, good scenery, rum distillery. We found Martinique to be very clean, roads were in tremendous condition and all in all it was a good day. The next day we were in Grenada, hit the Mourn Rouge beach since it is a little more isolated and Patsy sells cold beer. Next was St. Lucia, had pre-arranged an island tour with Cosol which was $45 and was to last approx 7 hours including a 1 hour snorkel/beach stop. The tour started off great, banana plantation, look-out stops (Pitons), a few fishing villages and a botanical gardens. The drive-thru volcano was interesting and probably the highlight, I know that some people do not find it that interesting but we did. The beach did not happen as Cosol talked us out of it due to rains the previous night, this was somewhat disappointing. The tour ended up being a little too long, all the stops were on the way to the volcano and the drive home was long and uneventful. All in all it was just OK. Antigua was nice, spent some time shopping in St. Johns and then went on another island tour, this one was an hour long and then we had him wait for us at Runaway beach for an hour while we explored the beach. We then went back to the port and looked around the shops some more. We liked Antigua and would return. Now for the ship amenities, let me start by saying that what was disappointing on our last Princess cruise was again disappointing in this cruise, if it had not been for the itinerary I would not have selected Princess. The entertainment was very spotty at best, the highlights were Tony Cherry (lounge singer with a great voice), a comedy-magician (Peterson I believe) and an impressionist (Ken Block). We typically avoid the production shows but we got tricked into one based on the description, it only helped reinforce our decision to avoid them, it was horrible. The whole food experience was disappointing as well, the dining room fare was acceptable but far from great, I am not an adventurous eater but typically find meals that I find sounds good, this was not the case on this cruise, the meals ended up being fine but appetizers (shrimp cocktails, caesar salads were weak). Deserts are always looked forward too but were typically disappointing, even my sweet-toothed daughter had to force many of them down. My wife says that I am exaggerating and giving Princess a bad rap but I will stick to my guns. The buffet was a little better laid out than Golden but still not as efficient as other cruise lines, there was always seating available though. The food on the other hand was rarely good, the hot meat (roast beef or pork) was fine but pastas, fried chicken and other stuff were quickly dismissed (almost broke a tooth on the fried chicken see National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation). The breakfast buffet was fine, I usually had them make a fresh omelette with some French toast it was pretty good. My wife found several instances where people were eating foods that were not seen at the buffet such as grapefruit, blueberries and maybe even a papaya, she has no idea where these folks were getting these. The only fruits we saw available were watermelon, pineapple, cantaloupe and honeydew (plus a fruit cocktail). I had read on Cruisecritic prior to the trip that the Norovirus was on-board and that the ship was taking many steps to eradicate the virus so the inconvenience of not being able to spoon any food and constant hand sterilizing was tolerated but the fact I do not have fingerprints any more is disappointing. I hope I did not sound too negative, for the most part the cruise was good, it just could have been better. Room stewards, dining room waiters and drink service was fine, disembarkation was unorganized but we had plenty of time to meet our flight and were not impacted. 6 cruises in 3 years, we will not be cruising for a while, we need to try something else to see if we miss it. Read Less
Sail Date December 2006
getting on the ship was a breeze, staff and crew were very friendly ( except one waitress in formal dining room) when we go a cruise ship we want we call the wow concept, my wife and i love food so the pools and sauna doesn't really ... Read More
getting on the ship was a breeze, staff and crew were very friendly ( except one waitress in formal dining room) when we go a cruise ship we want we call the wow concept, my wife and i love food so the pools and sauna doesn't really mean that much to us, the food on this cruise was nothing but NASTY, every time we tried to eat at the buffet all the food was cold or the selection was no more then a pasta(which was hard as a rock) and chicken pucks as we called them. we paid $15.00 per person to eat at the steak house and the steak wasn't worth putting in your mouth. they served the same 5 desserts all 10 days we were on the ship. the ship broke down while trying to leave Caracas leaving the entire ship with no air conditioning for almost 8 hours, this brought us to the next island 4 hours late so we couldn't go to the island to shop or site see. we met a newlywed couple from florida and did a few excursions with them, there shower and toilet was broke for 2 days so we let them use ours, we were glad to help them but 4 people in our tiny cabin wasn't a pretty site. the ship was clean all except when they were doing maintenance on the board runners leaving wood shavings blowing all over the lido deck. eating in the formal dinning room took almost 3 hours ( thank god there was a pizza restaurant) because this was the only place on the ship where you could get something hot to eat. we paid i think $129.00 apiece to go to the rain forest in dominica, we could have gone on are own for $75.00 per person. we asked a question why would a cruise line take you to a tropical island which will cost a couple $60.00 to 80.00 dollars u.s. just to get to the town and shop????? we couldn't get an answer from any of the staff. our cabin was so small my wife and i couldn't stand side by side in the walkway, we had no place to place our luggage so the walk way was pretty slim, we had to craw from the bottom of the bed to get into bed or step over the corner of the bed and type rope walk 4 inches just to get into bed. we would lay in bed watching T V and watch the princess cruise line show it would show the wowowowowow desserts, ice carvings, fantastic seafoods and buffets and my wife and i would look at each other and laugh!!!!! because we sure didn't get any of this on our ship. all in all we would rate our cruise 2 stars just because of the friendly staff and crew, and the cruise line did take us to 5 1/2 of the 6 ports on the cruise. we might try sailing with princess cruise lines again but it would have to be on one of there bigger ships that will give you the WWWWWWOOOOOOOWWWWWWWW concept dec 10,2006 baha 233 Read Less
Sail Date December 2006
My wife, 9 year old son, and I took this 10 day cruise of the Eastern Caribbean during my son's spring break. This was our fifth cruise and our son's third cruise. It ranks as the most memorable cruise that I have been on. We ... Read More
My wife, 9 year old son, and I took this 10 day cruise of the Eastern Caribbean during my son's spring break. This was our fifth cruise and our son's third cruise. It ranks as the most memorable cruise that I have been on. We arrived the day before the cruise and stayed at the Hampton Inn Plantation. We appreciated that the hotel picked us up from the airport and dropped us off at the ship the next day. Embarkation went smoothly. The cruise began with two sea days. We enjoyed this time to get to know the ship. On these days, my son enjoyed the kids club while my wife and I enjoyed the ship activities (line dance lessons, art auctions, trivia contests, high tea, shopping talks, etc.) We choose traditional dining, second seating. We enjoyed our table mates and having the same waiters each night is a pleasure. Our first stop was in St. Vincent. Docking was an adventure as the ship missed the dock on the first try, had to back up and repeat the process. Nevertheless, we were able to do the hike of the Vermont Nature Trail that we had booked. This turned out to be a good excursion for this island that had limited offerings. Our second port was Grenada. We did a sail away party trip to a beach. While these sail aways are similar no matter what island you are on, it was still a fun way to experience this beautiful island. The only negative of the excursion was that we were hassled to purchase things while hanging out at the beach. Now is where the cruise gets interesting for me. Since I wasn't feeling well, I visited the ship's doctor. The pleasant doctor told me that my temperature was 103 degrees, I had the flu, and I had to stay in my cabin for the next 24 hours or more until I felt better. A cruise is not the best place to be sick. Our next stop was St. Lucia. My wife and son enjoyed ocean kayaking, playing on the beach, and shopping while I remained in my inside cabin feeling miserable. On several occasions, cruise staff came in and fumigated the room. They even replaced the carpet. I have seen pictures to indicate this was a lovely island as well. Our next stop was Martinique. My wife and son enjoyed a land and sea tour of this beautiful island. While I felt better (temperature was normal), I remained on the ship as I had no energy. On a positive note, I did return to dinner after eating two evenings of room service. St. Thomas was our next port. My wife went into town shopping while the 2 boys stayed on the ship having fun. In the afternoon, we went to St. John and snorkeled at Trunk Bay. We all agreed that this was a highlight of the trip. After a final sea day, we enjoyed Princess's private island on our last day of the cruise. This was Easter Sunday. My son enjoyed hanging out in the kids area on the island where there was an Easter Egg hunt and other fun activities. The next day we had to leave the ship. Disembarkation was sad, but went smoothly. Now to cover the positives and not so positives of the cruise. The positives included: (1) the food was excellent in quality and variety (highlights included fresh fruit, desserts, Verdi Pizza, pasta dishes, lobster, and fruit soups); (2) the kids club staff was superb (our son enjoyed activities that included dissecting a squid, casino night, a drawing of the ship contest, and a paper airplane contest); (3) the cruise entertainment staff was pleasant and seemed to enjoy their jobs (that has not always been the case on some previous cruises); (4) a wide variety of entertainment options (enjoyed the movies, bingo, trivia contests, the crew's talent show; (5) service was generally good (surprisingly good in the Horizon Court); and (6) the excursions were enjoyable. Not to be left out was the quality and professionalism of the medical staff. While it was not fun to be isolated in my cabin for almost 2 days, I believe they took the appropriate action. The not so positives included: (1) the library was a huge disappointment compared to previous Princess cruises (it has become more of a paperback book exchange); (2) some of the staff working in the shops on the ship were unpleasant (I have found that this has traditionally been a weakness of Princess); and (3) more than the usual number of rude passengers (several people complained about having to wait in the buffet line for 2 minutes - 2 minutes! ha, you haven't even seen a line until you travel Royal Caribbean on Spring Break - and another woman was so determined to get a picture of the champagne waterfall that she balanced on a railing after thrusting herself in front of my family, completely blocking our view). Everyone on a cruise should remember that, comparatively speaking, you have very little that is genuinely worthy of complaint. Overall, this was an excellent cruise. We will sail Princess again, particularly since we placed a deposit for a future cruise before disembarkation. Read Less
Sail Date April 2006
After many months of anticipation, we arrived in Fort Lauderdale a day before the cruise. Our accommodation, the Hampton Inn North, was comfortable and their shuttle service picked us up at the airport, delivered us to dinner, and to the ... Read More
After many months of anticipation, we arrived in Fort Lauderdale a day before the cruise. Our accommodation, the Hampton Inn North, was comfortable and their shuttle service picked us up at the airport, delivered us to dinner, and to the cruise port. First impressions of the Sun Princess. Although 10+ years old, this old girl is impressive. The Italian marble in the Grand Plaza is one of the first things to catch your eye. She's every bit as impressive as some of the newer ships, although her atrium is only 4 decks deep. THE STATEROOM: A balcony cabin on Aloha deck. Small, but sufficient. The balcony was tiny compared to other ships we've been on, but the cutout on the side of the ship was larger than on Caribe deck. Plenty of storage and the suitcases fit under the bed. The bathroom was tiny, but adequate. Our steward, Isabelita, was attentive and got us an eggcrate cover as requested. DINING ROOM: We booked anytime and the Marquis Dining Room is a mirror image of the traditional Regency. We asked one of the head waiters on the first day for a particular table for 8:30 each evening and he arranged for us to have it. It was a table for 4, but we mostly ate alone, as we wanted. Our wait staff were Luis and Eduardo and we had very attentive service, and got to know much of their working and personal lives. We did not visit the Horizon Court except on the first day aboard, for lunch. Verdi's, the pizza restaurant, is quite nice, and the pizzas are very good. They could offer more ingredients, but otherwise we enjoyed it. THE ITINERARY: We left port 2 hours late because we, and the Star, which was docked behind us and blocking our exit, were waiting for some passengers from England. When the Star finally left, we got underway. We needed 2 tugs to get out of dock and maneuver us to leave the harbour. A great sendoff from the apartment folks as we left. Once out of Lauderdale, we got hit big time by a heavy wind and swell and we were rockin' and rollin' all night and well into the next day. Seas of up to 20 feet had many passengers and crew crying foul. At noon on the first day, the captain announced the inevitable. We were not going to make it to St. Vincent, our first stop, on time. Although disappointed, we understood. In order to keep the illness down, you have to slow the ship down. We'd been making about 18.5 knots overnight, but once we slowed down the ride became more comfortable. So we began with 3 sea days instead of 2. Tough life. Our first stop was in Grenada. We had booked an excursion with mandoo and it was everything we had expected, and more. This man is a walking, driving encyclopedia on all things Grenadian. The island is beautiful, but the people are very poor. The world economy has left them behind, and they're struggling to find a new way. The next day was St. Lucia, also an independent nation. Again, a beautiful island, and somewhat better off than Grenada, but still struggling. Our tour, through Princess, was interesting. We spent the first half on a catamaran sailing up the coast to the Pitons, with a stop for swimming at a really nice beach area. Then on to small vans for visits to a plantation and the volcano before transferring to a bigger vehicle for the ride back to the ship. We stopped for 10 minutes in a small fishing village and had a look at how many of the people live. Enlightening, but also depressing. Third stop was Martinique. A French protectorate, the island is better off than many of its neighbours. However, we chose to go on a snorkel tour through Princess, and did not get to see any of the island except from the water. St. Thomas is impressive. Part of the U.S. Virgin Islands, it is relatively well off, and a beautiful island. We booked with Godfrey here, and had a great tour, capped with a couple of hours at Sapphire Beach. Princess Cays was missed because of rough weather and the dangers associated with tendering in. Which gave us another sea day, for a total of 5 in a ten day cruise. For some, that was too much, but considering we were on board for a good time, we made it just that. Ran into some heavy weather again in the last few hours as we approached Lauderdale, but no problems. Docked on time, and unfortunately, it was over. Embarkation and debarkation worked extremely smoothly. OVERALL IMPRESSIONS: The Sun is a wonderful ship. Yes, she does have some wear and tear, and some mechanical problems. The bow thrusters are not working, and we had an electrical problem between Martinique and St. Thomas that disabled one propulsion unit and delayed our arrival by an hour or so. They fixed it while in port and we had no more problems. However, the ongoing care and maintenance of the ship is great. Work is visibly going on at all times. She's clean, well cared for, and fun to be on. Some people were complaining about the missed stop in St. Vincent, but anyone with an ounce of common sense understood what the problem was. We had great food, great service, and a good time. Come to think of it, that's why we booked it in the first place. Read Less
