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We booked this 2-week Southern Caribbean cruise to celebrate my husband's milestone birthday with his family and some friends. There were 9 of us total, and all of our cabins were in the same general area which made it easy to visit and exchange things as needed. One nice surprise was the Princess@Sea app. We were able to message each other about where we were meeting without using any data or minutes. The only problem is that there is no alert when a message comes in so you must constantly check. It worked on my Kindle as well as our phones. At the embarkation port, we were dropped off early by friends we had visited. Part of our group was there waiting and we were among the first to board. Because we are Platinum status, those with us could board early as well. Unfortunately the rest were on their own. Embarkation was as fast as ever, with only short lines that moved relatively quickly. We were on board with our cards in hand by shortly after noon and were able to get some lunch in the Horizon court. Everyone in our party had balcony staterooms in the mid-aft area of the ship. The rooms were comfortable although not roomy. They were clean and in working order, with side tables for lamps and some storage, a desk with drawers, a mirror and light. The outlets are by the desk, and because we had brought a multi-outlet strip, we were able to charge all of our electronics as needed. There is a hairdryer in the room, but I am certain it is the original one from, oh, 1960? Those always pull my hair, but since I do not want to bring my own, we make do. The mattress and pillows were comfortable, and the comforter was reasonably warm. If we were not in the Caribbean in February, I think we might have been cold, but it was sufficient for this trip. Towels vary with some seeming nearly new, and others being rather thin. The individual shampoos and bath products have been replaced with shower-mounted shampoo-conditioner combo and liquid soap. There is a tiny bar of soap for the sink which can be used in the shower. Dining was generally a disappointment. The buffet and regular dining room food was at best mediocre. Selections were uninspired and seemingly designed for the least amount of spice and interest possible. Menus repeat every week, so if the cruise lasts more than a week, as ours did, you get to choose from the same menu again. Unfortunately, I and one of our friends got food poisoning at dinner one night, and after that I was too ill to eat much for the rest of the cruise. The others in our group continued to report that the food had not improved. My favorite dining venue was the International Cafe, but even there, a muffin I had been craving was dry and not worth the calories. One other review stated that all the egg dishes in the buffet were pre-made. I did not find that to be true. If you were patient enough to wait for someone to show up, you could order eggs as you wanted. Otherwise, the scrambled eggs tasted like powdered eggs and the fried ones were hard. It is rare to lose weight on a cruise, but I lost 3 pounds on this 2-week one. We did not frequent any of the bars so I cannot report on bar service. Service in the dining room was variable. Most of the time the waiters were friendly and prompt, but one evening we waited 45 minutes to have our orders taken. In the buffet, less service was needed so delays were not an issue. If I wanted tea, for instance, I could get it myself. Our cabin steward was excellent. He filled every request promptly and remembered from day to day what we preferred. Entertainment by the Princess singers and dancers was among the best we have seen at sea. They performed 5 different 45-minute shows and repeated only 1 in our 14 days on board. The energy and talent they display are amazing, and we thoroughly enjoyed each one. Unfortunately, you have to get to the theater early to get a seat at the 8 or 8:30 show because everyone else seems to want to go then. If you can wait for the late show, you do not have to arrive as early. We enjoyed the other entertainers, including a comedian, magician and others. Only 1 performance was a dud, and we walked out after 10 minutes. We found that there was little ballroom dancing on this cruise. There were some duos playing but the schedule has them moving from venue to venue rather than playing a set, taking a break, and playing another. There was a Concerts-at-Sea event the first week of the cruise that took over Club Fusion, where there is normally good dance music. Other than evening entertainment, there was little to do unless you wanted to shop, play bingo (for a fee), or watch the world go by. Princess seems to have deteriorated into just another greedy cruise line whose only interest is relieving you of your money. There were sales advertised constantly for jewelry, spa services, t-shirts and souvenirs, and anything else they could think of. I find this so unpleasant and off-putting that we canceled the 2 Princess cruises we had booked for this spring. There was so little to do onboard that did not involve money changing hands that we were bored. The ports were pleasant, and tourists are kept away from the locals in the immediate area of the port. In fact, getting off the ship in most ports resembled going to an outdoor mall. Right outside the docks you are funneled into an area of shops offering all the same goods as the ship with occasional locally-made items. If you are a devoted shopper, this might be paradise. I am not, and it was not. We did excursions with Princess and with independent purveyors and found both to be fine. The catamaran and snorkel tour in Aruba with Princess was a lot of fun (do not forget sunscreen!), and an independent submarine tour in Cozumel was perfect for our family member who cannot do water activities. The ships photographers go on some of their excursions now, so you can buy photos of your adventure rather than depending on taking your own. All in all, we found this cruise to be very disappointing. I have avoided other cruise lines as a result of their greedy nickle-and-dime approach and now I will add Princess to the list. I do appreciate their generous veterans and shareholder benefits, but not enough to sail with Princess again. There is too little to do onboard and the quality is not the same. This is not the same cruise line as we have sailed with many times in the past, I am sorry to report.

