Have not yet been on Caribbean Princess, but I cruise on Princess a lot. All their large ships are pretty simiilar and I've loved every one I've been on; they are beautifully run, clean and friendly.
If you have a more specific question I can help you with, please ask.
Hi, have not been on the Caribbean Princess recently - was last year, but we really enjoyed it, thought the food was fantastic, ship was very clean, lots to do! If things have not changed that much over the past year then you will love this ship!!
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Grandeur of the Seas-03/06
Having just boarded the CP were finding the ship to be clean so far. IT was pouring rain during lunch & I doubt if many people will be watching the superbowl outside this evening. There are a few staking our seats under the over hang but I suppose they'll lose them when we go to the drill at 4 PM. The buffet selection was very good although they like to use a lot of salt in the prep.
For some reason I only received the message about the Caribbean Princess when I got home this afternoon -Strange? It didn't come through when I was on the ship- The Internet was VERY slow anyway. If I had to pay for the minutes the allotment that Princess will allow as of April would barley cover checking the normal mail- no less trying to make daily reports since I'm not a fast typist. As soon as I get things straight around the house I'll right up a report on some good points & a few bad ones about the CP.
Having just arrived home yesterday from an eastern Caribbean cruise aboard the Caribbean Princess I thought Iíd like to post a few comments about the ship & ports. First let me say that we enjoy the Princess cruise line & my comments are being made to inform people about some of the peculiarities of this CP ship & should not be mistaken as complaints.
We arrived in Ft Lauderdale by bus at around 11:30 AM & had to wait for about 20 minutes outside the terminal before they opened the doors. (Which we expected). Once inside the terminal, they handed the check-in in an orderly fashion unlike the terminal in LA, which had line after line in mass confusion. The e-ticket system worked out well & if you have the Bahamas & CC information forms filled out prior to arriving at the check-in counter youíll be finished in a matter of a few minutes
They forced the embarkation picture to be taken & there wasnít a way around the line to easily even if you didnít want the photo. This tactic might have caused congestion if boarding at a later time but didnít slow us down much.
The ship in general:
Itís a BIG ship- much larger than we are used to. We wanted to experience the larger ships of the Princess line to see what weíve been missing. Weíve previously sailed on the Sun, Island, Star, Golden, Old Crown, Old Dawn, Fair, Regal & Sky Princess & this being the largest of the line it took some getting used to. We donít have a walking problem but due to the size of the ship be prepared to do a lot of walking no matter which end of the ship you room is located. Possibly a mid ship room would make more sense. We were located in the forward part of the ship above the show lounge, which meant a long walk to pool located in the rear or the Horizon Court. The ship was keep in a clean condition, as is usual for all of the Princess line & we had no complaints even considering the large number of people aboard. Lounge chairs located immediately around the pool we accessible but limited during midday but if you moved away to another deck away from the pool you could always fine a chair at any time.
The two main pools located on deck 15 are noisy most of the day due to the crowd, bands, movies & general activity. The pool located at the rear of the ship was less so but it didnít feel as though it was heated & people didnít werenít using it a much. The forward pool located on deck 16 (Lotus pool) wasnít as crowded since it was for adults only and was heated to the point of actually being uncomfortable after 20 minutes or so. It had to be at around 88 to 90 degrees or so (they didnít post the temp). My complaint with the Lotus pool is that there are no bathrooms close by. Although located right next to the Lotus spa, they keep the doors locked so you canít access the spa area to do so. There is also a sign inside the spa to inform you that the spa bathrooms & showers are for paying people only. Itís a long walk from this pool to the mid ship bathrooms.
We didnít patronize the pay restaurants & limited our meals to the Horizon buffet for breakfast & lunch and the Palm restaurant for diner.
In the Horizon Court due to the large number of people aboard getting a table to sit after you selected you meal always presented a problem. There were 4 stations to the buffet area (not all were always open at the same time). Moving to a closed section to eat was the best solution. This ship didnít push the antibacterial hand washing solution as weíve found on other ships. If you wanted to use it, it was up to you. Strange, since the Norovirus problem seems to be on the upswing on most other cruise ships lately.
The breakfast menu is typical Princess although having pre-fried eggs sitting under a heat lamp doesnít strike me as appetizing. Omelets were made to order. French toast was prepared ahead of time & keep hot but the syrup was at room temperature so by the time you actually got to eat it, it was almost cold. Weíve never seen this done on other Princess ships. Iím sure the dining room breakfast was a much better solution but since it takes almost an hour to eat in the dining room we didnít bother.
Lunch selections at the Horizon Court were very good. There was always something to find appetizing & it was keep hot.
The diner menu at the Horizon was also excellent & we even ate there on the first formal night as I didnít see anything special on the menu that evening & donít like getting dressed for diner anyway. It was a seafood loverís menu that evening with baked fish, shrimp, king crab legs (large legs- split) & lobster claws (cracked). They offered the crab legs & lobster claws 3 other times during the week. In the late evening (11 PM) they also had a strolling accordion & violin player for entertainment.
We choose to use the pc dining option & the Palm dining room offered a larger number of tables for two. To our surprise, we met one of our old waiters from 20 years ago who was now a headwaiter in the Palm. Iíll be e-mailing him a picture taken of my wife & him taken on the old Dawn Princess.
The seating process in the Palm DR was orderly & quick. The wait staff was efficient & attentive as it is on all Princess ships. Weíve used the pc dining option on out last 3 ships & have found it to be best for us although I did hear others complain about it. We like to shop around & find a good waiter & assistant. Once we do, we continue with the same table for the rest of the cruise just like traditional dining. The food preparation, quality & presentation were very good- maybe not up to the standard of the Island Princess on our Hawaiian cruise in December, but still very good.
