Number of Cruises: 5
Cruise Line: Princess
Ship: Caribbean Princess
Sailing Date: November 26, 2006
Itinerary: Eastern Caribbean
My husband and I selected the Caribbean Princess 11/26-12/3 sailing for our honeymoon. He has never cruised before, this cruise was my fifth.
First I’ll start out with the few negatives we experienced just to get them out of the way: The beds are incredibly uncomfortable. Request the egg crate mattress, you’ll be glad you did. The coffee really is as bad as they claim. Cut it with hot water or decaf coffee. Trying to plan a cruise critic meet and greet with the Princess onshore staff and purser’s desk is a waste of time. Don’t even bother with them, they don’t follow through with anything.
Three negatives. That was it. And they were all pretty minor considering the rest of the cruise, and the amazing time we had.
And now for the top 10 reasons why we loved our cruise on the Caribbean Princess:
10. Bert Stratton. Yup, he’s really that good. Really, really strange, but good.
9. The food. My husband seriously gained 10 pounds, and I’m not even admitting how much I ate on board. The first night’s cold seafood buffet is unreal. Lobster claws, shrimp, king crab legs… we ate a plateful as an “appetizer” and never made it to dinner that night. The Café Caribe is always changing themes, and the regular buffet food is decent. Dinners are excellent. The filet on the first formal night was as good if not better than the steak we had at Sterlings, and the second formal night was, of course, lobster. The food really was excellent, we could not have been more impressed.
8. MUTS. No, it’s not that loud. Yes, it is really that cool. Especially watching Monday night football in 80 degree weather while the players on the field are struggling through several inches of snow. That really put it in perspective for us.
7. Balcony Cabin. My husband was amazed at how small our cabin was, I was thrilled that it was the biggest I’ve ever been in. We slept with the door open every night, the sound of the waves crashing against the hull was really soothing.
6. St. Thomas. I have no problem with Princess ships docking at Crown Bay, it was less crowded and the shops though not finished yet are ten times more attractive than the old storage sheds they pass off for shops at Havensight. Here we had planned an excursion on the “Winifred” but because of high seas Captain Sharon decided to cancel. Instead she took us to… I almost don’t want to say this because I don’t want to give away the most secluded beach on the island… Secret Harbor. A hotel complex, the beach here was nearly empty, the snorkeling among the reefs was incredible, and the food at the bar on the ocean wasn’t bad at all. Even though we didn’t get to go sailing, it was a perfect day for us.
5. Embarkation/Disembarkation. The fastest on both ends that I’ve ever seen. DO NOT arrive between 1 and 2pm. If you can just plan your arrival one hour in either direction, you’ll be on the ship within 15 minutes of checking in. The only thing we did not like at embarkation was the way they made you drag all of your bags through the art gallery to the elevators towards the front of the ship instead of just allowing you to use the elevators in the atrium. They were also pretty pushy here about coke cards and wine tasting, but that was the only time they bothered us.
4. St. Maarten. We did a tour with Joyce, saw a ton of the island and did some shopping. For $35 she took us nearly everywhere and was willing to stop when we wanted to spend more time in one location. Spent the afternoon at the Packen-something-or-other guest house on Front Street at the ocean-front tiki bar. Tried the guavaberry colada, guavaberry fizz, guavaberry everything. All that guavaberry liquor certainly made for an interesting walk back to the ship.
3. Princess Cays. The last stop on our itinerary, this was the perfect way to relax and unwind after a busy cruise. We went to the right off the tender, found the beach nearly deserted even at 11am. Parked ourselves under a bamboo umbrella and did nothing all day long.
2. The ship itself. Because of the broken up public areas, you never realize that you’re on a ship with 3,000 other people. Great themed places like Explorer’s Lounge and the Wheelhouse bar, on some nights we found that we were the only couple in one of the bars. Sure, the theater was a bit busy, but just give yourself 20 minutes or so to find a good seat before the show starts. As for the pools, we loved both the aft pool and the calypso pool depending on our moods. The aft bar was quiet, and shaded a lot of the day, the calypso pool was much more active and had some sort of pool game each day in addition to the band playing in the afternoon. Finding a chair was never an issue as long as you’re up by 11am or so.
And the number 1 reason we loved the Caribbean Princess…. It was a Princess ship. We were so impressed by everything Princess had to offer. From the excellent service in both our stateroom and in the dining rooms, to the subdued elegance of the décor, we fell in love with the Princess line. We will definitely sail Princess again.