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3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2015
I haven't written many reviews but I read many before we go on our cruises so I thought it was time I contributed. This was our 8th cruise (2nd on Princess) and I can say that for the most part everything met our expectations. Our ... Read More
I haven't written many reviews but I read many before we go on our cruises so I thought it was time I contributed. This was our 8th cruise (2nd on Princess) and I can say that for the most part everything met our expectations. Our anniversary falls in December so we generally cruise at that time of the year. We were also only on the ship for 10 days. We chose this itinerary for the ports of call. Embarkation - Very nice. This was our first time out of Port Everglades and I was impressed on how quickly we got through the line and on board. We stayed at the Quality Inn in Fort Lauderdale because they had airport AND cruiseport shuttles included with the price of the room. While the hotel was just OK (it met our needs), the breakfast was very nice and we were able to relax before taking the 1145 shuttle to the port. We arrived at the port at 1215 and were on board at 1250! It was very efficient. Ship - This was by far the nicest and largest ship we have been on. The decor was stunningly beautiful. We were on the 16th floor and never really had any problems getting from place to place or waiting for the elevator. The only time the elevator was an issue was after the muster drill and after excursions off the ship. We did not use the pool, adult area, hot tubs or fitness area because our rooms balcony was the best (more on that later). We did enjoy the football games and a couple of movies under the stars. Dining - We always choose the late dining option because we don't want to feel rushed for dinner after coming back from our shore excursions. We requested a table for two but the arrangement was really several "two person" tables in a row. We have had some great experiences in the past on other cruise lines and at first I thought we were going to have problems. On the first night, we were showed to our table and left there. No menus, no drinks, no nothing for 15 mins. The couple next to us had menus and so did the table behind us. I kept trying to catch the eye of the Matre D but he just ignored me. When we were about to leave and not come back for the rest of the cruise, the waitstaff finally showed up. I'm glad we stayed because the couple next to us turn out to be a wonderful retired couple that we struck up a friendship with. For the remainder of the cruise, the service in the MDR was nice and most times the food was average to good. There were some consistency issues (one night the steak was cooked perfectly, the next, it was shoe leather). We ate in the Horizon court mostly at breakfast and it was fine. The coffee was horrendous which is probably why they have a coffee bar on the ship but I don't want to have to pay extra for a fresh brewed cup of coffee. We stuck to tea. Alfredo's is excellent. We ate there several times for lunch. The pizza at Alfredo's is 1000 times better than the pizza by the pool. Did not go to the specialty restaurants. I feel like I already paid enough for the cruise that includes meals. Why should I have to pay extra? Just an excuse to nickle and dime you to death. Room Steward - Cannot say enough good things about John our room steward. He was always efficient and courteous. Whenever we saw him in the hallways, he said good morning (or evening depending on the time of day) and had a ready smile. Our room was always clean and fresh. Excursions - Did not book any excursions from the boat. Too expensive. We did independent tours and enjoyed our time on shore. Entertainment - Other than the football games and a few movies, the entertainment was very sub par IMHO. The "Colors of the World" was so so, we walked out of Beatlemanics, and never went to the 'Spectaclar' show. The only show worth seeing was Hawley Magic. Even the comedian was not good. Other entertainment options were also not very good during the day. Other than trivia, there were no offerings that made you want to go (knitting club any one). The best musical offering was the string quartet. The steal drum guy just seemed out of place outside of the Crowne Grill. Disembarkation - We have never had such an easy time getting off a ship. We choose to self-disembark to leave quicker. We left our room at 1000 and walked straight off the ship right to the customs officer and passed right through to a cab. We were literally off the ship in 20 mins. Even the customs area was not busy. I think Princess does a good job of controlling the flow of people off the ship. Impressions - We will cruise with Princess again. The boat was nice and most of the crew members were VERY nice. The Guest Services desk left a lot to be desired but otherwise they were friendly and helpful. We have limited options on cruise port availability and Princess goes out of the ones we can get to easily. They also have nice itineraries. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2015
