Princess Cruises Caribbean Princess by Dianne T Eastern Caribbean June 4, 2008
This was my 14th cruise on Princess and a HUGE dissappointment.
The food on this ship was awful compared to other Princess cruises I have been on.
The crew had an attitude of indifference. I WAS a real champion of Princess.
I have 2 cruises planned for the next year BUT they will not be on Princess.
Princess Cruises Caribbean Princess by Bogeyjim Eastern Caribbean April 13, 2008
My wife and I, along with another couple who are close friends (mid 50's to early 60's) just returned from a cruise of the Eastern Caribbean on the Caribbean Princess. I have only cruised once before, five years ago on the Celebrity Summit, so I can only compare the performance of the staff to those on that ship.
We chose to take a package with a Saturday night in Ft. Lauderdale, and transfers to the ship and return to the airport at the completion of the cruise. We had a bit of a problem initially at the airport as we could not locate the Princess personnel who were to meet us and provide transportation to the Marriott North. After having them paged, all went smoothly getting us to the hotel. The hotel room was very nice and we were able to relax after the day of travel.
We had concerns about being picked up late in the day on Sunday but those fears were put aside when we were told to be ready in the lobby at 11:30 Sunday morning. Wewere on a bus by noon and on the way to Port Everglades. We arrived at the Princess terminal at about 12:30. The longest wait we had was in going through security, as it turned out two of the three personell performing that task were on lunch break. Once through security we proceeded to the Princess counter for our deck and within approximately 15 minutes were in our staterooms, it could not have gone more efficiently.
The rooms were fine. We had a balcony cabin and our friends an inside cabin, both at the rear of the Aloha deck. Our cabin steward was Rumiel from the Philippines. He was great, attending to every request that was made of him with a smile on his face always. He is truly an asset to Princess. Other staff was very good as well except for a very few exceptions. The wait staff was very good with several of our waiters (we chose anytime dining, and loved it) very friendly and personable. The food was not gourmet, but was very good in the restaurants. We did have dinner one evening at Sabatini's and it was excellent. Our biggest complaint on the whole cruise was the buffet in both the Cafe Caribe and Horizon Court. In a word these areas are "chaotic". There is no rhyme or reason to the lines for selecting your food and people are bumping into each other constantly. Also, no trays to put your plate or glass on, you have to carry them in hand. On the Celebrity ship the buffet was very orderly to the point where personnel were there to take your tray and carry it to your table when you came off the line. There were also occasions where personnel heading back into the kitchen and service areas cut in front of me, which would never have happened on the Celebrity ship, or at least not without an "excuse me". There were also several occasions in the Princess theatre where the cocktail waiters seemed as if they would like to have been somewhere else, instead of waiting on the guests.
The pool areas were very nice, and even on the "at sea" days we were always able to find four lounges next to each other. On the days that the ship visited the ports of call, St. Maarten, St. Thomas, and Princess Cays, we stayed on board having visited the first two on our previous cruise, and we had the run of the ship. We would have like to have gone ashore at Princess Cays, but did not reserve cabanas for the beach ahead of time. When hearing that they only have 200 of them, we opted to stay on the ship rather than bake in the sun on the beach.
We saw several shows in the Pricess theare, the best of which was the "Beatlemaniacs". They were terriffic and their show was a trip down memory lane, most of the audience singing along with the group. Bert Stratton's piano/comedy show was also very good, and there was a comedian/magician, Michael James, who was also very entertaining.
I guess the word is that the ship is just about due for a trip to drydock for some rehab after four years of operation. While there were some areas that were showing some wear, overall the ship was kept in excellent condition.
When we returned on Sunday for disembarking, our instructions were to meet in one of the dining rooms at 8:45. We got there early and were released from the ship at about 8:15. It took us about 10-15 minutes to locate our luggage and we were then put right on a bus to the airport. Again, this process went like clockwork.
Overall, while the service level may not be quite up to what we experienced on Celebrity, I would have no second thoughts about taking another cruise on Princess.
