Kevin & Tonya Moser
Occupation:US Air Force
Number of Cruises: 4
Cruise Line: Princess
Ship: Caribbean Princess
Sailing Date: September 9, 2006
Itinerary: Eastern Caribbean
Pros- Quality of public areas, quality of excursions, quality of dining room service
Cons- Comfort level of beds, smoky casino, smelly toilet, lack-luster entertainment
Let me start off by saying that we really enjoyed the cruise. It came at a time where we both needed the time off. Especially with a bun in the oven that’s due in about 3 months. I’m going to break down each aspect of the cruise for simplicity.
Embarkation: Nothing bad to say here except the heat, and that’s not entirely the fault of Princess Cruises. I say not entirely because the building is large enough to have the line inside the air conditioned building instead of making people wait outside. Luckily the line moved pretty quickly. The muster training was pretty painless as well.
Shoving off: Great time with locals hooting and hollering. Just wish that Princess had more of a party than they did.
Stateroom: We had a balcony stateroom on the Caribe deck (10th floor). The Caribe deck balconies are the largest on the boat (except for suites at least). However, they are still open to balconies above. Both the Caribe deck and the Dolphin deck had exposed balconies. We didn’t get a chance to really enjoy the balcony though because every time we went out there, there was someone smoking upwind of us. Princess needs to put the smokers near the back of the boat and figure out a way to enforce a no-smoking rule on balconies in the front of the boat. The stateroom itself was acceptable if not a little small, but that’s to be expected and no less than any other standard stateroom on any other ship. The beds were the most uncomfortable I have ever slept on, cruise or otherwise. Definitely ask for the egg-crate foam as it does help a little. T.V. viewing could improve a lot also. I know most people don’t go on a cruise to watch T.V., but it would be nice to keep up on current events such as news and sports at times when you are in your stateroom. Most channels were for kids or were in Spanish. All I’d ask for is an American news channel and ESPN. Suggestion: bring a can of air freshener for the bathroom. It doesn’t only stink after you use it but the water itself stinks as well.
Food: Great food options. Between buffets and dining rooms, there was always an opportunity to have food. And, the food was good too. My only complaint here was the small selection of food available for room service. Why can’t I get a morning breakfast with eggs and pancakes? We had chosen to eat at the 6pm sitting in the Island Dining Room. Our waiters were Istvan and Gary. I highly recommend them if you get a chance to select where to sit. They gave us the best service I’ve ever had on a cruise boat. I don’t suggest that you even try the Palm Dining Room. It must be right over the engines because the whole dining room shakes and vibrates not to mention the noise itself. Also, don’t waste your money with the “additional fee” restaurants. Their food and service is not better than what you get in the formal dining room and the dining room is already paid for. Definitely get the soda pass, it’s well worth it.
Entertainment: In a word, boring. All but one show bored both of us. They had an Elton John impersonator that was marginal at best, dancers that were not in sync with each other, and some comedians that weren’t very funny. And Kimika? They were the worst of the entertainers. They dragged out jokes entirely too long and all of the impersonations they tried weren’t that good. The one bright spot was Troy Thirdgill. He was a comedian that had everyone in the place rolling. Very funny man. I know everyone has there own opinions about what is funny but I think I’m on par with what a lot of people thought. Most of the people walking out were saying the same things that I was thinking.
Excursions: Pricey but most of them are worth it. We did the America’s Cup Regatta in St Martin (highly recommend it), Turtle Cove snorkel in St Thomas (highly recommend it, lots of Rum punch), San Gervasio ruins (don’t recommend) and scavenger hunt in Cozumel (highly recommend), Stingray City and turtle farm in Grand Cayman (highly recommend), and Dunn’s River Falls in Ochos Rios (highly recommend). As for Princess Cays, I echo everyone’s previous comments about going to the right side of the island for peace and quiet. However the snorkeling there is beginner level at best. It’s only marginally more exciting than snorkeling in your pool. Don’t waste your time on cabanas though. If you get there early enough, you can get lounge chairs for free under a tree.
Lotus Spa: Massage is expensive, but well worth it. One of the best I’ve ever had. If you wait until the end of the cruise though, they give some discounts. My wife got a pedicure on the first day and it lasted through all of the snorkeling and beach time and is still holding up well now (nearly 3 weeks later).
Activities onboard: There weren’t enough “free” and interesting activities to do onboard when at sea. These days were spent relaxing, napping and reading for us. That’s not a bad thing but if you are looking to stay busy, it might be tough. Monday Night Football under the stars is terrific though.
All in all, I think it was worth the money. As for comparing to other cruise lines, I would say it’s on par with my experiences with Norwegian. Each cruise line has pros and cons but overall, I would recommend this line, ship, and itinerary to anyone.