My son and I went on the Royal Princess last Dec for 20 nights. Some people we liked a lot, some people we didn't. Some people didn't like us. The rest were two faced. I was very disappointed with the food. The breakfasts in ... Read More
My son and I went on the Royal Princess last Dec for 20 nights. Some people we liked a lot, some people we didn't. Some people didn't like us. The rest were two faced. I was very disappointed with the food. The breakfasts in Horizon court was the best meal of the day. The other meals in there were very repetitive. I understand for 20 days they can't always have different things each meal, but to have the same things 3/4 days on the run is a bit much. I'm a smoker so most of the time I spent on Deck 17 when I was on the ship. Most days there was always someone moaning about us smoking. One day I took an ashtray to sunbeds and put it on the table, and then the waiter came and told me that I couldn't smoke there. I asked why?? they said they don't make the rules. Later a manager came up and I asked why we could smoke sat on a chair at the table, but not on a sunbed. He said its just in case we fall asleep with the cig in our hand. I told him if he knew the price of cigs, no-one would fall asleep smoking. We had a problem with one of the waiters, so my son and I went to the reception to make a complaint. They said they would deal with it. To cut a long story short, they didn't do anything about it. So I went back down the next day and the first guy had not even written it down. So I went through it all again. Finally they did something about it. I spoke to other people on other cruise ships when we were in port, they all said there was a smoking section around the pool area. Princess should do something for the smokers that r left in the world. We ate at The Symphony 3 times, the 1st time the duck was over cooked, the 2nd the fish wasn't cooked at all, the 3rd time was so, so. I enjoyed all the ports, but most of them we had to be back on the ship early. It was a real shame we didn't have more time on the islands. We were in a mini suite which was fine. We didn't spend much time in the room as I couldn.t smoke. I can count on both hands the number of great staff. I was very disappointed with attitude of a lot of the staff members. When I have been on other ships I found the staff very polite, this time I didn't. I work with the public and sometimes I'm not in the mood, but they give me my money so I can go on cruises. I know staff on the ship work very hard, but that's their job. My son went to have a pedicure at the beauty salon, me being as friendly as I am was talking to all the girls there. a couple days later we were waiting for the lift and one of the girls in front of everyone said to me, why don't u come to the salon and I can get rid of yr upper lip hair. Thank G-d I don't get embarrassed easily, but others might. Before I forget, They put us smokers up on deck 17 and guess what!!! Its right next too the indoor kids club!! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2015
This ship has some attributes that I enjoyed more than I have on previous Princess cruises. I found the dining facilities to have very good food with a creative new menu that tried to match our itinerary. Also, the Horizon Court is far ... Read More
This ship has some attributes that I enjoyed more than I have on previous Princess cruises. I found the dining facilities to have very good food with a creative new menu that tried to match our itinerary. Also, the Horizon Court is far superior than other buffet areas on my previous Princess cruises. Things that I found lacking (not important to everyone but, important to me) were lack of pool area. I found this to be a major deficiency and never did I see a sign reminding passengers that unattended towels will be remove in 45 minutes like I have seen on other cruises. Needless to say, near the few pool were towels on every chair without people in the limited pool areas. Also, the Princess Theater was much smaller than I had expected for such a very large ship. Another major deficiency was the size of the balconies. They couldn't be any wider than 4 foot wide. Would I book another cruise on this ship? Probably, but, the price would have to be right and I definitely wouldn't use Princess Reservations to make my reservation. I had awful problems with this department and came very close to canceling my cruise due to their lack of attention, skills, and rudeness. I stayed at the Comfort Suites (Cruiseport, Ft. Lauderdale) prior to leaving on my cruise. These guys are the greatest. They really know how to help you relax before embarking on your adventure. It has a great staff and location with many great places to eat within walking distance. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2015
We had never sailed on Princess before and when this cruise came up with a terrific price we decided to try them. Embarkation was well organized and we quickly were on board and ready for lunch. Our stateroom room was clean and standard ... Read More