Princess Cruises Caribbean Princess by Mellocroozr Eastern Caribbean March 30, 2008
Our focus for this cruise was to relax and enjoy the outstanding atmosphere we were expecting on this first trip away from our children (ages 4 & 1). We really bought into the "small ship feel" and "excellent food" reviews (we are I guess what you would call "foodies") and advertising and while we did have a good cruise, we had to really work at enjoying ourselves which is definitely not what we expected to have to do.
Embarkation was flawless, except for the rudeness of some of the embarkation staff which was unexpected and uncalled for by locals wearing Princess uniforms. Some were outright abusive to people, but worse upon debarkation.
Our stateroom was OK. We had a mini-suite which was OK. The room was nice, but the bathroom had a few caulking issues and the sliding door to the balcony was whistling and water poured in on the last day during a big storm. This ship seems so dated in the décor. I could not put my finger on it but I guess you could compare it to buying furnitureat Wal-Mart and then walking into a furniture store with a higher end product afterwards. It looked fine at the time but it wasn't until I toured the Westerdam after our cruise that I realized what was wrong with everything. It all looked cheap.
Service Our cabin attendant and the Palm Dining Room Staff were great. The Buffet staff were hit and miss but everyone working on the ship seemed tired. There was no one that really went over and above to WOW us. The cabin attendant remembered our name and he did a great job keeping our room tidy and fully stocked with towels.
As mentioned in many reviews. Princess has a problem enforcing rules -- some with very potentially serious consequences: no unsupervised children in the hot tubs and pool, using hand sanitizers when entering the buffets, shirts and shoes in the buffets, and the not so serious but really irritating no children in the adults only pools, reserving of deck chairs (some sat empty with towels from 8am until noon or longer).
Itinerary We enjoyed St Maarten including the beach being so close to the ship, but found St Thomas expensive and the people not as friendly. Princess Cays is a great day at the beach. The Cabana was a good investment when a brief shower rolled through for about 20 minutes soaking everyone else.
Entertainment The new Piano Bar singer is not very good unless he was singing a Billy Joel song. Sarge returned to the ship in St Maarten and was very funny. We did not see any other shows, as we found it not worth the struggle for seating each night.
Dining This is going to be a sore spot and you will have to excuse me if I rant. Food in the dining room was mediocre at best. The Halibut was so overcooked on the second night that I did not think you could dry out such a succulent fish to the point it was a solid brick. The sauces were never quite rich enough, or flavorful enough. When I ordered my meat rare, it came out rare, but grey on the outside. We gave up dining at our appointed time after the second night until the Chef's night when surprisingly, the lobster was not overcooked.
The Breakfast Buffets were so disappointing and the shortcuts that were taken were noticed by us in a big way. The bread is bad. The on-board bakery needs a good shake-up. The toast bread was dry and old tasting, and all buns lacked a crust. No decent rye. No offence to Americans, who generally had no problem with the bread, but Europeans are really big on bread -- that is, FRESH BREAD. Don't bake it, put it in a plastic bag for the day and then sit there and pretend that it is fresh. It is such an easy thing to do when you have a bakery 2 floors from your kitchen. Bake fresh bread. JAM -- 5 gallon pails of the cheapest stuff they could buy is what is served; and why the salad dressing ladles instead of spoons? Orange and Apple Cocktail? Not juice. Powdered scrambled eggs, or at least that's what they tasted like. The fresh fruit selection was always nice and on a few mornings they had Eggs Benedict available. I think the above shortcuts could have been upgraded without any effect on the budget had they just eliminated the smoked salmon every morning.
On the last evening, after all comment cards had been turned in for the "big draw," (this is the only explanation we could think of for this) we went to the Caribe Buffet for a light dinner. It was very packed and very hard to find seating which is to be expected after a day at the beach. There were no salt and pepper shakers on the tables in most sections. Did they think we were going to steal them? There was no rhyme or reason to the food offerings -- pasta with undercooked cans of crushed tomatoes as a sauce. Jerk chicken which looked like they took the leftover chicken from Princess Cays and tossed in spices, Curried Chicken Salad which had very little flavour and tasted dry -- not quite sure how a mayonnaise-based salad can taste dry, but it did. It was just a mish mash of leftovers. When you walked to the pool areas, all the deck chairs were being packed up, no movie was offered. At one point, both pools were closed but I am not sure if it remained that way. We really got the feeling that Princess was ready to be rid of us all. We decided to grab a couple of pieces of pizza -- which were always outstanding -- and head to our cabin to order a club sandwich from room service. Our final impression and last night on the ship was probably the worst of all the evenings. We felt unwelcome.