Sail Date February 2006
This was my twelfth cruise, my wife's thirteenth and my daughters seventh, but our first with Princess. We had been wanting to try them for a while and this one fit our schedule well. We traveled down the day before as usual and had a ... Read More
This was my twelfth cruise, my wife's thirteenth and my daughters seventh, but our first with Princess. We had been wanting to try them for a while and this one fit our schedule well. We traveled down the day before as usual and had a nice day for embarkation, sunny and mid seventies. We arrived at the Pier about 11:30 and were in our cabin by noon. OUr Luggage arrived between two and three which is the fastest I have seen. My wife and I, along with our daughters really enjoyed our trip with Princess. The Service in traditional dining was excellent as was the food and meal choices. The chocolate souffle is great. We sat at a large table (10)as we always request and enjoyed our table mates which makes for an enjoyable trip in that you find it easier to talk with people you have sat with over ten days. Our cabin steward Dionisio did an excellent job and was always there with a smile and a friendly hello. We had a lower level outside cabin, I like a window and even have had balconies sometimes. Many enjoy breakfast on the balcony, but I am an early riser and my wife likes to sleep in a bit so breakfast is out. we did book a balcony cabin on our next cruise though. Weather was great everywhere except St. Lucia where we had periodic showers. One small problem was with it being a New Years Cruise, a lot of shops were closed on New Years day, Sunday, as well as Monday in St Lucia where it was still a Holiday. Being in we like to spend some beach time though it was not a huge issue. On Sunday in Martinique, we went over to Pointe de Bout Beach and had a nice day of Sun. In Grenada we took a water taxi to Grand Anse Beach. The beach was fine, the water taxi was a mistake in that my wife has some mobility issues and there is no dock at the beach. You have to get out of the boat into shallow water. We also hit Magen's Bay in St Thomas, our third trip to St Thomas and second to Magen's Bay. It was a bit crowded there with four ships in port including the Queen Mary II, but still one of my favorite places. Nice bar, try a painkiller. The front thrusters on the ship have not worked for a few months, I guess they have to wait for Drydock to repair which would take it out of service for a couple weeks at least. As a result we had to tender into Grenada as well as Princess Cays. No big deal as we anchored close to shore. Princess Cays is one of the nicest Private Islands we have been to, we missed the Disney Island due to weather and I hear it is wonderful also. Tenders were busy early, had to wait about 20 minutes for our turn. Princess uses a number system where you wait in the Marquis Dining room for your number to be called, pretty efficient. Only real complaint is the Productions shows were dated, the theatre is very small and always packed. But there are other things to do. The casino is not large either and the machines were a little unfriendly, never saw any good jackpots paid out. Stick to the tables and make some of your own luck. I know that some always have issues with food, service, or whatever on any cruise but we enjoyed this one enough to book the Caribbean Princess for next year while still on board. I would do this ship again anytime and they have a great Thread on the Boards-Live from the Sun- which has been active for over a year now. Great place for updated info. Read Less
Sail Date December 2005
We sailed on the Sun from 18-28 November. Our balcony cabin was adequate, our only complaint was the people next to us smoked and this spoiled some of our outside time. We feel balconies should be a Non smoking area also. We had the last ... Read More
We sailed on the Sun from 18-28 November. Our balcony cabin was adequate, our only complaint was the people next to us smoked and this spoiled some of our outside time. We feel balconies should be a Non smoking area also. We had the last cabin on the rear aft side and the smoke had no where to go but on our balcony. We were offered another cabin but no assurance on smoking of neighbors so stayed in our cabin. Our ship had a generator problem and therefore we could not travel fast enough to port in St Vincent. The captain kept us appraised of the situation and everyone was given a 55 dollar ship board acct credit so our disappointment was helped some. Once the generator was fixed we sailed along fine and made all our other ports, Grenada, St Lucia, Martinique, St Thomas and Princess Cays. We had fine weather and enjoyed all our ports. Tendering in Grenada and Princess Cays was handled beautifully and was the easiest I have ever experienced on a cruise ship. We took a shore excursion in Grenada, the highlights tour. It was interesting although the van seating was very uncomfortable and the roads were in deplorable shape making for a rough ride. We went snorkeling in Martinique to the bat cave. The boat ride was fine, equipment was adequate although my size 11 husband had trouble finding fins. We had a short time at the second and better snorkeling site which was disappointing. The boat operator was not a talker and gave us little to no site information or pointed out nothing as we motored along. We were to do a northside tour and beach in St Thomas. The tour time was changed via a note to our cabin. We showed up but no one else or the tour operator ever came. We found out later the tour had left 90 minutes earlier and we had been given the wrong time. The excursion office returned our money but was not overly concerned about the screw up. We have written a letter to Princess. We arranged our own tour to Megan's Bay and had a great time. We also did our own shopping at Havensight Mall and this was an easy walk from the ship. We did touring on our own in St Lucia, Grenada and Martinique and had no problems. We had late seating and really enjoyed the traditional approach. We found our waiters to be excellent, the food fine, presentation lovely and many choices. Princess has available every night choices and this is great if nothing hits your fancy. We ate in the Verdi pizzeria and found it wonderful. We also had meals in the Horizon court and found the choices adequate, the food good and we never had to wait long except the first day when everyone was boarding and wanted lunch at once. We had room service almost every morning and this was reasonably fast. The entertainment was fine. We thought the Princess dancers and singers were very talented and put on great shows. We had a funny comedian, a not funny comedian, a good juggler, a not so good magician and a wonderful singer- Tony Cherry as outside entertainers. We never visited the casino (too smoky). We had trouble one day finding deck chairs but otherwise were able to set out when and where we wanted. We enjoyed all the bars and found the bar staff attentive. The ship shops were limited and the staff was not friendly. I bought nothing on board. The pursers office was fine, the cruise director was good and all his assistants were friendly, easy going and helpful. We enjoyed many of the trivia and other games. The internet room was lovely and we found service good and never had to wait for a computer. (cost is 35 cents a minute so we were brief) The ship was always being taken care of and this made us feel they were doing their best to keep an older ship in top notch shape. Overall we had a wonderful time and would definitely cruise on Princess again. (We have been on Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, Holland America and Norweigian) Ten days was a nice cruise length. Embarking and disembarking were handled smoothly with little wait. We drove to Lauderdale and parked at the garage across from the terminal, it was covered, secure and convenient and worth the 10 dollars per day. I would recommend Princess and this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date November 2005
This is a great ship! The cruise was our sixth, but first on Princess (the other five were on Carnival). We were impressed with the condition of the ship, the friendliness of the staff, and the quality of the food. Some of the things we ... Read More
This is a great ship! The cruise was our sixth, but first on Princess (the other five were on Carnival). We were impressed with the condition of the ship, the friendliness of the staff, and the quality of the food. Some of the things we were wowed by: We loved the automatic tipping plan. Anytime seating is a great way to dine, as it allowed us to plan our evenings the way we wanted to. Never a problem finding deck chairs. The pools were always open, and filled with fresh water (rather than salt water). Drinks were reasonably priced. The production shows were excellent. We could understand the captain when he spoke. The variety of eating options was more than we expected on a ship this size. Afternoon tea was fantastic. Movies were shown in the theater most days. Princess Cays was excellent. Our cabin steward knew our names and greeted us EVERY time we entered or exited our room when she was on duty. Although I didn't think it was possible, the food was a step up from Carnival. The Sterling Steakhouse was well worth the $15 each. The walking track was in a much better location than we were used to (out of the wind and sun). The bands were very good. The library had books (can you believe that?) and was open! The buffet was open 24 hours a day. The line was not constantly hawking things like the spa, the pictures, the "drink of the day", the art auction, bingo, etc. (they were all available, but weren't forced down our throats). Ten days was just right (we always felt we weren't ready to get off the boat after seven days on previous cruses). Some of the things we felt could be improved: Could use a daily newspaper to learn of world events, they could label their shows properly (a piano player and a banjo player were billed as a comedian, a juggler was billed as a comedian, (both were excellent, but weren't comedians), and another show which was billed as a comedian and piano playing turned out to be a great piano player who was a very bad comedian). TV showed ESPN International, which was great if we would have learned Spanish back in high school (Sports Center was 45 minutes of soccer highlights and 15 minutes of all other sports). And lastly, although this is not the cruise line's fault, too many older passengers who did nothing at meals but complain about all the problems with the cruise (there weren't problems; the passengers main goal in life was to bitch about something). We highly recommend this ship to any who want to try it. Read Less
Sail Date October 2005
Sun Princess 10-Day Eastern Caribbean C402 - Covered Balcony Traditional Dining Late Seating 4-8-05 to 4-18-05 St. Vincent, Grenada, St. Lucia, Martinique, St. Thomas, Princess Cays Charles and Judy Crain - 47 and 50, engineer and ... Read More
Sun Princess 10-Day Eastern Caribbean C402 - Covered Balcony Traditional Dining Late Seating 4-8-05 to 4-18-05 St. Vincent, Grenada, St. Lucia, Martinique, St. Thomas, Princess Cays Charles and Judy Crain - 47 and 50, engineer and homemaker, respectively Western Caribbean (Star Princess) - 12/2004 Panama Canal - Partial Transit (Island Princess) - 1/2004 Mexican Riviera (Sea Princess) - 1/2002 Alaska (Ocean Princess) - 6/2001 OVERVIEW OF REVIEW: Since this was the last Caribbean cruise of the Sun for this season, a detailed day by day log would not be applicable. Instead I will concentrate on things that will probably not change on the Sun and that will be of interest to future cruisers on this or other itineraries. SUMMARY - THE HIGHLIGHTS: Overall, a very good cruise. Better than the Star in December, but then 10 days is better than 7 anytime, but still not quite as good as the Island in 1/2004. The highlight of the cruise was the CC people on board. From the meet and mingle during sail-away to debarkation at the Horizon Court we were running into people we knew from the sail-away. Embarkation was handled well. It only took 25 minutes from curb to get on board to our cabin. A new record. Debarkation was its usual madhouse, but it was customs fault, not Princess. Only one agent was collecting declarations forms. The ship is in excellent condition from top to bottom and stem to stern. She has held up well and yes a slight sewer smell was evident in certain places, but I think that was due to wind directions. After all, the black water tanks must be vented and eddy breezes can do strange things. Our Caribe deck balcony cabin had the smaller opening, but we also were up against a structural bulkhead so the wall forward was solid. This layout allowed for maximum protection from wind and rain and allowed us to keep the sliding door open every night of the cruise. Storage, while small, was adequate and even the shower was bigger than I remembered. Entertainment was hit and miss. Some comedians were good, other just ok. We didn't make any production shows. Island night was great, country night was hot. We never made it into shooting stars (disco). Just way to much to do and not enough time. Ports of call ranged from ok to wow. St. Vincent was pretty hectic when we arrived. Grenada still had major damage from the hurricanes. St. Lucia was very pretty and fun. Martinique had some surprises for us snorkelers, but St. Thomas was gorgeous for snorkeling and shopping. Food was good to very good, only a few things that were bad and a few things that were excellent (lobster tails for one), but well above average on the whole. Verdi's pizza was a great find for lunch and would have liked to try dinner, but we were having too much fun in the dining room. Service was overall excellent. Our cabin steward was very efficient and personable, our waiters, after the changeover, were full of energy and engaging, although somewhat too touchy or afraid of making a mistake - they needed to loosen up some more. NOW FOR THE DETAILS: HIGHLIGHTS OF THE CRUISE: The highlights of this cruise were the CC people on board and our two table mates for dinner. Cookie and Barry (61 and 68) will be married in September and this was their first cruise. It was great for Judy and I to contribute to their overall experience. They really enjoyed themselves and even when things weren't perfect, they still were awed by the overall experience. (A refreshing attitude that some more "experienced" cruisers forget when their martini is not quite dry enough!) The CC people were awesome and the experiences we had were way too much fun. From Smilin Bob's ascension to Mr. Sun Princess (and his dive certification as well) to gvre's gift to Judy of the official cruise critic hat (thanks again Richard and Deb), to the breaking of the 18 lobster tail record and to the many conversations, lunches and meals, traveling with a fellow group of NUTS is the only way to go. This was a much younger crowd than our previous 10-day cruise. Probably only about 10-15 kids on the whole ship, but the average age looked more in the 35-50 range, rather than the 50-60 range. EMBARKATION/DEBARKATION: The princess embarkation at Terminal 2 was almost flawless. Yes, two additional forms had to be filled out (Bahamas and noro screen), but no big deal. The only line at the door was the line due to passing out the two new forms. Once filled out, it was a 15 minute walk to our cabin. We arrived at the terminal at 12:25 and were in Verdi's pizza for lunch at 1:15. Debarkation was its usual hectic mess and looked pretty bad, but the main reason for the exit lines was the sole customs agent collecting the declaration forms instead of the normal two. All of those people channeling through one person. In spite of that, our color was called at 0945 and we were at the Frontier check in counter in the airport at 10:35. SHIP The Sun class remains our second favorite class - a very close second. The Coral class is our