We had never sailed on Princess before and when this cruise came up with a terrific price we decided to try them. Embarkation was well organized and we quickly were on board and ready for lunch. Our stateroom room was clean and standard for a balcony room. The bathroom had a very strong smell of mildew and the toilet was always dirty with a black ring around the water line. There was a refrigerator but it was never stocked with anything but water and we were told by our attendant that they never stock the fridges and we would have to call room service or leave our room and go to a bar to get drinks. Very inconvenient if you want a drink late at night. Our attendant kept our room clean and stocked with ice. Information on making reservations for our evening dining was confusing. We were told one thing on the phone and another in person. Eventually we got it straightened out and our dining experiences were okay but not memorable. Our waiters were very good and kept things moving along. Due to an allergic reaction to something in our first night dinner I had to buy some Benedryl in the convenience store and was shocked to see prices double what we would pay in a regular pharmacy. I understand making a profit but selling a $5.99 item for $12.99 was outrageous. The shows were entertaining but nothing wowed us. We selected Express Walk Off for disembarkation and were pleased that everything went very smoothly and we were off the boat and on our way before 8:30 AM. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2015
Sailed on a back to back 12 day out of Fort Lauderdale - first 7 to Eastern Caribbean followed by second 5 to Western Caribbean. Ship had just returned from Europe and had some issues. We had a nice cabin on the Lido deck near the ... Read More
Sailed on a back to back 12 day out of Fort Lauderdale - first 7 to Eastern Caribbean followed by second 5 to Western Caribbean. Ship had just returned from Europe and had some issues. We had a nice cabin on the Lido deck near the lifts and the pool deck. Cabin was ready for us and suitcases waiting when we boarded. But then the toilet did not work properly, and they sent someone to fix it. He did, and then it did not work again. This happened 4 times in 7 days. Then, when we switched cabins for the second 5 days (only two doors down the hall) the toilet did not work properly either. They fixed it but still was not really working correctly. Air conditioning did not seem to be real cold at all despite thermostat set at lowest. Was fine for most of the voyage but we thought then turned it up during the night as we had some warmer periods. Again, reported the issues and they said it was fixed. Food for dinner was very good in the Botticelli Dining room. The new Executive Chef for Princess has changed up the menu and added local items which made for a fresh, new experience. They accommodated special dietary needs with ease and professionalism. Buffets were adequate, lines long at a couple of times but not bad. Lots of great snack options late in the afternoon and the late night. We could never get into any of the Specialty Restaurants and they booked up very quickly at the start of the cruise for the entire week. But food at dinner was so good we were not disappointed We were surprised by the entertainment as it did not seem to be as interesting as on previous Princess cruises. Since we last sailed on Princess two years ago we found the stage shows now to be much shorter (exactly 35 minutes each) and lacking the more involved stage sets that changed. Of course when you stay onboard for a second cruise you have risk of repeated shows which happened. Other entertainers were OK but nothing outstanding - comic on last half was almost rude in his jokes that included racial sterotypes and bathroom humor. Shore excursions were disappointing and outstanding if both is possible. We did not use Princess for Grand Turk or St. Maarten opting to book our own guides which worked out well. On Grand Cayman we booked the Princess "Scenic Bike and Snorkel" tour. This was a disaster. Had to get up early, and then we waited to tender ashore. Then we waited again after being greeted by the Tour Company staff - Royal Sports Ltd. Then we were bused maybe 20 minutes to their office, which was a gravel lot with a small building that had one bathroom for 50 patrons, and a container full of bicycles and helmets. More waiting around. They had us sign a waiver, then told us to pick a bike. Well, none of the bikes were in good condition with brakes, seats and gear shifts not properly maintained or even working. Then off we went down the road in a group of 25. Not far into the trip a women's handle bar grip came off and she fell suffering leg and hand injuries which ended her day. At that stop several complained about their bikes not working properly. The staff made an attempt to fix without much luck. Off we go again and over the next two hours several bikes had chains come off. The staff stopped wearing their helmets so many of the tour group did as well. Typical stops at the Turtle Farm, the Rum Cake shop, and Hell. Back to the gravel lot for our next part of the excursion which was to be at Tiki Beach Resort for beach time and snorkel. The bus took off and ended up at the port, claiming he did not know he was to take us to Tiki Beach! By now it was 1230 and two thirds of the group gave up and went back to the ship. Poorly organized and bad unsafe equipment. We complained to Princess and asked for a refund - they eventually gave us half our money back claiming they were just agents for Royal Sports Ltd. Be careful taking this excursion. We enjoyed our cabin location, close to the pools especially the very private Lotus Pool just off the spa which is Adults only. Ship is going into drydock and needs it. Staff appeared tired at times after transatlantic trip. Some maintenance is clearly needed to freshen up the public spaces and cabin balconies. Overall a good experience once again with Princess, but left us feeling like we are overpaying for Caribbean cruises vs. other destinations on Princess. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2015