Highly disappointing, and probably our last on Princess

Caribbean Princess Cruise Review by kidfixer

4 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: January 2017
  • Destination: Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Premium Balcony
We booked this 2-week Southern Caribbean cruise to celebrate my husband's milestone birthday with his family and some friends. There were 9 of us total, and all of our cabins were in the same general area which made it easy to visit and exchange things as needed. One nice surprise was the Princess@Sea app. We were able to message each other about where we were meeting without using any data or minutes. The only problem is that there is no alert when a message comes in so you must constantly check. It worked on my Kindle as well as our phones.

At the embarkation port, we were dropped off early by friends we had visited. Part of our group was there waiting and we were among the first to board. Because we are Platinum status, those with us could board early as well. Unfortunately the rest were on their own. Embarkation was as fast as ever, with only short lines that moved relatively quickly. We were on board with our cards in hand by shortly after noon and were able to get some lunch in the Horizon court.

Everyone in our party had balcony staterooms in the mid-aft area of the ship. The rooms were comfortable although not roomy. They were clean and in working order, with side tables for lamps and some storage, a desk with drawers, a mirror and light. The outlets are by the desk, and because we had brought a multi-outlet strip, we were able to charge all of our electronics as needed. There is a hairdryer in the room, but I am certain it is the original one from, oh, 1960? Those always pull my hair, but since I do not want to bring my own, we make do.

The mattress and pillows were comfortable, and the comforter was reasonably warm. If we were not in the Caribbean in February, I think we might have been cold, but it was sufficient for this trip. Towels vary with some seeming nearly new, and others being rather thin. The individual shampoos and bath products have been replaced with shower-mounted shampoo-conditioner combo and liquid soap. There is a tiny bar of soap for the sink which can be used in the shower.

Dining was generally a disappointment. The buffet and regular dining room food was at best mediocre. Selections were uninspired and seemingly designed for the least amount of spice and interest possible. Menus repeat every week, so if the cruise lasts more than a week, as ours did, you get to choose from the same menu again. Unfortunately, I and one of our friends got food poisoning at dinner one night, and after that I was too ill to eat much for the rest of the cruise. The others in our group continued to report that the food had not improved. My favorite dining venue was the International Cafe, but even there, a muffin I had been craving was dry and not worth the calories. One other review stated that all the egg dishes in the buffet were pre-made. I did not find that to be true. If you were patient enough to wait for someone to show up, you could order eggs as you wanted. Otherwise, the scrambled eggs tasted like powdered eggs and the fried ones were hard. It is rare to lose weight on a cruise, but I lost 3 pounds on this 2-week one.

We did not frequent any of the bars so I cannot report on bar service. Service in the dining room was variable. Most of the time the waiters were friendly and prompt, but one evening we waited 45 minutes to have our orders taken. In the buffet, less service was needed so delays were not an issue. If I wanted tea, for instance, I could get it myself. Our cabin steward was excellent. He filled every request promptly and remembered from day to day what we preferred.

Entertainment by the Princess singers and dancers was among the best we have seen at sea. They performed 5 different 45-minute shows and repeated only 1 in our 14 days on board. The energy and talent they display are amazing, and we thoroughly enjoyed each one. Unfortunately, you have to get to the theater early to get a seat at the 8 or 8:30 show because everyone else seems to want to go then. If you can wait for the late show, you do not have to arrive as early. We enjoyed the other entertainers, including a comedian, magician and others. Only 1 performance was a dud, and we walked out after 10 minutes. We found that there was little ballroom dancing on this cruise. There were some duos playing but the schedule has them moving from venue to venue rather than playing a set, taking a break, and playing another. There was a Concerts-at-Sea event the first week of the cruise that took over Club Fusion, where there is normally good dance music.

Other than evening entertainment, there was little to do unless you wanted to shop, play bingo (for a fee), or watch the world go by. Princess seems to have deteriorated into just another greedy cruise line whose only interest is relieving you of your money. There were sales advertised constantly for jewelry, spa services, t-shirts and souvenirs, and anything else they could think of. I find this so unpleasant and off-putting that we canceled the 2 Princess cruises we had booked for this spring. There was so little to do onboard that did not involve money changing hands that we were bored.

The ports were pleasant, and tourists are kept away from the locals in the immediate area of the port. In fact, getting off the ship in most ports resembled going to an outdoor mall. Right outside the docks you are funneled into an area of shops offering all the same goods as the ship with occasional locally-made items. If you are a devoted shopper, this might be paradise. I am not, and it was not. We did excursions with Princess and with independent purveyors and found both to be fine. The catamaran and snorkel tour in Aruba with Princess was a lot of fun (do not forget sunscreen!), and an independent submarine tour in Cozumel was perfect for our family member who cannot do water activities. The ships photographers go on some of their excursions now, so you can buy photos of your adventure rather than depending on taking your own.

