Number of Cruises: 6
Cruise Line: Princess
Ship: Caribbean Princess
Sailing Date: n/a
Itinerary: Eastern Caribbean
This was a nightmare. My wife and I had "Express-Check-in" and that was a joke. We waited about 2 hours before we were finally able to board the ship.
We enjoyed each of the islands visited. Cindy, the in-port shopping advisor was great. The day we left she held a meeting about the best places to shop on each island, and she really knew her stuff. Our tour in St. Thomas had been cancelled but we ended up taking a private tour that far exceeded our expectations. If you are shopping for jewelry, the islands are the place to do it.
As an avid cruise traveler, I found the food to be excellent. The dining rooms offered a nice selection although the dessert menu was a little disappointing. The Horizon court was great for a buffet, and the room service was also good.
The Golden is one of the classiest ships I have been on. Its decor was beautiful and very well maintained. You always saw the crew members cleaning something. We had gotten a great deal on our balcony cabin, L307, at a rate off $733 p/p. The cabin was a nice size, great for 2 anyway. The common rooms on board were also very well appointed. No matter where you go on this ship, you feel an aire of class. The entertainment was good, but in my experience, I thought the shows on Carnival were better. I have traveled, Carnival, RCCL, and now Princess. Overall, this was the best cruise as far as value and to me, the food was also great.
The Perfect Storm:
Early Saturday morning, we headed straight into a Nor'easter. Winds were about 70mph and it was enough to give us a rough ride. My wife and I were woken up at about 6am by a large bang, assumed to be a wave. The Captain came over the loudspeaker and announced that we had dropped our speed from 20 knots to about 4 knots. We decided to get up at that point and look outside. The waves were huge and the weather was awful. We were on the 14th floor, and the waves still looked huge. We went down to the Bernini Dining Room to find not many passengers and that all the curtains were closed. Being on the 5th floor, it was quite scary to look out the window. I took pictures of course. The rest of the morning was extremely rocky as the ship pushed through the storm. Most of the days activities had been cancelled and we were advised to take the day and relax. At 4pm the Captain announced that we would delay docking in NY until Monday the ninth. That caused a very mixed reaction. Perhaps if my wife and I were retired, it wouldn't have been so bad. We lost a days work, had to make a rental car reservation as our ride could no longer pick us up. We stood in the phone line for 3 hours to call home and weren't even able to reach anyone. We made three calls from our cabin and thought we would dispute the charges. Our phone bill came out to about $130. Had this not happened, we would never have had to use the phone. The staff was not exactly polite as I overheard on employee tell a passenger, "We're only one day late, its not like were 20 days late". That ticked me off. My life is not on the ship as are the employees. My life is at home. On Sunday morning, after the storm passed, the ship was creaking all over the place. Any time you took an elevator you heard a horrific loud bang. We went to the Pursers desk to get credited for our calls, and to make a long story short, the gave us a $20 credit. They also had the audacity to charge us gratuities for the extra day. We had them credit that as well.
Right now, we are dealing w/ the passenger relations department to have the calls credited and our rental car reimbursed. I thought the whole storm situation was handled poorly. They knew on land Friday that there was a huge storm forming. Why didn't the Captain know this. I think the passengers should have been offered a chance to dock in a safe place, and fly home. I know I would have done that.
In spite of the storm, everything prior was great. We enjoyed the ship, the ports, and the activities. The service was excellent and our Cabin Steward Ruel was above and beyond! If we hadn't hit the storm, I would have given this cruise a higher rating!
W/O the storm: 5 stars
With Storm: 3 stars