We had a balcony cabin on Marina Deck. The cabin was at the back of the ship. We were woken up every morning with the sound of chairs being dragged about in the outside Horizon Terrace. There are no stairs in the centre of the ship ... Read More
We had a balcony cabin on Marina Deck. The cabin was at the back of the ship. We were woken up every morning with the sound of chairs being dragged about in the outside Horizon Terrace. There are no stairs in the centre of the ship which means that you had to walk to either end of the ship to go up the stairs. The Promenade deck is on the very top deck which was exposed to the sun making it very hot and uncomfortable also windy. The service in all three restaurants was excellent and of the highest order. The lounge Club 6 was one of the exit areas for people leaving the theatre was very disruptive for people relaxing in the lounge. The other exit was through the Casino which is a constant smoke filled spaces and I like so many other avoid it. There is no opportunity to walk outside on this deck. All of the lounge areas have uncomfortable seats. The theater seats are without trays, there is no place to set down a drink, take notes at the lectures or playing bingo. The most shocking flaw is the positively horrid food being served in the dining rooms. Boring, repetitive, unimaginative and tasteless. Princess heavily promotes its spectacular food and wines and then proceeds to perform poorly. They need to get a Chef who is more concerned about taste/quality than quantity and getting food out. For the most part they had the same deserts everyday at all locations. I believe the ships should go to anytime dining for everyone. There was no Sommelier on the ship, surprising that there is a Wine bar with serving staff ONLY! Being one of the newest ships, some of the technology was an improvement but not the Wi-Fi access. Not enough selection of shows on TV. Too US based sports or news is frustrating. The Horizon Bistro/Court was the worst laid out for the requirement that all passengers wash their hands in a small area just before entering. The floor there was always wet and the sink is not kept clean so I don’t know how effective it is. Bacteria is carried in water, and the hand sanitizer does not work to control Norwalk virus. Shore excursions were expensive. I surely did not travel to the Caribbean to shop in every port, how many Del Sol and Diamond International do the need to flog. I came to see the sites! The sitting area on and in our Balcony cabin was small. The smallish sofa already looked like it was collapsing from over use. You are forced to watch TV on the bed, why have a seating area and a table there is no room to move around! Read Less
Sail Date: April 2015
My husband and I went on the Royal Princess for our honeymoon. We did the 10 day Caribbean cruise that went to St. Kitts, St. Lucia, Barbados, Antigua, St. Thomas and Princess Cays. I've been travelling on cruise ships since I was ... Read More
My husband and I went on the Royal Princess for our honeymoon. We did the 10 day Caribbean cruise that went to St. Kitts, St. Lucia, Barbados, Antigua, St. Thomas and Princess Cays. I've been travelling on cruise ships since I was seven years old - and have more than a few under my belt from all different cruise lines. My husband and I were so excited for the ships itinerary but we were on the fence about the ship. Check In @ Ft. Lauderdale: My check-in experience was horrible. We arrived to the port where the preferred check-in line for security was was longer than the regular. We decided even though we are platinum members just to check in through the regular line. Once we were through security staff then ushered us into the preferred check-in line to get our cruise cards. I was told by my travel agent (who is also my mother) to ask if there were any upgrades to cabins since princess did not upgrade us - even knowing it was our honeymoon. We were not impressed. The check-in attendant got mad at me and says that they never upgrade before getting on the ship (which I know is a lie - it's happened before). I was all upset and flustered before getting on the ship which was not the way I wanted to start my honeymoon. Cabin: We got to our cabin which was on deck 10 - caribe. The room was what I expected for an inside cabin. We had some balloons taped up saying congratulations. Nothing saying happy honeymoon or anything. Our cabin steward Pol was fantastic! Always cleaned up our room when we were away and always made sure we had extra towels etc! We were placed in an inside cabin