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Age: 64

Occupation:Retired Teacher

Number of Cruises: 2

Cruise Line: Princess

Ship: Caribbean Princess

Sailing Date: 2009-01-25

Itinerary: Caribbean

We just returned from our second cruise with Princess. Last year we went on the Crown Princess to the Caribbean, and this year on the Caribbean Princess. We had a wonderful trip last year; however, this year's was extraordinarily disappointing. First, the ship had been drydocked for three weeks prior to our departure. Apparently, it was not quite ready to open on time, and the boarding process was inefficient and chaotic. Fortunately, we were not bused to the convention center to endure that nightmare as other passengers were. We were bused directly from the San Juan airport to port where we waited in line on the concrete dock for over 2 1/2 hours to board the ship. The stateroom we stayed in was also disappointing. The sheer curtain had the hem ripped out, and looked dirty, so it gave the whole room, which was a balcony room, the feel of a cheap motel. Construction on the ship was not completed, so even getting around the ship was a challenge. To reach some places you had to go down stairs at one part and then upstairs in another. The casino was not opened when the cruise began, and the specialty steak house restaurant was not open either. The itinerary was also disappointing. The island of Grenada was filled with hawkers and poverty. We did an excursion to see the species and natural areas which was supposed to be four hours long (too long as it was) but actually took almost five hours! On our previous cruise, we had enjoyed the piazza area and international cafe. This time, while there were some times when a very fine pianist played, other times the music was so loud that it dominated the several floors open to the piazza, which interferred with shopping the displays and communicating with the pursers' desk. Service also was poor in the piazza/international cafe area. We would sit and sit but not be served. In defense of the servers, they were woefully understaffed for such a large area especially compared to other areas of the ship. All that being said, there were some positive things about the cruise. Our cabin steward was very helpful. The food was very good in the sit down restaurants (only mediocre in the buffet). We thoroughly enjoyed the piano players in the piazza, and especially Chris in the Crooners lounge. We had a family emergency while on board, and Adam, from South Africa ,at the pursers' desk was especially helpful--tracking down a fax that I had sent that had not arrived. In fact, he personally went after the fax to find it and make sure it was sent. I also, especially because of our family emergency, appreciated the internet use. All-in-all, we were both very disappointed, especially compared to our last year's experience. If I cruise again, I will look at other cruise lines. Buffet was fair to mediocre. The sit down restaurants were very good. We like the personal choice dining option. The sheer curtain was ripped and looked dirty. Otherwise, it was acceptable. The balcony was very nice. We liked the Princess theater dance production and liked the pianists in the atrium and especially Chris in Crooners Lounge. Depends on the type you want. Excursion in Grenada made me want to skip the rest of the excursions we had planned. Disappointing....details in the summary. Many things the cruise line needs to address especially efficiency of boarding and disembarkation.

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