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Old December 30th, 2009, 07:12 PM
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Default Caribbean Princess Questions..Any info appreciated!

Hello...I am looking to book a 10 day RT from NY Caribbean cruise in May 2010. This will be my first Princess cruise. I have sailed on NCL for my last 5 cruises. I am pretty optimistic person an believe thatay "bad" day on a cruise is better than day at work. Here are some questions I would like some feedback on:

1. Anytime Dining: from what I have read it s similar to NCL Freestyle? I love this option. We usually eat at all different places: buffet, main dining room, speciality etc. What are your thoughts?

2. Sanctuary: I understand thi is $20 per day. Is $200 or the whole10 day cruise worth it? I like quiet, and to rest and relax. But, I can only imagine spending maybe 2-3 hours here a day. I am worried that if I don' sign up right away, I won't get a spot.

3. Lotus Thermal Spa: I bougt a spa package NCL Pearl for9 days(sauna, pools, hot tubs, stone beds etc.) it was well worth it. Can you tell me about the Lotus Thermal spa? Can you get a package for both spa and sanctuary?

4. International Cafe: Is this all pay food and drink, any freebies?

5. Prices for coffee cards?

Any other tips, suggestion?

Thank you!
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Old December 31st, 2009, 09:47 AM
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Originally Posted by shandy5165 View Post
1. Anytime Dining: from what I have read it s similar to NCL Freestyle? I love this option. We usually eat at all different places: buffet, main dining room, speciality etc. What are your thoughts?
I never sailed NCL so can't compare it to that but have sailed Princess 7 times, 2 being on the Caribbean Princess (very nice ship!). I love anytime dining. The way it works on Princess is they have 3 main dining rooms. 2 are for anytime dining, while the other is reserved for assigned seating.

For dinner you can go to either of the 2 anytime dining rooms. You can go at anytime, or if you prefer a specific table size (or a guaranteed time with no wait) you can call in the morning and make a reservation. It is usually the busiest on formal nights so I would suggest a reservation then, but even still the wait isn't usually more than 20-30 minutes for a specific table size. I just grabbed a drink at the lounge outside the dining room and they give you a pager.

The buffet is open 24 hours and anyone can go at anytime. Room service is also 24 hours, at no charge (except $3 for a whole pizza delivered). By the main pools is a pizza and a grill where you can get pizza, hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken sandwiches, etc... from lunch until they close (can't remember but probably around 10pm).

There are 2 specialty restaurants. Sabitini's which is an Italian restaurant and they also have a steak house. The cover charge for the steak house is $25 per person. I don't know how much it is for Sabitini's. I really like the steak house though. The food is excellent and I usually eat there a few nights on the cruise. If you plan to go to the specialty restaurant on formal night, definitely make a reservation.

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2. Sanctuary: I understand thi is $20 per day. Is $200 or the whole10 day cruise worth it? I like quiet, and to rest and relax. But, I can only imagine spending maybe 2-3 hours here a day. I am worried that if I don' sign up right away, I won't get a spot.
The prices are about right. They do have a half day available and they also offer a price break for the full week and they will reserve a lounger specifically for you if you book the whole week. It is a nice quiet area with really comfortable loungers, but my wife and I had a balcony room so we didn't bother with this, but it is a nice option. As for it selling out, on some cruises it does, others it hasn't. Seems to be hit or miss with that so if you definitely want to use it, I would just go there on the first day and book it.

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Originally Posted by shandy5165 View Post
3. Lotus Thermal Spa: I bougt a spa package NCL Pearl for9 days(sauna, pools, hot tubs, stone beds etc.) it was well worth it. Can you tell me about the Lotus Thermal spa? Can you get a package for both spa and sanctuary?
The spa and sanctuary are different packages. You can do them daily or get a weekly pass. The Thermal spa on Princess does not include any pools or hot tubs. There is an adult only pool outside the spa, but anyone can use it. The Thermal suite is nice. It has a hot stone bed you can lay on to relax. It was very nice when I tried it out, so relaxing! They also have some steam rooms and a few types of showers like a tropical rain shower. They only sell a limited number of thermal suite passes so it won't seem crowded when you go. The actual Spa is a seperate area and they charge for each individual service (massage, facial, hair, etc...). One thing about the thermal suite is that it is completely enclosed with no view of the ocean. Some like it, some don't. If I were you, I would go up there on the first day and take a tour, lay on the hot stone bed and see if you like it.

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4. International Cafe: Is this all pay food and drink, any freebies?
There are some free foods that they offer. Donuts & pastry in the morning, sandwiches & desserts in the afternoon. The drinks you do have to pay for unless you have a coffee card, then its just 1 punch on the card. I loved the Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee. Its 1 punch on the card for the JMB. Also, if you have a coffee card, you can get unlimited fresh brewed coffee for free. The fresh brewed is not as good as the Jamaican Blue, but much better than the free stuff in the buffett.

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5. Prices for coffee cards?
IIRC, 15 drinks for $27. Sometimes your travel agent will give you a coupon book which has a coupon for buy 1 card, get one free.

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Any other tips, suggestion?

Thank you!
Have a blast! I did this cruise last year and loved it. Great itinerary and a nice ship.
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Old December 31st, 2009, 11:16 AM
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On my last Princess cruise, I was at first disappointed when we got the anytime dining and were waitlisted for the traditional. After the first few dinners, I dicided, I rather liked going whenever, instead of a certain time. It was funny though, right at 6:00, quite a lot of cruisers were waiting to eat, it just worked out for seeing shows. The dinner was taking rather long, we were missing the show, so we then tried the buffet and really enjoyed that, much faster and still a great selection of food, so keep that idea in mind.
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Old December 31st, 2009, 12:58 PM
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Hockey Nut...Thank you so much for the information...I really appreciate it!

Yes, we do eat at the buffets sometimes, especially after a long day on shore or if we want to catch a show!
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