mid ship which is what we wanted - but got one with the pull down bunk beds as well - took up a lot of room. Dining: We ate dinner in the Concerto dining room at 5:30pm. Our waiters Mervin and Alvin were fantastic! They got to know us and already had all our preferred drinks waiting for us at the table each night. If we didn't like something - they were right there to bring us a menu to order something else! The food from the Concerto was quite nice - the only downside would be the Caribbean theme of the menu. Alfredo's on deck 6 - was fantastic! The pizza was great - thin crust - and just seemed healthy! We went there twice and loved our meal each time. Horizon Court- The food in horizon court was disappointing. The breakfast was the same each day - and had nothing special. The eggs were terrible. Lunch was about the same as breakfast - the same tired food each day. They advertised a sushi theme one day and it was some unidentifiable sushi that I've never had at a Japanese restaurant before! Entertainment: My husband and I only got out to one show that the performers put on. Something about "what the world needs now" it was very catered to people ages 56+. Being a younger person I did not know any of the songs and did not enjoy myself. Dancing was very limited as well. The two comedians on board were fantastic! Had me laughing. The magician David Cats - was mediocre. Boring show - with old illusions and tricks. Nothing special. On board activities: My husband and I took part in every on board activity we could - karaoke, pool games, trivia - you name it we were there! We found that the activities on these ships were very limited. Nothing - I repeat NOTHING was fun. The ship caters to people 65 +. Even people in their 50's were complaining to us about how boring the ship was - they should have known how we felt in our 20's!. The cruise staff was fantastic - they worked with the age group that they got. I would like to extend a shout out to Tansy, David, Patrick, Melissa and Vicky! We got to know them very well! Disembarkation: The disembarkation process was fantastic! Quick and easy. We were brown2 and got off the ship right away as we had a transfer to catch. No complaints there! Ports & Shore excursions: My husband and I absolutely loved the ports! We had an excursion booked through the ship at every port. We would have loved for more adventurous options - but we made due with what we had. One complaint I would have about all the ports is there needs to be more time! After we were finished excursions it felt like there was not enough time to go enjoy the port. We had to be back on the ship right away! Time went by too fast and port time should have been extended! All in all - my husband and I made the most of our trip. We definitely enjoyed the ports - and definitely hated the two sea days to our first port. Princess really needs to step up and re-think their activities. With other cruise ships competing - princess will never win in my books. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2015
We are frequent cruisers and were hesitant about trying such a huge ship. Pleasantly surprised the size of the ship was never a problem. The problems were the size of the balcony-mini, the lack of dining room assistant waiters-the waiter ... Read More
We are frequent cruisers and were hesitant about trying such a huge ship. Pleasantly surprised the size of the ship was never a problem. The problems were the size of the balcony-mini, the lack of dining room assistant waiters-the waiter was swamped and the small size theater seats. The pluses-ship temperature was perfect, the food was very good both dining room and Horizon -lunch only and no lines. The Horizon layout was wonderful. Our steward-Valentin -tops. Our cabin was always perfect. Tiny but perfect. We have decided that we are happier with a smaller ship with more cabin and balcony room. We also loved Kory!! We will not book this 'class' ship again. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2015
March 2-7 2015. Embarkation was painless and easy. We have sailed before, but this was our first time on Princess. I guess we expected a better experience. Our experience wasn't BAD, but nothing stood out as exceptional. The ship ... Read More
March 2-7 2015. Embarkation was painless and easy. We have sailed before, but this was our first time on Princess. I guess we expected a better experience. Our experience wasn't BAD, but nothing stood out as exceptional. The ship was nice but not spectacular. First, I will review the dining experience. We chose "anytime" dining. We were not happy with the amount of time dinner took (1 1/2 - 2 hours). Also, the staff was not as attentive as other cruise lines. We were not called by name, and our dining and beverage preferences were not remembered. The hotel service was good and our balcony room was roomy and nice. Aside from the Magic show and the Comedian, the entertainment was not as good as other cruise lines. We needed to disembark earlier due to an early flight and we were accommodated very nicely and promptly for this. Disembarkation was pretty painless as well. We enjoyed the Terrace Pool as it was away from the Spring Break gang that hung out at the midship pool. We did notice that the average age of the cruisers was older than ourselves. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2015
