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3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2013
We took our grandchildren they were on different floor enjoyed being together This was the last cruise i took with my husband He became ill and has passed away i am going on a cruise FEB 18 2017 WITH my FRIEND WHO'S ... Read More
We took our grandchildren they were on different floor enjoyed being together This was the last cruise i took with my husband He became ill and has passed away i am going on a cruise FEB 18 2017 WITH my FRIEND WHO'S HUSBAND ALSO HAS PASSED AWAY BOTH OF US LOOKING FORWARD JUST TO GET AWAY AND CHILL OUT I CHOSE THE PRINCESS MY HUSBAND AND I ALWAYS ENJOYED OURSELIES VERY MUCH We always got a balcony which my husband loved so much to sit out on ,and just watched the ocean . we were lucky to have beautiful weather. Which added to our sailing great sailing. Along with the service food entertainment everything went very well. I can honestly say i cannot remember anything not going smooth . My son and my two grandchildren do reminisce being on the ship with grandpa and fun we had with him . Beautiful memories. LOOKING FORWARD GOING AWAY AND HOPE MY FRIEND AND I GET UPGRADED TO A SUTIE Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2014
The Royal Princess needs to be redesigned. We've been on 18 cruises on different lines & this ship is terrible! We always get a balcony, the balcony rooms are so tiny! The balconies are the smallest ever! The theater is so small ... Read More
The Royal Princess needs to be redesigned. We've been on 18 cruises on different lines & this ship is terrible! We always get a balcony, the balcony rooms are so tiny! The balconies are the smallest ever! The theater is so small there is no balcony, no place to put a drink people were sitting on steps, which of course is against safety & the law?the shows weren't live. The food was promised to be fabulous, it was average & the buffet was a messy maze & the pastry shop was a total let down.worst of all were the elevators,so scarce? be prepared to take stairs. Save yourself the money, Carnival the sister line has the Royal Princess beat by a mile! I will never book the Royal again & beware I understand the Regal has the same design . I actually don't remember the exact date as I was trying to put it out of my mind. We had friends & family fly I in to join us, no none talked to us for a very long time. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2014
My fiancé and I booked a cruise on the Caribbean Princess from November 24 thru November 29, 2014. Since I had never cruised before, and she had cruised upwards of 30 times and had reached Platinum level benefits, she advised me about ... Read More
My fiancé and I booked a cruise on the Caribbean Princess from November 24 thru November 29, 2014. Since I had never cruised before, and she had cruised upwards of 30 times and had reached Platinum level benefits, she advised me about what to expect on a cruise. One of the things she could not stress enough was to wash my hands, wash my hands, and wash my hands. Additionally, she told me there would be Purell anti-bacterial stations all over the ship and highly suggested I use them as often as possible. We boarded the Caribbean Princess early afternoon on Monday November 24th and as we approached the Horizon Court a little while later, I did see Purell stations in the dining areas. They were located on the dining room walls as well as the entrances and exits of the buffets lines. The entrance lines to the buffets had a ship employee standing by the Purell stations as a reminder to use them, however, it was not communicated as a must. Nevertheless, I always took advantage of using the Purell at every opportunity I had. As the first day became the second and the trip continued, I started to observe things that I initially tried to overlook like the yellow staining on the bottom of the toilet seat in our stateroom. As a man, I always put the seat up when I urinate. Therefore I immediately noticed this stain and pointed it out to Tracy. We tried our best to put it out of our mind, along with the cracking of the caulking around our stateroom’s sink and what strongly appeared to be black mildew in the cracking caulk. If a toilet seat is yellow stained, especially near the front of the seat, it is not something that just occurred, but has been building up for some time. The same goes for black mildew on caulk. Wednesday, November 26th we arrived at Costa Maya. We brought ashore bottles of water from the ship so as not to drink the local beverages for fear of “Montezuma Revenge” or Traveler’s Diarrhea. We consumed no local drinks nor food. We made a quick tour of the gift shops and stopped briefly to watch tourists interact with a dolphin encounter. Once back on the ship, the excitement of my first cruise started to wear off as I began to notice sanitary issues more. In the men’s room on Deck 15 between the two pools I took a closer look at the cleanliness of the bathroom. Both side walls had some chips of caulk missing, however, the main “mirrored” wall had all the caulking missing. Where this main wall ran down and met up to the counter, you could easily see inside the gap of the missing caulking. In this gap was a greenish color. It was not a shadow, nor was it green paint. It appeared to be mold, algae, or mildew. Trying to not think about it, I washed my hands thoroughly and exited this bathroom. There were no Purell stations to use. That same evening of the 26th, there was a deck party that ran until 10:00 pm. Tracy and I stayed on the lounge chairs after the party until a little after 11:00 pm enjoying the beautiful outside weather. We then headed to the restrooms. I used the same restroom previously mentioned that had the missing caulk. However, the restroom was now in shambles. Soap, water and paper towels were all over the counters. The floor had numerous dried and wet paper towels and was very slippery wet. The garbage holder on the wall was running over. I looked at the cleaning chart at saw the last cleaning was at 17:20 and it was now after 11:00 pm or 23:00. The bathroom had not been checked for nearly 4 hours at that point. I was grossed out as it reminded me of a road side gas station restroom. We headed back to our stateroom and watched some movies on our laptop well into the night. We went to sleep just before 4 am, now Thanksgiving morning, November 27th. Tracy got up a few minutes later to use the restroom and she called out to me from the bathroom for some Tums. I entered the restroom to find Tracy on the floor hugging the toilet. She said she had severe nausea. She stated she had never had sea sickness in the nearly 30 times she sailed on Princess, Royal Caribbean, Cunard, and other lines. There were no other symptoms at this time. For the next three and half hours, she spent her time between the toilet and the bed, with most of that time in the restroom dry heaving as we waited for the Medical Center to open. At about 8:30 when the medical center opened, I called and spoke to Medical and the nurse, Estelle, told me that it sounded like motion sickness and that I should go to Customer Service and get meds from them. I let her know that my fiancé could not stop dry-heaving and if she swallowed anything, it would come back up. I asked if someone could come up to our stateroom to help her get to medical. I explained that she was very weak from dry-heaving and we didn’t want to alarm the other passengers when she tried to walk to the clinic. They refused to come up to the room to help her down so I half carried her to the medical center. We made our way to Medical as passengers watched her almost get sick on the elevator as she shuffled to Medical. Her face was white as a ghost and as passengers looked on at us, I told them she would be ok. Once in medical, we met Nurse Estelle and Dr. Brian. Estelle insisted it was motion sickness based on the symptoms and the lack of any diarrhea. Tracy was administered an IV and was given medicine to stop the nausea, and medicine to stop the spasm of the dry heaves. Dr. Brian placed his hands on Tracy’s stomach in the usual spots to check for appendix issues, etc. Neither the doctor nor nurse ever listened to her stomach area with a stethoscope. They took a number of tests involving her urine and blood but everything came back within normal range. We were sent on our way and were advised to come back in the afternoon when they were open again for a follow-up. She was taken back to her room in a wheelchair. We came back to Medical in the afternoon. Her nausea had come back and she was extremely weak and tired. She was barely cohesive. She was able to advise Dr. Brian that she had a bit of diarrhea earlier in the afternoon but was no examination performed on her lower intestine to hear any rumblings, etc. Dr. Brian and Nurse Estelle had left the room briefly and Tracy was laying down motionless on the exam bed as I sat in a chair next to her. A few minutes later Tracy said to me that she just had an accident, meaning she just had diarrhea and that she wanted a nurse to assist. I left the room and advised the first nurse I saw that Tracy needed assistance ASAP. I walked