number one. (The additional deck on the Coral class that contains the explorer's lounge, Sabatini's and the Bayou cafe is the major difference.) The recent dry dock also involved a total change-out of the gym equipment, a large internet cafe, new carpet and fresh paint on everything that doesn't move. The ship is simply in great shape and she is still gorgeous. I think she looks better than Celebrity M-Class. The all white exterior just sparkles. CABIN We had a Caribe deck balcony cabin. The sun class balconies were an afterthought and were actually cut out of the hull plating. The Caribe deck openings are smaller than the ones on Baja and Aloha. This smaller opening allows much less wind and rain into the balcony and makes it much more private. This allowed us to keep the door open at night throughout the cruise. The Dolphin deck mini on the Island and the Baja balcony on the star allowed too much wind into the cabin if the door was left open. In addition, our Sun balcony cabin was near the front stairwell and low, just above the lifeboats. This meant the bow slicing through the waves made a sound like waves whispering onto a beach in your backyard. One of the most romantic sounds, but relaxing as well. We slept the best on this ship we have ever slept. We requested the egg crate mattress, based on tips from this board. It made a HUGE difference. I have never slept so well on a ship's mattress before. We also had the opportunity, thanks to Richard and Debbie (gvre), to tour the Sun class mini-suite. An awesome cabin to die for. Two cabins wide, with the corresponding double wide double door balcony, has one side (one cabin's worth) dedicated to a couch and entertainment and part of the walkthrough bathroom. The sleeping side (another cabin's worth) has a walk in closet and bathroom with Jacuzzi tub. They charge a lot more for a sun class mini than all of the other minis on the coral and the grand classes, but you get a whole lot more. ENTERTAINMENT The comedians will change throughout the next year and we did not go into any production shows, but the entertainment staff is top notch. Cruise Director Gavin will be gone soon, replaced by Trevor Bradford (he was on the island with us and is a great guy), but the activities planned are excellent. There is line dancing with Rachael, ballroom dancing with Mandy, pool games, trivia, putting contests, wooden horse racing and a host of other activities. We were never bored, unless we wanted to be. Country night started too early at 9:30. Late seating dinner did not get out until 10. Regardless, we joined in late and had a blast line dancing on the Riviera deck. The party pretty much petered out around 1100. Island night was a real blow out. Dancing, conga lines and the Mr. Sun Princess contest. After previously competing in a Mr. Sea Princess contest, I opted out, but ole Smilin Bob joined in and based on the cheers from the CC group and his friends we got him anointed. We had a 230 person conga line to close out the Sun Princess 2005 Caribbean season. PORTS OF CALL St. Vincent was a short stop. We only walked into town, no excursions, and looked around for a couple of hours. The vendors here were not too aggressive. We snorkeled in Grenada and gave the tour operator very poor marks. A lady slipped and fell on the deck of the catamaran and split her lip wide open. There was no first aid kit on board, nor was anyone trained in first aid. Our group included 5 nurses and they had to administer ice and a towel until we got her back to the ship. She might have had to have stitches, but we never found out. The snorkeling was good with a large variety of trumpet fish and coral. I got some great underwater shots and the tour would have scored much higher, but safety should have been a higher priority. In St. Lucia we did the pigeon island kayaking and then hiked to the top of Fort Rodney. On a clear day you can see Martinique. The kayaking was fun, but wet. We had the option of snorkeling or hiking. We hiked with a local guide who showed us a variety of nut and fruit trees everywhere we went. The view from the top was pretty awesome as well. In Martinique we snorkeled off a quaint little village with a topless beach. The view was pretty awe inspiring, both above and below the water line. We snorkeled with two schools of squid. I got some great underwater shots and video of the squid. Then we moved to the bat cave where you can snorkel into a cave with bats. Not recommended to snorkel too close to the guano zone, but you can definitely hear, see and smell them. We didn't go into town, but heard the shopping was pretty expensive. In St. Thomas, we shopped and BOBed. The shopping was very convenient and some things were reasonably priced, some bargains (booze mainly) and some prices much higher than the states. The little shopping mall is handy for last minute things not available on the ship. BOBing was pretty cool, but a once only deal for me. I'd rather scuba dive. Judy got a little claustrophobic in the helmet, so she didn't care for it. But the crew was a lot of fun. However, the fish life in the water, the water clarity and warmth rivaled Grand Cayman. Large jack fish, a 30" barracuda, sea turtles and a school of bait fish 100 yards long and 20-30' thick was just simply incredible. Snorkeling through this was great. Diving would have been awesome. BOB is a good compromise if you want to try something different. Princess Cays was simply lovely. A great way to end a cruise. Rather than snorkel, we beach combed to the north. You can actually go for quite a ways, probably several miles if you want. There are coral and sand beaches and small tidal pools to explore. The BBQ was great. Hamburgers, huge hot dogs, chicken, ribs, salads, what more can you ask? New sand has been brought in so the beaches are a little sparse. I would highly recommend water shoes while snorkeling or wading. DINING My philosophy on a cruise is to taste everything I can't pronounce. This cruise was no exception. I found out several interesting things on this cruise. By being on the Star in December, I know that the menus are identical across the fleet. What I didn't know is the latitude a ship's chef has in making the dishes. The tastes for the same menu items were totally different - except for the lobster. That was excellent and did taste the same. One specific example was the eggnog ice cream. On the Star the flavor was light and very good, on the sun the spices were heavier and overwhelming - same menu item totally different result. The cream soup's were the highlights for us. European style cream soups heavy with the vegetable's flavor (broccoli, asparagus) were all very good. The head waiters still cook pasta on Italian night, cherries jubilee on Continental (ne-French) night and other times as well. The pasta on Italian night was perfect, but the next night he tried smoked salmon over fettucini with a heavy cream sauce. The smoked salmon overwhelmed everything. The dish was simply too fishy for us. Verdi's pizza was a great find for lunch and would have liked to try dinner, but we were having too much fun in the dining room. Verdi's menu doesn't look too varied, but they will mix and match anything on the menu. Judy liked the vegetable pizza, but wanted meat on top, so she ordered double pepperoni on the veggie pizza. It was great. I stuck with the Calzones, which were fresh and very good. The buffet was fair, but not unexpected. It's a buffet for pete's sake! Unlike the Star and the Island, there were no special taste treats on the Sun. This repeated our experience on the Ocean Princess buffet on our first cruise as well. Remember though at 3:30, they have a 2 hour ice cream buffet line in the Horizon court. At 3:20 the sharks start circling, and by 3:29 they're looking for blood in the water. Lunch in the dining room was good. Service was a little impersonal, but efficient. Food was of better quality than in the buffet and there were some tasty bites here and there. Overall food was good to very good. Only the head waiter's pasta on Italian night would be categorized as fantastic/excellent, but then maybe the free bottle of wine helped. Only a few things were "bad". The beef Wellington tasted spoiled. The cut of prime rib was too dry - she thought I said well done and it was. The fruit tartett's in the buffet were a major disappointment. They were so good on the island and the star, but not good at all on a couple of days. But the good outweighed the bad by a long shot. SERVICE Service was overall excellent. Our cabin steward (Beethoven) was very efficient and personable. He did a great job and only missed ice once. We tipped him extra when we left the ship. Our waiter (Fernando) got hurt on the second day. He was proper, efficient, but stiff and formal, not very personable and hard to understand through the thick accent. Gabrielle, the asst waiter, took over and her new assistant (Kasha) stepped in. These two girls were full of energy and much more personable, still a little stiff and afraid to make a mistake, but the energy level at all three tables went up. We did tip them extra because they did contribute to a very enjoyable dining experience. So much so that when Barry offered to take us to Sterling for a dinner, we declined because we were having so much fun in the dining room. Francisco, the head waiter, was personable and a pretty good cook. On the second night, the maitre' de asked if we could move to the table near the window for 4, from our table for 6. We said no problem, and then Smilin Bob's group shows up to take over the table for 6. We then had this parade of people thanking us for moving a whole 3'. They were going to buy us champagne one night, but I already got a free bottle from our TA, so I negotiated a free bottle of wine for Italian night that was really good stuff. MISC STUFF Since this was Judy's b-day cruise, I ordered flowers and a bottle of Absolut. They were in our cabin when we arrived. The flowers were absolutely gorgeous. I also popped for a sea weed wrap and massage for her. I called it her sushi massage. She loved it. For workouts, Judy did cycling (spinning) and I basically ran on the ellipticals. The gym opens at 0600 so I was able to get in two workouts a day on sea days, one on port days and only missed 2 days on the whole cruise. No problem getting a machine whenever I showed up. Judy's spinning class did a sunset bike on the deck one evening which she really enjoyed. Read Less
Sail Date April 2005
We recently took our first cruise aboard the Sun Princess (celebrating our 25th Anniversary). We found the ship incredible and the staff phenomenal. The treatment we received was both sincere and professional and friendly well beyond our ... Read More
We recently took our first cruise aboard the Sun Princess (celebrating our 25th Anniversary). We found the ship incredible and the staff phenomenal. The treatment we received was both sincere and professional and friendly well beyond our imagination. Our first stop wasn't able to happen at Princess Cays due to the weather but they more than made up for the fact that mother nature was calling the shots. This cruise was something we had looked forward to for ages and was everything we had hoped it would be. Unfortunately on the cruise we received terrible news about a close family member that had been sick. While this changed our holiday, due to the graciousness and genuine concern of the staff everywhere along the way they helped to ensure that our needs were taken care of and were always willing to make suggestions and to open not only their phone lines for us to use, but their hearts to us. The one day we received a knock on the door and were told it was room service with a plate filled with chocolate covered strawberries and a nice note from the pursers desk. We can't wait to make arrangements to book our next cruise and hope it will be on the Sun Princess and many of the same crew will be there. We were also fortunate to be at a sitting in the dining room with extremely friendly and fun couples. We thoroughly enjoyed dining with them. Everyone always had a positive comment to say about their day. The dining staff we had were so much fun, they were certainly part of the whole experience. Our room steward was the cutest and sweetest person. We were always so pleased when we opened our door and saw her there working hard as always, and always with a smile and friendly word. We were also amazed at the bartenders and how, regardless of how many times we switched our drinks they always remembered and also took the time to ask us about our day and make us feel welcome. The Entertainment was great, and the cruise director and his staff were incredible. As you can tell we will be cruising again! Read Less
Sail Date March 2005
We were pleasantly surprised at how much we enjoyed the Princess line. We have cruised 6 times before and have tried Holland and Celebrity. Princess is right up there with them both. Embarkation was quick and organized. Our cabin ... Read More
We were pleasantly surprised at how much we enjoyed the Princess line. We have cruised 6 times before and have tried Holland and Celebrity. Princess is right up there with them both. Embarkation was quick and organized. Our cabin was ready even though we arrived on the ship by noon. This was our first time with a balcony and we thought our room would be smaller. There was plenty of room to unpack all of our clothes. I loved the layout of the ship, especially the pools. You were always able to find a chair somewhere. I liked the atrium. It was very well laid out and was used for certain events.  The entertainment was fabulous. The shows put on by the dancers and singers were excellent. The lounge acts were good, too. The food was very good in the dining room and the service was great. I was amazed at the selection of different veggies they served with the main courses. If we wanted something we only had to ask and we got it. The food in the Horizon Court was good. However I found the desserts tended to have a lot of marzipan in them.  I like almond, but a little too much was used too often. The cruise director, Dan, was fabulous. He had a morning show called "The Morning Zoo," which was very entertaining. He did a one-may show which was great. The hotel manager and head chef were also very entertaining. I enjoyed most of the ports of call. We arrived at Martinique on a Sunday and we found the only thing open was the Straw Market. We were quoted a $30 a person return to get a taxi to the beach. Very expensive island. I loved Princess Cays with its white sand and crystal blue water. It was like a big beach party. I could have stayed there for a week. I will definitely be cruising again on Princess. It gets an A + from us. Read Less
Sail Date February 2005
Review of Sun Princess Eastern Caribbean Cruise 27 Feb to 9 Mar 2005 After a 6-hour drive we arrived at Berth 29 at Fort Lauderdale. There is no car parking at this berth so I had to drop off my wife, a friend and our baggage and drive ... Read More