My fiancee and I booked the Princess Caribbean for 5 day cruise to Costa Maya and Cozumel departing on March 2, 2015. We have both cruised before - just not with Princess. We arrived about 2pm and boarding was quick and easy. We were in ... Read More
My fiancee and I booked the Princess Caribbean for 5 day cruise to Costa Maya and Cozumel departing on March 2, 2015. We have both cruised before - just not with Princess. We arrived about 2pm and boarding was quick and easy. We were in our balcony stateroom by 2:30ish. We were famished so we asked crew staff which restaurants were serving a lunch. We did not want to eat at the buffet. We were given two locations but when arriving at each the restaurants were not open. By this time it's almost 3pm and our only option was the Horizon Court buffet. When we arrived it looked awful. Most items were old or not available . The service was also terrible. We could not get a glass of water. Now after 3pm - we were running late to get to muster drill so we blew off lunch. Muster drill was lengthy and it was after 4pm when we were able to get back to our stateroom. For dinner we headed to Island Grill. We were seated promptly with another party. We ordered from the menu and patiently waited for our meals. It took longer than expected and when the meal arrived we were also disappointed. The "beef Medallions" were terrible. Some type of mystery meat. We ate some of the meal because we were so hungry. At this point, we thought we had made a terrible mistake by choosing Princess. We talked to some of the other passengers and they reported better food and service in another dining room. So on Tuesday morning we made our way to Coral Dining room for sit down breakfast. It was great. Things began to improve from there as we had better food in every venue through the end of our cruise. The only other complaint would be the service in the Special dining venues (Sabatini's and Crown Grill). We ate in each restaurant and the food was better than other venues. Having paid an additional fee to dine in these better restaurants, we expected a better experience. We brought our own bottle of wine and wanted to have a relaxing meal together. But in both restaurants we felt very rushed. The servers want to know our entire order before we could be served drinks or appetizers!! When I asked if we could take our time and have an appetizer and a bit of wine before deciding on main course - the server was a bit rude. Based on our reservation time - we dined later so there was no line of guests waiting for tables. Unfortunately, we felt rushed in the regular dining room as well as the specialty restaurants. Now for the positives, the bartender at Cruisers lounge was exceptional. Try her version of sangria. Most excellent. Our cabin steward was also very responsive and helpful. The Vines wine bar has a good selection of wines - better than other restaurants on the ship. We paid extra to attend a very upscale wine tasting and it was excellent. Worth the $25 fee. The ship is in good condition but does show it's age. I'm not sure I would choose this ship again but would certainly take another cruise with Princess. The Costa Maya destination was tricky. You have to leave the cruise terminal shopping area to see the better part of this area. Try the day beach club - Tropicante. In Cozumel definitely take the Bar Hop tour. The east side of the island is less touristy and is beautiful. A must see! We also loved the disco/lounge and went dancing almost every night. DJ was great, It's a beautiful view at night from the top of the ship. Being new to Princess and only having cruised once before - we learned a lot from the other passengers and met great people. Despite the initial impression (which was really bad) Princess overcame it and we will consider Princess for future trips. Thanks to other cruise critic members. I learned so much from reading your reviews and roll call comments. Hopefully others will find these comments helpful too. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2015
This was out 15th cruise and 3rd with Princess. Not sure there will be a 4th. The Caribbean Princess is a poorly designed ship. Major design issues make it impossible to get from the front of the ship on Deck 6 to the Palms on Deck 6 in ... Read More
This was out 15th cruise and 3rd with Princess. Not sure there will be a 4th. The Caribbean Princess is a poorly designed ship. Major design issues make it impossible to get from the front of the ship on Deck 6 to the Palms on Deck 6 in rear of the boat. Example: go up a set of stairs to Deck 7, walk the length of the ship and then walk down to Deck 6 again ( there are no passenger elevators, only service elevations). Not ideal for those with mobility issues. Not a great place to have breakfast during debarkation although it is the only available option. Imagine lugging your carry on up and down stairs. I was surprised to see smoking allowed in their small casino. The casino on Deck 7 is also in front of the special sale tables Princess sets up. The smoky air from the casino make you feel like you are shopping in an ashtray. Since the ship was sold out it was difficult to participate in the ship activities, or find a lounge chair by the pool, or get a seat in the Explorer lounge. The ship offered a great comedian and magician with 45 minute shows. I was shocked to see the production shows were cut to 30 minutes although they were good but not great. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2015