back into the room and advised Tracy that a nurse was coming. I said I would go to the stateroom to get her some fresh clothes. Upon returning to Medical, I found Tracy in the restroom of the exam room sitting on the toilet in tears and pain. She cried “they just left me”. She said she had been sitting on the toilet since I left the room and no one came back to assist or check on her. She couldn’t get up from the toilet as her bottom was messed. She wanted a wash cloth and a towel or the use of the shower next to her. Estelle came in the exam room and told Tracy she had the Norovirus and they could not assist in cleaning her up as they did not want to take a chance of any of them getting infected. We were told they did not have any cleaning supplies and that she could not use the shower although it was no more than inches from where Tracy sat on the toilet. They only had an anti-bacterial medical soap and rough brown paper towels in the restroom but they advised her not to use them as they would end up burning her because she was raw. Tracy ended up using her own clothes to clean herself up with no available soap to cleanse nor towels to dry off. Tracy had to put her own soiled clothes in a bright orange BIO Hazard bag. She was given oral anti-diarrhea meds and oral vomiting meds to take back to the room and they discharged her and quarantined her to her room. We were advised that the “HEAT” Team would have to sanitize the exam room and she was once again taken back to her room in a wheel chair, this time too weak to even stand up on her own. We were told to give the BIO bag to the HEAT team and that they would arrange to have her clothes cleaned. I had to carry the BIO Hazard bag back to the room and I hid the bag under my jacket so as to not alarm the other passengers. Once back at the room, Tracy cleaned herself up in the bathroom and crawled into bed. About 10 minutes later, two men from the HEAT team came to the room to clean it. One person came in wearing grayish blue maintenance type clothes and wore a white face mask with a mini respirator attached to the front of it, he also had blue gloves and wore a short sleeve shirt. He carried a cleaning cloth and a bottle of some liquid spray. His partner stayed outside the stateroom, with no mask. The “decontamination” consisted of the person in the room spraying a cloth with whatever was in the bottle. He then took the cloth and wiped down areas where he thought Tracy might have touched. Part of a wall here, part of a wall there. If there were things on our night stands, or on our “desk”, he simply wiped the surfaces around it. There was no wiping of personal belongings, no moving things out of the way, etc. I observed the same type of cleaning in the bathroom. In the bathroom, he replaced only the linen that appeared to be used. As instructed by Estelle I gave him the orange BIO bag that contained Tracy’s soiled clothes so they could be cleaned. The man “sanitizing” the room said he would be back in the morning to change the linens. I washed my hands thoroughly and proceeded to have a very lonely and sad Thanksgiving dinner upstairs. The rest of Thanksgiving Day consisted of Tracy lying in bed and slowly recovering. I would leave the room from time to time and walk the ship and come back to check on her. The morning of Friday, November 27th, Tracy was feeling a little better, but still very tired, weak and extremely sore in her stomach and lower back. A little after 9 am the HEAT team came back. One man proceeded to spray the cloth and wipe down only exposed surfaces as the man had done the day before. Tracy was able to sit up and stand briefly and she told me she had to specifically ask the man for a new Duvet cover as he was only going to change the sheets and pillow cases. The man did not change the Duvet itself nor the pillows, even after being asked to do so to prevent any illness from spreading. By 6:30 Friday evening, Tracy and I walked around the ship a bit to see if we could get her strength up and we decided to go to the evening show. After the show, we exited the Princess Theater and headed toward the casino to cut through and head back to the stateroom. Tracy advised me that she needed to use the restroom. So she used the one off the hall between the theater and the casino. After a bit of time, she came out, frustrated and almost in tears. She told me there were 4 soap dispensers in there, 3 out of the 4 were empty, and the other had little soap in it. She further said that she watched passengers try each dispenser, some giving up and never using any soap. She looked at the last time the room was checked by staff, and it was only 20 minutes earlier. She wondered out loud to me how in 20 minutes time, 4 dispensers would go empty, when the theater just let out less than 5 minutes earlier. The only conclusion we could come up with is that the cleaning person who checked the bathroom last might not have been honest in their signing off that they cleaned it. Tracy said she wanted to see customer service right then. With all the sanitary issues we had seen on the ship, we concluded it is no wonder she caught the Norovirus. We went directly to Passenger Services. The line was long as this was the night before we arrived back in Fort Lauderdale. However, there was a staff member on the far left of the counter assisting someone. We politely excused ourselves and asked to speak to a manager. The staff member refused to get a manager and told us we needed to wait in line (of about 15 people) and someone would be with us “shortly.” I advised this person that there was a health issue in the restroom. The staff member seemed like he was going to repeat his statement to wait in line when Tracy advised him about having caught the Norovirus due to the lack of cleanliness on the ship. Everyone around us started to quickly leave the area and the staff member finally went back to get a manager. A few minutes later, Clyde, the Duty Agent, met us. He took us aside and started to take notes while Tracy explained the entire situation to him. Clyde was sympathetic to our concerns and apologetic, advising us that we could "dispute" the almost $1000 medical bill if we wanted to. By this time it was late Friday evening. Her soiled clothes which were sent out to be cleaned still hadn’t shown up. The crew said they would continue to look for them but they were never found and Tracy had to leave the ship without them. Tracy has traveled extensively on Princess including multiple trips to Alaska, the Baltic, the Mediterranean, and the Caribbean and has never had an experience like this before. Even transatlantic crossings on Cunard and re-positioning cruises of 18 days had all gone smoothly. To this date the problem has still not been resolved to our satisfaction. We have reached out by phone, email, and mail and have received no response from Princess. We were told we would be contacted by Princess after the cruise and that never happened. Tracy’s clothing was never found, and no one has addressed the cleanliness issues on the ship including running out of soap in the restrooms and what appeared to be mold all over the ship. We have pictures to support these statements including a video showing there was no soap in the bathroom dispensers and the time sheet showing it had been cleaned 20 minutes prior with the signature of the person who cleaned it. I strongly urge anyone who decides to travel on the Caribbean Princess to watch for cleanliness issues and do everything possible to protect yourself from illness as my experience was not a pleasant one and I'd hate for you to experience the same thing I went through. 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
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
Sail Date: February 2015
Our first b2b ever february 7 to 27. Flew to Fort Lauderdale two days early as you never know what Wisconsin weather will be. Took a taxi from airport to Embassy Suites. $14 plus tip. Would not stay at Embassy Suites again not worth ... Read More
