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Kenneth Eden

Age: 65

Occupation:retired

Number of Cruises: 83

Cruise Line: Princess

Ship: Caribbean Princess

Sailing Date: 2013-09-28

Itinerary: Canada New England

Quick alternate to a 7 day Bermuda cruise, from New York

food quality and selection excellent

stateroom small, clean, good storage, balcony lacked teak decking

typical on board activities

did not book/take any excursions

We took this cruise for it's general cruise area, and a chance to have as much seafood especially lobster, for lunch in the ports.

Our "level" with Princes is that of Platinum, compared to other cruise lines, no level of Princess really offered that much in special amenities, , for example, robes had to be asked for, no welcome bottle of bubbly, no fruit basket in cabin, no complimentary bottle of water - these are just nit-picky things, after all, Princes is not considered a Premium product, and these minuses were of no consequence to the overall satisfaction of the cruise.

We did have priority boarding, and a chance to dine at the buffet early, and that was our one and only buffet during the cruise. Area is too small, passengers pushy, seniors using canes to break into the line - food not that appetizing, serving utensils sticky and gummy, traffic flow was poor. Pasta was hard, turkey chewy, no pizza just awful.

Cabin small, bath small., shower small , balcony small. Nothing welcoming back for high level of repeater. Fridge had two cans of coke, one Pepsi, and 1.5L bottle of water @$3.75. Looked at room service menu, ok, just ok. No breakfast, only breakfast was on the laughable fill out form placed on the door knob , the smallest number of menu items I have ever seen for breakfast. Pizza was available at $3.00 delivery charge.

Now, one more negative, ok, two more, the ships production show - we could not bear the one we saw, was awful. The male singers were sloppy dressers, the dancers seemed bored beyond belief, they danced as though they were asleep, yeah, even bumping into each other. And everyone's favorite, smoking. smoking is banned in all staterooms and on balconies, and everywhere, except outdoor designated areas', EXCEPT in the casino, which is dimly lit, smoke filled, nauseating to be in, and reeking. To get to point B from point A passengers must traverse the casino. Sure, go one deck up or below and maneuver around the smoke. These are my only peeves about this cruise, from here, all was absolutely wonderful.

The ship is, very much in the mode of Princess ships built during the late 1990's, 2000's. She does have the iconic "handle bar" sited 18 decks above the sea that is home to Skywalker's, the ships, disco, note, it was removed from Grand Princess. As Platinum guests we were privy to a two hour daily cocktail hour with daily drink specials, and wonderful canapés, with decent DJ music playing. What a grand space, and what a view, especially at sail away. One sad thing about Skywalker's, with its disco theme, all that was played at night was 60's.70's and line dancing junk. One night we waited, and were promised it would be played, for three hours for a request, and by 1:00am left. Oh well, not a deal beaker.

Far too many ships crowd every inch with photographers, with back drop scenes, posing stations et cetera. Not so on Caribbean Princess. They were there, not in you face, and no obstructing your way of passage. What was in the way, walkers, canes lying around and motorized scooters. Looked like a Wal Mart parking lot.

Our first port was Newport, Rhode Island. Tendering is a must here, there is no dock per se, just a wooden pier. Anyone that has never been to New England will be struck by the true New England seaport town. Being New Englanders, Richard and me were ready for real New England lobster and some other wonderful North East delectable. We have our favorite place, however, there are several seafood restaurants along the piers that lead up to the Main Street of Newport. Not to be missed for many are the Mansions, the mammoth summer homes to millionaires, open and accepting tours. Not the cheap hot dog roll comments coming up. Our musts for lunch were real New England Clam Chowder, Ipswich fried clams, the whole ones with the bellies, Wellfleet oysters on the half shell, and lobster "lobsta" rolls on cheap hot dog rolls, that's rolls, not buns.

Next up Boston, our home town. We wanted to go out to Eastie, East Boston, for pizza, by subway, and opted for China Town instead. We booked the shuttle from the newly enlarged Black Falcon Pier, to Northern Avenue, which is very close to Quincy Market, the perfect start to a self guided Boston visit. There are many excursions, if you do not know Boston, by all means, do not follow my lead, and take one for Boston's full impact.

We now this city oh so well. We had this to do, that to see, and did what we personally wanted to do. Silly, to some, but we really needed, I mean needed, to experience Macy's. Once Jordan Marsh, now a huge Macy's, this is not your typical "mall" Macy's. It is floor upon floor of real Macy's. The store, rumored to be the second largest next to Harold Square, is going to be enlarged and become even more fabulous. Other fabulousness comes with the doubling in size of Neiman Marcus, one of the two there, Lord and Taylor was recently enlarged as well.

Boston is a world class city, to wit, has a higher standard, and richness that other cities lack. The new sky scrapers and the most luxurious hotel marks and New York and Paris shops are here, dining has its own personality make the city unique, so Bostonian. Where else can you buy Gap jeans, a simple something for a ghastly price at Chanel, buy one tie and two free at Jos. A Bank, and have a bowl of Chowda at Legal's, all within 20 minutes? Why, Boston, Wicked good.

We dined at Peach Ranch, in China Town, which is very traditional. Boston is known for its "Boston Style Chinese food". Plates are not garnished with fillers, like broccoli and pea pods. Those are ordered separately. Potions were huge, and we could not take any home. Directly across from Peach is China Pearl, one of the oldest Chinese restaurants in the city, offering a more Americanized menu. There are other great places to dine as well. Look for live poultry shops, Peking Duck roasting on spits, jade shops, tailors with Hong Kong quality - China Town Boston is a special place, easy to get around.

