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I just returned from the Caribbean Princess yesterday. Myself (31) my parents (51 & 52) my 13 year old daughter, and my 16 and 18 year old siblings enjoyed our first sailing with Princess.
Although I do have to say, I will be returning to RCI. We called this ship the "Sleepy Ship" It was a ghost ship after midnight. And during the day, it seemed as if the staff were without personalities! The service was good, but the staff seemed to be lacking enthusiasm.
Dinner in the dining room was a minimum of 2 1/2 hours every night. From the time you were seated. We did personal choice and made reservations for 6:30 the entire week. We never had any problems getting a table and never had to wait more than 5 minutes. The wait came with the service. Very slow, and I wasn't as impressed with the food as I was on RCI. By Thursday, we couldn't bear to eat in the dining room anymore because of the slow service. The other dining options were not very good either. There was suppose to be 24 hour buffet/dining, but late night their was a very limited selection in which you could order. This was actually the first cruise I've been on where I was actually starving alot of the time. In fact I lost 5lbs!!!!
The entertainmetnt on board was horrible. I would have thought they could have come up with more than a few bad comics and sleepy singers for their first voyage.
But the ship was beautiful and laid out very well so that you did not know you were with 3000 other people. We made our own fun and found several other people that were willing to be the entertainment on board!!!!
Everyone expects different things from a cruise, and in my opinion, if you are looking for a really laid back cruise where everyone is in bed by 11pm, this is the ship for you. Feel free to ask any questions!
Sounds like you had a great time dispite some of your disappointments. We have sailed both RCL and Princess and agree with some of your assessments, although we found the food on the Princess to be far superior to RCL.
Here are some questions:
How did you like the movie under the stars?
I was surprised to hear about the slow service in the dining room as we did not exprience this at all on the Grand; was it possible you all were just in a bad station or did you hear this complaint from others?
Did you go to Sabatinis or the Sterling Steakhouse?
Did you use the spa or get a treatment?
Were their any bars that appealed to you? Were their any bar areas that had good entertainment such as "Frank Sinatra, Billy Joel or Elton John" type singers?
Did you go into the "cigar bar?" Also, how was the pizza and burgers by the pool? Were there pool games during the sea days? How was the live music by the pool? What type of room did you have? Was it quiet and comfortable? Did you go to the gym? Do they have an ample number of tread mills? Do they have a cardio theatre there? Did you go to the golf simulator or play putt putt?
sorry for all the questions, but I am salivating for information! thanks
Hmmm... just because they were in their cabins does not mean they were "sleeping" hehe. I cannot accept that in a boat with 3000 passengers that most would be in bed by 11pm. Were you looking for shuffleboard action? I mean there are nightclubs on this ship.
No shuffleboard here, unfortunately we were the nightclub action the majority of the nights!!! Nobody in the pools, on deck, in the nightclubs. A few nights there were alot of teenibobbers in the clubs, but not alot of people over the age of 24!
Movies under the stars was fine, same movie the entire cruise.
With the dining, we had a different wait staff every night. We also heard from others the experience was very slow. Pizza by the pool was great, and I'm a pizzaholic.
Be sure to get "Bertified" by the piano bar. He was probably the best entertainment on board.
Poolside there were no games or funny things going on. Just a band that played. Huge dissapointment there.
I had a minisuite on the dolphin deck and loved the room. It's the only way to go on Princess. Didn't really get into the gym, but they had very nice facilities.
There was only 1 deck party, which was extremely lame, and no midnight buffets. I only saw 1 ice sculpture the entire cruise!
Thanks so much for sharing your observations. From the sound of what you experienced they have a lot of work to do on this ship.
I say that because much of what you write about I expereinced the shadow of on our Golden cruise last month
For example, Yes the decks were pretty quiet after 11 but Skywalkers rocked till 3AM. Yes, dining took a couple hours, but we thought the amount of time was appropriate for the level of service and cuisine we received. And Yes there was but one deck party, Island Night, but it was simply the most exciting event I've ever witnessed on a cruise...any cruise.
See what I mean?
It's like on your cruise (and I take this from other reports as well) the pieces were all there but they didn't quite fit together leaving the puzzle unsolved.
I hope your comments make it to Princess and/or you indicated the same on our comment card before getting off the ship...this is an easy fix IMHO
You indicated that you had PC dining, and were able to make reservations. Were you able to make these at the beginning of the cruise for the whole trip, or did you have to do it daily?
I hope you walked away with at least several good memories! Chris is right, each of us has a different agenda for cruising. We did a back to back several years ago. We cruised the Grand Princess, and then RCI Vogager the next week. I loved the Grand and my husband loved the Voyager.
I can't imagine why anyone would book a cruise on a new ship on it's first sailing. Of course there are going to be kinks to iron out.
As a 40 something cruiser myself, if you want to party all night go on a cruise during the summer or holiday time when the ship is teeming with young people and I can assure you you'll be up past 11:00.
We have been on many cruises including Royal Caribbean and thought the food was just average. The show's always are pretty cheesy on all the ships.
We also hate all the comotion at the pool with the stupid contests.
There's always something for everyone going on somewhere on the ship, but to be quite honest, going on an inaugural cruise is asking for trouble.