Review of Sun Princess Eastern Caribbean Cruise 27 Feb to 9 Mar 2005 After a 6-hour drive we arrived at Berth 29 at Fort Lauderdale. There is no car parking at this berth so I had to drop off my wife, a friend and our baggage and drive to the Midport Parking Garage and take the free shuttle back. So it was 1pm before we joined the check in line. After a delay to fill in a Bahamas landing card that we ultimately never used because our call at Princess Cays was abandoned because of rough seas, we checked in and were on the Sun Princess by 1.30pm. After a leisurely lunch in the buffet we explored the ship until it was time for lifeboat drill and the sail away party on deck. We had interior cabins on Caribe Deck 9, my wife and I in C415 and our friend in C419. The cabins, while smaller than we have had on Holland America, were adequate for a 10-night cruise and were clean and in excellent condition with pleasantly light decoration and soft furnishings. We had booked for early traditional dining and were allocated Table 169 in the Regency Dining Room. It was a table for 6 and we had three delightful dinner companions. Our waiter Cris from Grenada and his assistant Homer from the Philippines were models of friendly efficiency. The food in the dining room was better than we remember from our Princess cruise to Alaska in 2003 and better than either of our recent Holland America cruises, though not up to Celebrity standards. We only had dinner in the dining room, as we prefer the flexibility of the buffet for breakfast and lunch. The buffet choice though was not up to Holland America standards, e.g. you could not get a sandwich for lunch or pizza by the slice other than on one day and the cold table meat and fish selection was poorer. An atrium spans decks 5 to 8. Deck 5, the lowest has the Marquis dining room and purser and tour desks. Deck 6 has the Regency dining room, and the duty free shops. Promenade Deck 7 has the Princess Theater at the bow, then the Wheelhouse Bar followed by an Atrium lounge with a bar and small dance floor where Glenn Radcliffe, a very talented keyboard vocalist sang romantic American songbook music from 9pm each night. This was our favorite after show spot. Towards the stern from the Atrium is another bar, the disco, photo gallery, library and Internet cafe, plus the Vista show lounge. The promenade has nice teak padded steamer loungers for a quiet spot either in port or at sea if the wind is not too blustery. Deck 8 contains the Casino and the Verdi Cafe that serves pizzas cooked to order but without any accompaniments such as salad. The remaining public facilities are on Riviera deck 12, which has three pools, the gym and beauty parlor and children's area. Lido deck 14 has the Horizon Court buffet at the front of the ship with three sided panoramic windows providing excellent views while you eat. Part of the buffet on the starboard side was roped off each evening for the a la carte Sterling Steakhouse at a supplementary charge of $15 per person. The terrace grill serving hot dogs, etc. at lunchtime is outside the Horizon Court overlooking the pool one deck below. Sun Deck 15 over the Horizon Court offers more sun bathing area with another splash pool. Despite the ship carrying slightly more than 100 passengers over its 1,950 two lower berth passenger complement the ship felt spacious and we were always able to find sun loungers or a seat in the bars. Only getting a seat for a show proved to be a challenge as the shows were so popular. We had four production shows: Curtain Up, C'est Magnifique, Tribute and Piano Man. All were enjoyable, but we felt the first two were definitely the best. Other entertainers included an exceptionally good vocalist Darren Lynton, a politically incorrect comedian Philadelphia, a ventriloquist Dan Horn, a magician Garry Carlson (who we did not see), comedy juggler David Deeble and musician/comedian Bayne Bacon. We chose this cruise because a number of the ports were new to us. The first stop after two days at sea was an afternoon in St Vincent. We chose to take a taxi to Fort Charlotte overlooking Kingstown that also gave us a tour of the town. We felt it is a friendly commercially undeveloped island. The next day was Grenada. It is nine years since we vacationed on the island and we were sad to see how much hurricane damage the island suffered. We took a ships half-day tour with a very friendly and informative taxi driver who showed us around St George's and a rum distillery where we bought a delicious bottle of Grenada Spiced Rum Liqueur before we enjoyed an hour on Grand Anse Beach. St Lucia was new to us. The attractive cruise terminal shopping center and the town of Castries was interesting. We took a ships tour that took us to an old mansion providing spectacular views of the harbor, then on to Marigot Bay. We then passed through Anse La-Raye, a small fishing village that vividly demonstrated how poorer St Lucian's live, on our way to an old Sugar Mill with a botanical garden. The tour whetted our appetite to return and see more of this pretty island, and also made us appreciate how long it takes to get anywhere on the narrow, winding, hilly roads. Martinique struck us as being just like any large French seaside town, so very untypical Caribbean! We nevertheless enjoyed a ships tour to St Pierre, the village that was totally destroyed in a volcanic eruption in 1902 killing all but one of its 30,000 residents. Then on to the Depaz rum distillery for an interesting factory tour and rum tasting before heading back inland via Balata on roads so narrow, winding and hilly (with precipitous drops) that we sometimes thought our full-sized coach would be unable to make it. Our old friend St Thomas was our next port. This time we just explored the stores in Havensight Mall before taking a taxi to spend the rest of the day on the beach at Magens Bay. As mentioned earlier what would have been our first visit to Princess Cays was canceled because of a tall swell that Captain William Kent decided was too dangerous for tendering. So we had a day at sea instead. Disembarking at Fort Lauderdale's Terminal 2 was the fastest and smoothest we have ever experienced at a US port. We had just sat down to breakfast at 8.30am when the first group was called. We disembarked at 9.15am and despite having to get the shuttle to fetch our car, we were loaded up and on the road home by 9.50am. Gratuities had been automatically charged to our cabin account at $10 per person per day which we are happy with, and it had been charged to our credit card so there had been no hassle finalizing matters. In summary we had an enjoyable cruise on a beautiful, spacious, relaxed and comfortable ship. We prefer the decor on Princess ships to Holland America, and the Princess dining room food was better, but Holland America has a better buffet and much more spacious cabins. If only you could combine the best of each! Our next two cruises are on Celebrity so it will be interesting to see if our previous experience of Celebrity still sets them apart from Princess and Holland America, though we would choose any of them for a particular itinerary. Read Less
Sail Date February 2005
Third cruise on Princess Lines, first on the Sun Princess. Boarding: No problem except had to fill out 2 forms while waiting on line to board. Cabin: Had a cabin with balcony, worth the extra cost. Room was in excellent condition, ... Read More
Third cruise on Princess Lines, first on the Sun Princess. Boarding: No problem except had to fill out 2 forms while waiting on line to board. Cabin: Had a cabin with balcony, worth the extra cost. Room was in excellent condition, plenty of storage room, in room safe for valuables (no charge), shower larger than on RC Explorer series vessels. Small size TV screen, in room refrigerator. Steward excellent, room made up in a timely manner. Dining: Found most meals of good/excellent quality (can't please everyone). Opted for 2nd seating (8:15 p.m.) and first two days service was slow. Finished a little after 10:00 p.m. and late show starts 10:15 p.m. On two occasions skipped coffee and dessert in order to make show. Service faster after 3rd day. Ate in the Steakhouse ($15.00 per person). Had rib eye steak with works. Found the meal to be excellent, service excellent. Noted comments by others about "paying for ice cream." You can go to Horizon Court at 3:30 p.m. and get all the ice cream and toppings you want.... at no cost. Entertainment: Found entertainment to be good to excellent. Crew performers and band performed well...."good selections." Best act was from Dan (?) Horn a ventriloquist.....made you laughed....superb act. Mandy gave dance lessons...learned 3 different dance steps. Terrific gal! Departure: Princess asked that bags be placed out side of cabin door by 8:30 p.m.....steward said OK to place out by 11:30 p.m. Did that. Used cab instead of shipboard transfers. Cheaper and faster. Transfer costs $10.00 per person plus you have to wait till bus filled before it departs. Cab cost $12.00 for two to airport and leave when "you get in." Tours: Took two...cancelled one. Found that you can do better by joining another couple and hiring a local cab. Read Less
Sail Date February 2005
Let's start off with something positive....the staff. With only one exception (the person that SELLS ice cream to you, but "can't mix flavors"), the service was great. I couldn't have expected better service on a ... Read More
Let's start off with something positive....the staff. With only one exception (the person that SELLS ice cream to you, but "can't mix flavors"), the service was great. I couldn't have expected better service on a higher priced cruise. HOWEVER...This is the first cruise that all of the 66 people in our party thought the food left something to be desired. (I am putting it nicely.) Some I am sure LOST weight on this cruise. They shouldn't serve "succulent shrimp cocktails," 'cause they "ain't". They are small ridiculous excuses for shrimp. Actually, it is appropriate to call their shrimp "shrimps." They are. The cabins are VERY compact, and the "balcony" is smaller than a fire escape . A passenger joked that the room was sooo small that he had to leave it to change his mind. The WORST part of the trip for me however was THE STENCH up in the Horizon Buffet area. Evidently it is an ongoing problem since it has been noted months ago on other reviews and still exists. It's a week later, and I still can smell the sewerage. VILE. Also, the library is open just a few hours a day (I don't know why they even bother). Having been on the Star Princess two years ago, the SUN was a big disappointment and I imagine that this was my/our last trip with them. OK... I warned you. Beware Read Less
Sail Date February 2005
Sun Princess cruise sailing 2/17/05. Embarkation: Very smooth and easy. We arrived at the port, checked our luggage with the porters and were inside the terminal within 5 minutes. After a brief line to fill out Bahamas paperwork, we were ... Read More
Sun Princess cruise sailing 2/17/05. Embarkation: Very smooth and easy. We arrived at the port, checked our luggage with the porters and were inside the terminal within 5 minutes. After a brief line to fill out Bahamas paperwork, we were in the check-in gate and onboard in another 5 minutes. Room Accommodations: Ours wasn't the greatest. We booked late and got a good deal on an outside, obstructed room. D605, located 3 rooms down from the casino. We were afraid there would be noise or smoke but didn't seem to have a problem. We did have a tender hanging in our window that obstructed our view and seemed to be a place where the mechanical staff did a lot of there work? The tender was down while in port at Princess Cays and gave us a nice view but they made a lot of noise and spent a lot of time up against our window in the process. I think next time we will book earlier and or pay more for a better room. We normally have a balcony rooms so this was a first for us to try. **We started this cruise off by visiting with Cruise Critic friends on line prior to sailing and making arrangements to meet on deck for a sail- away drink and celebration. This made our cruise special and all of us seemed to hit it off from the very start. We agreed to meet for dinner that night and managed to arrange some of our excursions and other dinners together. We all had a great time together while meeting other interesting people on the ship.** Ports of Call: We especially enjoyed the ports of call on this 10-day itinerary. Our first stop was Princess Cays, where the beach and ocean are beautiful and enjoyed by all. Our favorite port was Antigua where we pre-scheduled a tour with Lawrence of Antigua. We found it to be a very good tour with the land tour in the morning and a beach stop in the afternoon. This is one trip we would do again for the $35 we paid. Lawrence was a great guide and made sure we got to see all that we wanted. Another excursion we took and enjoyed was the St. Kitts sail away and snorkel. The staff on this beautiful catamaran was delightful and kept the drinks flowing. They made sure we all joined in on the fun. What a fun day! We visited Sapphire Beach in St. Thomas, Orient Beach in St Maarten and sailed on the Jolly Roger in Barbados. Service and Food on the Sun: I would have to rate the food exceptional for the entire cruise. Service was good but there is always room for improvement. We enjoy the personal choice dining so that we are not tied to any kind of time schedule. There was a great Italian pizzeria called Verdes that is a very nice alternative to the dining room at no extra charge. The 24-hour Horizon Court has a great menu for the evening dinner as well. Entertainment: Since we were in port on most days, (7 out of 10) we didn't really look for much to do during the day. The night entertainment was great! There were 4 dance review performances with the Princess Dancers/Singers and they were fantastic! They performed a new show on our cruise and it was definitely one to be enjoyed by all ages. It was called "Piano Man." There were comedians, movies, singers, and dancing in the Wheelhouse Bar, with enough staff entertainment throughout the cruise to keep everyone amused during the evening. Another night of fun is Island Night. They set up a beautiful buffet and play calypso music to get the mood going. Of course the Electric Slide, and Conga lines are encouraged. Then to set the party off, there are streamers and lays handed out to the guests. The days at sea on this cruise were great for resting after such a vigorous itinerary with games at the pool, line dancing and ball room dance classes, bingo, horse races, and a great tour of the Galley to see where and how all that food is prepared. I would rate this cruise very high. We enjoyed every minute and understand why many of the Sun's passengers take repeat cruises. If you plan to sail on this beautiful ship and would like more information, feel free to email us at lewisbunch@msn.com . We would be more than happy to try and answer any questions you might have about this ship. Read Less
Sail Date February 2005
I'm 25 years old and went on this cruise with my family on Sun Princess the Jan 8-18, 2005. The ship looks great still for being 10 years old. Food was not that good in the dining room. The buffet was pretty good. Most of the crew ... Read More
I'm 25 years old and went on this cruise with my family on Sun Princess the Jan 8-18, 2005. The ship looks great still for being 10 years old. Food was not that good in the dining room. The buffet was pretty good. Most of the crew were not too nice. The Anytime Dining was not good. The service was very bad. We had waiters refusing to let our steaks be well done, we had another waiter pressuring us to get alcoholic drinks after saying no twice then got a snotty remark back. The hot dog guy at the Terrace grill was very rude. The first day my sister asked if she could get Sauerkraut on her hot dog and he jumped at her and said in a mean sarcastic voice "yes miss!" Our ship did have people sick with the Norwalk Virus. The first day was fine, but the 2nd day of the cruise we could not serve ourselves at the buffet. We could not even touch the salt and pepper or the Sweet 'n Low for our ice teas. Later that day we got a letter in our room informing us that some passengers have the Norwalk virus and explained how to prevent it. The Captain also talked about it the next day. It was pretty bad on the ship. The crew was pissed off since they had to do everything for us. It was a big pain not being able to touch anything. Three days into the cruise the cabin across from us got the Norwalk and workers would come in everyday in special protection suits with masks and clean and spray the rooms down. They did that every day. Also, the entire ship was always being sprayed with some kind of spray. The cabin next to us also got the Norwalk virus and you could hear them flushing the toilet 50 times a day for at least 4 days. We had 4 cabins just in our area with Norwalk virus. The cabin that had it bad next to us was B224 and B207. In the buffet area, you had to wait a long time for a table until it was sanitized. There was not enough help since the crew had to get everything for us. Sometimes you would wait 4 minutes for an ice tea. They also shut down one side for the buffet since there was not much help. So you had longer lines. My sister heard that if someone vomited in a certain area, that they would quarantine the entire area and everyone inside. So if that happened around us, we would run out like hell. The cabin next to us was not able to go out at all since they had the virus. We saw a lot of doctors going into people rooms so when we saw that we would run away. Not too many people knew what was going on. Or the crew was trying to keep it a secret. A lot of crew members were very rude and treated us like all of us had the plague. I really did not care for this cruise. I did try to make the best of it. I've been on Princess 8 times now and now I don't know if I really want to sail on them anymore. Not because of the Norwalk, but because the service was terrible everywhere and just had a lot of rude workers. The