Our first b2b ever february 7 to 27. Flew to Fort Lauderdale two days early as you never know what Wisconsin weather will be. Took a taxi from airport to Embassy Suites. $14 plus tip. Would not stay at Embassy Suites again not worth the over $300 per night. Took the shuttle from the hotel to the port $15 pp no more "free rides". Forget everything you have been told about embarkation. We were in the lobby at 10 a.m. and a shuttle was leaving every half hour. We were the last 2 to get on the 10 shuttle. No lines at the port and we were in the "wait" area before 11:00 on the ship by 11:45 and in our cabin A 618. Yes the room and balcony were smaller than normal but liveable. The Atrium/Piazza was beautiful and something always going on. The entertainment through out the ship was very good. As stated by other reviews the Princess Theater has no side aisles and no tables or cup holders. After the first night we saw almost no one ordering drinks in the theater. The Horizon Court and Horizon Bistro were sometimes confusing but after a day or two it was easy to figure out. Each area had some of the same foods and different foods in the other area. The wife and myself would walk through both look over the food, then get our plates to get what we wanted. The warm food was warm and the cold food was cold. We choose anytime dining and and ate in the MDR 15 of the 20 nights. The other 5 nights we just ate in the buffet. Never had to wait more that a couple of minutes to be seated. We always asked to share a table and that might have something to do with being seated quickly. I bought the "Drink card" For me it was worth the $50 a day, it included espresso and cappuccino at $4 each, all soda, Ice cream sundays in Gelato, any mixed drink under $10 most glasses of wine and 40% off a bottle of wine under $100. When asked I was told there were only 3 liquors over the $10. So I could drink "Gray Goose" martinis for no charge. The bartenders at Crooners bar were the best. We did not get off the ship at any ports as we had been to all before. The purpose of this trip was to get out of Wisconsin in February. We used EZ off to Disembark. If your airline uses this service it will be the best money you will ever spend. We put our luggage out the night before and never saw or had to move it till Milwaukee. FYI I would guess the average age on board was around 70. but it was a young 70. The fitness center and the walking-running track was always busy. Yes there were some canes, walkers, 3 wheel carts etc. but not many. The feeling was good for them and many times we and many others got off the elevator so they could get on. Some day I may need that common courtesy also. The not so great: Pool way to small for that size ship The Fountain was a waste of space. When it was running the few kids who were running across it looked like they were using it as a biday. the Library was small and almost a joke. Bring your own book or "e-reader" Did not enforce handwashing at the buffet till the second 10 day when a couple of hundred people got sick. the ship then went into clean mode and took salt and pepper shakers off the table and handed out plates and silverware instead of self serve. The other not so greats such as elevators, small balconies etc has been discussed by many so I will not repeat. Bottom line I will cruise Princess again but not the Royal or her sister ship the Regal. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2015
This was our 3rd cruise in the past 2 years with Princess and major factor in our decision for this trip, was the ship itself. We wanted to see the Royal and, for the most part, it did not dissapoint. This was the first time that I had ... Read More
This was our 3rd cruise in the past 2 years with Princess and major factor in our decision for this trip, was the ship itself. We wanted to see the Royal and, for the most part, it did not dissapoint. This was the first time that I had booked the entire package (flight, hotel and cruise) through Princess. After researching flights and hotels through other travel websites, I found it to be a "win-win" situation booking everything through the cruise line itself. Not only was the booking process very easy to navigate through, but the price was very compatible to what it would have been if we booked everything separate and It also guaranteed us next port protection. Where we do live in the Northeast US, the weather usually impacts many flights, making it difficult to leave town on time, especially during a harsh winter such as we've had the past couple of years. Upon arrival at Ft Lauderdale Airport, we proceeded to the Princess Kiosk at Baggage claim. From the time that we checked in at the Kiosk, to the time that we checked into our Hotel room, was less than 30 minutes-A very smooth and timely check in. The Hotel (B Ocean Resort) was conveniently situated about 2 miles from Port Everglades. It was a comfortable hotel, clean room, a few steps from the Beach, and more than adequate for a 1 night stay. The following day our shuttle to the Cruise Port left the Hotel at Noon. I was pleasantly surprised that once we got to the Ship, Embarkation was a breeze. After about a 15 minute check in process, and another 5 minutes in line to take our Embarkation photographs, we were walking up the gangway on to the Ship. The Piazza is quite impressive,considerably larger than the other ships in their fleet, and very tastefully designed. Our first stop was at the International Cafe for our traditional Cappuccino. We were impressed by the selections of pastries, quiche, panini, and salads that they offered (all at no extra charge). We then headed up to our stateroom on Riviera deck 14. The mini suite on the Royal is better than any other princess vessel that we have been on. A set of Drapes separated the bedroom area from the living room area with 2 flat panel televisions mounted on the walls. The only dissapointment with the suite was the Balcony. They are considerably smaller than the other ships. I have read this on many reviews prior to our trip, but was still surprised at how cramped it really is. Where we stayed on deck 14 ,and spend 90% of our time on Lido (deck 16), the elevators were not an issue for us. We walked up the forward stairways most of the time. However, I can see where this issue would present a problem for passengers on the mid decks. As for the Dining experience, there are plenty of eateries on the ship with a wide array of flavors to choose from. The International Cafe is available 24 hours a day, offering regular and specialty coffees, tea, pastries, etc.... They even offer an afternoon High Tea for an extra charge. The Horizon Court buffet on Lido is twice the size of their other ships. There are many different items to select from, but it is a bit confusing to navigate through, as they have different buffets set up on each side of the court, separated by a pastry shop set up in the center. The Crown Grill and Sabatini's,(their specialty Restaurants) are well worth the $25 fee per person, and the Royal also offers a specialty Sushi Bar at a nominal fee. Alfredos is a small Italian outlet on the Piazza, that offers small bites, salads,and great pizza-definitely worth a try (no extra fee). Prego Pizzeria,by the pool on Lido,is a MUST TRY!!!!! Great Pizza. Also on Lido is the Trident Grill. They offer Burgers, Veggie Burgers, and Hot Dogs. There's something for everyone, any time, day or night. While in Port, we generally enjoy exploring on our own. We did, however, go on an excursion to the rain forest and waterfalls in Domenica. It was definately worth the price. They offer great itineraries and also give you ample time to cancel out of any that you may have already booked. The onboard entertainment was good, "Princess Live" is a great addition. There's always something going on in the Piazza and some good shows in the Princess Theater. Movies under the Stars was disappointing this time out, and if you do find a movie that you want to see, get there early. The good seats go quick! All in all, a fun time. We enjoy cruising and Princess is our preferred line. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2015
This was our first Caribbean cruise and we loved it! The Royal Princess is elegant without being ostentatious, very comfortable, and a pleasure for us to be on. We did traditional dining for the first time and really enjoyed our dining ... Read More
This was our first Caribbean cruise and we loved it! The Royal Princess is elegant without being ostentatious, very comfortable, and a pleasure for us to be on. We did traditional dining for the first time and really enjoyed our dining room staff, the food was delicious and always well presented. We traveled with another couple who cruise every February and they too enjoyed everything about the cruise We went to the nightly shows in the Princess Theater and enjoyed them tremendously. We especially enjoyed The Atlantic City Boys show. Our one suggestion to Princess, which has been made many times before, is to include a center staircase in addition to the Piazza stairs on any new ships. We have heard that the newest ship will have the center staircase. Thanks to Cruise Critic members for many, many great suggestions to make cruising easier and more fun. We'll be back for sure. 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
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2015
Our 18th cruise (RCI, NCL, Carnival, Costa), first on Princess. This was a 5 night Caribbean Princess cruise from FLL to Cozumel and Costa Maya. Purpose of trip was for DH and I to simply relax. We've been to the ports a few times ... Read More
