Caribbean Princess Cruise Review by tipsy
We cruised on the 5/3 to 5/10 sailing to Aruba,Bonaire,Grenada,Dominica & St Thomas. Our 1st time on Princess, had heard good things about this line so decided to try it. 1) Embarkation was very nice - got to terminal by 11:15 am, stood online till Noon when doors opened, once inside,zipped thru check-in process, stopped at store inside & picked up some soda and was on board, in our cabin by 12:30. One note, have read in diff. places (inc Princess) that a crew member escorts you to your cabin,doesn't happen, they're by the elevators & tell you what deck you're on & which way to go but that's all. No big deal but just mention for those who might be expecting this service.2) Disembarkation - had 1st priority, 8am (due to an early flt) - no crew staff checked the colored tags so people were getting off as they pleased and causing slight back ups in luggage claim area. line to go thru custom check was long and people were cutting it all over the place, when bought to the attention of Princess crew staff, they shrugged their shoulders & said "there was nothing they could do",which caused more people to cut the line. So have no idea why these crew members bothered to be there. Got to airport by 9:30, plenty of time for flt. 3) Our cabin steward was fabulous and so far other roll call members for this cruise said the same @ theirs too. Name was Dino, he has 6 more mos to go on his contract,hope someone here gets him. He was always happy, smiling and very eager to please. No idea when he slept though, was there when left in morn & when back late at night. Room was always fresh, ice kept filled etc. He was the best. The wait staff in the restaurants were pleasant and friendly on the nights we were there. The only drawback was never asked if wanted more on any of the servings, another cutback?4) I wish I could say the same about the rest of the crew, as a roll call member stated, never have saw so many frowning, unsmiling working people anywhere !! The buffet crew were beyond belief ! We had to get our own drinks everytime, never even offered refills, and few times, never had our plates cleaned off the table. The one Maitre'D in the Caribe buffet was extremely rude, at one point, as he walked past our table he said out loud, Ah Fungu(excuse the spelling). Excuse Me?? think he better find another line of work. We never saw the cruise director, not once at any of the activities we went to & we did alot of them. Our last cruise, the guy was everywhere ! We didn't think he slept or stopped the whole time! We met/saw the asst director and all the other social activities crew but never the main guy, maybe he didn't exist? Alot of the crew on this ship are ending their contracts this coming week & I hope the new crew has better attitudes and know how to smile & say Hello. 5) Know theres a recession going on but the lack of usual activities on board was very sad. Feel that this ship was using MUTS to keep us entertained rather than the usual silly games & contests etc. Once a day, there would be some kind of activity by one of the pools and not made known very well unless happen to be by the pool or remembered from the Patter list. Basically, the other activities were either additional costs or things like bridge playing, workshops etc. Once or twice a day there would be a game or such thing but usually during the dinner hours or when most people would be ashore. Bingo was every day but again right around the 1st dinner hour. The activities they did have were fun and enjoyed them. Felt that this ship had cut back or was aiming towards the more sedentary types. 6) Mostly everyone else on our roll call wasn't bothered by this but we found the ship to really move alot, from side to side, especially when going full speed over the Caribbean Sea (there was no bad weather) and there was alot of vibration. Even felt it on the toilet seat and we were on the 12th deck. One night it was rolling so much, we both had to leave our dinners, or I would have gotten sick in the dining room and I was taking Dramamine. So we just skipped eating that night. Been on 3 cruises and never felt so much movement and one cruise was in a OV sea level cabin,in the back of the ship. 7) The food in the dining rooms was good, the buffets were ... buffet food, have had more choices & better here in buffets in our area but there was plenty & filled us. Not many choices & basically same everyday. My only complaint was, went to the Crown Grill one night, ordered the Pork Chop, started to eat it & it was pink, then dark pink in the middle. I stopped eating it, where I come from, pork s/b white or its not cooked enough. When the waiter came to see how we were doing, & saw the chop on my plate, asked why, so told him it wasn't cooked completely. He told me its up to the Chef's discretion on how he wants to cook the food and this is how he wanted this to be cooked & walked away !! Didn't offer to get another one, or to have this one cooked more, nothing. My DH wanted to call him back & have it bought back to kitchen but I was concerned at what they would do to it if we did so told him to forget it. Thought that maybe they would take a few $ off the bill to make amends, but nope, so this waiter didn't get the tip he should have. This was very disturbing to me, know the charge for these rest. are not even close to what would pay in a rest at home, but did expect better service in it.8) Found the ship decor to be very dark, all dark paneling & trim, DH said it reminded him of the Titanic. even the dining rooms were dark, some tables were in very dark areas that people could barely see the food. One lounge by the theatre was a heavy smoking one & the doors were always open, so the smoke lingered out in the hall leading to the theatre entrance.9) Most of the entertainment was mediocre, didn't expect bdwy talent but could have been better. only Bert Stratton, piano player/comedian was terrific. One of the main attractions in the Piazza was a lady from Russia who was an award winning hula hoop person. A one time performance was enough, not everyday and not as a main attraction in the main area of ship. 10) We don't have high tastes, like very simple foods and are happy with a clean room/bed/linens and good places to visit. We believe that you make your own good time & don't depend on others or things to do so for us. I straightened the bed out every morning so the steward didn't have to, things like that. So wasn't expecting royalty service or gourmet foods or wanted that. But this cruise line/ship didn't even meet most of what we have had on other lines and thought would have on this one, especially since always thought Princess was on the high end of the cruise ship lines. 11) Will we go on another Princess cruise? Never say never but doubt it. This might be an example of the whole industry cutting back etc but don't know. Will wait till other people we know come back from their cruises this yr on other lines to see how things went on theirs. But we were disappointed at the level of service and regard for us passengers on this ship. As we all know, this is just two peoples opinions out of 3100 people on board, so there prob will be more positive opinions than ours. Everyone has their own reasons,choices,experiences & opinions. So read ours & all the others here & then go on your cruise and enjoy yourselves & make your own good time.
