Princess Cruises Caribbean Princess by TerryTwo Southern Caribbean November 23, 2008
First, a bit of useful information. While this was our fifth cruise with Princess, this was the first time I noticed it. I was told that it is like this on all Princess ships. That I cannot confirm. I can confirm that on the Caribbean Princess the color of the passenger cabin walkway carpet side trim is a different color on the port and starboard sides. A light red on both sides of the carpet on the port side and turquoise on the starboard side. A quick glance when you exit the elevator and you'll easily find your side of the ship.
After having written several cruise reviews and read a hundred or so, I have come to the conclusion that they are better left to the professionals for an accurate review of what to expect. Why? There are several reasons.
Look at the number of reviews that passengers write compared to the number of passengers. It's about one in five to ten thousand that write a review. Human behavior being what it is, we are far more likely to write areview if our expectations are not met than if they are. It is almost a certainty that at least one of the two to three thousand passengers will be unhappy. (You cannot find two thousand lottery winners that are all happy that they won.)
Cruise ships try to have something for everyone. I, like most cruise passengers, have little to no interest in some of what they offer. (Personally, it would take a very serious inducement to get me into a cigar lounge.)
We all bring a different experience to the cruise. If you live in Vegas and travel to New York a couple of times a year to see some "real" theater, then you'll probably find the entertainment a bit boring. If, on the other hand, this is your first trip outside of French Lick, you'll probably find the entertainment awesome.
So, if you want to know what to expect on a cruise, or from a cruise line, or from a specific ship, read the professional reviews. What we passengers can, and should, provide are bits of useful information; such as the bit about the carpets I provided at the beginning of this review. With that in mind I offer the following information.
Princess has two post and/or pre-cruise hotels in San Juan, PR -- The Marriott and the Sheraton Old San Juan. There is almost nothing within walking distance of the Sheraton. Nice hotel with a small casino, but very little around it. When we next cruise with Princess out of San Juan in February of '09, we'll try the Marriott. When we drove by it on the way to the Sheraton there appeared to be many more places to shop and dine in the immediate area.
Princess Cruises Caribbean Princess by Scott Eastern Caribbean August 15, 2008
We just got off the Caribbean Princess today. We had both positive and negative experiences on this cruise. Unfortuntely, some of the experiences were just too major to ignore. This is our 5th cruise, and our first Princess cruise.
Let me just begin by saying that if you are looking for a ship with amazing tasting food, this is not the ship for you. We are not picky eaters, but it was very easy to tell that the food was "diner quality" and sometimes worse. In the dining rooms, the food lacked flavor. The service was inconsistent. In fact, one night, we got the first appetizer BEFORE we got our drinks.
The food and service at the buffets wasn't any better. Much of the food was cold! The food seemed warm because the plates were! Even the main comedian aboard joked about this! Once again, diner quality flavored food for the most part. For breakfast, the bacon and sausage had tons of grease! Also, my father is diabetic. The selection of sugar-free desserts was extremely limited. At least Norwegian had ten differentsugar-free desserts to choose from. This ship had only one choice, not to mention they did not put up a sign that said "Sugar Free" until we alerted the staff.
Now lets talk about the service. Why was it that everytime we sat down to eat at the buffet, they would close it? And, then they would tell us to go around to the other side to get more food (which was a big walk, especially with hot soup and hot drinks). This was a HUGE inconvience. Many passengers were sharing this complaint with us. Keep in mind, we went to the buffets at 8 different times, and each time it closed up for "a changing of the food."
"Find another table closer to the other buffet," said one of the buffet staff. Much easier said than done because of the crowds. Very hard to find a table! We have never experienced anything like this on any other cruise. It was highly frustrating. I had to walk a mile to get a piece of bread!
Now about the the entertainment -- The entertainment on the ship was great! Above average in our opinions! The only thing is the Princess Theatre is not big enough to accommodate a ship with over 3,000 passengers, even with two showtimes. Getting there a half hour before showtime was not enough to secure a seat. The comedian was outstanding and the hypnotist was very entertaining.
I also want to comment that our inside cabin was BIGGER than the outside cabins that we've been in on other cruises. The closet/drawer space was above average. The ship itself was a thing of beauty, but perhaps a bit too big and very crowded in many areas. Everything was clean and tidy. The steward was excellent and friendly. I cannot say the same for other staff members, especially the ones who sold the bingo cards. They looked like they didn't want to be there.
