Number of Cruises: 2
Cruise Line: Princess
Ship: Caribbean Princess
Sailing Date: n/a
Itinerary: Eastern Caribbean
We have just returned from a fun-filled week on the Caribbean Princess. The ship was very clean, fresh and huge (and constantly maintained).
There were 2 families (9 of us) with kids ages 15, 15, 13, 12 and 4. There was lots to do. The crew were wonderful everywhere. The children's staff were very animated except they could have been a little more enthusiastic in the Pelican's age group (3-5).
There was just the right amount of ship and shore time on this eastern Caribbean itinerary (3 ports; St. Thomas, St. Maarten and Princess Cays, and the rest of the time to explore and relax on the ship). You can definitely just pick up a cab in the ports and ask them to take you to the best beaches (they will even return for you at a set time - be sure to set the full, return price, before you go). It is well worth getting up early to see the ship (and other ships) coming in to port. The children's play area on
Princess Cay was great.
The rooms were all well-laid out (we had 4 cabins between the 2 families). If there are more than 2 of you in the smaller cabins, storage may be a little tight, but not too bad with some planning. We had two of us in an outside cabin (the Mum and Dad) with our 3 sons (15, 13 and 4) opposite the hall from us on the Plaza deck (P225 and P227). You can store your suitcases under the beds which is helpful. The inside cabins are a nice size with a nice, big picture window in the outside cabins.
This is a big ship and, depending on where your cabin is, there is lots of walking, especially to the children's programs. Please look at the deck plans when you are booking your cabin as some (especially on the Lido deck near the pool areas) are continuous access points for everyone going to the buffet restaurants, pools, children's programs and upper decks.
It did take almost a full week to finally get my bearings (I almost wanted a compass at times). The food was not haute cuisine, but still very good, plentiful, well-presented and prepared. The only drinks included would be coffee, tea, non-bottled water and non-sweetened iced tea (juice at breakfast only) so be prepared to pay for everything else. We had the second seating for dinner and found that we were not rushed. Would highly recommend the room service breakfast (or room service at any time) as it really helped with getting ready in the morning for our little guy and the other kids enjoyed having down time in the cabin with room service sometimes (all included in the cost, except for a few items on the room service menu). You can ask for a robe from your steward and they will also supply a bowl of fresh fruit every day in your cabin. "Movies under the Stars" was lovely. The ships programs seemed able to really blend the needs of families, singles and seniors. I could not say that one age group was more represented than another. The ship has adult only areas and lots of more active programs as well. The ship is big enough to allow rest and quiet or activity if desired and our sailing dates were with a totally full ship.
Embarkation and Disembarkation went smoothly (on and off in less than 1/2 hour), you can definitely begin embarking earlier than the times listed. We stayed before and after the cruise in Fort Lauderdale and then in Miami for a week. We had a car rental and they dropped and picked us up right at the port.
We were always the most impressive ship in port. Great experience. We are already planning for next year (and saving).