We just returned from back to back Western/Eastern Caribbean cruises on the Caribbean Princess. With the snow at home forecasted to increase, like in much of the country, we decided to fly into Florida a couple of days early as not to ... Read More
We just returned from back to back Western/Eastern Caribbean cruises on the Caribbean Princess. With the snow at home forecasted to increase, like in much of the country, we decided to fly into Florida a couple of days early as not to miss the ship. We had sailed on the Caribbean Princess in 2007, and looked forward to boarding her again. Pre-Cruise We checked in at the Marriott Residence Inn at about 5:30 pm. When we got to the hotel, they recommended Rendezvous Bar and Grill as an “upscale” steakhouse. We took a shuttle to the restaurant with several other hotel guests. When we got there we were asked to wait a few minutes for a table. We ordered a drink at the bar and were promptly seated. When we looked at the menu, we realized it was not an “upscale” steakhouse, but a “lowerescale” bar and grill. Food was not bad, but certainly not what was expected. The total bar and food bill including tip was less than $30. Food was worth it, but certainly not an “upscale” steakhouse. We had the hotel van driver take us to Publix, a local grocery store, for bottled water and a couple of bottles of wine to take on the ship. After waiting about an hour to be picked up, we went to the hotel for the night until pick up the following morning. The accommodations were great and we slept well. Embarkation We left the hotel at 10:30 and headed to the port. We went right into the terminal and waited about 30 minutes until they begin boarding. We were able to go directly to the stateroom (E729) and stow our carry on items. As we went into the room, we were pleasantly surprised that it was as large as it was. The balcony was also a nice size. Stateroom The stateroom is large with two televisions, one on the bedroom side and the other on the living area side. The bathroom has a single sink vanity and a full bath and shower across from that. The closet is quite large with plenty of clothes and luggage storage. There is also a small safe in the closet for valuables. There is plenty of under bed storage for luggage as well. Dining We had fixed dining at 8:00 pm in the Palm dining room. The first night at dinner, we asked our waiter, Alfredo, if our wine could be served in Riedel wine glasses. He checked with the head waiter, and from then on, every evening the Riedel wine glasses were on our table awaiting our arrival. The food in dining room was okay, but not great. It was always served hot and most of the time to order, but not what we have experienced on other cruises. Room service was better than dinner in the dining room and always arrived hot and tasty. Some mornings we have breakfast on our balcony, but since there is a very limited menu, we more often than not, went to the dining room for breakfast as well. We also ate lunch in the dining room or had room service on sea days. We did not eat at the buffet. One morning we had the Breakfast Ultimate Dining Experience, and it was very good. This includes champagne, juices, eggs benedict, fruit, breads and quiche. Service Room steward, Joe, was awesome. He was efficient, and very attentive to our every need. Service at the bars and other areas of the ship were great. Our favorite hang out was Vines Wine Bar. Highly recommend this venue, as the wine is good, and the bar tenders were awesome and went above and beyond in everything they did. Complimentary Tapas and Sushi is also served with any drink ordered. Ports/Excursions Our first port was Cozumel. We did the Salsa and Margarita excursion that was planned through Princess. We took cabs to an area about 5 minutes from the ship, and two locals taught us how to make regular margaritas and strawberry margaritas, as well as six different kinds of salsa. (Red salsa, Salsa Verde, guacamole, Pico de Guido [sweet and spicy], and a dessert salsa). Another part of the excursion was to learn the Salsa dance. We left before that started, since neither of us were interested in learning. This excursion was very expensive for what you get, but entertaining. I would not necessarily recommend this, unless you just have money to burn. Our second port was Costa Maya. We had not planned an excursion for this port, so we easily found a taxi and paid $120 for them to take us to the Mayan ruins. It was actually really cool, but probably would not pay $120 again to do it. The cab had A/C, which was a must, as it is very hot here. Our last port was Grand Turk (this was the second cruise). This is one of the few beaches where the ship docks within feet of a beach. It’s almost like a private island, but it is not, and you don’t have to tender in. For those who want to