Number of Cruises: 5
Cruise Line: Princess
Ship: Caribbean Princess
Sailing Date: n/a
Itinerary: Eastern Caribbean
This ship has some significant problems!
GENERAL COMMENTS: If you prefer small ships don't take this cruise. This is a large ship. However, I have cruised large ships in the past and did not experience the same type of issues I did on this cruise. The ship is not laid out in a manner that makes sense, so be prepared to get lost a lot. It is very crowded with few places to sit quietly.
EMBARKATION: We arrived at the port at 1230 via taxi. The porters were very rude and downright demanded/threatened a tip from my mother. This occurred in spite of the fact that there were signs posted everywhere that clearly stated that "tipping is optional." It was 230 before we finally arrived at our stateroom. During embarkation, there were no places to sit while waiting and my mother, who is in her 70s, had a tough time with the wait. Be prepared for airport style security and make sure you are ready to show your documents at least 4 times.
STATEROOM: Compared to Royal Caribbean and Holland America the staterooms are tiny. We paid for a balcony, BB class, but it was not worth it. Very small with just a small table and two chairs. Storage space is very good. Having a refrigerator in our room was wonderful. We had fresh fruit delivered and it was great-with the exception of the pears which did not ripen during the entire trip.
STAFF: Perhaps the biggest disappointment. For the first few days we both felt that the staff was very rude-they acted as if they were doing us a favor. We did NOT feel like VIPS as we have on other lines. Our steward was the exception and we tipped him heavily. After about day 3 it appeared that someone had talked with the staff and the attitudes dramatically improved. However, the attitude was clearly about MAKING MONEY. I took a tour of the galley only to be hit up 3 times at the end to buy a cookbook. After I finally told a staff person that I work all of the time and don't have time to cook, she suggested that I buy it and ask my daughter to do the cooking! At lunch staff rolled carts through the dining room hawking bottled water and soda. NO drinks were free except tap water, cofee, milk, and sometimes juice during meals. Be prepared to buy and buy and buy on this trip. The photographers were obnoxious, persisting in taking pictures even when we said NO.
ROOM SERVICE: DON'T order the breakfast-it was almost inedible and the person who delivered it was rude, showing up early and clearly angry with the time it took us to wake up and answer the door.
FOOD: The food was quite good and offered a lot of healthy choices. The Personal Choice option is great. If you want good coffee make sure you go to the bar on deck 5. Otherwise the coffee is VERY weak.
BAR: We met friends every night for a drink at a bar. Be aware that you may or may not get what you order. Drinks were priced high (about what you would expect on a cruise).
ENTERTAINMENT: We did not attend many shows but fellow passengers reported that they were great. I attended the cooking show and would highly recomend it. Try out the MOVIES UNDER THE STARS-pretty cool.
POOLS/HOT TUBS: We found only one hot hot tub and it was located next to the children's area. The pools are nice and large.
EXCURSIONS: The ports of call were absolutely beautiful and the value for the money was good. Be aware that if you take the St. John's tour you will not see one of the most interesting aspects of the park (historical site with slave quarters-we saw on a different cruise line). The horseback riding was absolutely wonderful in St. Martin-however, they promise you water in the brochure and don't deliver! Be prepared to return from that trip stinky and wet, but it is well worth it.
DISEMBARKATION: This was a smooth process and we were off the ship quickly.
A FEW MORE COMMENTS....
I think if I was a first time cruiser this ship would not have been as much of a disappointment. Take my advice, spend the extra money and upgrade to Royal Caribbean or Holland America.