The casino was big, but extremely smokey with little ventilation! There is a sign that says NO CIGARS OR PIPES. That's okay because the cigarettes will get you. At least they had one NO SMOKING night and the casino was packed then. By the way, play the 2 cent machines, they are awesome and you can win a lot.
Don't expect to get a lounge chair anywhere near the pools if you come in the afternoon. Reserve yours early. You may have to skip breakfast to get one. We found nice private spots away from the pools.
We all loved Movies Under The Stars. It was a great alternative to the crowded Princess Theatre. They served flavorless popcorn, but at least it was a nice gesture.
Overall, we did have a good time, but I will have to take at least one other Princess Cruise before determining whether this is as good as they get. Many of our friends love Princess Cruises, so we are willing to give it another shot for comparison purposes.
Princess Cruises Caribbean Princess by Melissa Eastern Caribbean August 15, 2008
My parents have been cruising for years, and I had tagged along for a few when I was a teen. Now that I am in my late 20's and engaged, my fiance and I have taken to cruising as well.
This is the second ship that we have been on in the past year and we prefer Carnival, hands down. We are not big drinkers or partiers, either.
PROS Princess has embarkation down cold. They are excellent at moving a line and getting you on your ship very fast. You get your luggage within an hour or so of being on the ship, too. Very nice starting point, in my opinion.
The ship is pretty big in comparison to others that I have traveled on. Therefore, you are less likely to feel it moving, rocking, etc. Because it is so large, you can find a lounge chair in the sun (but if you want one by the movie screen, you need to get there before 10am).
The cabin steward was a doll. He worked hard and was always pleasant and helpful.
Entertainment wasabove average. The comedian was funny and the hypnotist was enjoyable. I looked forward to the nightly shows.
CONS The senior cruise staff was often rude and rushed. They would host a trivia game and want to get through it as quickly as possible. My fiance and I went to a Wii bowling tournament one afternoon and the guy in charge was so annoyed at the people who had never used the Wii. We ended up teaching people to play (we own one and had played before). The guy just kept saying he couldn't believe that they had never done it before (the people playing ranged in ages from 20s to 60s -- give them a break). The cruise director's staff did little to make me feel comfortable or even happy all week (I am not including cabin stewards -- they are sweet and helpful). I'm the easiest person to please, and they just didn't even try. This was very disappointing.
The casino staff weren't very nice, either. I play roulette and my fiance plays poker, blackjack and tried craps. I like to banter with the dealer when I play, try to establish a little relationship with the person taking my hard earned money, etc. There was only one dealer who would talk back and joke with me. The others were quick to roll the ball and call "no more bets." I lost enough over the span of the cruise, but I could have lost a lot, lot more if there was a decent dealer on deck.
Every activity listed in the Patter (the onboard itinerary) has a "nominal fee." On Carnival, my fiance got free golf swing lessons, played ping pong, golf, trivia, etc., etc. On Princess, he ventured up to the golf area and was told that he could sign up for a clinic at $40 per half hour. We would go to bingo and the card packages were in a range from $10 to $50, and you need to buy a bingo dauber to play. The Scholarship at Sea was offered each day for fees ranging from $25 and up. Temporary tattoos are $7 and up. It just never ended with the nickel and diming on this ship.
The food is, quite simply, bland and cold. The buffet was boring and inedible. The dining room was decent, but not what I have come to expect from a cruise ship. I CRAVED Carnival's warm chocolate melting cake every night. Princess had little selection and almost no taste. I was actually excited to get home and cook my own meals with some flavor (and seriously -- whoever says that after a cruise?)
Everything must go to your shipboard account. I like to pay a little cash here and there, but Princess makes you sign for everything. And, they charge a little more than other ships for their gratuity. It is $10.95 per person/per day. I was tempted to have it taken off of my account and just give cash to the room steward only (let's face it -- the maitre d' doesn't really deserve his dollar a day but the steward should get more than $3 of that $10.95). I didn't bother, in the end. I wish that there was a way you could adjust the gratuity to who you felt deserved it more.
