Number of Cruises: 10
Cruise Line: Princess
Ship: Caribbean Princess
Sailing Date: September 16, 2006
Itinerary: Eastern Caribbean
We sailed on the Caribbean Princess on September 16, 2006 on the Eastern Caribbean itinerary. We stayed the previous night in Fort Lauderdale at the Embassy Suites hotel a very short distance from the port. When I called and asked the hotel if they provided a shuttle service to the port I was told no. However, when we arrived I asked the front desk clerk again and was told sure but to check to see if there was space available. There was and we took the 1:30 shuttle to the pier. No charge.
We arrived at the check in about 2:00 PM but if I had to do it again would probably go a little later. There were a lot of people in line and although the entire check-in process only took about 30 minutes it was a little stressful Not the cruise lines fault, simply a function of a few thousand people all trying to do the same thing at once.
Once checked in we went up the gang plank to the ship. It was my first time on a “mega ship” and I was impressed. A beautiful ship. Previous people had commented about the lack of an escort to your stateroom. I have taken multiple cruises in the past and this always happened. On the Princess they just kind of “steer” you in the right direction to your room. Ok it’s not as personal but after all there are over 3,000 passengers. When we checked out the room we were very pleased. We had a balcony stateroom with a pull down third bed for our 29 year old daughter. Everything was very nice and actually a little larger than I had expected. Our bags were delivered timely and efficiently and once unpacked the bags were stowed so we had more room.
We opted for anytime dining but on our first night went to the dining room (Coral?) and spoke with one of the head waiters. We politely asked for a table by ourselves by a window. He asked if we wanted it for the entire cruise. We said if that was possible it would be great. I tipped him a modest amount of money and our table was set for the entire week. Great table, great service and of course, great food. We found all the food to be excellent and enough of a selection to allow you to eat healthy if you wanted to. We tried but sometimes just failed miserably. The buffet was always stocked and had a very nice variety of things to choose from.
Although there were so many passengers for the most part the ship didn’t seem too crowded. Some passengers, as usual, were a little bit of a nuisance but no more than you would find at any other spot. Overall, we found the ship to be clean, fun and the staff friendly and generally happy. I enjoyed the fact that the waiters & waitresses didn’t “push” you for cocktails. On other cruise lines I have been on that was not the case. On Princess they are available and will walk by but only occasionally will ask if you would like something.
The on board entertainment was fair. Some of the comedians were funny and some made you wonder why we weren’t comics. But the entertainment was not a big issue for us. We did find Bert the piano player to be very good and played a range of music to please all. He is a little odd but actually pretty talented.
The casino staff seemed distant and very impersonal. I think if you are losing your money the dealers should at least be friendly. But that’s just my opinion. We did find the casino to be very smoky and uncomfortable to be in for long periods of time. As we lost pretty quickly this wasn’t a big problem for us.
Some tips for future travelers. 1) Deck 15 pool by the spa is very nice and adult only. Hard to get a chair right by the pool but plenty available up a small flight of steps. 2) The thermal room pass for the spa ($109 for 2 for the entire cruise) is well worth the money.
Hope this helps and hope you have a great trip.