swim, they just get off the ship, find a lounger, and jump in the water. We chose to take a cab into town for lunch. When we were here last, we had lunch at a small little restaurant on the water called The Sandbar. Unfortunately it is closed on Saturday's so we walked into a little place called The Secret Garden. You entered through someone’s house and into their back yard, where they had about 7 tables under a gazebo. The food was good, and certainly quaint. Nice day on Grand Turk. Between the Cruises As stated above, for us this cruise was not a 9 night, but a 5 night and 4 night back to back cruise. At the end of the first cruise, we were to be out of the room by 8:00 am, since we were changing cabins. Many of the 700 passengers that were on the back-to-back cruise chose to stay on board the ship in Fort Lauderdale instead of get off and then back on again. At about 11:00 am, those of us who stayed on were asked to gather in the Princess Theater, and they scanned our keys as if we were exiting the ship. Now that we were no longer passengers on the ship, no one could come or go without supervision of staff. While in the theater, some read and others just patiently waited to be released back "onto" the ship. The staff continued to give updates on the process of the sanitizing of the ship since some passengers had the Norovirus on the first cruise, and at about 1:00 pm, we were cleared to “enter” the ship. They scanned our new keys on the way back in, and we proceeded to the pool area to wait until our cabins were finished being sanitized. At about 2:00, we finally got into our cabin. Since we were at the last safety drill at the beginning of the first cruise, we did not have to go to this one, which was nice. As most other cruisers headed, life jackets in hand, to their muster stations, we were sitting at Vines Wine Bar visiting with the bartender that we had come to know. We finally set sail just after six o’clock. We sailed away from our balcony. Between cruises we changed from our first cabin to a new one, just next door (E731) This room’s balcony is very big, compared to our last one. It extends about 10 feet further back than the last one, doubling its size. Entertainment We did not go to any shows, but the steel drum and piano players were wonderful! Disembarkation We were to disembark at 9:30 and meet in the Palm Dining Room. We had a quick breakfast in the dining room, then at about 9:00 am, there was an announcement that all passengers could disembark at their leisure. We stood in Customs line for about 10 minutes then were on our way. Final Thoughts This all in all, was a nice cruise. We will probably not do back to back cruises again, as the menu is the same for both cruises, and we would rather book one cruise and have more variety in food, since the dining room food was adequate at best. With the Norovirus on both cruises, we did not want to venture to the buffet for a change. It was great to be out of the snow for a few days, but in the end, we had to pack our sandals, swimsuits and shorts, and bring out our sweaters and snow boots! Read Less
Sail Date: February 2015
We have cruised with princess before so had high expectations. However, meal choices had been greatly reduced and as i had the nerve to ask for my fillet steak well done in chops grille, the chef decided to punish me by beating it to ... Read More
We have cruised with princess before so had high expectations. However, meal choices had been greatly reduced and as i had the nerve to ask for my fillet steak well done in chops grille, the chef decided to punish me by beating it to within an inch of its life (was as flat as a pancake and we paid a service charge of 25 dollars for the pleasure). evening entertainment was poor resulting in us leaving the theatre early a couple of nights.. There was a group of about 800 american holiday making vets, who took complete charge of some of the ship venues every night. Other cruisers were excluded from entering the theatres on these nights reducing our entertainment options. It also appeared (from outside) that their own entertainment they brought along for their sole use, was a much higher calibre than the ship's! We had no prior warning of this, and had we realised how it would impact on our holiday would have chosen a different cruise line. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2014
I was eager to experience the latest Princess ship after enjoying many previous cruises on Princess. While many of the public areas of the ship are quite beautiful, I felt that in other respects the ship was a step backward for Princess. ... Read More
I was eager to experience the latest Princess ship after enjoying many previous cruises on Princess. While many of the public areas of the ship are quite beautiful, I felt that in other respects the ship was a step backward for Princess. The ship seemed crowded. The enrichment activities were fewer than expected. The relocation of the fitness center to a location far from the spa seemed like a bad idea. The size table I got was larger than I requested. The staff seemed under pressure. It was not the gracious experience I had previously found on Princess. Read Less
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