And finally -- the ship's design is one of the worst ever! The dining rooms are at midship, but you have to walk past them and then go down a flight of stairs -- they are not accessible from all sides. It is strange. You can't just walk around and find things to do -- you need to know where things are. I like to take stairs (a little exercise, I figure), but it was annoying to navigate the levels. It is hard to explain, but those who have been on the ship will understand.
I heard throughout the vacation that the staff was ready to leave (our Carribean cruise was the last for the ship -- it is now doing tours of New England and a majority of the staff was getting their month off at the end of our cruise). I spent almost triple on the Carribean Princess than I did on the Miracle last year and was so disappointed that I came to Cruisemates to give a review. I don't mean to bash it, but seriously -- I'd need to be offered some AMAZING deal to travel with Princess again.
Princess Cruises Caribbean Princess by Jackiesbooks Bermuda June 13, 2008
This cruise took place on the Caribbean Princess -- June 13 to 22, 2008, sailing out of New York to Bermuda, San Juan, St Thomas, and Grand Turk.
We met Princess's Northeast motor coach bus in Baltimore. Since we planned some time in NY after the cruise, we only needed one way tickets. Princess only sells round trip tickets, but this was still cheaper than taking the train and getting a taxi to the Brooklyn Port. It was cheaper than driving. It was very easy. This is a great way to go. I talked to several people on the cruise that had trouble with cab drivers getting lost and/or very expensive car hires. One route goes across PA and the other goes up the coast from DC to NY. If you live in VA, MD, DE, PA or NJ, check this option out.
My husband is disabled so we had a wheelchair escort thru the check-in process. The regular line was moving pretty fast. When we got up to the counter, fellow cruisers that were on the bus with us were very closeto the front of the line.
Cruising past the Statue of Liberty and under the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge is a wonderful sight. On the return trip, we used a car hire that another CruiseMate recommended. We called him when we were going thru customs and he was there within 15 minutes to pick us up and take us to our hotel. The process for pick up in Brooklyn needs to improve. Most of the people leaving are being picked up. The area for pickups is very crowded.
The Ship There were small things that need to be updated/repaired, such as cracked tiles around the pool, missing decorative tiles in the theatre. None of these took away from our fun. I just mention them because there has been talk about her condition. These are the only issues I saw. I love the Movies Under the Stars!
Food We had Anytime Dining. The two times we went to the Coral Dining Room we waited approximately 20 minutes. We then tried the Pal Dining Room and we walked in every night except one. That night we waited 5 minutes. We also ate in the Sterling Steakhouse one night. It was well worth the money. In addition, we ate at the buffet two nights. I have never before done this, but these 2 nights they were having Lobster claws, shrimp and crab legs -- we could not pass. My son and husband loved the Pizza. I found some of the waiters not as friendly as I like, but all were very efficient.
Activities This ship had so many more options for activities than I have had on other lines. It usually had 2 different types of shows in two different locations. I like to play Bingo, but have lately found on some lines that it costs too much for little prize money. Princess had Bingo card packages from $10. The prizes started at $150 and on the last day it was $3300.
My 6 year old attended the children's program at least once a day. He loved it.
Cabins We had an inside cabinet -- P236. The closet area does not have doors, but was the largest closet I have ever had. On the other hand, the shower was probably one of the smallest. The room had 2 bunks that pulled down.
Overall We had a great time and I would not hesitate to book on this ship again. We had a wonderful time on this cruise.
Princess Cruises Caribbean Princess by Dianne T Eastern Caribbean June 4, 2008
This was my 14th cruise on Princess and a HUGE dissappointment.
The food on this ship was awful compared to other Princess cruises I have been on.
The crew had an attitude of indifference. I WAS a real champion of Princess.
I have 2 cruises planned for the next year BUT they will not be on Princess.
Princess Cruises Caribbean Princess by Bogeyjim Eastern Caribbean April 13, 2008
My wife and I, along with another couple who are close friends (mid 50's to early 60's) just returned from a cruise of the Eastern Caribbean on the Caribbean Princess. I have only cruised once before, five years ago on the Celebrity Summit, so I can only compare the performance of the staff to those on that ship.