two new girls up in the buffet area were the only nice ones and the dinning room service was so bad that I only went there three times. Something is wrong with Princess -- they are really starting to go down hill. I'm not hard to please but this service was pathetic. The pizza place was very good. And the service was better there than at the dining room so all of us went there 6 times. The pay steak house was pretty good. The charge is $15 per person. It's worth going to at least once. It use to be a lot better but it's still pretty good. The last day of the cruise, my sister asked one the of Purser desk workers if they knew how many people were affected. They did not know how many, but they did say that it was started by a group of passengers that had the Norwalk virus on another ship the week before they came on ours and lied about that they did not have any Norwalk problems before coming on the Sun Princess. So now I know that at least 89 passengers were sick. I felt so sorry for the people in the cabin next to us for all their bathroom problems. It was their first time on Princess and they get the Norwalk virus. We had high waves most of the trip. The waves were higher than the life boat deck. We had 13 to 14 foot waves on 4 days of the trip. We were flying at times. That was fun! I was in B216 way in the front so we really felt the ship moving. The ship is great. Nice and clean. You would not even know that it's old. The food needs major improvement and the service needs help. I can take bad food, but what ruined my cruise was the workers being very rude. Hopefully it was just this cruise. Maybe we had a lot of new workers and they were still learning. I have been on Princess 8 times and they always been great. The Sun Princess last year was awesome. I don't know how this ship can go from awesome to terrible within a year? I have been on Cruise West twice -- an all American crew so I can put up with bad service, but this was ridicules. Maybe this cruise everyone just woke up on the wrong side of the bed? Even when I was on the Statendam it was struck by a barge that put a big hole in the side of the ship and lost an engine that brought us in a day and half late, the service was still awesome. With all the bad things said, the good things was going to the nice beaches. If you go to Antigua, Deep Bay Beach is really nice. It's on a nice hotel and you have no beggars or people bugging you. The taxi was only $13 one way for all 4 of us. The town itself sucks, but the beaches are very nice. I'm very nervous to go back on Princess. I just like Princess because I get free Internet. I'm going to try Celebrity Cruise Lines to see how they are. I heard very good things about them. I'm 25 years old and I'm just afraid I may not fit in with Celebrity. But, I like Holland America. If you go on the Sun, hopefully they will improve by the time you go one them. I really can't tell you how it will be, but Princess use to be good. I still will go on Princess but will not spend much money to go on them. Don't be afraid of my review because it may be just my cruise. Make sure you read current reviews of the Sun before deciding to go on it. I don't want you to be afraid to go on the Sun. The Sun Princess is the perfect size and really is a cool ship. I just hope that it was my cruise that was bad. Read Less
Sail Date January 2005
SUN PRINCESS January 28 - Feb. 7, 2005 B742 - CAT BD I can't explain it. The anticipation of a cruise is always the same. Maybe it's all the great people we meet beforehand and look forward to cruising with. Maybe it's the ... Read More
SUN PRINCESS January 28 - Feb. 7, 2005 B742 - CAT BD I can't explain it. The anticipation of a cruise is always the same. Maybe it's all the great people we meet beforehand and look forward to cruising with. Maybe it's the thought of another adventure away from work and ringing phones. Whatever it is, it's always the same. We book our cruises far in advance. I have to have another one to look forward to before departing from the ship I'm on. We booked this cruise in March of 2004. That gave us 10 months to look forward to it. We were not disappointed. We departed for Ft. Lauderdale a day before boarding (we always do this now since we almost missed a ship about ten years ago). We arrived on-time at 7:15 p.m. and were picked up at the airport by our cruising friends that sail with us every winter. We immediately made a path for our favorite Italian restaurant -- Il Mulino on Sunrise -- for dinner. Great food for a very reasonable price. We had to get our eating routine off to a good start. We stay at a little hotel a block from the beach in Ft. Lauderdale that we have used for years -- TropiRock. Great little place owned and run by a wonderful couple -- Mick & Patty. We were up early on Friday and drove to the Floridian for breakfast .... they are open 24 hrs and served a terrific breakfast. Then we were off to the ship. We dropped the luggage off at the pier and then Andy (my husband) and our friend Jim ran the car back to the airport. They returned in less than 30 minutes. EMBARKATION -- When we arrived at the pier (around 11:15) the doors had not been opened yet to passengers. By 11:30, they began accepting passengers. As you enter, you are handed two forms -- one for Bahamas immigration and the other a Health Statement form (saying you currently are not suffering from viruses -- that you know of). You need to complete these forms before they will allow you to go through security and reach the check-in area. We did experience a problem at this point. Emery (our other friend) and I completed all of the forms while Andy & Jim returned the car. Emery is a Canadian citizen. As we walked in the door, they directed U.S. citizens one way and all non-U.S. citizens to queue in a separate line. The three of us (Andy, Jim & I) proceeding through security in seconds. Andy & I proceeded to check-in (no line) and had our shipboard cards within five minutes. However, Emery was still being held in a line outside of security for non-U.S. citizens and the line hadn't moved. After another ten minutes passed and the line was still stationary, I walked back to the check-in clerk that assisted us. He attempted to find a supervisor to find out what was going on. Another ten minutes passed -- no line movement, no supervisor. Back to the counter and another request for assistance. No one had any idea why non-U.S. citizens were being held. Finally, after about 35 - 40 minutes a woman who appeared to be a supervisor walked to the front of the line and spoke to the Princess representatives near the front door. Immediately, the line began to move and Emery was through security within the next ten minutes. No one was ever told why they were being held. I think that perhaps the person at the door may have been misinformed about what they were supposed to do. They were supposed to ensure everyone had their forms filled out before going through security, but there was no specific reason or anything special they were requiring from foreign citizens. Very odd. Once on board, we did our regular routine. Dropped off our carry-ons in our stateroom (we always carry on a change of clothing, our swimsuit and valuables just in case the luggage doesn't make it -- it does happen) and began exploring. We start at the top of the ship and work our way down. Massage appointments were made, lunch in the Horizon Court (very good) and getting familiar with where things are located. It felt great to be back on a ship. Life boat drill was at 4:30 and Princess probably does this better than anyone else (anyone that we've sailed with anyway). Their muster stations are all inside in lounges and theaters. They ask you NOT to put your life jacket on but to carry it with you to your muster station. I've always thought it was dangerous to have people put their jackets on while they are walking down stairs and the other lines we've sailed with make you do this. Before going any further, I feel the need to remind everyone (this is going to sound silly) that when on a cruise you are on a moving vessel. You are going to feel movement. Sometimes little or no movement; sometimes, when the seas are rough, a lot of movement. I told you this reminder probably seems silly, but I was amazed (I always am) at the number of people complaining that they could feel movement. Granted, this cruise has rougher seas than the average, but when you choose to cruise, you need to understand that movement is a possibility.  OK, back to the review ..... after the life boat drill, we had scheduled a 5:00 p.m. sailaway for all of the Cruise Critic members on our roll call. We planned to meet at the Riviera Pool bar on deck and it was great to finally meet everyone. We had been chatting for months, looking forward to this cruise together. It's great to report that everyone who participated in our pre-cruise roll call surveys showed up for the sailaway. It's also nice to report that we saw and enjoyed the company of many of our fellow Cruise Critic passengers all cruise long. Good news, our luggage arrived in our room prior to the boat drill and we were unpacked by 4:00 p.m. Great luggage delivery service. Our cabin attendant, Zaldy, even put our luggage inside our cabin for us .... a nice touch as all the other luggage up the hallway (a different cabin attendant) remained in the hallway waiting for their owners. As soon as we left the harbor in Ft. Lauderdale, we could tell that we were in for rough seas. Personally, I enjoy a little movement. For me it's part of the enjoyment of being on the seas. However, I realize many others do not enjoy it. Even though the seas were rough, I'd say most people showed up for dinner in the dining room the first night. We were seated at a table for ten and only one our of tablemates skipped dinner due to not feeling well. Her husband asked for some dinner rolls and crackers to take back to her and our waiter kindly wrapped some in foil for him. One note of advice -- don't remain in your cabin when you aren't feeling well due to rough seas. Get out on deck. Sit in a chair on the Promenade. Get fresh air. The confinement of your cabin makes it worse, not better. Overall, our cruise was off to a great start. From this point, I'm going to give you a breakdown of different things I think people like to know about in a review. CONDITION OF THE SHIP -- For being ten years old (we sailed Sun Princess in her inaugural year), we thought she was in great condition. Sure, there were spots you could tell some wear and tear, but having sailed Golden Princess just seven months ago, the Sun was in far better condition than the Golden was and the Golden is a much newer ship. I realize a lot factors into a ship's condition -- last dry dock and refurbish, etc. The Sun was very clean, very comfortable and condition wise we had no complaints. The pool deck has several types of deck chairs (hard to describe here) but we like the oldest one that have removable pads best and the ones that have self-canvas type materials the least (they just don't sit up straight enough for me to be comfortable). The area at the back of the ship, with a round aft pool and three hot tubs, was our preferred spot for reading and relaxation. We sat at the main pool once. Can't address the chair hog situation because we intentionally no longer head to the main pool at peak times. It's not worth the hassles. Besides, the weather on this cruise was not the sunniest or the warmest so being poolside wasn't at the top of list of things to do each day. CABIN - B742 CAT BD -- Our cabin was fine. It was probably one of the smallest cabins we've ever had but how much room do you need for two people? There was more than enough drawer and closet space for our clothing and the luggage easily slid under the bed for storage. The bathroom was pretty small as well but I liked the shower head a lot (I know that may sound strange but it had variable types of spray and the water pressure was great). We had a small desk area with a stool that fit under the desk and a chair next to the cabinet that held a small TV in the corner of the cabin next to the door of the veranda. The desk did not have a center drawer which would have been nice to store all those receipts that you sign during the cruise. I like to keep them together in order to check our bill on the last night. Our veranda was tiny. It barely had enough room for a small round table (maybe 24 inches wide) and two small plastic chairs. It didn't make for a great place to sit and read as the chairs weren't meant to sit in for more than a short period of time. But still, having the option of stepping out onto the veranda to watch the world go by is wonderful even if there wasn't much space for anything else. I should add that we opted to take a "downgrade." We'd never had this offered before but the ship was oversold and needed CAT BBs (our original booking). We were offered $150 to move to a lower category and it was actually the room type we wanted to begin with -- a balcony cabin aft. So we took it. Paid for a massage ;-). FOOD -- I'll start by saying food quality is probably the most subjective thing you can discuss and everyone's tastes are different. But for us, we thought the food was very good to excellent. Main Dining Room -- We enjoy traditional, late dining at a large table. We were seated with our friends, Jim and Emery, and three other couples. We had a great time all week long. For us, part of the fun of cruising is meeting new people and having the chance to catch up with them each evening. Our meals here were consistently terrific. I'm a pasta lover and in days gone by, Princess used to do a pasta course between the soup/salad course and the main entrEe. Now there is a pasta entrEe each night as one of the five or six entrEe choices. I asked, and was happily accommodated, a small serving of pasta in place of my salad each evening. Several were outstanding, some were average, but it was very nice that they happily accommodated the request. Beef was consistently good and properly cooked to order. Side dishes were good and desserts were outstanding. The second formal night was lobster night and for the past several cruises, we've found lobster to be so-so .... somewhat rubbery. We were therefore going to choose the Beef Wellington until we ran into another Cruise Critic member who had just come from personal choice dining. She told us that the lobster tails were wonderful. So we gave it a shot. We each ordered the Beef Wellington and then one lobster entrEe to share. It was perfect! The lobster was by far the best we've ever had on a cruise. They serve two tails on each plate. Everyone at our table (except the four of us cruising together) had four tails each. Horizon Court -- The food in this buffet area was good. Basic fare. We ate breakfast here most mornings and other than the pancakes (which were like cardboard), we enjoyed our breakfasts. There is an eggs made to order station at the end of the buffet line. The make great omelets and eggs back here. Now that they limit access to the buffet area due to health concerns (they station a crew member at the beginning of the line and make you use the hand disinfectant before entering and they do not allow you to return to the buffet area unless you go back to the entrance and get another shot of the disinfectant), this isn't really a "user" friendly area. I appreciate the health concerns and their enforcement but if you forget something once you get to your table (say something like butter or juice) you can't just walk but up near the exit and pick the item up even though you just went through the line. Plus the staff in the Horizon Court that keeps this area clean (picking up dishes and cleaning tables) was somewhat lax, kind of defeating the purpose of the cleanliness efforts in the line itself. I even witnessed several crew members giving supervisors a hard time two or three times when they were asked to clean tables (this was the only odd crew thing I saw all cruise long). We had lunch here several times and it was good. Pretty typical stuff. They did have some specialty lunches in here at the back (actually the front of the ship) of the restaurant -- Mexican one day; Sushi another -- but we didn't try them. This was also the location where they served "Free" ice cream each afternoon from 3:30 - 4:30 along with a variety of sandwiches and foccacia pizza. They were all great. I can't quite understand why they don't offer their ice cream all the time (you can get it on the menu in the dining room for lunch but that's it except for 3:30 - 4:30 in the afternoon). My