Dana and Kevin
Age: 27 and 26 respective
Number of Cruises: 1
Cruise Line: Princess
Ship: Caribbean Princess
Sailing Date: n/a
Itinerary: Eastern Caribbean
This was the first cruise for both of us. We booked in August 2004 for our May 2005 honeymoon and probably received the worst room on the ship. It was located in the back of the boat on Deck 11 (very high up). It was also extremely tiny. It was difficult to even turn around in the shower. Mirrors covered almost every wall, to enhance the size of the room, but we believe Princess failed. We had four bags of luggage (including our carryon) and we wondered where to put things. We lived out of the suitcase for a week. Drawer and closet space was seriously lacking.
On day two or three of the cruise we received three balloons stating "Just Married" on them, but that was it. We didn't expect to be catered too, but some sort of acknowledgment would have been nice -a cake, a bottle of champagne, onboard credit - ANYTHING.
We found the staff to be very nice and attentive. We couldn't have asked for a better room steward. He was personable, helpful, and did a fantastic job of keeping up with our room. I'd give him 5 stars for service.
The food on the buffets (while there was plenty of it) was either very good or very bad. The dining room staff was efficient in keeping up with cleaning tables etc. They weren't the most personable, but they didn't seem angry or rude - just busy.
We enjoyed the dining room food much more than the buffet, but even there dessert was the best course. The desserts were fantastic tasting and always had a nice presentation. The rest of the food was better than mediocre, but for the most part could have been improved upon.
Dining room staff were not any more personable than the buffet staff, but they weren't as busy. Again they weren't rude, but they did the bare minimum (for the most part) to keep the guests happy.
The onboard entertainment (in particular the comedians) were great. We made sure to hit every show at least once. The cruise staff show was also good - Caribbean Caliente. We definitely enjoyed the nightly entertainment.
We stopped at St. Thomas, St. Maartin, and the Princess Cays. St. Thomas is very commercialized and if you're into shopping, definitely a worthy stop. We took an island tour excursion that was interesting and we enjoyed it. Our tour guide was very knowledgeable and personable.
We rented Rhino Riders on St. Maartin for $180 per boat. We LOVED this excursion. I'd do it all over again and it was well worth every single penny we spent. You have to have some sort of adventure to really enjoy this excursion. It's not a leisurely sail to the other side of the island. It's petal to the metal and go. It was GREAT.
We didn't tender over to the Princess Cays. There didn't seem to be much to do on the island and by the end of our cruise we felt Princess had nickel and dimed us to death. There are fees and gratuities for everything. We would have preferred to pay a little more for the cruise upfront and actually feel like we were getting something onboard complimentary.
We spent seven days on the ship and it did take quite a bit of time to become oriented. The ship could have been laid out a little better. It was confusing and we heard a lot of people saying, "I don't know where we are ever, I just follow you." That's certainly how Dana felt on this cruise.
The Caribbean Princess touts it's "Movies Under the Stars" screen. It's a wonderful concept, but the the cruiseline only offers two or three movies throughout the entire cruise. We watched The Incredibles and while the staff does offer complimentary popcorn, candy is charged to your room.
There is a small tennis court, two table tennis tables and a basketball hoop on the top deck. We played a lot of tennis, but there could have been more sport activities onboard. There are swimming pools and hot tubs everywhere though.
We were both impressed with how clean the ship was. There were also people cleaning, painting, etc onboard so we certainly can't complain about that.
Oh, and for anyone who tells you that you won't feel a big ship move quite as much. YES, you will. Dana spent the entire first three days slightly seasick (Dramamine was the only thing that worked, the patch was worthless). Dramamine is available at the Calypso Cove gift shop for $2.49 a pack (2 tablets).
Embarkation seemed to take forever, but it was organized and they did their best to keep the line moving. However, anytime you're trying to board 3000 people through one doorway it's bound to take some time.
Disembarkation went smoothly as well and we didn't wait to terribly long. They do kick you out of your room early (around 7am) so they can start cleaning for the next group of passengers.
We took a taxi from the airport to board the ship and back to the airport after the cruise. That's definitely the way to go. It's less than $10 for a carload and you don't have to wait for a bus or van to completely fill. Their are attendants that direct you from the ship to a waiting taxi. Very efficient.
If we were to cruise again, we would try another cruiseline (Royal Caribbean). Even onboard we heard much better things about ship layout, food, and staff on RC.