I will not be booking another Princess cruise without assurances that this was not typical. We really looked forward to this trip. After (my wife) being on maternity leave for a full year, we really stretched to book ourselves on this cruise but needed the time together. While we did have a nice time, it was in no way due to anything Princess did to make our voyage enjoyable. I will be looking elsewhere for our travel needs in the future.
Princess Cruises Caribbean Princess by Marlene Blackburn Eastern Caribbean February 17, 2008
We just completed our first cruise on 2/24/08 aboard the Caribbean Princess. Overall, the service was great, lots of food and variety of it, and lots of entertainment.
I was pleased with just about everything until 2/19 around 12:30 pm, when my significant other and myself were on the Riviera Deck, 14 Terrace Pool, when much to my surprise, I noticed a woman sunbathing topless amongst children. I immediately notified one of the wait staff that I was offended by it and that there were children in the area. He told me he had just reported it. After about 45 minutes of nothing happening, at least 5 of the crew dressed in white, one with a camera (who took a picture of something), were on the deck but none of them said anything to the woman. After an hour and a half, still nothing had been said. I was ticked off because I had expected something to be done and it wasn't.
I'll never take another (Princess) cruise again for the simple fact that the crew didn't respect my wishes andcorrect the problem.
I later contacted the front desk and asked to speak to someone in authority about it. The man I spoke to didn't let me speak to anyone about it other than himself, and as of that time, which was about 5 pm, there had not been any formal report filed. All he did was apologize to me, which just isn't enough.
I didn't spend that kind of money to see some woman baring herself to everyone regardless of others' feelings.
Princess Cruises Caribbean Princess by Dean Eastern Caribbean January 27, 2008
My wife and I sailed the Caribbean Princess on Jan 27-2008 for a 7 day Eastern Caribbean cruise. This was our 5th cruise, 2nd with Princess (2 with Carnival, 1 with RCCL) and we sailed with a group of 8 other people. Age ranges were from mid 30s to 70s Our overall experience was a very positive one shared by all of our travel mates.
A couple of positive points that stand out for us:
Embarkation -- We arrived as a group via taxi at about noon and were through the entire check in process and in our cabin at about 20 after 12. Very fast!!
Another thing we liked was the way the sections of Lido and Sun deck were like independent areas of the ship. Depending on which area you were in you couldn't hear any noise from another area bleeding in. Hard to explain but if you were at the spa pool you would not hear any of the movie sound that was just a short walk away. Or if you were watching the movie you couldn't hearthe band playing at Neptunes' pool just a few steps away. It felt like each of these parts of the ship were very independent.
We ate in the dining room every night, late seating. Our server was good, lots of selection. The food was excellent. Only a couple of the entrees during the week were less than impressive. The sea bass and prime rib were a little disappointing. We also tried the buffets for breakfast, lunch and dinner and always found there to be lots of selection, excellent quality with different theme nights every night; Italian, Octoberfest, Seafood just to name a few.
We did afternoon tea in the dining room and were very impressed. Burgers, pizza and hot dogs on the deck were yummy.
If I had to pick a couple of things that could be improved on, I would say the buffet layout is one. There is no real flow to the buffet. You can enter from two sides which causes a lot of traffic jams when it's busy.
The day spent at Princess Cays is the other item for improvement. The beach and water are lovely, the bbq lunch was very good, loads of shade and loungers, but the last tender back to the ship is at three p.m., which really means you have to start packing up by 2 p.m. to get in line for the tenders. Princess Cays is their own private island. Why can't we stay until 5 p.m.? Give us all a little more time to enjoy it.