guess is they want you to buy the Haagen Das on the pool deck. That's a shame .... the ships' ice cream is REALLY good. Who needs the Haagen Das! Sterling Steakhouse -- At 5:00 p.m., they turn one half of the Horizon Court into the Sterling Steakhouse. We tried it one evening about half way through the cruise. Six of us made a reservation and had a great evening. The food was excellent (I especially loved the creamed corn casserole served in a little pastry cup ... delicious). Steaks were very good, the ambience was delightful considering we were in the Horizon Court (it's very nice, lit by candles at night) and we had a great evening. Outdoor Grille -- This is an area on the upper pool deck where you can get hot dogs, hamburgers, cheeseburgers, chicken sandwiches and brats or metts. We ate here about three times. Our first day at sea we chose to have cheeseburgers. They were pre-cooked but put back on the grille for heating and melting the cheese. They were probably the best burger I've had on a ship. The second time we ate lunch here a couple of days later, it was the exact opposite. The line was extremely long (note -- this was a two-sided grille but they only ever opened one side of it throughout the cruise -- more on that later) and one would think that would mean better food because they were turning the food out more often but that wasn't the case. The two cooks working the grille were less than pleasant (because of the line I suppose) and both of our burgers were burnt and not edible. It was odd because it was so opposite of the first burgers we had. We opted to go to the Horizon Court for food. Our final lunch at the grille was good. I went for the chicken sandwich and Andy went for one of the sausages. Both were good. We did try to eat here again upon returning from Princess Cays as we missed the BBQ lunch on the beach but unfortunately, they decided to close the Grille early (it was closed by 4:15 for some reason while the posted closing time was 5:00 p.m.) so we skipped eating at that point. Verdi's Pizzeria -- The best pizza at sea -- hands down (out of the other lines we've sailed -- Celebrity, RCI and Norwegian). At lunch they serve pizza and calzones. This is a sit-down restaurant where you have to be seated, order and eat there. It states that there is no carry-out or room service for pizza -- which is a shame. It would be really nice to stop here, get a piece of pizza and go sit by the pool. However, pizzas are individual and family sized and made to order -- no pizza by the slice (like they had on the Crown and Regal Princess). Still -- the pizza is awesome and far surpasses the pizza on other cruise lines. In the evening, they also serve pasta here (we didn't try it, however). Note ~ Verdi's is closed each day from 4:00 - 6:00 p.m. Room Service -- We used room service for breakfast on the veranda a couple of times. The delivery was prompt and the food was fine. We only ordered coffee and Danish so it was pretty tough not to be good. The best part of course is sitting on the veranda to enjoy the breakfast. ;-) Drinks -- I think the drink prices on Princess tend to be more reasonable than Celebrity or RCI. Most cocktails were in the $4 - $5 range. That's less than any drink we had on RCI last year. Bottles of wine are reasonable and of course if you drink a lot of soda, the soda cards are a good deal. SERVICE -- We had great service for the most part. Sometimes I think service has a lot to do with how we (the passengers) treat the crew. I know many people will say that shouldn't matter. I'm a believer that if we treat people with respect and are pleasant, they will go above and beyond for you where service is concerned. I felt that way on this cruise. We do not pre-tip any staff. But we are pleasant and cordial and try to show appreciation for their hard work from the time we step on board. We do this by smiling, saying hello, asking the crew how their day is going. We try to treat fellow passengers the same way, too. Ultimately, it makes for a fun and enjoyable cruise for all of us. Our cabin attendant, Zaldy was outstanding. Always pleasant, always responded quickly the one or two times we asked for something and he kept our room neat and clean. Our main dining room experience was unique. I came to the conclusion (this is my own opinion) that Princess is using the Sun (and probably the other Sun class ships) as training grounds for new crew. I strongly felt this way about the wait staff on this ship. We were seated at a table for ten. The first evening, only nine of us were there due to rough seas. Our waiter came to the table and handed out menus. He never introduced himself or his assistant. We thought this was very odd as this is usually the first thing the waiters do on the first evening. Service was very, very slow on the first evening. We were seated at 8:15 and it was after 10:30 before we left the dining room. Neither our waiter nor the assistant were outgoing the first night. The second night was pretty much the same. Our tablemates were getting very impatient and complained to the maitre d' before leaving for the evening. On the third evening, we had the maitre d' and two head waiters virtually standing next to our table. It was actually rather uncomfortable. I'm sure it didn't make our waiters feel better and probably made them more nervous. However, the service speed picked up considerably and things seemed to move along the rest of the cruise. About mid-way through the cruise, it dawned on me that I think our waiter did not understand English very well and that perhaps he had some difficulty in taking the dinner orders ... for example, you couldn't just say what you wanted to order, you pretty much had to point it out on the menu. I think some of the distance we felt from him was perhaps some insecurity about communication. I really thought he was a nice person but hadn't been well trained to this point. Our assistant waiter was terrific. He warmed up to everyone and was the type of waiter we were used to .... Friendly, fun, accommodating. By the end of the cruise, we felt like our assistant was more like our waiter. In talking with many of the crew, this was their first contract on a ship. We met far more crew who were new than on any previous cruise. All were wonderful but it leads me to believe that the older Princess ships are now being used to train new staff. This isn't a bad thing, it just shows at certain times. An exception to this was the cruise staff that had a pretty long tenure on ships. ENTERTAINMENT -- This cruise wasn't very memorable in the entertainment department. I saw one production show (on the second to last night) and it was very good and on an earlier evening, a comedian was very good but other than that, nothing special. Others said the ventriloquist one night was great but we didn't make it out of dinner quick enough to catch the show. A couple additional shows we attended weren't great and we didn't stay. Lounge entertainment was so - so. Phoenix Rising in the Wheelhouse was good but too loud for before dinner drinks. The piano player/singer in the Atrium lounge sang some interesting stuff but he wasn't great at carrying a tune. We were actually surprised as they usually have a great piano bar type singer. The gentleman who played pre-dinner piano in the atrium (on a different level) was great. I think the Personal Choice dining along side the traditional dining makes for difficult scheduling in the entertainment department. And none of it was really conducive to those with late traditional dining. The late shows began at 10:15 at the latest. It was seldom that we were out of the dining room by then. So it was kind of tough to really get a good feel for some of the entertainment. SPECIAL FUNCTIONS -- We enjoyed the Caribbean deck party mid-cruise very much. Palm branches brought onboard in the port of call for that day were used to decorate the pool deck. It looked great. Tons of passengers showed up dressed in Caribbean shirts and dresses and everyone had a great time. The only disappointment was they began serving food on the buffet at 9:30. We were still in at dinner at that point in time so there was no way we could eat again at the deck party. I suppose you could have skipped dinner and filled up here. That would be an option as there was plenty of food at the party. The repeaters party was very nice also. Our Captain, William Kent, had a great sense of humor and was in his element at functions like this. We were lucky and won a complimentary bottle of champagne which we shared with our Cruise Critic friends. ;-) Evening cocktails. OK ... this wasn't really a special function per se, but it was an evening ritual that was special. We met each evening at 7:15 for pre-dinner drinks with friends. Some nights it was the Wheelhouse Bar, some nights the Atrium lounge. Wherever the location, it was great to catch up with everyone at the end of the day. DRESS -- There is always so much emphasis placed on dress. I think if you don't worry about it and do what you feel comfortable with, you'll be fine. We like to go by the recommended dress code for the evening. We think it's part of the fun of cruising. There were two formal nights and eight casual nights on this cruise. I'd say a very high majority of passengers were dressed formally on both formal nights. In fact, there was a high percentage of tuxes on formal nights. There was an occasional person here or there who wasn't dressed for the evening but they didn't bother us. PORTS OF CALL -- We've been lucky enough to have visited all the ports of call on previous cruises. But we were still looking forward to visiting all them. Here's a brief overview of each stop: Antigua -- It had been years since we were here. We pre-booked an excursion with Eli's Eco Tour for a day of snorkeling and fun with a lot of our Cruise Critic friends. As we disembarked the ship, we were met by a representative from Eli's who informed us that due to unusually high surf conditions, Eli was canceling the tour for the day. While we were disappointed, we certainly understood. Eli's assistant volunteered to set up an island tour and beach stop with one of the local taxi drivers they knew. About half of us took her up on the offer. For $25 per person, we had a very nice tour of the island, including Nelson's Dockyard (admission here was extra) and then a stop at a very nice beach where we enjoyed ourselves for about two hours. Overall, this was a nice way to spend the day. By the next day, our deposit had been refunded on our credit card by Eli's. Pretty prompt service! As we were getting ready for sailaway, Captain Kent came over the loudspeaker to tell us they had encountered a problem with the ship and it was going to delay our departure from Antigua. He told us he would keep us updated. A little after 5:00 p.m., the Captain provided additional news. There was a problem with one of the ship's holding tanks and we couldn't leave until repairs had been made that would make it safe to sail. He told us anticipated departure would be late in the evening and that the next update would be around 10:00 p.m. By now I was a little anxious because our next stop was supposed to be Barbados. Besides really liking Barbados, I had pre-ordered tiles for a kitchen backsplash from a wonderful pottery shop in Barbados called Earthworks. This was my chance to pick them up. At 10:00 p.m., the Captain came back to announce that we would be departing around midnight and we would be skipping Barbados and going to St. Maarten instead as they could have additional repairs made to the ship in St. Maarten. So we were going to miss Barbados BUT he also gave us good news -- we would be making a stop later in the cruise to Tortola -- one of our favorite islands. When the announcement was made, I quickly hopped on the internet to let Earthworks know we wouldn't be making it (I had them ship the tiles to our home instead) and then got to work on trying to find something to do in Tortola. A little research on Cruise Critic brought up a snorkeling trip on a catamaran called Patouche. I quickly touched base with our Cruise Critic friends and we put together a group of 14 to do the day trip on Patouche. I emailed my office who in turn set up all the arrangements with Patouche. We would sail to the Baths at Virgin Gorda (spectacular) and then do another snorkel stop with lunch. Sounded great. Thanks to Cruise Critic and easy communications these days, we were able to quickly put something together for Tortola. St. Maarten -- We've been to St. Maarten numerous times and decided to stay on the ship for most of the day. Since our stop here actually was several days early, we had to tender here since the ships normally scheduled here on this day had all the spots on the pier. The Queen Mary 2 was anchored next to us. I was excited because I wanted to see her. MAN, is she big???? Too big for us but we were glad to see her. About 2:00 p.m., we took a tender into town just to walk around and have a drink at a lovely spot along the beach. They have recently completed the construction of beach sidewalk that ties all the restaurants along the beach together. It looks great. St. Kitts -- We were here last year on a cruise and decided to once again primarily stay on the ship. We got off for about 30 minutes just to walk around. Tortola -- A tender port but all of us taking the Patouche excursion went ashore together. It was a short walk to the harbor where Patouche was anchored. As we were paying ($90 per person for the day) we were advised that we wouldn't be going to the Baths due to the high surf conditions ..... the same conditions that cancelled Eli's tour in Antigua. I was disappointed because the Baths are so unique and beautiful and I was excited to have everyone else in our group see them. But there's not much we could do about sea conditions and we did appreciate that there was concern for safety. Even though we did not go to the Baths, the sea conditions were still rough getting to the two snorkel stops we did make. The sail out in the morning to Peter Island was OK. The sun was shining and even though it was a bumpy ride, most were having fun. As we made the first snorkel stop, the skies turned grey, the wind picked up and by the time we headed for the second snorkel stop, it was pretty rough. When we anchored in a bay off Norman Island, several people were ready to call it a day. Lunch was served in a calm bay (lunch was very nice -- quiche, macaroni salad, cole slaw and several kinds of fresh baked bread) and everyone felt better. We all discussed whether we wanted to continue to the next snorkel stop or head back. The crew said the next stop was just around the corner and on the way back to the harbor so we stopped. Most got in the water and said the snorkeling was great. The ride back to shore was extremely rough and most were happy to be back on solid ground by the time we arrived. The crew however (Pierce and Clive) were terrific and we wouldn't hesitate to do Patouche again. My suggestion for others taking these kinds of trips -- talk to the crew before heading out. If rough seas bother you at all, this wouldn't have been a good day for you to be on an excursion. St. Thomas -- We had pre-planned about a month or two in advance with another Cruise Critic couple to do a sailboat snorkel while in St. Thomas. However, the experience on the cat in Tortola led to our decision that we did not want to do another excursion where the sea conditions and weather were a repeat of Tortola. So I emailed the sailboat operator, Kathleen at High Pockets, of our experience in Tortola and advising her of our wish to cancel in St. Thomas if the seas and weather were going to be comparable. High Pockets had a cancellation policy of 48 hrs. and we were now within 24 hrs so we realized we could lose our deposit if they were going to enforce their policy. However, it wasn't worth a second day of being uncomfortable for the entire day. As soon as we got to St. Thomas, I called High Pockets and spoke with Kathleen. She said the weather was showing a 30% chance of rain (it was overcast with intermittent drizzle as we pulled into St. Thomas) and if the forecast was for 40%, she would allow us to cancel without penalty. I discussed the seas conditions we had the previous day with her and explained that none of us wanted to spend another day in these types of conditions. Kathleen tried to convince us that they could find a calm bay and that the day would be fine, but we weren't willing to take the chance and cancelled. She informed us that she would be charging each couple a 50% penalty