We took the T, subway, to the Back Bay and spent a good amount of time in the Pru, the venerable Prudential Center, with its many high end shops. Visited our first Pink Berry, loved it.

And, then there is the whole Quincy Market, a real treat, foodies and the like will love it.

Next along comes Bar Harbor, with its fabulous Acadia Park, closed due to the government shutdown. We had planned to do our thing, so we did. Lots of Lobster places, and lots of good quality souvenir shops in this clean little beauty of a place. The place we enjoyed lunch was offering New England Clam Chowder, traditional lobster roll (yes on a cheap hot dog roll) and fresh Wild Maine Blueberry Pie, all for $21.99 per, and that was a steal. The restaurant, Rapahuni, odd name for Maine, was 2/3rd the way up "main street". A real relic from the past, Rexal Drugs, so old it comes on spell check(!), a real Rexal, with a real soda fountain and lunch counter! No Walgreen or Rite Aid here. Boy, it brought back memories.

Our next port was totally new to us. St. John New Brunswick, not to be confused with St. John, Newfoundland. Not quite ready this John is for the new boom in cruise business. We booked Gray Line tour, $20.00CND on the pier, and got the full 2 hours worth of the little there is to see there. Don't get me wrong, we had a wonderful guide, Mile Stewart, a shoddy old bus, and saw it all.

The reversing falls is a must, but, feh, looks like any rapids in a river. Saw the Red Rose tea plant, saw the Irving Oil Refinery, Irving Paper Mill, Irving Mansion and several parks founded by the Irving family, an the former Irving mansion and the current Irving mansion. Saw the City Market, pretty, full of wonderful meat and seafood, could not buy anything there.

No places to buy anything, one hot and crowded souvenir shop, that's about it. Oh, I researched restaurants on line, and one look at them from the outside, and NOOOOOOOOOO. One place that was seemingly ok was Steamers, along the quay side, hanging lobster floats and netting and the like inside. Dirty place with an even dirtier men's room.

This lunch offered lobster rolls on a croissant, the lobster spiced, some sort of brown sauce in it, the chowder, barely warm, too much potato and laced with sage and - well, lets just skip the rest. Awful.

Aside from the St. J experience, Halifax, Nova Scotia was a joy, improved, grown and ready for prime time since our last visit. We have been to Halifax many times, and have enjoyed Nova Scotia on land vacations as well. We marveled at the new boardwalk, the endless shops, the gardens, and numerous places to eat and drink.

I did research and we had to have lunch at Salty's, a fair walk up the boardwalk from where the Caribbean Princess was docked. Also docked were Carnival Glory and Veendam. We ambled along stopping at shops and galleries, found Salty's and had a very nice lunch, the cheap hot dog roll welcomed. Close to Salty's is Cows, offering excellent local ice creams and sundae's and the like and some wildly funny tee's, such as 40 shades of hay and other cheeky titles.

That completes the ports part of this cruise. We booked this for the price, and it just happened to coincide with a perfect date for our honeymoon. Of course we booked it for Boston, since that is where we met and lived and enjoyed a standard of living we have not found in Virginia.

We opted for fixed dining, in the Palm Restaurant, the more exciting of the three almost identical venues, had second seating and enjoyed a wonderful waiter who took care of every guest with a warmth that is rare at sea today, although young, Emil was versed in the old world standard of dining room manners. No dining venue has the upper level, in fact, no public rooms offer any upper ceiling vantages, save for the theater. Ceilings on Caribbean Princess are low.

As for the dining, nothing, not anything was missing from the dinner menu's, and I would dare any main line cruise line to offer anything like those found in the MDR on Caribbean Princess. Duck breast, steaks chops, shrimp in many preps, escargots , Beef Wellington all of the expected's, the must haves, were here- on the left hand page of every dinner menu, the "always available" would others to shame, the "always" being extensive, an full menu unto itself. I could but will not go on and on here.

We enjoyed Sabatini's, which has thankfully changed it's menu over the years, and now offers a more complete Italian experience, amenable to a wide range of tastes. We savored a "basa encrusted in clay", a bass type fish, wrapped in a salt and flour clay, in which the whole fish is stuffed with fresh green herbs then roasted then it is cracked open at table, whereupon the waiter skins, debones and filets it, sauces it then serves it. Oh my god, like beggars chicken with fish!

The retro added Crown Grill is like the better steak house chains, all dark paneling, lots of brass. Chops, a rack, the finest beef are brought table side and described, just to let you know just how beautiful the quality is, and that should justify a fitting meal. The filet mignon that I ordered was superb beyond description, Richard's rack of lamb, consisting of 5 ribs, was purely heaven. Everything here was what one would expect, and to be perfectly honest, several notches ABOVE the alternate or inclusive chop venues on other cruise lines we have sailed these past years. Both venues offered their own special salads, soups and desserts as well as superb cheese board, all for $25.00 per person, per visit, a real steal, a little price for a lot of pleasure.

Wines and drinks were also priced on the shy side of things. Wines, perfectly lovely and well rounded, offerings to enhance any meal, mood, or whim, some of the best old world European and U.S. and other "where" worldly wines, were priced on the low side, almost embarrassingly low, low compared to any cruise line we have sailed in this past decade, as seen and ordered and paid for on their ships, and gladly ordered and savored on Princess for less. Cocktails, strong, smooth and priced around $7.95, for martini's, single malts a good bargain as well.

Princess has not added a lot of the latest innovations to their ships over the years, yet they keep up with the competition. We were a little wary going back to Princess after an absence, an absence due to Carnival buying the product, and what effect that may have had on a product we once adored. Our fears were all for naught, as not only has Princess survived, and expanded, is the same one we loved, and offers some new innovations we have come to enjoy at sea today.

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