As a past Princess passenger with over six cruises we did get the free Internet service but the service on this cruise was painfully slow. Other than checking my e-mail daily, trying to read my local newspaper was next to impossible. With the impending limitation of Internet access time in April just checking & answering my e-mail would use up my free minutes. (Calculated at the 75 cents per minute pay-as-you-go plan). One day they had to limit the number of terminals to 4 in due to the decreases bandwidth available. There is also a new way to access the Internet using a logon & password you select- not swiping your cruise card. There will also be a one-time access fee of $3.95 per account activation. Iím assuming this activation fee would apply to my wifeís account also or if they would be waving the fee for Elite members.
We choose a cruise on this ship to experience the movies under the stars & although the experience was pleasurable at times, I would advise bring a pair of shooters earplugs. I canít quite understand why they have to have the base a loud as they do but when I can feel the sound hitting off my chest & the chair actually vibrating I think it a little to much. Itís a nice system but they over do it with the volume. One evening they played the original version of ďGreaseĒ which was made before the surround sound system was introduced & it was acceptable. Sitting in the forward pool chairs, it sounded like thunder in the distance. The lower deck (15) was non-smoking Ė smoking was limited to deck 16-port side only.
As on other Princess ships the entertainment varied from so-so to very good. The Princess Theater offered staggered show schedules on different evenings with the Explorerís lounge so that everyone could get an opportunity to see the shows. This didnít work out to well with the large number of passengers aboard. No matter which time we arrived for the show the crowds were heavy with standing room only. The size of the Theater is simply not large enough for the number of people aboard. I have never see this congestion on other ships as on the CP. You have to arrive at the Theater at least 35 to 40 minutes before show time to have a chance of getting a seat. Iím not talking about a choice seat, but just a seat. We arrived there one evening at 8 PM sharp for an 8:30 show & had to sit on the stairs. Very bad design. Again as with the MUTS, bring earplugs for a more enjoyable show. For some reason, they feel the louder they have the volume the better the show. I heard the same complaints for numerous passengers.
We havenít been there in a number of years & found the Island built up with lots of traffic congestion in places. Orient beach is still as beautiful as ever & not really to crowded, although $18 (one way) for a taxi for 2 or 3 people seems a little high. I donít know if this was negotiable or not as we rented a scooter for $50 & toured the Island. Marigot was packed with shoppers & we didnít stop long enough to make any comments. The Phillipsburg traffic was terrible at 3 PM with everyone trying to get somewhere. If you rent a car, leave an additional half hour to get through the traffic jam as the roads are still under construction like they were ten years ago. The dock area offers numerous shops without traveling to far.
St Thomas: Everyone had to go through US customs check onboard, which didnít take long. We docked at Crown Bay & not the Havensite Dock. We were there in Oct & there werenít any shops open at that time. There are now about 6 or so places open for business but nothing to get excited about. If you want real shopping, youíll have to take the $4 bus to town or do the 40-minute walk to shop. The scenery along the way is not the best that ST Thomas has to offer but since weíve been there so many times we walk for the exercise. Shopping in town was crowded as there were 5 or 6 ships in. I thought that by Christmas time they would have had more shops open at Crown Bay, but thatís not the case. There were lots of disappointed people because we docked there.
Princess Cays: There was an orderly tender service to the Island with plenty of lounge chairs available. They had the whole beach open because of the large number of people but if you want a shaded area get there early. The lunch buffet was typical Princess with chicken, burgers, hot dogs, sausage, cut up fruit, cookies. Again, get there at 11:30 Am for lunch or youíll be waiting in line for 20 minutes for lunch. All the lines were long as after we finished out lunch. They stop serving at 1 PM sharp.
We did not attend the event, as I knew what to expect. If you havenít see it before be prepared to get there early to get a place to stand since the atrium area on this ship is not as large as other ships & to get a viewing spot requires determination. All decks were packed with 3000 people trying to see the action. The ship does not have a large enough space to hold such an activity.
All in all we had a pleasurable cruise but would not choose to cruise on such a large ship again since there are other ships that offer much the same thing. The larger Princess ships offer nothing more than more people, longer lines & more congestion. Iíll be content to stick with the 70,000 to 80,000 ton ships with less people.
We will be on the CP.. in April.. It will be my first experience, Hopefully not my last. Are there any quiet places on this ship for someone who wants to just relax and read a book? Or take a nap under the sun... I am sure the view will be breathtaking and I can handle the crowds of people, but just the same would like to have a pleasurable vacation.. Happy sailing to all..If anyone else has any other comments on the CP.. It would be much appreciated...
very good review; very thorough and very objective. I'm always a little skeptical of reviews that are to gushy or totally negative--you tell it like it is.
You confirmed my suspicions about several things; first the "movies under the stars"; the way they've been touting the gazillion-watt sound system, I've said to myself, I'll bet they use every one of those little watts. Even before M.U.T.S. the midship pool area was a little too busy for me. I much preferred the Terrace pool aft, and always found the water quite comfortable; I'm sorry you found it too cool.
I think Princess reached a good passenger-to-space ratio with Grand, Golden and Star Princess; but may have gone too far with Caribbean, Crown, and the coming Emerald Princess. It seems they didn't increase the capacity of some of the areas, the showrooms in particular, enough to accomodate the larger pax capacity.
Anyway, I'm glad you had a good cruise, and thank you again for the very objective review.
There are plenty of quite places to relax (promenade deck, behind the Lotus pool, Terrace Pool, Sports Deck.) Everyone seems to migrate toward the main pools on deck 15 & that's where the most noise & congestion occur. There were always loads of unused deck chairs available at any time in these locations (in & out of the sun). Sorry if I gave you the wrong impression.