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Our 14 day cruise around the Caribbean was somewhat different to the other 20+ cruises we have enjoyed with Princess because some of their recent changes have not really worked well. In particular, the earlier meal and show times resulted in the theatre being full 45 minutes before the 6.45 and 8.45 pm shows and very little in the way of entertainment after 9.30 in the evening. SHIP Caribbean Princess has a slightly different layout to its “sister ships” with a smoky casino right outside the theatre and very little activity in the Wheelhouse at any time. We always preferred the second (8.15 ish) evening meal time which fitted with the 10.15 pm show but found that we had to arrive in the theatre by 6 pm and then eat afterwards with “any time” dining. After this, there was not much to do except frequent one of the bars. The Promenade deck is narrow, leaving no room for loungers. ENTERTAINMENT Three of the shows were new to us and we thought Bravo was excellent. The new Broadway show was also enjoyable, mainly because the production team had used the LED background well, with scenes instead of the irritating flashing displays. Fantastic Journey had a good acrobatic couple performing amidst the artificial smoke but the production stopped with a technical fault towards the end. It would be wise to take ear plugs and dark glasses because they have thrown everything into the production. The American passengers on board seemed to enjoy the various comedians and the voice impressionist in the theatre but (as Brits) we thought they were mediocre and would have appreciated something better. FOOD & DRINKS The food and service is still of a high standard (being much better than our experience of P&O and Cunard) but cut backs are evident, especially on formal nights. The Silver wine package has gone and most fairly ordinary wines are now 35 USD + 15% service. You can still get a decent sized lobster or steak in the Crown Grill (or other restaurants) but the 29 USD supplement seems rather excessive. The Horizon has been replaced with three alternative buffet style places, called Planks, Steamers and The Market Place, and we liked the modern décor and enjoyed the stir fry at lunch time. Afternoon tea was available daily but it needed to be more leisurely and the Princess’s scones always seem to contain too much bicarbonate of soda. MEDALIANS The recent introduction of the Medallions has been accompanied by dramatically improved wi-fi speeds but we did not find the associated Apps to be of much benefit. The Ocean Compass App has replaced the original Princess Cruises App, but still enabled us to check our account, view the day’s events and connect to the Internet. The Medallions unlock your cabin door (if you are lucky) but do not replace the passenger cards, so you now need to carry both. We found that getting off the ship was now slower and you needed the ordinary card at the port and dining room. CONCLUSIONS We enjoyed our cruise, even though the Caribbean Princess is not our favourite ship. Being launched in 2002, it is a bit dated and needs more than Medallions to make it special. The revised show and meal times do not work well and there was insufficient entertainment in the evenings. Service and food are good but Princess cut backs are quite evident. Most passengers, 684 of whom were Elite, had been tempted by the considerable OBC given, which helped to compensate for the higher cost of drinks etc. We had not been to the Caribbean for almost a decade but it seemed little changed apart from the size and number of cruise ships in every port. We found that half a day on each island was enough because we seldom spend time on the beaches, which are the main attraction.

Princess Cruises – Changes that create problems

Caribbean Princess Cruise Review by Sussex Duo

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Trip Details
  • Sail Date: January 2019
  • Destination: Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Interior
Our 14 day cruise around the Caribbean was somewhat different to the other 20+ cruises we have enjoyed with Princess because some of their recent changes have not really worked well. In particular, the earlier meal and show times resulted in the theatre being full 45 minutes before the 6.45 and 8.45 pm shows and very little in the way of entertainment after 9.30 in the evening.

SHIP

Caribbean Princess has a slightly different layout to its “sister ships” with a smoky casino right outside the theatre and very little activity in the Wheelhouse at any time. We always preferred the second (8.15 ish) evening meal time which fitted with the 10.15 pm show but found that we had to arrive in the theatre by 6 pm and then eat afterwards with “any time” dining. After this, there was not much to do except frequent one of the bars. The Promenade deck is narrow, leaving no room for loungers.

ENTERTAINMENT

Three of the shows were new to us and we thought Bravo was excellent. The new Broadway show was also enjoyable, mainly because the production team had used the LED background well, with scenes instead of the irritating flashing displays. Fantastic Journey had a good acrobatic couple performing amidst the artificial smoke but the production stopped with a technical fault towards the end. It would be wise to take ear plugs and dark glasses because they have thrown everything into the production. The American passengers on board seemed to enjoy the various comedians and the voice impressionist in the theatre but (as Brits) we thought they were mediocre and would have appreciated something better.

FOOD & DRINKS

The food and service is still of a high standard (being much better than our experience of P&O and Cunard) but cut backs are evident, especially on formal nights. The Silver wine package has gone and most fairly ordinary wines are now 35 USD + 15% service. You can still get a decent sized lobster or steak in the Crown Grill (or other restaurants) but the 29 USD supplement seems rather excessive. The Horizon has been replaced with three alternative buffet style places, called Planks, Steamers and The Market Place, and we liked the modern décor and enjoyed the stir fry at lunch time. Afternoon tea was available daily but it needed to be more leisurely and the Princess’s scones always seem to contain too much bicarbonate of soda.

MEDALIANS

The recent introduction of the Medallions has been accompanied by dramatically improved wi-fi speeds but we did not find the associated Apps to be of much benefit. The Ocean Compass App has replaced the original Princess Cruises App, but still enabled us to check our account, view the day’s events and connect to the Internet.

The Medallions unlock your cabin door (if you are lucky) but do not replace the passenger cards, so you now need to carry both. We found that getting off the ship was now slower and you needed the ordinary card at the port and dining room.

CONCLUSIONS

We enjoyed our cruise, even though the Caribbean Princess is not our favourite ship. Being launched in 2002, it is a bit dated and needs more than Medallions to make it special. The revised show and meal times do not work well and there was insufficient entertainment in the evenings. Service and food are good but Princess cut backs are quite evident. Most passengers, 684 of whom were Elite, had been tempted by the considerable OBC given, which helped to compensate for the higher cost of drinks etc.

We had not been to the Caribbean for almost a decade but it seemed little changed apart from the size and number of cruise ships in every port. We found that half a day on each island was enough because we seldom spend time on the beaches, which are the main attraction.
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