All in all, we found this cruise to be very disappointing. I have avoided other cruise lines as a result of their greedy nickle-and-dime approach and now I will add Princess to the list. I do appreciate their generous veterans and shareholder benefits, but not enough to sail with Princess again. There is too little to do onboard and the quality is not the same. This is not the same cruise line as we have sailed with many times in the past, I am sorry to report.
kidfixer’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Premium Balcony
Cabin B2 C318
The balcony staterooms on Deck 3 have larger balconies than the other decks, so we always try to get rooms on this deck. If the weather is nice, it is wonderful to sit and enjoy the ocean. It is also nice for larger gatherings for sail away or to watch the sunset.
The room is adequately roomy for 2 people, with a small sitting area adjacent to the bed. There is a desk with a chair, and a refrigerator under the TV area plus a second chair. The desk has drawers as do the 2 side tables by the bed. There is a large open closet and a smaller closet with a door closer to the bathroom. That includes the safe plus several open shelves. Hangers are available and the room steward will bring more on request.
The shower is tiny as is the whole bathroom. There are 3 small shelves on the bathroom wall and a longer shelf below the sink. A short length of vanity allows a place to store other items or to use as a work space for applying makeup, etc. The individual shampoos have been replaced with a combined shampoo-conditioner and a liquid soap on the shower wall. Small soaps are provided at the sink.
Or cabin steward brought ice each evening, but if requested he would bring it twice per day. We brought our own soft drinks and bottled water and kept them in the refrigerator. There are wine and cocktail glasses on the bar, as well as smaller water glasses in the bathroom. Additional glasses can be requested if needed. Bring your own wine opener and stoppers.
Caribe Deck Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Catamaran Tour
    We took the ship's sailing and snorkeling tour with a very large group of passengers. The boat is large enough for lots of people and there were plenty of staff on board to help and for safety. As we drove to the boat, we were given some information about the trip, and a safety briefing was given shortly after boarding. We sailed about 30 minutes to the first snorkel spot. The sailing was fabulous, and sitting anywhere on the ship was pleasant. Soft drinks and water were offered before snorkeling, and rum punch was added (included) after snorkeling. Safety was clearly a priority here. In our group of 4 people, 3 got seriously sunburned because of inadequate sunscreen. The sun is very strong here but when you are in the water, you don't realize how much sun you are getting. Definitely bring waterproof sunscreen and re-apply after every time you get in the water. Better yet, wear a t-shirt.
    View All 47 Catamaran Tour Reviews
  • Snorkeling
    This is the same tour as above (catamaran). The snorkeling was ok, but not great. There were several other boats in the same area and each tried to keep their passengers in one area, but it was difficult. The waves and wind were pretty strong which made snorkeling effortful. If you are not a strong swimmer, opt for the life vest, which is not bulky but will make your swim more pleasant.
    The fish were better at the first stop than at the shipwreck. The wreck was far enough below water that many of the fish were hard to see.
    The staff on the boat were friendly and lots of fun. 2 of the ship's photographers came along too and were taking lots of photos. If this seems like something you'd like, try to find out if there is a sale on the all-inclusive photo package. Then you get all the photos with you in them (photo bombing encouraged!).
    View All 162 Snorkeling Reviews
  • Belize City
    Same as Roatan - get off the ship and go to an outdoor mall. Not very exciting for me, but if you like to shop it could be paradise.
    View All 2,326 Belize City Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Belize City Cruise Port Review
  • Submarine Tour
    We booked an independent tour on the Atlantis submarine so our family member who cannot go in the water could see some corals and fish. It was a bit difficult to find the starting point (it is NOT the national park) and our taxi dropped us off at the wrong place before we could determine where we were. We needed to get another taxi to take us back to the right place, which is actually in the town near the docks (to the left if you are docked where we were). We called to tell them we were on our way and still arrived with about 20 minutes to spare. There was a safety briefing, a short ferry ride, and then we boarded the sub. The only problem is that if there are a lot of overweight people in your group, you will be very crowded. The sub has butt-depressions created in the plastic seating, which forces everyone into a small space whether they fit or not. I was squeezed between 2 butts that did not fit making it a bit uncomfortable. Everyone has a window, and you see the scenery in front of you, leaning forward to get a better view on occasion. Photos are encouraged, but video actually works much better. It was a fun and different tour.
    View All 83 Submarine Tour Reviews
  • Curacao
    We took an island tour through an independent vendor. The small group tour took us by many of the colorful buildings and made stops along the ocean where we could take photos. At one stop, we walked a short distance to watch the waves crash along the shore. Our tour stopped for lunch at a tiny restaurant (there were no others nearby) with a limited selection of sandwiches. The food was adequate and not overly expensive. I would recommend wearing sturdy shoes on this type of tour because walking along the lava rocks could be a bit dangerous in flip flops or sandals.
    View All 1,240 Curacao Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Curacao Cruise Port Review
  • Roatan
    Wow, we got off the ship and were in an outdoor shopping mall! As if there wasn't enough shopping for souvenirs, jewelry, and liquor onboard.
    View All 2,818 Roatan Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Roatan Cruise Port Review