We also just returned from the CP and had a fabulous time. What a gorgeous ship, our second cruise and first on Princess. The design of the ship is remarkable, I never once felt like one of thousands. Many times it seemed like we had areas to ourselves. The only noticeable glitch for us involved our room card keys, but that was straightened out in a few days.
The service at traditional early seating was good (an hour tops), but we didn't go every night because there were so many other dining options (I had a hard time keeping my husband and two teenage boys from the pizza (fantastic!!!!) and grill and we did tea a number of afternoons). We normally eat early at home, but in hind site, the late seating would probably have worked better for us.
The Movies Under the Stars was great. First night they showed a concert, most other nights it was reserved seating for 7:30 and 10:30 shows(I'm not sure if they ever filled seats completely. Tickets delivered to your stateroom day of movie. They roped off the deck, covered the lounge chairs and provided blankets and popcorn. It was very cool!). Wednesday night (I think) they had one show only for the kids (Finding Nemo), no reservations required. Friday night,again no reservations needed for a concert. Because this is so new, I think it will evolve over time.
Hi Amanda - afternoon tea is served in the Coral Dining Room from 3:30 to 4:30. It's one of my favorite things and I never even made it once on this cruise! There has always been a string quartet on the other Princess cruises so I presume they had it here as well - happy cruising...Carol
Also back from the 4/3 Caribbean Princess and had a great time!! Once I get over my cruise withdrawls, I'll try to post a review as well. Just wanted to note a couple things here if FliLady doesn't mind me piggybacking on the thread. I'm sorry to hear your experience wasn't what you had hoped.
We were late pulling out of Port Everglades b/c of a late flight arriving with pax, but we were underway about 40 min later than scheduled. As we left, the Golden trailed us on the port side and a couple helicopters did a *bunch* of flyovers, filming and taking pics for promotional materials. Also onboard was a camera crew recording footage of the ship and pax interviews about the ship.
We (me, mid 30s, and mom) had 2nd seating traditional and each dinner was pretty long. We were at a table of 8 and figured that may have had something to do with it (we sorta all talked a lot and it took longer to finish each course). Jose and Ciro were awesome and did a lot of the little things (keeping drink glasses full, etc.). We didn't do alternate dining, but heard they were really good (empty at the beginning of the week, full at the end).
The ship is beautiful and well laid out. As mentioned, we never felt like there were 3,000+ other people on board.
Seas were incredibily smooth all week, with one exception. The wind was out of the west while at Princess Cays, making the tender ride pretty rough. It was like being on a ride at Disney World! On the sea day Monday, we saw a group of about 20 dolphins swim by the ship. Later in the day, I saw another one from my cabin, literally just below me.
Didn't see Movies Under the Stars ("Somethings Gotta Give"), but did watch a bit of "Finding Nemo" on the big screen. They put big, fluffy pads on the chairs that have built-in pillows, plus serve popcorn and other movie theater munchies. A number of times when I walked by during the week, they were showing music videos (sometimes with sound, sometimes without), Cartoon Network (no sound), excursion videos or just the ship's logo. They did have pool games at the pool under the screen on sea days, but I didn't hang out for much of them. And I'm still wondering how that woman got the watermelon *AND* cantelope in her swimsuit!! And the 1 guy and 1 girl who put a pineapple in their suit.. um... well, that *HAD* to hurt!!! There are 3 other pools away from the pool games and noisy crowds, so you won't even know they're there if it's not your thing. Great Caribbean music by the bands when they played. Plenty of deck chairs to go around and never had to hunt for one. If you want *right* next to the pool, that's a different story, tho. Pizza and burgers/hot dogs by the pool were also great.
If you get a chance to see Bert, go see him!! He's fun to watch!! And does a great 40-minute version of "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald." Okay, well, it's not exactly a cruise-friendly song (and it's more like 4 minutes), but he's really good!! Be sure to be Bert-ified!! It's a "Bert-iful" experience!!
All in all, there were a few downs, but an overall great experience, IMHO, considering it was a shakedown cruise. Met some great friends from CC, some not from CC, and chatted with some of the crew, all who were friendly when I talked to them. I hope future cruisers have a great trip on this ship! It's a really beautiful ship!!
Caribbean Princess - 4/2004
Dawn Princess - 12/2003
Sea Princess - 12/2000
Emerald Seas - 7/1984
Yensid, thank you for the great review. Based on what I have seen and read regarding people on board the fist week, it was an overall good experience. Always some hiccoughs the first week, but it sounds great!!
Another posting said there was no music, no pool games, and I was floored. I wonder if they were on the same cruise...or if they actually cruised!
so much to say, so little time to type! We were on last weeks criuse, and loved it! I was so Bertified! I had to go see him every night, definately the best entertainment on the ship. my husband got jealous . I also am still amazed that they say there was over 3,000 passengers. you would never know it! movies under the stars was fun, we had early dinning, usually took an hour to 1.5 hours. food was good, desserts were very good. Agree that the breakfast buffet was poorly done, we started to just have it brought to our room, or just wait for lunch to start on the other side. had a few problems... our shower didn't work the first day but was fixed within hours. LOVED the closet space and general storage spaces in our cabin. We were on the Caribe deck, outside- c311. Internet service was a pain! often did not work or was so painfully slow that it was unbearable. we had hoped for that to be the main contact with out little ones at home. It is 35 cents a minute. We hit very close to all the entertainment shows and most were very good.