Our 18th cruise (RCI, NCL, Carnival, Costa), first on Princess. This was a 5 night Caribbean Princess cruise from FLL to Cozumel and Costa Maya. Purpose of trip was for DH and I to simply relax. We've been to the ports a few times so we decided to stay on board and explore and experience a new ship. We really enjoyed the more quiet, laid back feeling on this ship. Being in our late 50's we felt this cruising style now suits us well :) The age group was our age and older I thought. We will definitely be cruising with Princess again and we are so happy we tried it. Simply listed are the pros and cons in our opinion in comparison to other lines we've been on. Cabin review is below. The pros far and away outweighed the cons. THE GOOD/GREAT: Being able to access our cabin immediately at boarding at noon! (usually waited till 1 or 2pm for access). Minimal announcements/sales pitches over the loud speaker! How refreshing/peaceful! Absolutely the best food overall than any ship we've been on! Absolutely the best pool deck/areas (so many pools! all with some shade!) we've experienced! The Sanctuary--what an amazing place (didn't use it though). So many dining choices! Crab Shack--Different for us, Wow we really enjoyed it. Crown Grill excellent--our favorite meal. LOVE that the dining room is open EVERY morning for breakfast--what a lovely way to start the day! Loved the fish and chips at the English Pub on sea days. Hubby enjoyed the cigar bar. MUTS--Princess just does it better than the other lines! Beach towels are already stocked in your cabin--how nice not to have to sign towels in and out! Nice sized casino, brighter than most. Everyone was very friendly and we met many nice people on board. CONS: Not being able to reserve specialty restaurants online ahead of time. Having to call the dining line to get specialty restaurant reservations. Why is the dining line always busy and why were we told the Crown Grill was booked for the length of the cruise when it was half empty each night? Lack of staff we assume? We ended up showing up and schmoozing our way in. Best food/service ever though. Not enough bartenders at bars. Not once were we asked, anywhere on board, if we wanted a drink. Very odd. Not that we mind going to the bar but I would think they could up their revenue easily. Worst buffet set up we've ever seen. The buffet itself is sort of enclosed with 3 gated entrances on each side, no room to backtrack, bad traffic pattern, very hot and steamy in there, felt like a prison cafeteria. Seating area was nice though. Service was lacking on this ship. Lack of staff seems to sum up most of our cons. This seems to be the trend on cruise lines these days. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2015
Had always wanted to try Princess and found this short cruise from Ft. Lauderdale to Grand Turk so decided to go. What a mistake! From the check in to the horrible food to the checkout it was less than a stellar experience. I realize they ... Read More
Had always wanted to try Princess and found this short cruise from Ft. Lauderdale to Grand Turk so decided to go. What a mistake! From the check in to the horrible food to the checkout it was less than a stellar experience. I realize they had had a NORO virus outbreak and thus were being 'careful' to not re-infect us but the sandwiches wrapped in plastic wrap on the lunch buffet reminded me of grade school and the quality was no better. The cabin was small (balcony) and the help was not helpful. We paid to have anytime dining but when we tried to make reservations in the dining rooms were told there were no openings. The ship overall was not very clean in spite of the fact that they had just dis infected it. We were forced to use hand cleansers but didn't see one staff member doing so..there were not trays in the buffets and one had to balance plate/silverware/beverage. During the breakfast buffet the quiche was ICED COLD! There were no salt and pepper shakers on the tables if you wanted some the staff came and sprinkled your food with what they thought was the appropriate amount. It was a JOKE! The help was not helpful. As I said before this was so disappointing as I thought Princess was a leader not a looser. Will never again travel with them! We met many folks who like us thought this line was supposed to be a better one but also verbalizes how crummy everything was and how small the cabins were. We are not first time cruisers and we always upgrade to at least a balcony but this was laughable. We had invited friends to go with us on their first cruising experience and I was very embarrassed that I had done so. It's now a couple of months later and I am still angry at the wasted time and money. The check in was slow and you had to wait till the folks in front of you had their pictures taken before you could proceed. We tried to circumvent this time wasting experience but were escorted back in line and told we had to wait our turn to get on the ship..no line jumping to avoid the pictures. When I refused to wait for my photo the photographer got NASTY...since we drove to Ft. Lauderdale we were taking our own luggage and thought we could get off this boat in a timely manner but once again we were thwarted by rude staff members. We had looked forward to this short getaway from a local port..live and learn never again Princess! 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: 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
Sail Date: March 2015
Love this ship! The layout is excellent! I was on the Royal in 2013 for a Mediterranean cruise with cousins. Loved it so much, I wanted my husband to experience it. We completed a 20 day, back to back, a week ago. He loved everything about ... Read More
Love this ship! The layout is excellent! I was on the Royal in 2013 for a Mediterranean cruise with cousins. Loved it so much, I wanted my husband to experience it. We completed a 20 day, back to back, a week ago. He loved everything about it so much, he didn't want to go home. I just booked a 14 day on the Regal for Nov. We are both spoiled now. No more of the other style ships for us! The food and entertainment were excellent. Loved the new style Horizon Court and Alfredo's! Ate at these two venues more than the dining rooms. Speaking of which, the dining rooms are much more attractive than on the older style ships. They have many more tables for two. The waitstaff was very fast, friendly and efficient. The production shows were Vegas quality! Love the new style showroom. The other entertainers were all top notch. Heard many complain about no center stairs. We did miss them. We were in a center mini-suite, but found it easy to walk to the front or back stairs. The 6 center elevators weren't too bad for availability, but if they were filled, we walked to the stairs. The Piazza is beautiful, with plenty of seating. There was a lot of good entertainment there, throughout the day and night. Loved the gelato shop and International Cafe. So yummy! The Lido deck area is so much bigger and better. We never had a problem finding a seat. It was always such fun to hear the ships horns blast out the Love Boat theme as we left port! 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
Past cruises total 12, most on Royal Caribbean, Holland America, Carnival and Princess. Travelled with my wife and 8 year old. Itinerary was Grand Turk, then Grand Cayman and Ocho Rios. Ship was great! I think the ship is in outstanding ... Read More
Past cruises total 12, most on Royal Caribbean, Holland America, Carnival and Princess. Travelled with my wife and 8 year old. Itinerary was Grand Turk, then Grand Cayman and Ocho Rios. Ship was great! I think the ship is in outstanding condition for it's age. Nicely layed out and very clean.The staff was above average in service, including the dining room, Lido Buffet and our stewardess Gemma. Food was above average in all venues but a couple critiques. Menu was repetitious as we were actually on two back-to-back cruises. Also, no lobster? We were told lobster is now only served on cruises longer than 7 days in duration. As this was a 4 night cruise combined with a 5 night cruise, no lobster. Disappointing as we love Caribbean lobsters. We were in a mini suite and loved it. Enjoyed the balcony and the larger bathroom. Good value for the price we paid. Entertainment was so-so. Not much variety. Kids Club was also a bit average comparer4d to those on other cruise lines with Carnival being an obvious best in this area. Enjoyed Grand Turk. First time there and very different from most Caribbean islands and interesting history. Grand Cayman was nice as well, doing Stingray City, Turtle Farm and a short visit to Hell !! That brings me to Ocho Rios. Was there 8 years ago and loved it. Friendly people and a cool place to see. My how things have changed. We couldn't leave the ship until late morning as there was a "work stoppage" beginning right after we docked. The transport company running the busses and mini vans were upset about a labor agreement that was supposedly settled the day before. Wouldn't open the gates from the dock to the reception area where tours originate. After a couple hours of "negotiations" , the gates opened and the havoc ensued. We found the staff of the tour organizers to be very rude and even antagonistic towards some of the passengers. No control over the process of getting the right people on the right busses and mini vans. Felt like we were just expected to put up with their attitudes and repulsed by hands out for tips for every little thing. Same with the staff at Mystic Mountain and Dunn's River Falls. Even the attendants who run the chair lift had their hands out. VERY different from 8 years ago. It looked like Ocho Rios itself has taken significant steps backwards after touring around town a bit. Will never go back to Ocho Rios again. All. in all, I would rate the cruise an 8 out of 10. Above average marks for the ship and staff. Entertainment, kids activities and repetitious menu pulling the score down. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2015
