Number of Cruises: 5
Cruise Line: Princess
Ship: Caribbean Princess
Sailing Date: n/a
Itinerary: Eastern Caribbean
I just got back from a seven day cruise on the Caribbean Princess that began in Ft. Lauderdale and made its way to St. Thomas, St. Maarten, Princess Cay, and ending back in Ft. Lauderdale.
Very easy. My partner and I live in Orlando so we drove down. We have a friend in the car rental business so instead of driving our own and leaving it in the garage for a week we rented and dropped it off from Ft. Lauderdale airport where a shuttle dropped us off at the terminal. We dropped off our luggage with the porter and made our way into the terminal where we didn’t even wait (and this was at 1:30 pm).
The Caribbean Princess is beautiful. It’s huge and very long! I have been on five cruises from different cruise lines and thought I would get my bearing quickly ... I was wrong! It took me at least two to three days where I was still going “is this the front or the back of the boat?”. I don’t know how to tell someone how to get their bearing other than be sure to keep the little map they give you, on you.
We have no kids but for those of you who do, this cruise is for you. I thought it being the middle of April that all the Spring Breaks would be over. Unfortunately, Spring Break was still happening up north. Not a big deal but kids love pools and they were in them. Caribbean Princess does have two pools for adults (but alas, they are mostly in the shade). It also seemed that Princess had a lot of programs for the kids as they were always in groups doing things.
One thing we tend to do is over pack and once again we didn’t let ourselves down. We were surprised though that Princess has Laundromats to do your laundry. That was great and a lot less expensive than the dry cleaning! Princess even supplied the irons.
The gym was incredible! After going on Carnival last year and complaining about their gym (which still had machines from the early eighties) I was so happy to see the gym we had on Caribbean Princess. There was at least ten treadmills, six elliptical, two bikes, cybex machines, free weights, and an aerobic floor for stretches and classes. Princess did offer yoga and pilates classes ($10 to $15 a shot) but I did not partake of those.
I love to eat and I thought Princess would at least be better than Royal Caribbean which I went on last year. I was disappointed! The food was so sub-par from the buffet dining to the main dining. Honestly, a meal at Picadilly cafeteria could give Princess a run for their money. And if you don’t like seafood you may want to start crying (as I wanted to when I opened the menu). Nothing stood out. Maybe a good thing, though, since I didn’t gain too much weight.
We also went to Sabotini’s. I would absolutely not recommend this unless you like seafood. I thought it would be more Italian but you really need to be a seafood italian lover. I did not think was deserving the $20 per person fee. I would not recommend this dinner at all.
The Food Service
Uh-oh. Were we surprised. Princess has traditional and any time dining. We loved any time dining as we could eat our dinner whenever we wanted to. But let’s tell that to the staff. We were merely there to be handed our meal and have it taken away (and if the staff had their way it would be done quickly!). Sometimes we got no smiles and on our last night the waiter was literally throwing our silverware on the table. It was incredible!
And are they heavy promoters of alcohol consumption! They obviously get their tips from alcohol as they will heavily push large size drinks on you. One time we asked for Diet Cokes and the waiter kept trying us to get Diet Coke with alcohol in it. Actually, that happened more than once.
I was not too thrilled with the Princess service.
We loved the fact that Princess had a theater to go to that showed movies in the afternoon. It was nice when the weather outside was not so nice.
The shows were so-so. It was kind of cool that Princess put on a semi-risque show (and I mean PG rating) but the performers had no oompf about them (though, what do you do if the audience is dragging you down also?).
Read up on St. Thomas and St. Maarten before you go. Also, if you plan on doing excursions that look fun in the book then make sure you sign up on-line before you go on the cruise.
We sat down after breakfast at 8:00 to wait for disembarkation. We sat until 11:00 am. I would not rush it if you don’t have to. Wake up later and enjoy your breakfast. If they call you and you’re not ready, hey, you just go down.
Final review (out of four stars)
Food (One and a half stars)
Service (Room steward -- 3 stars)
(Food service - One and a half to two stars)
Ship (3 stars)
Overall (2 stars)
Not the best. Will probably not do Princess again.
For those with families, though, I think this really could be the cruise for you.