Here we go; I’m a little scared to post this review as I’ve seen some get slammed for making negative comments! I have a few negatives and many positives:
Ft. Lauderdale: We flew in a day early to avoid the stress of making it to the ship on time in case of problems with the flight. I’m so glad we made this decision as we enjoyed a nice day in Ft. Lauderdale and got on the ship fairly early on Saturday. Ft. Lauderdale is a pretty nice city; we felt very safe walking around. We stayed at the Embassy Suites on 17th St. just up the road from the port. We received free airport and cruiseport shuttle service, also free breakfast! The hotel is pretty nice and the breakfast is good with many choices. After checking in around 1:30 we went to the lobby to find out how to get to the water taxi for some exploring.
We awoke the next morning and stepped out on our balcony to see the Caribbean Princess right before our eyes! That was pretty exciting. Upon checking in, I had inquired about the port shuttle and the desk clerk booked us for the first shuttle at 11:15. He told us to be in the lobby to check out by 11:00. At 11:00 an employee (the same girl who wasn’t sure of the distance to the water taxi) pointed to a van that was to deliver us to the port. We were on our way at 11:15, just as promised.
Embarkation: This was pretty smooth. The line was long outside the building, and once the doors opened we moved fairly steadily. No complaints.
Cabin: As noted, we had B623. The cabin was very, very nice. It felt bigger than the balcony cabin on Explorer; I think it’s wider. This was especially noticeable on the balcony. There’s plenty of storage space in the closet and shelves. I really got a lot of use out of the desk/vanity table; I liked sitting down to dry my hair! The bed was perfectly comfortable, as was the room itself. We didn’t miss the sofa we had on the Explorer. The bathroom is fine; I’d say the shower is about 2 ½ feet square, except it’s a hexagon! The shower curtain did not stick to me. The soap and body lotion are very nice; my husband used the shampoo and conditioner and said they were fine.
After checking out the cabin and the balcony, we called for MUTS reservations. They were showing movies on Sunday, Tuesday, and Wednesday nights. We then went to Sabatini’s for Sterlings reservations. Thanks to all you posters here on cruise critic, I knew to get this done right away! There were only a few people ahead of us in line for reservations. Thinking that Thursday was Caribbean night, that’s when we planned Sterlings; turned out we were wrong, but no matter. After that we went for lunch in the Horizon Court and some exploring of the ship.
Here are my general impressions of different aspects of the cruise:
Food and Dining: We ate in the dining room every night but one, when we went to Sterlings. We ate breakfast there twice, but never lunch. We had traditional first seating. This was a little strange because it was in the Palm Dining Room. Apparently, so many people wanted traditional that they made a section of the Palm a traditional section. I’ll discuss the service later...
The food in the dining room varied. I had trouble with the choices some nights; we don't like seafood, which limits us quite a bit! The salads were pretty good. We got the fettuccine alfredo once and it was excellent. The first night we had a pasta dish with chicken and broccoli - really good. The prime rib on the last night was awful; I sent it back. The deserts were good (I didn’t like the hazelnut souffle, though). My husband said the coffee was good. I got Earl Grey tea every night!
The food in the buffet was also pretty good. Lots of breakfast choices; my husband got an eggbeaters omelet one morning and said it was good. The bacon was good; I like mine crispy and my husband likes his a little softer and we both found bacon to our liking. Hubby didn’t try the coffee in the buffet. The toast is a challenge; sometimes there’s a long wait.
Sterlings was our best meal of the week. The steaks were excellent - tender, juicy and flavorful. Mine was undercooked, but they took it back and fixed that problem post haste! The caesar salad was way better than in the dining room. We had started a bottle of cabernet in the dining room and they got it for us to drink with our steaks. I did not like the chocolate pecan pie (I should’ve known - I don’t like pecan pie!).
The pizza by the pool was good; it was hot and fresh. The burgers were good, too. That’s where we ate on the two sea days. The food on Princess Cays was OK. I dumped out my plate of salad after realizing that the dressing was warm - didn’t want food poisoning.
This is getting pretty long. I’ll come back later with more impressions. Let me know if there are any questions; I’m happy to answer them as I poured over your posts for months before our cruise.