This cruise was top notch! I booked two inside staterooms, because the prices were so low, and my wife and I are building points towards becoming Elite members in the Captain's Circle. Sailing as a solo, you get double cruise ... Read More
This cruise was top notch! I booked two inside staterooms, because the prices were so low, and my wife and I are building points towards becoming Elite members in the Captain's Circle. Sailing as a solo, you get double cruise points. Since we live in Florida, we just drove over on the same day, so we had no hotel stay. We usually park at US1 Airport Parking or United Airport Parking, which uses the Embassy Suites on SE 17th Street parking lot. Both shuttle up to 4 people to and from the port as part of the fee, which ranges from $5-$7 per day. I've never had an issue with either service. Both are about a mile from the ships, which are usually at Cruise Terminal 2 and/or 21, depending on how many Princess ships are in the port at the same time. Two days before the cruise, I received a call from AL at Princess. He saw that my wife and I were in separate staterooms, and he asked if I would mind sleeping with my wife in the same stateroom? LOL! He said he needed some inside cabins, and he wanted to move us into a suite. It didn't have a balcony, but neither did the inside cabins. Before I said yes, he sweetened the deal with some added onboard or "move-over" credit. That was definitely more icing on the cake. Plus, we had full "suite benefits" to enjoy. You should look those up on Princess.com. I've listed most throughout this review. We've learned to pack light for these Caribbean Getaways (3-5 days), so now we just carry our own luggage onboard by ourselves. The porters will usually try to take them from/for you, but it's not required. If you do drop off your luggage, it's nice to tip a buck per bag, but tipping is not required since they are paid employees. It is simple and easy if you just have one suitcase each. You have to go through the security screening, but since we are eligible for Preferred Check-in, the lines are short and we were onboard and in the suite in just 15 minutes; that's from shuttle to suite, including the check-in, embarkation photo and walk up the ramp. We boarded on Fiesta Deck 6, the same as our suite, and we just had to cross the Piazza/Atrium and we were there. Princess has done a great job of streamlining their embarkation processes. Everyone is willing to help and get you pointed in the right direction. One issue folks experience on the CB, which we didn't have to deal with this time, is the slow elevators, and during embarkation, Princess employees commandeer half of the elevators to manually take folks to their deck/stateroom. If you dropped off your bags with the porters, they do a great job of delivering the luggage fairly quickly. The latest we've waited is 6pm. If you've never been in a suite before, you get spoiled really fast. First of all, the Window Suites are hidden behind a wood-paneled, soundproof wall, so you are separated from all the Piazza noise and traffic. We opened the suite door, and we were home in the Santa Monica Suite. The 300+ square footage (about 18'x18') is great and featured an outside wall with two large (6'x6') picture windows. There were three closets and lots of drawers, a desk and credenza and a small sitting area with a sofabed. There was a nice, fresh fruit basket waiting for us, as well as a fully stocked mini-bar. Unlike regular staterooms, in the suites the first round of items in the mini-bar is complimentary. It had 10 small bottles of liquor (2 each of 5 kinds), plus 2 beers, 2 tonics, 2 Pellegrino, 2 spring waters, 2 Cokes and 2 Sprites. You can swap out what you want with the steward on the first day to stock it to your taste. We don't know if there is a sensor or a camera, but soon after entering the suite, the steward appeared, followed shortly by room service delivering canapés. In another 30 minutes, room service stopped by with a plate of chocolate-covered strawberries. Oh yeah! Now we know why folks spend the extra $$$ for a suite. Other amenities include unlimited use of the Thermal Suite at the Lotus Spa, canapés delivered daily, corsages for dress to impress/formal nights, the cover charge waived for one dinner at a specialty restaurant, a 100+ DVD library, and Lotus Spa bathroom amenities. Our suite was an accessible suite, so the bathroom did not have a jetted tub like they have in other suites. It had a roll-in shower (5x6) with a fold-down shower seat and lots of handrails around the bathroom walls. My wife enjoyed the fancy, lighted makeup mirror, but the blow dryer was located next to the vanity/makeup mirror out beside the sitting area. The bathroom floor had long drains to capture the water, but until we learned the right spots to put the bath mat and a towel and angle the showerhead, the bathroom floor got flooded. We never saw it, but we think the steward had a squeegee or a fantastic mop, because when we left the room to eat or play, when we returned, the bathroom was clean and dry. We had our 6yo granddaughter with us. She loves the Kids Club and being a Princess Pelican. Even though Princess isn't known for their young family cruising, they do a great job of educating and entertaining the kids. We've never heard an "I'm bored" from her, just "when can I go back to the kids' club?" At sea, the program is open 9am-12pm, 1pm-5pm and 6pm-10pm for free. There's a late-night program, 10pm-1am, for a fee (usually $7-$8 per hour). For parents with younger children, they have pagers to beep you if they need you. If the pager goes off, you can call and find out what they need. Other ships have phones that operate on the ship's wireless network, which is nice. Part of the program is educational, teaching the kids about things like sea life, conservation and recycling. They colored t-shirts, made lanyards for their cruise cards, danced, played games, etc. On formal night, they had their own "kids' dinner" or the kids can eat with their parents, or both. I won't mention that after we picked her up at 10pm, she had to have a vanilla ice cream cone with chocolate and rainbow sprinkles and a cherry on top AND a slice or two of pizza. Of course, just water to drink to stay hydrated and save calories, right? And it would have been rude of us to let her eat alone. On a personal note about children, cruising with your own kids or grandkids gives you a great opportunity to find/see/catch any gaps in their etiquette and manners, and it's a great place to teach them how to eat a formal dinner. You'll get questions like "why are there so many forks and knives on the table?" Who knew there was a table knife, a butter knife, a steak knife, a fish knife...? Something new this year is Discovery at Sea. For the Caribbean cruises, the focus was on the night sky. It was very interesting to see the stars (weather was cooperative) and hear about the various things to see. They even lowered the lights on the upper deck areas for better viewing. This is definitely a plus for Princess. Now I'm curious about the Discovery at Sea programs in other locations on other ships. This was also our first time eating at one of the specialty restaurants. We've always had the "we already paid for the food" mindset, so we didn't spend extra, but this time it was free as one of our suite amenities. We enjoyed a wonderfully delicious Italian dinner at Sabatini's. I failed to mention earlier that suite guests can also eat breakfast in their own separate dining room, which is Sabatini's. The maître d and waiters/waitresses were super, a cut above the main dining room. You felt like royalty as they catered to your every need. Once you see what's on the menu, hear about the Chef's "special" creation, and taste the food, too, you know why you pay an extra cover charge. Superb! I just may pay next time. There are lots of fancy choices, including "lobster 3 ways" or lamb shank or NY Strip steak. Like the Main Dining Room, you can eat as much as you want. If you can't decide between two choices, get both. Don't know if you like something or not? Order it and try it. Escargot? You can love it or leave it. Cold soup made with meat, fruit and veggies that you've never heard of before? Go for it! It's your own fault if you leave hungry (or leave sick from overeating). I've always enjoyed the entertainment on the Princess ships; this was no exception. This cruise had a comedian, a comedic master magician (great up-close magic, too) and two wonderful Broadway-style shows featuring the Princess Singers and Dancers. There were also other entertainers and musicians at the various lounges and bars around the ship. Also, various shows/activities in the Piazza throughout the day and every evening. All did a great job. Our shore excursion (semi-submarine) was cancelled due to murky waters, so we just went ashore and enjoyed browsing in the stores and playing/lying on the beach. The weather was perfect in the mid-80s, and there wasn't a cloud in the sky. I enjoyed a shared margarita and jerk pork tacos with the family and the masses at Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville in Grand