for canceling. It would have been nice if she was willing to work with us a bit more .... perhaps offering to hold our deposit for a return trip to St. Thomas, or charging us for her out of pocket expenses (such as food) that she would have lost for the day. We decided to instead to take the ferry to St. John and go to a beach for the day. Several Cruise Critic couples joined us. The ferry ride to St. John (out of Red Hook where High Pockets also left from) was fairly rough but it's not uncommon in this area. When we arrived in Cruz Bay, I had called a taxi driver, Mario, that we used previously and he picked us up and served as our taxi for the day. He charged $250 for the ten of us for the day. We started out by stopping at Cruz Bay Water Sports to rent snorkel equipment and beach chairs. Then we headed to the north beaches because most had not been to Trunk Bay before. We were very surprised to learn that Trunk Bay was closed due to high surf. It was amazing. No beach visible at all; huge waves crashing on the shore. We've been to these beaches more than ten times in the past 15 years and I've never seen anything like it. Each stop along the north shore, Cinnamon Bay and Maho Bay were the same -- no beach to sit on and surf way too high to get into the water safely. Mario, our taxi driver, offered to take us to the southeast end of the island to a bay that might be calmer. We all agreed to try it. We had never been past Coral Bay before so this was a new adventure for us as well. We went to Salt Pond Bay. It was better and quite pretty and probably the only place you could get in the water on St. John that day. I wrote postcards while most snorkeled. We headed back around 1:00 p.m. and stopped for lunch at Shipwreck Landing not far from the bay. GREAT food, awful waitress. For such a beautiful spot to work, you would have thought the waitress would have a smile at least. Very strange. After lunch, we headed back to town, dropped off the rental equipment and caught the 3:00 p.m. ferry back to St. Thomas. We had pre-arranged with our taxi driver that took us from the ship to Red Hook to come back and pick us up when we came back from St. Thomas. She gave us a discount for the return trip to the ship. This is by far our favorite stop. We're comfortable here (we've vacationed on St. John before) and know our way around. The beauty of St. John is hard to beat and it was fun to explore new spots. We're sorry the High Pockets trip didn't work out and I doubt we'll pre-book a water excursion ahead of time in the future. All of the snorkeling excursions offered by the ship to St. John had been cancelled that day so we felt we made the right decision in not to go with High Pockets. Overall, we had a fun day. Princess Cays -- We were concerned about getting into the island because of rough seas. This is a tender stop and it can be too rough for the tenders. Additionally, Princess has just started stopping here again since the island was damaged by the summer hurricanes. We were all hoping things would work out here. Fortunately, they did. We choose to get up and eat a leisurely breakfast and wait till the crowds thinned to head to the island. We took a tender around noon and had no wait at all. We got off the tender and found our friends over in the cabana area to the right of the dock. Most people (including all the food and bars) were to the left of the dock. The area where the cabanas are was lovely. Quiet, beautiful. This was a GREAT stop. We walked the beach (the water was a bit chilly for me), had drinks (not much drink service over here -- only saw one bartender the entire time and the bars on this side of the beach were not open at all -- they did have signage saying this), read and laughed. It was the perfect way to end the cruise. One note on the return tender trip. The last tender was scheduled to go back to the ship at 3:30. By 2:30, the line for the return tenders was unbelievably long. Instead of standing in an hour long line, we chose to move to the side of the beach near the tenders and hang out on the beach until the line wound down. I can't figure out why people would stand in a line that long. You can see the line and tenders so it only takes a minute to get up and walk to them. Plus, security checks the beach carefully so no one is left behind! ;-) Our recommendation, take the last tender back and relax while everyone else stands in line. ON THE DOWN SIDE -- Closing food lines before scheduled time -- this happened when we got back from Princess Cays and the pool grille closed before 4:15. We didn't make lunch on the island because we had just eaten breakfast around 10:30, so we were going to get a bite to eat at the grille (which was scheduled to be open till 5:00 p.m.). When we got there at 4;15, everything was cleaned up and they were wheeling away the remains. The only option was the mini-sandwiches at the Horizon Court. Size of cabin -- they are small but we managed just fine. When comparing to other ships, this cabin wasn't quite as nice. But we did get a great deal on it so no complaints. Entertainment quality -- could have been better in the public lounges. Availability of ice cream -- this may sound silly but I think they could offer the free ice cream (which is VERY good) more than one hour each afternoon (only available from 3:30 - 4:30 in the Horizon Court). You can get ice cream for dessert at lunch and dinner but it's not available (free) at any other time except 3:30 - 4:30. If you want ice cream at other times you have to go to the Haagen Daz ice cream bar and pay for it. This is a minor thing but makes it seem like Princess is "skimping." Put it in the Horizon Court from lunch - 5:00 p.m. ON THE UP SIDE -- Great crew  for the most part, the crew was terrific. Friendly, smiling. Thomas in the Atrium lounge was great; Dan Gibbons, the CD and his staff were fun; our cabin attendant, Zaldy, was the best. Food -- Overall, we enjoyed the food very much. Much of it was excellent and we certainly did not leave this ship hungry or feeling like we didn't get what we paid for. The Captain -- He was engaging and accessible. On the last morning, he was sitting on the pool deck with a tray of food he just got from the Horizon Court. We've never seen a captain eating from the buffet area at a public table by the pool before. I believe a crew can be much like the Captain of the ship. It all starts at the top! Spa -- I had two massages -- one with David (outstanding) and the other with Heather (equally outstanding). I did the second one as a port day special when they discount spa services. FINALLY...... This was a great cruise! Our Cruise Critic friends (Joe, Kirk, Amber, Sandi, Jack, Louise, Louann, Neil, John, Raina, David, Andrea, Mary, Jim and all the others) made this a memorable vacation. As all cruises, it went much too fast. We'd cruise with all of them and Princess again! Remember .... keep smiling and you'll have a wonderful time! HAPPY CRUISING Read Less
Sail Date January 2005
My wife and I just returned from a ten-day cruise of the Eastern Caribbean, which sailed on Friday, January 28, 2005. We have been on four previous cruises -- Holland America's Maasdam (twice) and Volendam, and Celebrity's ... Read More
My wife and I just returned from a ten-day cruise of the Eastern Caribbean, which sailed on Friday, January 28, 2005. We have been on four previous cruises -- Holland America's Maasdam (twice) and Volendam, and Celebrity's Mercury. We have nothing but praise for our previous cruise experiences. Our cabin, an outside balcony, along with many other cabins on the ship, smelled of sewage. We were told that this problem periodically occurs on the ship for unknown reasons and that there is no solution. The port of Barbados was skipped due to a problem with the holding tanks. The service staff, with few exceptions, seemed indifferent. Service in the Lido was practically nonexistent. The food, while adequate, was not up to the standards of either Holland or Celebrity. There are not enough seats in show areas to accommodate the number of people on the ship. In order to get a seat for any of the shows we had to arrive 45-60 minutes early. We heard nothing but complaints from fellow passengers, something we have not experienced on previous cruises. We do not plan to sail on the Sun Princess again. Read Less
Sail Date January 2005
We had previously traveled on Dawn Princess, and had found that cruise very enjoyable. We looked forward to a pleasurable cruise on Sun Princess, which we had been told was an identical sister ship to Dawn Princess. However, the ship was ... Read More
We had previously traveled on Dawn Princess, and had found that cruise very enjoyable. We looked forward to a pleasurable cruise on Sun Princess, which we had been told was an identical sister ship to Dawn Princess. However, the ship was identical, but the experience was not. We signed up for "Personal Choice" dining because we had found that on Dawn Princess we could show up whenever it was convenient and dine. Sun Princess, in contrast, was "Personal Choice" in name only. Getting into the dining room was a hassle because many diners had reserved the same table for each of the ten nights at the same hour, which was usually 6 p.m. If you did not get to the dining room before 6, you could usually not get in. Finally, after going through the hassle for 4 nights, we decided that if we could not beat them, we had no choice but to join them. For the final 6 nights we also reserved the same table for 6 p.m. The first two nights in the Atlantic was rough sailing, as was the next to last night. We found that our cabin creaked and banged. The noise sounded as if something was rolling across our ceiling. We also heard noises that sounded as if drawers were being constantly opened and shut. The noise was bad enough to keep us awake on those three nights. We checked with fellow passengers and learned that some were experiencing the same problems while others were not. We reported the noise to the "front desk," but they did little about it. Finally, they said they would send a joiner to check, but he did not arrive until a few days later, when the noise had stopped. He said he could do nothing about the problem unless he could hear the noise. They really did not seem very concerned. The food was consistently good, as were the shows. However, the Princess Theater and the Vista Lounge, where the shows were presented, are not large enough to accommodate the number of passengers. Generally, you had to be in the theater or the lounge (especially the lounge) an hour before the show to ensure getting seats. Several times even when I was there an hour early, I still had to sit on the steps! We might cruise Princess again, but certainly not the Sun Princess. The sleepless nights and dining room hassle ruined the cruise. In conversations with other passengers we learned that a good number of others felt the same way. Read Less
Sail Date January 2005
This cruise was our second Princess cruise, both aboard the SUN PRINCESS. Our first experience on the SUN was 7 years ago doing the panama canal and the services was the worst I had ever experienced after a total of some 20 cruise. Our ... Read More
This cruise was our second Princess cruise, both aboard the SUN PRINCESS. Our first experience on the SUN was 7 years ago doing the panama canal and the services was the worst I had ever experienced after a total of some 20 cruise. Our recent experience aboard the SUN was outstanding! What an improvement! Embarkation: Outstanding service and among the best ever of any cruise line, excluding the last minute Bahama immigration form and the Norwalk virus form. Public rooms: This ship for an older ship is still among the nicest, the problem is smoking! If you don't smoke, this is not the ship for you! Celebrity really handles this the best with one side for smokers and one side for non-smokers. Princess thinks if they put up a sign on a table that says no smoking, then the table next to it won't feel the effects, the smoke was brutal. The ship was also very warm and the only cool spot on the ship was the disco. The smoke was not that bad there either. Go to the pizza parlor for dinner one night it was great! Cabin: Nice cabin, smaller than most, with a small balcony also. Princess has very good television, for when you just want to chill in the room for a couple of hours. Also very good cooler for those of you who drink. Speaking of drinking, they have the restroom service for drinkers with deals and discounts. The only complaint we had about the room was the towels. Princess is going to the Carnival thing of no towels by the pool (you get two in your room) and if you want more you need to beg your room stewart. Also, just the general condition of the room towels, were transparent. Fitness & Recreation: Nice gym, although they rape you for classes at $30. Value for Price: Outstanding! We love the drinks on Princess, three different sizes and overall, with the service I thought it was a great deal. Dinning: Breakfast and lunch were always OK, but the pizza pallor is awesome! Dinner was the best of any cruise I have ever been on and I really love their anytime choices. I never had a bad meal and coming from New England, with all our great restaurants, I never thought the food was that great on cruise, but this changed my mind. Our waiter and assistant waiter were also the best I ever had, we gave them 150% of the recommended tip and that was a first for us. Entertainment: THe shows were very weak, again like Carnival and the activities were either poorly planned or timed poorly. Celebrity does this the best also! Service: I am so impressed! As you can see we've done many cruise lines and this was the best service I have ever had to date. Our waiter and assistant waiter were just outstanding. But the cocktail waiters remembered our names, our drinks. If you went anywhere on the ship more than once they knew you. I was amazed! Shore Excursions: More and more I find it's better to do your own research and book your own. They didn't offer much and they were ok. Princess Cays is great though, we just can't figure out how they can afford it. Overall Cruise: It took me 7 years to go back to Princess and it won't take me 7 more, it was great! I just hope the cheap Carnival stuff doesn't cramp in and ruin them. I used to love Carnival and now won't do them ever again! Read Less
Sail Date January 2005
Prior to my trip on the 1/28/05 Sun Princess, I watched these boards like a hawk for any information I could find on the Sun. It was going to be our first Princess after being on 10 prior cruises with other lines (Carnival, RCCL, HAL, ... Read More