We chose to take a package with a Saturday night in Ft. Lauderdale, and transfers to the ship and return to the airport at the completion of the cruise. We had a bit of a problem initially at the airport as we could not locate the Princess personnel who were to meet us and provide transportation to the Marriott North. After having them paged, all went smoothly getting us to the hotel. The hotel room was very nice and we were able to relax after the day of travel.
We had concerns about being picked up late in the day on Sunday but those fears were put aside when we were told to be ready in the lobby at 11:30 Sunday morning. Wewere on a bus by noon and on the way to Port Everglades. We arrived at the Princess terminal at about 12:30. The longest wait we had was in going through security, as it turned out two of the three personell performing that task were on lunch break. Once through security we proceeded to the Princess counter for our deck and within approximately 15 minutes were in our staterooms, it could not have gone more efficiently.
The rooms were fine. We had a balcony cabin and our friends an inside cabin, both at the rear of the Aloha deck. Our cabin steward was Rumiel from the Philippines. He was great, attending to every request that was made of him with a smile on his face always. He is truly an asset to Princess. Other staff was very good as well except for a very few exceptions. The wait staff was very good with several of our waiters (we chose anytime dining, and loved it) very friendly and personable. The food was not gourmet, but was very good in the restaurants. We did have dinner one evening at Sabatini's and it was excellent. Our biggest complaint on the whole cruise was the buffet in both the Cafe Caribe and Horizon Court. In a word these areas are "chaotic". There is no rhyme or reason to the lines for selecting your food and people are bumping into each other constantly. Also, no trays to put your plate or glass on, you have to carry them in hand. On the Celebrity ship the buffet was very orderly to the point where personnel were there to take your tray and carry it to your table when you came off the line. There were also occasions where personnel heading back into the kitchen and service areas cut in front of me, which would never have happened on the Celebrity ship, or at least not without an "excuse me". There were also several occasions in the Princess theatre where the cocktail waiters seemed as if they would like to have been somewhere else, instead of waiting on the guests.
The pool areas were very nice, and even on the "at sea" days we were always able to find four lounges next to each other. On the days that the ship visited the ports of call, St. Maarten, St. Thomas, and Princess Cays, we stayed on board having visited the first two on our previous cruise, and we had the run of the ship. We would have like to have gone ashore at Princess Cays, but did not reserve cabanas for the beach ahead of time. When hearing that they only have 200 of them, we opted to stay on the ship rather than bake in the sun on the beach.
We saw several shows in the Pricess theare, the best of which was the "Beatlemaniacs". They were terriffic and their show was a trip down memory lane, most of the audience singing along with the group. Bert Stratton's piano/comedy show was also very good, and there was a comedian/magician, Michael James, who was also very entertaining.
I guess the word is that the ship is just about due for a trip to drydock for some rehab after four years of operation. While there were some areas that were showing some wear, overall the ship was kept in excellent condition.
When we returned on Sunday for disembarking, our instructions were to meet in one of the dining rooms at 8:45. We got there early and were released from the ship at about 8:15. It took us about 10-15 minutes to locate our luggage and we were then put right on a bus to the airport. Again, this process went like clockwork.
Overall, while the service level may not be quite up to what we experienced on Celebrity, I would have no second thoughts about taking another cruise on Princess.
Princess Cruises Caribbean Princess by Mellocroozr Eastern Caribbean March 30, 2008
Our focus for this cruise was to relax and enjoy the outstanding atmosphere we were expecting on this first trip away from our children (ages 4 & 1). We really bought into the "small ship feel" and "excellent food" reviews (we are I guess what you would call "foodies") and advertising and while we did have a good cruise, we had to really work at enjoying ourselves which is definitely not what we expected to have to do.
Embarkation was flawless, except for the rudeness of some of the embarkation staff which was unexpected and uncalled for by locals wearing Princess uniforms. Some were outright abusive to people, but worse upon debarkation.
Our stateroom was OK. We had a mini-suite which was OK. The room was nice, but the bathroom had a few caulking issues and the sliding door to the balcony was whistling and water poured in on the last day during a big storm. This ship seems so dated in the décor. I could not put my finger on it but I guess you could compare it to buying furnitureat Wal-Mart and then walking into a furniture store with a higher end product afterwards. It looked fine at the time but it wasn't until I toured the Westerdam after our cruise that I realized what was wrong with everything. It all looked cheap.