Turk. I took advantage of their guest Wi-Fi to check on the real world and send a few pictures to other family members in the chillier regions around the globe. And yes, it generated a little envy seeing the beach, clear blue/turquoise-colored waters and cloudless sky that framed the cruise ship. My brother commented that it was a long walk back to the buffet from there. LOL I was a lot closer than he was, 12 time zones away on the other side of the world. There's an interesting, free NASA display about the Mercury splashdown and astronaut retrieval on the island. It's hidden behind the shopping area, over to the right after going through the duty-free store. It's a nice photo spot, or you can play a game of chess with the 2- to 3-foot tall chess pieces. That's Check and 'mate! Back on board, Paul, the Cruise Director, announced a change in activities. Due to forecasted inclement weather, the evening's On-deck Disco Dance Party had to be cancelled. Instead, they changed it to their '50's Rock & Roll Party indoors in the Explorer's Lounge. The Captain did a fantastic job of punching through the weather, which just involved light rain. In addition to the onboard entertainment, our Sea Days were occupied with all sorts of activities on the ship. We watched others participate in silly, fun games. We watched the paper plane contest. We attended an art auction, went to a movie, made crafts, sat in on a couple of lectures, browsed through the stores onboard (they're making changes to the boutiques), participated in drawings and giveaways. Everyday, we took advantage of the Thermal Suite in the Lotus Spa. We had to spend our "you can't take it with you" onboard credit, so I indulged myself with a Royal Shave at the Lotus Spa, and I'll do it again on a future cruise. That included a double shave (one with gel and one with oil); a scalp, neck, face and arm massage; and aromatic facial. I purchased a few items and added additional tip. My wife enjoyed time at the casino and saved some $$$ with some duty-free shopping, buying items she would buy at home anyway. The cost was about 50% of the price she would pay in FL, so.... That's a perk of international travel. Disembarkation was a breeze. As a suite amenity, Princess has a special Disembarkation Lounge setup for Platinum, Elite and Suite passengers, that has coffee, tea, juices and pastries available. This one was setup in Club Fusion, Deck 7 Aft, so we didn't use it this time. Princess asks that all passengers that are disembarking vacate their staterooms by 8am. You can fill your time by attending breakfast or catching a few last-minute sunrays, or looking through the photos one last time. Some folks were taking a nap in their deck chair. We were able to disembark directly from our suite, just right across the ship, one last scan of the cruise card and down the ramp to Customs. We chose a "walk-off group" which allows us to carry off our own luggage. The "walk-off groups" are great if you want to disembark the ship early, soon after arriving back at the port once Customs is ready. We took a later group so we could sleep in an extra hour, since we were only headed home. Sometimes I have to go to work the morning we arrive, so I'm able to disembark quickly and make to work in Miami by 9am. The Customs line was fairly short (maybe 50 people), and they had 5 stations open, so it just took 15 minutes to get through the line. Back on land, Port Everglades does a pretty good job of keeping vehicles moving. Transportation is split up, with some folks going to get on buses to go to the airport, some going on local excursions before going to the airport, others that are parked in the cruise terminal parking, which is close, but costs $15 per day. Those with independent travel arrangements (taxis, hotel shuttles, private shuttles, off-site parking shuttles, limousines, personal vehicles, etc.) are shuffled down to a pickup area that is managed by local security and county sheriffs that direct traffic and keep things from backing up and creating a gridlock. Just make sure you follow the instructions given by whoever is picking you up and be watching for them. The security officers and sheriffs don't let anyone stop for very long, so shuttles will stop, load luggage, and then leave with only one person on it if that's all that is there or paying attention. Some are running scheduled loops, and others, like taxis, are summoned or "on-call" private shuttles. Anyway, we made it out and back to our waiting vehicle and safely made it back home. That same day, Monday, we received a survey via email. Throughout the cruise, you'll hear about giving everyone a 10 on their section of the survey. What are you going to give them? "10!" cheers everyone. I say, rate them fairly, and take the time to tell Princess about both the good and the bad. That's how they know where to make changes and how some employees get rewarded. In summary, I really would have to give this specific cruise a 10. I don't know if it was what I'll call the "suite-effect" or something else, but most everything exceeded our expectations. The upgrade to the suite, the added move-over credit, the suite amenities, the royal treatment by everyone who served us, the dining experience, the spa experience, the entertainment and activities: ALL contributed to a memorable, nearly perfect, cruise experience. I wish everyone could have this kind of cruise at least once in their life. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2015
Overview: This was probably one of the best cruises I have ever taken in my life. The ship was elegant and beautiful, the staff was superb with excellent service. I had the most amazing table mates possible and was even a part of a ... Read More
Overview: This was probably one of the best cruises I have ever taken in my life. The ship was elegant and beautiful, the staff was superb with excellent service. I had the most amazing table mates possible and was even a part of a Cruise Critic member's (foolds) proposal to his girlfriend. I met lots of great friends on the ship and I am so lucky to have had this experience. Embarkation/Bon Voyage Program My grandfather joined me on the ship before it left port as part of the Bon Voyage Program. As soon as we arrived we were taken in and led to the priority check-in line and were taken to board the ship. The whole process was very smooth. He absolutely loved the ship and one of the bar servers, Nhorman, helped us get him and his wheelchair on to the ship. He was exceptionally nice and friendly to us and to my grandfather. Ship Overall the ship is pretty nice. There are a few design issues such as moving between dining rooms but overall it is nice. The public areas are well decorated and somewhat elegant. Overall the ship appears well maintained. I find some people have unreasonable expectations for ships (remember that they operate 24/7/365). I saw plenty of maintenance taking place and did not feel the ship to be in disrepair or dirty. Crew/Service I must say that the crew on the ship was very helpful and kind. Dining room service was decent but not outstanding. The bar people were nice and friendly. My cabin steward (it's steward, not stewart by the way) was great. I take a medication that I have to mix with water. I usually use a fork to mix it in a cup so the first night of the cruise I went to Horizon Court and picked up a fork and brought it back to the cabin. The next morning the steward took the fork, which I figured he would, so I went to and picked up another fork that night. Well the next morning the steward brought me a clean fork and extra glass and left them in my restroom for me to use with the medicine. I find this to be extraordinary service that he did this without me having to ask. I gave him the Consummate Host card. Ports/Shore Excursions I have been to Cozumel and it is more of the same it has always been. The only excursion I took was in Belize which I really loved. I took the open air trolley tour. I am kind of torn because I loved the tour and the people seemed nice but Belize is a horribly homophobic place so I do not plan to spend any money at all there in the future. Mahogany Bay at Roatan blew me away. Let me say this now: I heard an Princess Elite member telling people on the ship that they could NOT use the beach at Mahogany Bay because it is owned by Carnival. This is 100% FALSE. The beach is free for any cruise passenger that docks at that dock. If someone tells you any different they are simply misinformed. I spent the day at Mahogany Beach and it was simply amazing. The water was beautiful and so was the atmosphere. Entertainment The only show I really attended was the magician, Michael Barron, and he was excellent. This was probably the best magic show I have ever seen and was very entertaining. I did attend the Princess Pop Star competitions as a friend I met on the ship was competing and they were amazing. We (a group I met on the ship) also went to Skywalkers most nights and had a blast. LGBT Get Together There was a LGBT get together every day at 5:30 in one of the bars, usually Wheelhouse. I met a few other guys there and we all hung out together for portions of every evening. The only thing I would like to see them change