Prior to my trip on the 1/28/05 Sun Princess, I watched these boards like a hawk for any information I could find on the Sun. It was going to be our first Princess after being on 10 prior cruises with other lines (Carnival, RCCL, HAL, Celebrity and Cunard). We are in our mid-30's. I promised myself that I would post a quick review for others that were anticipating their Sun cruise, so here it is! The Sun was great! We had a fantastic cruise. Here is a quick rundown of the different areas onboard: The Ship- Very clean, and it was beautiful (especially for being 10 years old!). Her colors are light, with the atrium being very elegant in white marble, with palm trees all around. The color theme is light pastels, and I noted that the carpeting was in great condition. The ship is well cared for, and I felt it was kept in great maintenance. I have been on a 3 year old ship with another line that showed MUCH more wear and tear than the Sun. Overall, it was a great ship to be on, as it is just the right size to be big enough to offer options and small enough to learn your way around quickly and get from one place to another. Sewage smells? Yes, there are weird occasional whiff's in particular hallways, and only occasionally. My understanding from several others is that it has to do with the placement of the sewer venting pipes, and when the wind blows just right it "backdrafts" into certain areas. Not a big deal at all. Our cabin, A635, balcony, on the Aloha Deck, aft, was great. Yes, it was a little smaller than those on other ships I have been on, but it was totally adequate. The only real difference I saw was that there was not a little mini-sofa in the room. I personally never use them anyway, so I did not care. Those mini-sofas usually just hold on to my snorkel gear for me! :) The bathroom was fine, and the shower was just fine in size, too, similar to every other ship I have been on. I heard a ton of mentions of poor a/c on the ship on these boards prior to our cruise, especially about inside their cabins. Not so on our cruise. In fact, we had a hard time keeping it warm enough at times in our cabin due to the icy a/c. Public areas seemed fine, too. I did remember it being kind of stuffy in the vista lounge one night, but it was also beyond standing room only for that particular show. That could happen in any land based hotel, too. Many people commented on how unstable they thought the ship was. I did not think it was the ship, but rather the rougher seas throughout our entire trip. I did not think it was bad at all, but a few we overheard did. I have been on much, much worse. I have also read that on other ships that were out at the same time frame, their cruises were a bit rocky like ours, too. I think it was the weather, truly. I guess it has been that way in the Caribbean for a few weeks. Another thing... ships move! Yep, I know it is a shocker for some, but it happens! :) (it always amazes me to hear people complaining about the ship moving!) I personally like being "rocked" to sleep. Photography- I was happy that they did not seem to be hawking you constantly for pictures. At the ports they were usually there, but easy to avoid. I thought it was much less obtrusive than on other cruises. The Staff- Were all great, friendly, courteous, and overall great service for us. The captain had a real sense of humour, which I appreciated. On one sea day he announced that the nearest land was only 2 miles away... unfortunately it was 2 miles beneath us, and he felt it best not to offer any excursions to visit it! :) Food- The food and service in the dining room was awesome for us. We had late seating, traditional. The only real complaints that I ever heard about dinners had to do with the Personal Choice dining room (long waits at peak times, carrying those tacky light up coasters, sitting with others that they do not want to and never getting to know their tablemates, etc). I believe that PC is not for everyone, and that is where that comes from. We love traditional late seating, and will always stick with that. I thought that the souffles at dessert were the best I have ever had. Our second night out we had a steak that was one of the best steaks I have ever eaten, hands down. The biggest praise is about the Lobster Tails... I almost did not order them as usually they tend to be tough, or over cooked or flavorless. NOT on this cruise, those were the BEST lobster tails I have EVER eaten! I heard everyone we talked with at our table and beyond agree with us on that. Horizon court for breakfast and lunch were ok. I never had more than 7 or 8 people in front of me in line, but somehow I just do not like the way it is laid out. The donuts with custard that appear periodically on some mornings were great :)... and they had the "usual" breakfast foods (oatmeal, great fruit- fresh and ripe, eggs, sausage, bacon, etc) and lunch was a different theme everyday. Adequate, decent food. Not the best layout, and I have seen much larger selections on other ships, but it works ok. Don't miss the ice cream every day from 3:30-4:30pm in the Horizon Court. I tried not to forget every day, as it was good. Two different kinds of ice cream every day, along with good topping choices. They also put out fresh cookies about this time. Pizzeria was good. It is not fast, but it is good. Plan 30-45 minutes for your meal there. I mention this, as each pizza is hand made to order, and it is not just a walk up and grab kind of place as I have experienced on other ships. We went to the alternative rest- the Sterling Steakhouse one evening with our Cruise Critic friends. It was good. $15 service charge per person. I think they did the best they could with what they had to work with (being the ship was never built to have this extra rest.). They set off a section of the Horizon court in the bow for it. It was nicer than I thought it would be, quiet. The table clothes were awful, a kind of weird cowboy pattern that did NOT go with anything (like for one thing the tropical carpeting!), but we just laughed it off. :) We had a great dinner with our friends. The filet's were good all around the table but one person got the porterhouse and it was full of gristle and fat. Overall, it was good, but I think I still prefer the main dining room for dinner on this ship. Other alternative rest. on other lines leaves this one in the dust. The drinks on the ship were at a very good price point. Martinis were $4.95, whatever kind you choose. (I am used to seeing $6.95-$7.95 on other lines) Absolut and soda, etc was $4. I thought those prices were very reasonable. Entertainment- Well, we really did not make it to any production shows, so I cannot comment on them. We did go to see the comedian one night who was FANTASTIC! We also went to see the ventriloquist, who was surprisingly entertaining and was not the "hoaky" experience I expected, but very funny instead. As far as music, the pool music was good, but there was one particular piano guy in the atrium that was soooo bad! I think overall they could use a little improvement on their musical talents that they have right now across the ship. Ports- Were great! We had some rearranging of ports due to a little mechanical issue (holding tank leak) that we experienced in our first port, Antigua, and did not leave there until around 12Midnight. I personally think that the captain handled it great. We were supposed to go to Barbados for our second port, but had to go to St. Maarten to meet a dive team that were to take care of the issue with the holding tank. They replaced our later St. Maarten call with Tortola, which was great. I think they handled the whole situation very well, and it was nice that they replaced the port with something cool instead of the old stand-by of San Juan or Nassau. They kept us well informed the entire time. Princess Cays was awesome! What a perfect end to a fantastic cruise! It is an ideal setting... picture perfect, great facilities. Water is a bit chillier than the Caribbean, but once you are in it is refreshing. Snorkeling is ok, not great, but fun to take a whirl around and look at the fish and coral. We rented a beach cabana, which was a great thing, especially for $8 for the day! We used it as a "home port" for our little group of cruise critic friends. I personally liked that the cabanas are on the one side of the docks and the music and festivities are on the other. It was away from the music, which was a good thing... the guy singing sounded like Bob Dillon trying to sing reggae... yikes! We had a wonderful lunch that they provide on the island, with BBQ chicken, burgers, etc... one note, though... they only served it until 1:30p, and some of our friends missed lunch! We waited until the very last tender to go to the ship. It really made our whole cruise critic group laugh to watch a HUGE line of people stand forever starting about an hour and half before the last tender to the ship. I do not understand why people were "herding" in line to rush back to the ship! Our cruise critic group all merely relaxed in the sun under a palm tree and waited for the lines to go away :) Overall- A wonderful cruise. Partly due to the wonderful new friends we made from cruise critic! I would do this ship and itinerary again. I do love some of the other ships we have been on a little more because of some of the extra things they offer due to the fact that they are newer... but I would not hesitate to return on the Sun. In fact we are on the Sun's younger sister, the Dawn on 3/10/05 and I am really looking forward to it. I like this size ship personally. Anything in the 70-90 gross ton range just seems to have the right amount of things to offer you and not too many people. Please feel free to ask me any questions you may have! Read Less
Sail Date January 2005
This was my husband's and my first cruise. We were treated and accompanied by my parents and this trip was FANTABULOUS!! From the time we set foot on the ship until now, when I look back on it, I can't do anything but SMILE!! I ... Read More
This was my husband's and my first cruise. We were treated and accompanied by my parents and this trip was FANTABULOUS!! From the time we set foot on the ship until now, when I look back on it, I can't do anything but SMILE!! I personally enjoyed the balcony and probably could have spent the whole 10 days there, but we experienced and enjoyed and explored most of the ship. I am not a big food fan, but I really enjoyed lobster night as I had never had it before. (Delicious!) We ate breakfast in the Horizon Court most mornings and my husband especially enjoyed getting an omelet made to order. I loved the room service coffee and a croissant each morning, sitting out on the balcony enjoying it while absorbing a new day. On three of the islands (Nassau, Antigua and St. Kitts) we took a tour from one of the local tour guides that wait outside the ship, and they were all a lot of fun with great guides! We went scuba diving on St. Thomas, snorkeling on St. Maarten and aboard a pirate ship on Barbados, where they gave us all the rum punch we could drink and you can imagine where that leads to (whoopie!!). The shows were great, the movies were great and the room was awesome! We brought along our portable DVD player and several movies and CDs, so on nights when we opted for room service at dinner time we had our choice of movies to watch, or sat out on the balcony and talked about our day and whatever came to mind. We also renewed our wedding vows on board so it was an extra special time for us. I took over 700 pictures with my digital Kodak camera and all but a few came out fantastic! (Of course with a digital camera you can pick what you want to keep, but I had soooo much fun with it!) We already have our next cruise booked...7 day Mexican Riviera...and the only thing that is disappointing about it is that is only 7 days. I LOVE cruising and will only travel that way from now on! Read Less
Sail Date November 2004
Eastern Caribbean (10 Nights) from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida Sailing Date: April 19, 2004 Ship: Sun Princess Ports of Call: Princess Cay, St. Thomas, St. Martin, St. Vincent, Barbados, and Antigua. This was our 16th cruise with Princess. ... Read More
Eastern Caribbean (10 Nights) from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida Sailing Date: April 19, 2004 Ship: Sun Princess Ports of Call: Princess Cay, St. Thomas, St. Martin, St. Vincent, Barbados, and Antigua. This was our 16th cruise with Princess. Our 41st cruise overall. This was our second time aboard the Sun Princess. Our first sailing was on October 19, 1996. The Sun Princess is a large ship at 77,000 tons, but not huge when compared to today's mega-ships. Although it had been almost seven years since we were last sailing the ship is overall in very good shape. Here are our impressions: Embarking/Disembarking: Check in was the best we have EVER experienced. We arrived via Taxi from our hotel (The Sheraton Yankee Clipper) at 12:30PM. There were plenty of porters on hand to handle luggage. Walked right through Security and had no one at either the Platinum Desk or the Caribe Desk, so we could have used either one. We used the Platinum Desk; found that we are now Elite Members of the Captain's Club, more about that later. Waited for one couple ahead of us at the Boarding Photo spot, had our pic snapped and walked right on board. Total time, less than 10 minutes. Disembarking seemed to move much better than past experiences. Because of any early flight out of Ft. Lauderdale, we were in Red Group #2, which was called while we were still enjoying breakfast in the Regency Dining Room. When we finished eating we returned to our stateroom for a few minutes, picked up our hand luggage and proceeded ashore. When we arrived in the baggage area, our bags were the only ones remaining the Red area. That coupled with the fact that they are red and had straps around them with our names as part of the design of the strap made finding our stuff kind of easy. Customs lines were sort of long both for passport check and exiting with baggage, but we were in our cab to the airport by 9:30 AM with no rush at all. We had plenty of time to make our 11:20 AM flight on Southwest. Ft. Lauderdale airport was less hectic since we arrived back mid-week rather than during the weekend rush. Stateroom: We had an ocean view stateroom #304 on deck 9 (Caribe Deck). The room was clean and well kept. The stateroom stewardess did a fine job. It almost seemed as if she had ESP and knew when we came and went. We never ran out of towels and always had ample ice & water. The staterooms are nice size (about 160 sq ft) and have more than enough storage space for clothes for 10 days. All of our suitcases fit under the bed for storage. We actually had a couple unused drawers! Food: The Regency Restaurant is the main dining room for traditional dining. We were seated at Table #166 which IMHO was in a perfect location for conversation and no through traffic passing by. There is also the Horizon Court & The Grill. We ate all evening meals in the Regency. The quality and variety of food was excellent. The beef dishes were all superb. The lobster was excellent. Overall, the food was the some of best we can recall on recent cruises. Desserts and breads to me, were great. We ate most breakfasts & lunches in either the Horizon Court or Grill. Breakfast was very good, especially the omelet bar. Lunch was generally quite nice with prepared to order hot sandwiches, as well as a fine selection of other buffet items, the hot dogs & burgers from the Grill were also very good. My only negative comment is that the multiple serving lines which Princess uses on most of their ships seem to cause congestion. Shows: There were the usual mix of musical revues and guest entertainers. We enjoy musical production shows and the three presented during the trip were excellent. The guest entertainers were all quite good.. They also had the usual audience participation shows (newlywed game, karaoke, etc). The main show lounge had good sight lines and the seats were comfortable. Seats tended to fill up early. Entertainment: The Cruise Director, Janet Evans, and her staff worked really hard and were very friendly & pleasant. The party band was very good. Their music was very good, and they could play anything from country to rock to Caribbean. The casino was not as big as on some ships, but it never appeared too crowded. As Las Vegas residents this area had little appeal for us. Other: The pool areas were great. I enjoy the fresh water in Princess pools. The exercise room was more than adequate for the amount of use it got. Even though there were only a handful of stations for internet access, they did not seem to be overused especially late at night. This probably had something to do with the .50 per minute charge! The gift shops were well stocked and stayed open generally past 10 pm. The photographers were around the ship but never intrusive. Announcements over the ships intercom were kept at a minimum. We enjoyed Brunch with the Captain on the last day at sea. This was a very special event for Elite Members of the Captain's Club. There were 44 of us on this sailing. Each couple received an autographed picture taken with the Captain at the conclusion of this event and were escorted on a personal tour of the Kitchen by the Chief Chef Ports of Call: Since we have visited most of these ports of call we took excursions on Barbados and Antigua. We did Harrison's Cave on Barbados and The Best of Antigua including Nelson's Dockyard on Antigua. Captain's Club: The Elite Member perks for those who have cruised at least 15 times with Princess are the best in the industry. Along with all the "normal" perks they include robes and slippers, a free stocked refrigerator in your stateroom (stocked free only once), free laundry and dry cleaning, free shoe shines, priority tender boarding, special event that are truly special! They were outstanding enough that we will have to consider Princess any time we consider future cruises. Overall We feel that The Sun Princess was an excellent cruise experience and we give it a 9.8 on a scale of 10. Read Less
Sail Date April 2004
Sun Princess Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.0 3.8
Dining 4.0 4.0
Entertainment 4.0 3.7
Public Rooms 4.0 4.1
Fitness Recreation 3.0 3.6
Family 4.0 3.6
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.4
Enrichment 3.0 3.4
Service 5.0 4.3
Value For Money 4.0 3.6
Rates 4.0 4.0

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