Service Our cabin attendant and the Palm Dining Room Staff were great. The Buffet staff were hit and miss but everyone working on the ship seemed tired. There was no one that really went over and above to WOW us. The cabin attendant remembered our name and he did a great job keeping our room tidy and fully stocked with towels.
As mentioned in many reviews. Princess has a problem enforcing rules -- some with very potentially serious consequences: no unsupervised children in the hot tubs and pool, using hand sanitizers when entering the buffets, shirts and shoes in the buffets, and the not so serious but really irritating no children in the adults only pools, reserving of deck chairs (some sat empty with towels from 8am until noon or longer).
Itinerary We enjoyed St Maarten including the beach being so close to the ship, but found St Thomas expensive and the people not as friendly. Princess Cays is a great day at the beach. The Cabana was a good investment when a brief shower rolled through for about 20 minutes soaking everyone else.
Entertainment The new Piano Bar singer is not very good unless he was singing a Billy Joel song. Sarge returned to the ship in St Maarten and was very funny. We did not see any other shows, as we found it not worth the struggle for seating each night.
Dining This is going to be a sore spot and you will have to excuse me if I rant. Food in the dining room was mediocre at best. The Halibut was so overcooked on the second night that I did not think you could dry out such a succulent fish to the point it was a solid brick. The sauces were never quite rich enough, or flavorful enough. When I ordered my meat rare, it came out rare, but grey on the outside. We gave up dining at our appointed time after the second night until the Chef's night when surprisingly, the lobster was not overcooked.
The Breakfast Buffets were so disappointing and the shortcuts that were taken were noticed by us in a big way. The bread is bad. The on-board bakery needs a good shake-up. The toast bread was dry and old tasting, and all buns lacked a crust. No decent rye. No offence to Americans, who generally had no problem with the bread, but Europeans are really big on bread -- that is, FRESH BREAD. Don't bake it, put it in a plastic bag for the day and then sit there and pretend that it is fresh. It is such an easy thing to do when you have a bakery 2 floors from your kitchen. Bake fresh bread. JAM -- 5 gallon pails of the cheapest stuff they could buy is what is served; and why the salad dressing ladles instead of spoons? Orange and Apple Cocktail? Not juice. Powdered scrambled eggs, or at least that's what they tasted like. The fresh fruit selection was always nice and on a few mornings they had Eggs Benedict available. I think the above shortcuts could have been upgraded without any effect on the budget had they just eliminated the smoked salmon every morning.
On the last evening, after all comment cards had been turned in for the "big draw," (this is the only explanation we could think of for this) we went to the Caribe Buffet for a light dinner. It was very packed and very hard to find seating which is to be expected after a day at the beach. There were no salt and pepper shakers on the tables in most sections. Did they think we were going to steal them? There was no rhyme or reason to the food offerings -- pasta with undercooked cans of crushed tomatoes as a sauce. Jerk chicken which looked like they took the leftover chicken from Princess Cays and tossed in spices, Curried Chicken Salad which had very little flavour and tasted dry -- not quite sure how a mayonnaise-based salad can taste dry, but it did. It was just a mish mash of leftovers. When you walked to the pool areas, all the deck chairs were being packed up, no movie was offered. At one point, both pools were closed but I am not sure if it remained that way. We really got the feeling that Princess was ready to be rid of us all. We decided to grab a couple of pieces of pizza -- which were always outstanding -- and head to our cabin to order a club sandwich from room service. Our final impression and last night on the ship was probably the worst of all the evenings. We felt unwelcome.
I will not be booking another Princess cruise without assurances that this was not typical. We really looked forward to this trip. After (my wife) being on maternity leave for a full year, we really stretched to book ourselves on this cruise but needed the time together. While we did have a nice time, it was in no way due to anything Princess did to make our voyage enjoyable. I will be looking elsewhere for our travel needs in the future.
Princess Cruises Caribbean Princess by Marlene Blackburn Eastern Caribbean February 17, 2008
We just completed our first cruise on 2/24/08 aboard the Caribbean Princess. Overall, the service was great, lots of food and variety of it, and lots of entertainment.