These items hardly affected our overall enjoyment of the cruise. We all had a great time and would highly recommend the ship and the line to anyone who wants to cruise.
Princess Cruises Caribbean Princess by B Hayden Western Caribbean January 20, 2008
I was very pleasantly surprised with the inside cabin's space. Huge closet and storage.
Meals were superb. First night service took over an hour to bring the entree but after that night, service was great. Wasn't very personal though as we always had different waiters.
On the down side, the women's restrooms ALWAYS had one stall that was closed for maintenance. Lines all the time.
Princess Cruises Caribbean Princess by Brenda D. Eastern Caribbean December 23, 2007
We had a fantastic room Baja 749 corner back balcony. Afternoon sun, on the journey and wonderful moon views at night (ours was a full moon). This Balconey provides you with 2 chairs, and 2 loungers, as well as a table. Our Mom had B752, also a balcony, and the deck was smaller not having 4 chairs but 2. Our daughters had E502 window obstructed but fine.
The ship lacked the wow factor one feels when boarding a Princess ship. It was nicely decorated for Christmas but nothing fantastic with the actually design of the main foyer.
The staff seemed very average. We booked anytime dining. First night we ate in the Palm. The greeting was nothing exciting. The Baramondi? (South American fish) like Perch was awful. I am from the coast and love fish but not smelly fish! Very short menu and very non attentive staff. No napkins on your lap and no real pampering.
Each meal was so, so. Nothing was available that wasn't on the menu, as it was in the past. Waiters in the dining rooms wereso average with no personalities. Personalities were in the two fee-charged dining rooms. Sabatini's and Stering's Steakhouse had waiters that actually had personalities and the food had the taste of cruises of the past. I think dining in the regular dining room was the biggest disappointment.
Nightly Entertainment: Why have an 800 seat venue for 3000 plus people and only 2 shows? Also there was no real wow to the theater as seen on other cruises.
What is the deal with no trays in the buffet area or cafe? While you are busy pumping hand sanitizer, the staff is shoving you a napkin with silverware and a plate and send you on your way. So try negotiating your way through a buffet line with no tray. Not fun. It is actually ridiculous. Also once you find a seat, the waiter will reluctantly get you coffee, but some might show you where you should get your own.
After midnight the ship pretty much shuts down other than the casino. No entertainment at the small lounges or anything other than the disco was an option. Sarge was the best entertainment. The dancers were really a sad group -- nothing like a real show as I have seen on Royal Caribbean.
Some minor details that we missed was the lack of towel folding in the cabins and lack of dining staff entertainment that we had been used to. We always thought it was pretty neat when the staff would sing and dance for you on theme nights.
I guess the best was the weather, then the room. The staff worked as though they were just following the motions. The cocktail servers were swarming, as they have a quota to make and then get time off. Wait staff just served -- nothing special -- no conversation, nothing special. Rooms were clean and the bed (2 twins pushed together) was ok, but as time went on the split between the two became more noticeable.
We found the trip fine with the weather, land trips, and our room, as well as the family group. But if we were just the two of us, and we didn't have the great weather or the nice room, it would have been a long and boring trip.
We will try another line as the staff and the food are an important part of the experience for us.
Princess Cruises Caribbean Princess by F.R. Lewis Eastern Caribbean September 23, 2007
We have been on 2 Royal Caribbean and 5 Carnival Cruises; this was our 1st Princess Cruise. We drove to Ft. Lauderdale and took the Park and Drive package at the Ramada Inn Airport/Cruise port, which worked out very well. Our cruise was Eastern Caribbean on 09/23/07.
Embarkation We arrived at the port at 11:15 and got on line at 11:25. While waiting on line they provided cold drinking water and there were benches along the wall. We arrived at our cabin at 12:25 and received our luggage at 2 P.M.
Cabin We had cabin L306, a balcony cabin on the Lido Deck. This had to be the smallest cabin we ever had. The location was great. There was enough storage space for the clothes and the luggage. The bathroom was a typical cruise ship bathroom. Since we were on the Lido Deck we had a covered balcony, the balconies on the Dolphin and Emerald Decks are open (not covered). The décor is plain and somewhat practical. Our cabin steward Vicki was friendly and very efficient.