is maybe have a crew member host it (there are plenty of gay guys in the crew) and have some way of marking where the event is within the bar such as a sign. Cabin I was in cabin A403, an interior cabin on deck 12. The cabin was small but comfortable with adequate storage and closet space. The bathroom was small (as all are) but it served it's purpose. The Elite bathroom amenities were nice. Captain's Circle Elite Benefits The Princess Captain's Circle is awesome. The benefits are outstanding. I received a free mini-bar, priority service at the pursers desk, 10% boutique discount, priority tender embarkation, 150 free internet minutes and much more. These were all awesome benefits. Bad Parts Avoid the shopping show on the second sea day. You will lose part of your life if you go. There was little to no actual port info given and the whole thing was a long, drawn-out sales pitch and the man (Vince) was repetitive and not very genuine. I would not lose sleep if they did away with his position. Disability Accommodations I have some medical problems including a damaged spine. I did not ask for or sign up for any disability accommodations but the facilities seemed ample and appropriate. I did use the elevators which were usually available but sometimes had a wait. There were quite a few mobility impaired people onboard who seemed to get around easily (as easily as possible). The tender ride in Belize and the trolley were a little uncomfortable and I had to take pain meds after returning to the ship but that was the only real annoyance. Solo Cruising I have taken many cruises but this was my first solo cruise. I was nervous at first but it worked out really well. I did not attend any of the SOLO cruiser meetings as they all interfered with the LGBT get together or other activities. Summary The cruise was amazing. I absolutely loved it and am looking forward to another. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2015
We are platinum cruisers with Princess and this was the best cruise ship we have been on. We would definitely sail on her or the sister ship Regal again.We were on deck 9 Dolphin midship. The lack of midship stairs was never a problem. We ... Read More
We are platinum cruisers with Princess and this was the best cruise ship we have been on. We would definitely sail on her or the sister ship Regal again.We were on deck 9 Dolphin midship. The lack of midship stairs was never a problem. We could always get a lift or depending where we were going used the forward or aft stairs. The ship is gorgeous, quiet and smooth. Could not hear our neighbours at all. We had a Premium Deluxe balcony and it was perfect. The crew as always were friendly and helpful. Lisa the Cruise Director was always smiling and had so much energy. When we were not on the islands we were kept very busy with all the choices of activities. We got involved in many activities from, Zumba, Aerobics, Pop Choir, Flashmob, Dancing, Shows and just relaxing. The Piazza is the centre of activity. There we loved eating at the International cafe and Italian restaurant. We chose anytime dining in the Symphony Restaurant and loved our waiter so much that we dined at the same table, just the two of us. We saw several movies at Movies under the Stars. The Retreat Pool for Adults only was relaxing and is at the forward part of the ship. We visited the Eastern and Southern Caribbean islands and we had perfect sunny weather each day. Even though there were 3800 passengers it never felt crowded. There was always a deckchair or seat to be found. Crooners lounge had happy hour at 3pm each day and was a great place to meet new friends. All our excursions were from the ship which we do not usually do but we felt they were well priced and all really enjoyable. We hope to be back on board again one day. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2015
I will comment on the things we experienced… as a couple in our early 30’s – our 9th cruise. EMBARKATION/ALFREDO’s Very smooth. We arrived too early, around 10:30, and were checked in and waiting to board the ship for about ... Read More
I will comment on the things we experienced… as a couple in our early 30’s – our 9th cruise. EMBARKATION/ALFREDO’s Very smooth. We arrived too early, around 10:30, and were checked in and waiting to board the ship for about an hour – but that was our fault for getting there so early. They opened the doors at 11:30 and we were on board about 10 minutes later (after the platinum/elite guests). We are Ruby (4th cruise) members on Princess. As suggested by others on Cruise Critic (CC), we went straight to Alfredo’s for lunch. We each ordered a pizza and shared the veal ravioli. The pasta had one of the richest, most delicious cream sauces I had ever eaten – delicious! The pizzas were very good. Nice and light. DH tried a calzone later in the week and it was nice and cheesy but a bit heavy on the dough ratio. ROOM We had a standard balcony, Dolphin deck, D603, and it was nice enough. Nothing special. As others described, the balcony is on the smaller side but we had no issues with it. We were out there on the port days and sometimes to read at sea. The size of the balcony was not a “make or break” for us. The shower had the curtain, which isn’t preferable but there are magnets at the bottom so it clings. The water pressure was really weak – this is a pet peeve of mine, especially since I have long hair – so it takes forever to rinse. But again, this was not a deal breaker on the cruise. Hair dryer is weak. I brought my own. Our steward, Edwin, was nice enough and took care of the few requests we had but we rarely spoke to him, let alone saw him. I don’t think his English was strong. Our room was always made up for us 2-3x/day. No complaints. FOOD We usually eat in the MDR 5+ times on a 7 day cruise and like many others that have been on this ship, we found ourselves unable to stay away from that buffet! Having been on a Carnival cruise in the fall with very little selection on the buffet, I was very excited to see the EXTENSIVE variety of food items available at the buffet every day at lunch and dinner! Breakfast also had a beautiful variety of items, but they were mostly the same every morning, as is the case with all breakfast items. My favourite was the eggs Benedict I ate literally every day. Though, on the last sea day they had an array of chocolate items in the breakfast buffet which was a fun surprise (chocolate dipped cookies, chocolate croissants, chocolate breads, puddings, French toast etc.). The favourite food items that stood out from the buffet: taco station, beef tenderloin, ribs, pork/shrimp dumplings, breaded shrimp/scallops, deep fried cheese balls, key lime pie and chocolate raspberry tarts, fresh soft cookies and the cheesecakes. I’m probably forgetting some. The selection was great. Crown Grill – we ate there once and it was delicious. You can order as many of anything on the menu as you’d like and it’s included in the $25 surcharge. We ordered the scallops, sea bass, filet mignon and ribeye and they were all amazing – especially the filet mignon. We tried the sampler for dessert (a small portion of all of them) and they were good, but no amazing. Personal taste though. We enjoy rich, heavy desserts – not the fluffy ones. Main dining room – we only ate here once, for the formal night with Lobster and Beef Wellington. Service was slow, but maybe that was because it’s the most popular night in the dining room. The Beef Wellington is my favourite meal on the cruise, and I was not disappointed. Very tasty. International Café – other than room service, this was the only food option available after 10:30pm. It always had a nice selection of salads, snacks and desserts. The tomato quiche they had one evening was delicious! ENTERTAINMENT We went to 80% of the shows. We saw the magician, Scott Alexander, and he was pretty good. The Comedian, Carl something – he was hilarious. The regular crew shows were good. Fiera was definitely their best production show. That one was insanely packed – definitely show up early for it. The marriage game show was good, but they held it in the Princess Live “theatre” which has very limited seating. Not sure why they would do that when that show is one of the passenger favorites. For sure, a lot of people were turned away because there wasn’t enough room for everyone. THE SHIP It’s beautiful, sparkly, new and clean. All of the staff we encountered were friendly and helpful. PORTS Princess Cays – we are big on snorkeling, so we never even attempted to find a lounger – other than to put our bag on while we went swimming. For those that do snorkel, go to the LEFT when you get off the tender. To specify, when you are facing the ocean/ship, the best snorkeling is on your far right. I clarify because I read different reviews on which way to go for snorkelling-some said left and some said right. Perhaps it depended on which way they were facing. We went to the far right (if facing the ocean) and down some little steps to the beach… the area was a bit rocky but just get your gear on and go right – that’s where you’ll find some fun stuff to see. We didn’t eat anything from the BBQ so I can’t comment on that. St. Thomas – we took a cab ($9 pp