I was pleased with just about everything until 2/19 around 12:30 pm, when my significant other and myself were on the Riviera Deck, 14 Terrace Pool, when much to my surprise, I noticed a woman sunbathing topless amongst children. I immediately notified one of the wait staff that I was offended by it and that there were children in the area. He told me he had just reported it. After about 45 minutes of nothing happening, at least 5 of the crew dressed in white, one with a camera (who took a picture of something), were on the deck but none of them said anything to the woman. After an hour and a half, still nothing had been said. I was ticked off because I had expected something to be done and it wasn't.
I'll never take another (Princess) cruise again for the simple fact that the crew didn't respect my wishes andcorrect the problem.
I later contacted the front desk and asked to speak to someone in authority about it. The man I spoke to didn't let me speak to anyone about it other than himself, and as of that time, which was about 5 pm, there had not been any formal report filed. All he did was apologize to me, which just isn't enough.
I didn't spend that kind of money to see some woman baring herself to everyone regardless of others' feelings.
Princess Cruises Caribbean Princess by Marc Eastern Caribbean August 13, 2009
AVOID THIS CRUISE LINE AT ALL COSTS! The cruise we took was the worst vacation we have ever had. As experienced travelers and cruisers we had a good idea of what to expect. We were disappointed in almost every aspect of the cruise. One expects a certain amount of "nickel and diming" as that is the nature of cruises. But Princess takes this to a bizarre extreme. Every possible way to separate one from his or her money is exploited.
The ship is completely and totally overcrowded. There is no where to go and nothing to do without being crowded by other passengers. The dining rooms, the fitness center, the decks, the pools….everything was crowded. The anytime dining rooms had lines frequently an hour or more. In the buffet areas the dining areas were always full leaving no place to sit. Princess cruises staff actually took up tables while passengers had no where to sit.
Early in the morning passengers would spread towels on lounge chairs since if one waited until late morning there would be no available lounge chairs to use. Eventhough there are signs asking passengers not to reserve lounge chairs, this was never enforced. The pools were always packed, the adults only pools frequently had many children in them.
The staff seemed simply angry. From the cabin steward to the bar tenders to the front desk it was clear that they were overworked, mistreated, or just unhappy to be there. Our cabin steward was frequently AWOL. On more than one occasion we actually had to go to the front desk to request someone clean our room and bring some fresh towels. Our room was not clean when we arrived. My wife actually had to do cleaning in the bathroom area. The towel she used was filthy when she finished.
When calling for room service or any other service the phone would ring, on some occasions 20 times or more. Both times we ordered room service they said they were extremely busy and the service took over an hour. There was never a time when anything was done in a reasonable amount of time. The ship was too crowded.
There are many other examples of poor service and a lack of promised facilities. I rarely write reviews for cruises but in this case I wanted to warn those who may be contemplating booking a cruise with Princess. What is promised in their promotional material will not be delivered. You will spend far more money than you expect due to the extreme "nickel and diming" that is practiced by princess. You will receive poor service.
The food was ok, not great. Trying to get a table in the anytime dining rooms is impossible. Expect to wait in long lines. The buffet areas are so busy that it's very difficult to make ones way through. Fining a place to sit is also very difficult. If you’re expecting gourmet meals served by good waiters then you will be very disappointed. The cuisine is similar to what one would find in a chain restaurant. The service will be far less than one would expect.
We had a balcony stateroom on the Riviera deck. The room was small as one would expect. The balcony was small. There is a plastic pane that is about 4ft high. This piece of plastic was so filthy that one could not see through it. I requested that it be cleaned and was told that nothing could be done. I have been on other ships and this pane of plastic is cleaned each day.
The television would frequently lose its signal. The only stations that would be available were the ones that have promotional commercials. It was actually comical to see them trying to market their cruise showing people in different parts of the ship. In their infomercial nothing was crowded. On the ship everything was crowded.
The bottom line: The room was about what was expected as far as size, but unacceptable dirty.
The onboard activities were lacking. The swim against the current pool NEVER worked not once when we were on the cruise. Each time we inquired as to the reason, we got a different answer as to why it was not working.
The internet cafe charged exorbitant rates to use the computer. The connection was frequently poor, resulting in the need to reboot. The shows in the evening filled up very fast. If you did not get there early, you would not get a seat. The cruise director staff in general seemed to think that we were there for them instead of them being there for us. Plan on entertaining yourself on this ship.
