I hear many, many complaints about the long lines for PC dining; but what about the lines for dining in the Caribe Cafe? I understand that you get "seated" and served drinks, but it is a buffet. I also understand that Horizon Cafe shuts down at 5:30pm, so wouldn't this make the small Caribe Cafe crowded? Does the Cafe use the tables from the Horizon?
So is there a long wait to be seated during peak dinner times (6:30 - 8)?
Are there tables for 2 available and do they ask if you want to sit with others?
Is there wine service available?
Is the place noisy and overrun by kids?
I would appreciate any comments from those who have used Caribe Cafe as I am desperately searching for info to supplement my PC choices. Thanks!
I don't know about the Caribbean Princess, but when we were on the Grand and wanted our table for 2 for PC at the time we wanted it, in the main dining room, there was none available. We had to wait in line like everyone else.Finally, we opted to sit with others just so we could eat in a timely matter.When we did get a table for 2 sometimes, it was way in back, near a serving area and the waiters were frazzled.I wouldn't say that ruined our dinner, but it wasn't the optimum experience we wanted. On the last cruise, on a different line that has a similar program, we opted for the early, traditional seating, at a small table, that ended up being one for 6. I hadn't heard about the Horizon Deck closing at 5:30.Where am I missing all this information? We about lived in there on our cruises,even for dinner, except on formal nights, as our schedules were so erratic we didn't want to commit ourselves to a time to eat. Lynne
We ate in Cafe Carib just about everyday. The lines were never long. In fact we immediatly got our plates and forks at lunch and it took maybe 6or 7 minutes to go thru the line. At night the tables are set so just get your food and sit down . You can order drinks. We got salads and bread first, then went up for a main dish sometimes we went up twice. They had mussels and clams a few nights so I got a plate of those then went back for fish or beef whatever they had was good. They had shrimp every night. I would eat there and the sterling steakhouse and Sabatinis forget the dining room.We always got a table for 4 no problem. Cafe Carib is in 2 places 1 on each side of the ship. I think it is the best kept secret on the boat. You can go there and walk thru the buffet and look then if you dont like what you see go to the dining room. No kids running around that we saw. PC dining was a very long wait unless you went before 6 or after 830
IF YOU HAVE A SET DINING TIME EITHER 1ST OR 2ND SEATING. YOU SHOULD BE OK. I HEARD THAT FOLKS WITH PERSONAL CHOICE HAD TO FIGHT THEIR WAYS TO THE DINING TABLE EVERY DAY. IF YOU WANT TO MAKE ANY CHANGES SEE MAITRE D (GUY WITH BLACK SUITE), HE CAN TAKE OF YOU ON THE NEXT NIGHT.
We just got back from the 5/1 sailing, and it was wonderful. To answer your questions:
1. Cafe Caribe was great. It was open all day. For lunch and dinner, it had different items than the regular Horizon buffet. The seating areas are separated by a doorway, so you can sit on either side. In the Cafe Caribe side, they don't seat you, but the tables are already set with silverware and glasses. The Cafe Caribe side had more seafood (almost always had lobster and shrimp), sushi, and some of the dishes being served in the dining rooms. It was a nice alternative from the regular buffet or the dining room. I still preferred the dining room for dinner, though. It was nice to have the first class service at night.
2. We only did PC once, and got right in for a table for 2, but we went there early, so that may explain why we got seated so quick. We liked our dining mates for our set dining time, so we did that the other nights.
3. Don' t drink, so don't know about the wine.
4. We did not see any problems with kids. There were very few. I read a lot of reviews from the first few cruises complaining about out of control teens. My response to them is that anyone who cruises or goes to any warm weather place over spring break has to expect this. We did not see one rowdy teen the entire trip.
Regarding PC. We have done it 4 times since it started. We love it and always get a table for two. We like to dine at 7pm.(PEAK!) I go to the PC dining room at 6:40ish and put our names in, enjoy a cocktail, hubby drops our son off at the Kid Zone at 7 and by the time he comes down, I'm usually seated, waiting for him.
The trick is to make a standing reservation for the week on saturday at one of the dining roorms even if you have selected PC dining . We had no problems at all with lines . If you need to change the times just call and they will accomadate you.
I appreciate all the suggestions about PC dining and all the comments on the Caribe Cafe. I enjoy the solitude of dinner for two and am very uncomfortable at the prospect of having dinner with others. I know..I know...some people thrive on this type of thing, but for me it's like playing Russian Roulette and taking a chance on having to break bread with the passangers from hell (or taking the chance of being known as the passenger from hell myself)--life, and my vacation is too short.
I've never cruised on Princess, but cruised on NCL who have a similar program to PC.
NCL seemed to have the system down and I had few, if any, problems with "anytime" dining for 2. I believe this may be the case with other ships in the Princess fleet--with the exception of (as I've been reading) the Carib Princess. I think it is a mix of being a new ship, the fact that they have an additional 500 people to deal with, and the fact that they shut down the Horizon Cafe during peak dinner times.
From what I understand, Princess is trying to address these issues. They've already juggled the Tradition Dining folks from the larger Palm Dining Room to the smaller Island Dining room; and I'm sure, as they go along, the staff will get to know the layout of the ship and be able to work out some of the bugs in the system (like properly identifying the "reservation" line and the "non-reservation" line). I also think they should consider using only one dining room exclusively for the PC "Reservation" people (say the Island Dining room) and leave the other dining room for walk-ups. They also should keep the Horizon Dining area open during high peak dinner hours to offer another alternative considering the increased number of people on the ship. That $50 per person dinner on the balcony just doesn't hack it as an alternative dining solution.
I'm glad I'm not sailing for another 7 months; hopefully Carib Princess will get its stuff together on the dining issues. I know I won't go hungry on this or any ship, but clearly Princess has some issues they must address and they must take note of solutions their passengers are offering as they continue to add more people on ships without increasing their staffs or dining facilities.
Hopefully all these people who are trashing the PC dining problems are sending their comments to the cruise line so they can fix the problems.
By the way; I understand before they swapped traditional dining from the Palm to the the Island, they used to use the Island Dining Room for the PC breakfast and lunch. Which dining room is now being used for the PC breakfast and lunch...anyone?
I'm hoping that the 3 folks I met in Ft.Lauderdale last week will remember my name and check in with a report. Something might come through from another couple,friends of a message board correspondent of mine,who got back yesterday, as well. Lynne
I don't knwo about the Carribean Princess but last time out onthe Grand we had no problem with personal choice, only one night we had to wait a little bit and it wasn't more than ten minutes at 7:30 . The Horizon Court was never closed and we ate dinner there a few nights when we didn't feel like getting dressed up , The thing to think of with perosnal choice is that its like going to a regular resturant , just think about it that way and you'll have no problems, you also have to remeber that this is one of there of these monster that they are bringing into service in a couple months I am sure this is putting stress on their training, by the time you go they should be fine.