Number of Cruises: 8
Cruise Line: Princess
Ship: Caribbean Princess
Sailing Date: November 12th, 2005
Itinerary: Eastern Caribbean
This was my 8 cruise and third with the Princess Fleet.
Princess has proven to be pretty reliable and always a good value for you money if you know what to expect.
The Caribbean Princess has been the largest ship I have sailed on followed by the Princess Grand. There are many similarities but also some significant differences.
For the first time since beginning cruising I found the Caribbean Princess a difficult ship to navigate. There was something about the ship that just didn't flow as easily as the others. Apparently with this new ship Princess has found a way to add an additional deck which brought the total number of passengers to somewhere in the 3200 range. It was very noticeable that there were "a lot" of people on this ship. Quite frankly too many. Surprisingly enough however, we never had a problem with waiting times.
We chose anytime seating which was a pleasure. We simply made reservations for the entire week and tweaked them ever so slightly as the week wore on. We never had to wait for a seating and by request had the same wait staff all week. I would highly recommend the anytime dining arrangement and would also recommend keeping the same table throughout the week. It's nice when you get to know your waiters and vice versa.
The food I thought was good. It wasn't great, but certainly good and plenty of it. The breakfast and lunch buffet lines always seemed to move quickly and generally finding a seat was not a problem.
Embarkation seemed to flow smoothly enough. Be patient as the process takes less than an hour. Debarkation while much more hectic, also requires less than an hour. I think we were off the ship by 9:30. We had a 2:00 departure and found that we had 4 hours to kill.
The crew on the Caribbean Princess was great. Very accommodating, pleasant and willing to help in anyway.
So the down side with a ship of this size is the number of people. 3,200 passengers and another 1,200 crew is A LOT of people.
Overall I will continue to cruise with Princess and others but would look for something again more the size of the Grand or Crown.