tipsy’s Full Rating Summary
had a balcony cabin,was smaller than the equivalent on the RCCL. but it was big enough. shower stall was very small, DH, who is 6' had a bit of hard time, even I,5'3" hit my head quite alot on bars in it. plenty of closet & storage space & hangers. the cover on bed was worn & had small holes in it, so turned it around so holes were on the bottom of bed. balcony was nice, chairs were comfy. unfortunately, had very noisy neighbors next door, turning the TV on at 4:30am & must have been hard of hearing cause was blasted. then was always out on their balcony, and wife talked non-stop,in loud voice using foul language. so didn't get to use ours much, but that's the chance you take.
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Was extremely surprised at how dirty & rundown Oranjestad was. Had always heard how great Aruba was, maybe by the big hotels but not in the capitol city. there's a good jewelry store there, Kings that has reasonable prices & very willing to negotiate, it's also recommended by the ships. Got a beautiful Tanzanite bracelet there for way less than other stores. Went to De Palm island for snorkeling and 1/2 day at beach. this was great, clean, had showers, lockers,changing rooms. Beach was pretty, snorkeling was good. Had 2 restaurants there, was bkfst buffet when got there, didn't try it but then had a lunch one, that was very good. Ribs, ears of corn, salads, chicken, drinks, rice dish & few deserts & fresh fruits. Very nice day. reccommend it.
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in port a short time so only walked around town. very cute town, people are so friendly & helpful. found a little house, Yennys museum, it's a Flamingo sanctuary for injured & sick birds, so the whole yard had them in it and you could walk among them, petting them etc. She also paints pictures on all kinds of things & sells them. it was a nice 1/2 day there.
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another showery day. went on a ship tour to Jaco falls & rain forest. the rain forest was little disappointing,not like El Yunque. But the falls was pretty and had some fresh fruit there & a rum punch that could knock your socks off! Went to the Botanical Gardens but by then all were tired so didn't get out & walk around. It was another long ride around the island. seems like all tours are lengthy rides & in the main towns lots of traffic due to the narrow roads. so be prepared.
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not a comfortable experience. soon as walked off the pier, there was all sorts of people trying to sell you things or tours etc. very persistent & uncomfortable. took a tour with Mandoo to a spice plantation which was very interesting & got some terrific fresh spices. was supposed to see a waterfall but it was rainy & the area it was in was covered in fog & slippery. Saw alot of the flowers & trees of the island. But it was a long ride.
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been to St Thomas before and loved it then. Was at a diff pier though, last time was at the Havensight pier which is much nicer than Crown Bay and is closer to more things too. Did the Atlantis Submarine tour thru the ship, very nice, didn't see much though on our side but the other side saw a sm shark & lg turtle. It was just interesting to be under water like that. The ship wreck that used to be there is gone, the last few hurricanes washed it away. Before going on our tour,we stopped at the tourist booth & asked if could get a taxi to a beach close by when got back to pier. Was told to just go to the taxi p/u area & tell the man in charge wanted to go to Emerald beach. It's only @ 5 min from pier & away from the main town of Charlotte Amalie. That's what we did, but was told he didn't think there were any taxis for us. meanwhile there were dozens sitting in parking lot, but they all were waiting to take people into town. We stood there for @ 1/2 hr and the guy never came back to us, we watched lots of taxis leaving w/people for where-ever, so DH went back to the guy & was told there were no taxis available for us. guess no-one wanted to be bothered to take 2 people anywhere?? so we went back to the ship and spent the rest of day on a near empty ship, relaxing by the pool. disappointing? yes,would liked to have swam in the Caribbean waters again but oh well.
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