Lesson to the wise: DO NOT PLAN AHEAD FOR SHORE EXCURSIONS. Our itinerary was changed while we were on the cruise and we were not able to attend any of the shore excursions we had booked. Princess re-routed us to ports of call that had limited shore excursions and extremely limited tourist amenities. The alternate route was clearly chosen to save Princess money (i.e. a lot fewer nautical miles traveled). It was clear to us that more desirable ports could have been chosen with no danger based on weather conditions.
AVOID THIS CRUISE LINE AT ALL COSTS! You were warned. The culture of this cruise company is designed to make money and not to satisfy the customer.
Princess Cruises Caribbean Princess by Coffeelady Eastern Caribbean July 9, 2008
This was our 5th Princess trip and we had a great time. Due to Hurricane Bertha, our stop in Bermuda was cancelled. While I was disappointed I understand that safety comes first and, it's difficult to dock a huge ship with high waves. Many passengers, including myself and my husband specifically took this cruise because of Bermuda. Once that was settled, the rest of the cruise was fine. We had an inside cabin and I will not take an inside again. Yes, it was a bargain, but I like seeing the water. I prefer a balcony which I will book on the next cruise.
Meals were fine. I just don't understand why people crank and complain about the meals. There's certainly enough food for every taste. What we did notice are the little things -- smaller plates and glasses, and smaller portions at dinner. Not that one couldn't have more but the initial serving(s) were often microscopic in size, and, no grand buffet. One could literally eat 24 hours a day on the Caribbean Princess, so finding something to eat isn'ta problem. Sometimes finding a cold beverage can be daunting at times and not a bar drink. Soda is a bar beverage so just ice water requires a trip to the buffet(s) or back to the cabin. Sterling steakhouse has it's own location rather than as part of the buffets as on other Princess ships; and Sabatini's is well worth the $20 per person charge. It's one of the best meals you can imagine.
Our cabin was on the Baja deck mid-ship which was great once we became acclimated to the ship. Yes, it can be confusing -- e.g., the Palm Dining room is down a flight of stairs -- we found it by accident. It's great if you want a table for 2. Plenty are available. We had the anytime dining rather than the fixed, which was much more convenient especially on extended port days such as San Juan, PR, when the ship was in port until at least 10PM.
San Juan was wonderful. We went to Baracina's -- the home of the pina colada. Well worth the stop if you have seen it on any travel show. Shopping is great and everything is close to the port.
The stop in St.Thomas was cut short due to mechanical problems (as we were told). We went to Coral World and took the semi-submersable sub. It was interesting but not if you have mobility issues. The only rain we had was while we were on the 1 hour bus ride to Coral World. Because our stay was cut short in St. Thomas, no time for shopping; however there was a very small (5 or 6 store) shopping area at the dock. Otherwise, shopping in Charlotte Amalie is worth the trip. Mr. Tablecloth is the best bargain in the Caribbean. If you like the beach, there are plenty of stunning beaches to visit while in St. Thomas.
Grand Turk is just adorable. The ship pulls into the dock, and the beach is right there! Shopping is good with plenty of stores for bargains. Try the Caribbean Coffee. A huge Margaritaville is at the dock area offering plenty of entertainment, etc.
We had a great speaker on Board, Bruce Caplan who lectured on the Titanic. Mr. Caplan lectures around the US and had insightful and informative talks throughout the cruise.
Entertainment is average; Movies Under The Stars was okay, but they need better padding on the lounge chairs.
My only real gripe is that there is NO enforcement of children under 15 in hot tubs. I get upset when I see parents of small children, even infants, in hot tubs (diapers and all). I just avoided the pool areas as much as possible since no one reads the signs. Smoking seems to be a non-issue as many passengers seem to have given up smoking. Shopping on the ship is average -- nothing special. The shops are spread out on 2 levels. Even the laundry facility was fantastic. It helps because one doesn't need additional clothing.
We saw family reunions and weddings and people having a great time. This cruise was very relaxing with no rushing from port to port, and having an extra sea day just made the trip feel that much more relaxing. A cruise is a great vacation bargain with no cooking and no cleaning. That's a vacation. I'm ready to go again.