Muster Drill I have to mentionthis, though necessary it is a royal pain in the lower extremities. On the Caribbean Princess it was amazing, our muster station was in the main theater, comfortable, air conditioned, and we were able to sit. WOW!
Dining We liked the option that we can either do traditional or anytime dining; as long as you do not reserve a table for anytime dining you do not lose your traditional seating. We only did anytime once, we had table 270, 1st seating at the Island Restaurant. David and his assistant were superb and friendly. Our tablemates were fun and great to be with. The food was ok, some days better than others. The buffet restaurants were better than some, always crowded, usually shared a table, which we liked, we met many different people and enjoyed the conversations we had. One problem, though, if you wanted to go from one side of the restaurant to the other, you had to leave the restaurant to cross over. The Caribe restaurant had a buffet from 11 P.M. to 4 A.M. for those who "craved" more food.
Room Service A free service, you just tip the room service steward. Just be careful, you don't always get exactly what you ordered.
Specialty Restaurants We booked Sabatini's on Sunday for Tuesday evening. Our waiter was Allesandro, very friendly, funny, and an excellent waiter. You get small portions, BUT many different appetizers, thankfully they were small or we would have been in big trouble. We were there from 6:15 P.M. to 8:45 P.M. The cost was $20 P.P. and well worth it. This is a must do "event." We met people who ate at Sterling's and were not impressed.
Ice Cream I mention this because people complained that it is not free. In the Horizon Court, at both ends on one side you can make your own, free sundae, from 3:30 P.M. to 4:30 P.M. OK, happy now?
Entertainment Though no Carnival, the shows were good. There were two production shows, the first "Piano Man" was good. The second was so-so. The main problem was the evening shows and entertainment was scheduled so that you had to choose one. The dance bands were continuous, but the comedians, game shows, were scheduled poorly. MUTS, Movies under the Stars, looked great, but we did not see this at night. During the day while we were swimming we watched the movies, which was interesting.
Islands The only thing I want to talk about is Princess Cays, their private island. This was reached by tender. Again Princess proved up to the task. We met in the main theater where you sit and wait to be escorted to the tender, quick and painless. The island is beautiful, we snorkeled and had a great time.
Disembarkation We were in no hurry so we let them take our luggage for us. We were scheduled to meet at the Wheelhouse Bar at 8:30 A.M. At 8:32 they came for us, by the time we left the ship, found our luggage and went through immigration, it was 8:50 A.M. Barely 20 minutes, fantastic.
Overall The ship is sedate, quiet and laid back. Not for everyone, but the service was very good, our fellow passengers were friendly and fun to be with. My main complaint is that you CANNOT review your account on your TV; you must go to Passenger Services. The food could have been better and a bit more selections. I might try another Princess ship in the future. We did enjoy the cruise and do recommend this ship.
L 204 Lido Deck. Noise everyday. Unable to nap during the day.
Ship's personnel gave me the run around and no change. Hair was on my clean bath towels (not ours), dry food stains on plates, lip prints on water glass in cabin (not ours), plastic glass was cracked on the side, the tender was over-packed with standing room only in Grand Cayman (not the ship's tender, but rather an independent one. Old people were hanging on for their life.
Had $25 credit for myself and my wife. The ship kept it. I've been on sixteen cruises, first time Princess, and last time. Hope for better luck for everyone else.
Princess Cruises Caribbean Princess by Ed Fait Western Caribbean June 10, 2007
My wife and I along with two grown sons sailed on the Caribbean Princess on June 10-17, 2007. Let me begin by saying that this is our second cruise experience. Our first cruise was ten years ago on Carnival Cruise Lines. My wife and I were very pleased that we booked a balcony room. We thoroughly enjoyed having a balcony, and we were glad that we were on the Aloha Deck as we had a roof and no one looking down on us.