one way) to Coki beach because we had read on CC that they had good snorkeling. It’s a good 20 minute cab ride each way. We tried both sides of the beach and neither had anything but grass or dead coral/rocks. We did see a turtle, which was the only silver lining to that snorkel trip. Disappointing. Aside from the snorkeling failure, the beach itself was BEAUTIFUL. It’s smaller but the sand is smooth and there are no rocks to worry about in the water. There are drinks available and snorkel equipment can be rented. Same with chairs and umbrella’s – not sure of the prices though. Our cab ride back was only $7 per person. St. Maarten – we did the all day (9:30am-4pm) excursion with Captain Bob through Soualiga Destinations (it is the #1 excursion on trip advisor). It appealed to us because of the day on a boat, multiple snorkel stops, and rave reviews on trip advisor. If you take this excursion for the snorkelling, try something else. Yes we stopped 3x to snorkel, and one of them had a few turtles, but that’s it. No live coral or colourful array of fish. I’m not sure that anywhere in St Maarten has better snorkeling, just be advised that if you’re hopeful for good snorkeling on this excursion, you’ll be disappointed. Other than that, the driver we had for the day, Sam, was really fun. You arrive, check in, then have a 30 minute ride out to the first island area for snorkelling. This ride is on open ocean, and it was a rocky day – so be prepared that they ride could be really rough with a lot of bouncing. We stopped at 4 different places for the day. The lunch offered is a choice of chicken, fish or ribs and then either rice or fries. No dessert. The fish was dry, and the fries rather boring and cold. If I did it again, I’d get the rice and ribs. We also took a trip to the famous Maho beach (where the planes practically touch the beach) but didn’t get to see any planes come in. The trip back to the pier was a race between our boat and another which was lots of fun. He sped up to 75MPH. GYM Good enough for what it was. I also found it disappointing that the spa is no longer attached to it. On previous cruises and cruise lines, I would certainly enjoy a sauna or steam room after my workout. I did enjoy the rain-shower shower heads they had in the gym change room though (but there are only 2). Although I failed to make it to one of the classes, I liked that ZUMBA was offered twice a day on sea days at no additional cost. DISEMBARKATION We were “White Group 1” which was scheduled to get off at 7:55am. We waited in the dining room for our group to be called for about 5 minutes and were on our way off. By 8:30am, we were in a taxi. The process was quick and painless! While waiting for our taxi to FLL airport, a Princess rep approached us and offered their shuttle for $11 per person. I found that to be strange… clearly, everyone is aware of the Princess shuttle, and as we were clearly standing in the taxi section, we chose not to use it. For the record, the Princess shuttle would have cost us $22 total for 2 of us, and the cab cost us $14 total. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2015
This was our 4th Cruise with Princess so we knew what to expect from Port Everglades and Princess Cruise Lines. We were very surprised to find out that everyone on the ship showed up at the same time instead of showing up at the time ... Read More
This was our 4th Cruise with Princess so we knew what to expect from Port Everglades and Princess Cruise Lines. We were very surprised to find out that everyone on the ship showed up at the same time instead of showing up at the time assigned on their tickets. This made for a long line that ran out and around the outside of the cruise center, the children were impatient and fussy and every was frustrated by the over-crowded conditions. Once aboard everything seemed to go much smoother. We found out much to our surprise there were 800 children onboard due to spring break. We thought this would be fine until we ran into problems with the kids running amok everywhere. They were in the bars and clubs, jumping in the hot tubs, and pools, and we were not able to secure a reservation at the Serenity Deck. We were actually in the Hot tub and one family left 4 of the kids they had with them in the hot tub with us without asking! 2 of these kids were under 5 and the other 2 were 6-8 years old. Come folks I did not go on this cruise to have your children jumping in a hot tub they should not be in to begin with, and to have you dump the little darlings on me to babysit without asking me. Also folks please do not let your kids hit all the buttons in the elevators when they get on. A couple of the Aft Elevators had a few broken buttons after the first day due to the kids and the Staff never did repair them. Princess Staff did not to prevent any of this from occurring but did have security come nab an adult for smoking at a bar when no one knew they were smoking! In the buffet there was one child screaming she had to go poopy over and over again and her parents ignored her. Hey parents I have a news flash for you, no one but you should have to hear this from your child, remove them from the eating area and deal with it. If they can not behave in public, then get your food and eat in your room. Needless to say we ended up no being able to use any of the pools or hot tubs after that first day because they were over-run with kids. It is a shame. The ship is nice but is quite a bit different from the Crown and the Emerald. The Piazza seems to be quite a bit smaller. Also this ship still has Sky walkers attached, which really keeps the back decks of the ship shaded. The food was as good as expected. If you get the chance to reserve the Crab Shack I highly recommend it. You get more food than you can eat You get an appetizer of popcorn shrimp, (these are extra large shrimp not popcorn at all) the choice of 4 meals and then dessert. We had the King Crab and Shrimp boil. Entertainment on the ship was poor, the only Entertainment we enjoyed was Bert Stratton and he was not even listed as being on the cruise. We were extremely glad he was, as we ended up watching all but 1 of his shows. He should have been the headlining show, Princess really missed the mark on this one. They kept him in Crooners and there were never enough seats for his shows, they did allow him his final show of the cruise in the Explorers Lounge and he packed the house. He is awesome. The band they had while they could play, they could not sing very well. In all fairness we did not get the opportunity to see the comedian. Our room was very nice. We had room C743. Our room steward was Romy while he was very nice he did not touch our room unless we put the "Please Freshen Room" tag in our lock. We never had to do this on any other cruise and found out the hard way when our room was not cleaned and the bed not made. The Shampoo/conditioner they put in the showers left my hair feeling like straw, luckily we took our own along just in case, as well as our own bar of soap. Grand Cayman was nice, there were 4 other ships in Port, we opted to do the Trolley Roger tour since we had been to GC before. It was a nice little hour tour and our guide was knowledgeable. We did see there is now an Ice Bar in CG that we may check out if we ever go back again. Jamaica was interesting. To start with they announced we could not get off the ship because of rioting. I guess they realized their mistake when everyone was trying to get their tours refunded. About 20 minutes after I spoke to the Excursions desks and was told they were not refunding tours, the Captain announced it was not a riot it was a labor dispute between the tour bus drivers and Port Authority, and they were rapidly working to resolve it. There is a big difference between a riot and a labor dispute. This should have been correctly communicated to everyone to begin with, the passengers would have felt safer. We went on the Mystic Mountain Chair Lift tour and once at the top it poured down raining. They have a nice little restaurant up there so we sat there and ate lunch and waited for the rain to break. It is a 20 minute chair lift ride and the view is beautiful. All in all the 5 day cruise was too short, we normally do 7-10 day Cruises so this was something new to try and we will opt for the longer cruises going forward. If we lived closer to the Port the 5 days would be a good option. Going forward I will never, never, never go when it is Spring Break again. We thought we missed it by one week but boy were we wrong. Drink Package - All Inclusive Bar package is $49 on board $56 if pre-ordered. You can order as many drinks in one day as you like as long as they are under $10. They do pour light on the mixed drinks since they implemented this package. I would not expect to get intoxicated on mix drinks. This package does include water, specialty coffee, wine, beer and mixed drinks. Disembarking was fairly easy, luggage was scattered but between us and the porter we found ours. Just a quick note, Princess had folks carrying their carryon luggage down the steps to disembark off the ship, the elevators were reserved for folks leaving their rooms. 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