My sons stayed across the hall in an interior room which was obviously much cheaper. They didn't seem to mind it because they could come to our room whenever they wanted to. The showers and the toilet were both improvements over our previous cruise. The rooms was plenty big enough for us, and our cabin steward was excellent.
We were quite surprised at the number of swimming pools and hot tubs, and were surprised that the pools had fresh water in them instead of salt water like our last cruise.
We ate at Sabatini's and found it tobe a five star experience and well worth the $20 fee. The evening entertainment in the Princess Theater was very good, especially the comedians. We had asked for traditional dining and were too late to get it. The anytime dining worked okay for us though. We especially liked being able to sit as a family without someone else at our table. The food was always good, and we really liked all the seafood that was available throughout the week. We really appreciated the generous onboard credit we were given when we booked our cruise.
However, there were some things about our cruise we were not happy about. When we booked our flight we included air transportation. On the trip to Ft. Lauderdale we flew on Delta Air. Our seats were not good. On the first flight we had the last two seats on each side of the plane. This was an unpleasant experience for all four of us, especially for my son who had to face the continual opening and closing bathroom door. The transfer flight to Ft. Lauderdale was only slightly better as we were a few seats up from the very back. Interestingly, our return flights seats were very good as we were near the front of coach section. Could it be because we changed the original flight plans that Princess made for us (at a cost of $90 per person)?
When we got to Ft. Lauderdale Airport we were not happy with the transfer service. We had to wait a long time to move out to the loading area. Then we had to go outside and stand in the hot sun for quite a while and wait for our bus. We noticed the lady from Princess who had taken us out stood across the street in the shade. Carnival took us outside very quickly to a waiting bus.
The check in at the ship seemed very slow to us. Why did we complete information ahead of the cruise online only to have confusion over credit cards? We didn't get on the ship until 4:00 PM (our day had begun at 5:00 AM). It would have been nice to have had a little more afternoon time on the ship. It took over two hours to get our bags to our cabin. Carnival was about a half hour.
It seemed to us throughout our entire cruise there was a tremendous effort to push alcoholic drinks. We don't drink much and found the constant questioning, “Do you want a drink?” to be annoying. The first night seafood buffet which was recommended by staff was a disappointment, as the lobster claws and crab legs were cold. We would have preferred warm. We also thought that the ice cream on the deck should have been free.
We would also suggest that a laundry room be put at both ends of the hallway, as we had to walk a very long distance to iron clothes. We found the staff in the dining room to be efficient, but not overly friendly.
Perhaps this is because their tip is automatically charged to your account, and the fact that we had a different waiter at every meal. We have no problem with the dining room dress codes. However, at every dinner meal there were people not following the dress code. This includes the two formal nights. If you are going to have a dress code enforce it. If you are not going to enforce the dress code then don't have it. My wife was disappointed that there was a charge for cappuccinos. We had no such charge on Carnival. Lastly, my wife was very disappointed with the lack of aerobics classes in the gym. Only one was offered for the entire week. Carnival had a class daily. Also, there a charge for other classes like pilates and spinning?
Here are my comments on our four stops:
Princess Cays- Princess Cays was a beautiful island and we had a thoroughly enjoyable day. It was very nice that Princess provided cold, fresh water for everyone to drink. They served a nice lunch on the island. This was truly a day at the beach!
Ocho Rios, Jamaica- We went to Dunn's River Falls in the morning at it was very nice. I would say though that the falls is harder to climb that the excursions make it out to be. I would not recommend it to any with any physical ailments. That said, we were not impressed with Ochio Rios. When you walk the streets to shop you are approached every fifty feet by a drug dealer or begger. We did not like this at all.
Grand Caymen Islands- We had planned on going to Seven Mile Beach but it rained all day so we didn't go. The rain kind of ruined our shopping too. We went back to the ship early.
Cozumel, Mexico- We went to an adventure park for rock climbing, zipline, and snorkeling. It was fun. The shopping here was very nice. My wife got some good deals on jewelry. You can bargain prices at most of the stores. Interestingly, many of the stores offer you a beer or a shot of tequila. I do not recommend any drinking. We saw several people being helped to get back on the ship.