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January 13 2018 Circle Caribbean Review


Whimsy
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We returned yesterday from our 2 week Circle Caribbean cruise on Caribbean Princess. I am not going to do a day by day review but will try to break it down into categories. Any questions, I'll try to help as best I can.

 

Pre cruise: We flew in the day before, stayed at the Hyatt Place. Publix within walking distance for picking up cruise supplies. We had dinner at the Bistro Mezzaluna next door, excellent food!

 

Embarkation: We took a cab to the ship around 10:30. The Elite area was already crowded. The let us on the ship before the rooms were ready, not sure I like that. Also, no more fried scallops on the buffet. It was a tradition, sorry to see them gone. No more life jackets at muster, that was nice. We were able to go directly to the aft for sailaway and toast the cruise, not having to go back to the cabins to take the life vest back. I was pleasantly surprised at the passenger make up. I heard 12 children on board but there were also many younger people (20's, 30's) on board which was nice.

 

Cabin: We had 2 mini suites side by side on Emerald, E729 and E731 with the extended balcony. We opened the door between for ease, E731 has covered extended balcony and was perfect for dinner for 4 the night were were in St Thomas for the balcony dinner. This was 3rd time in this cabin on Caribbean Princess. Tile is work, some rust on the balcony but nothing that was going to spoil our experience. We are pretty low maintenance people, just grateful to be on vacation. The door dividing the 2 balconies never banged, even the last day when we had very rough seas. It actually was pretty amazing it never moved as we were rolling along. Our cabin steward, Menardo, was one of the best we have had, genuinely sincere when talking to us about our day and telling us about his years on the ship.

 

Dining: We chose anytime dining, some nights shared to avoid a wait but if you usually checked between the 2 dining rooms there was not a way. We figured out the rhythm and would go down around 6:30 and never had a wait. Early diners arrived around 5 and would finish up around that time. If we wanted to see the show we dined earlier when necessary or caught the late show. Food was excellent as usual. Fettuccine was never served in the Parmesan bowl but I personally like it that way, I think the bowl absorbs the cream. We are not buffet people so we only ate breakfast there for speed and variety as I don't like most breakfast dishes and stick to yogurt, fruit and cereal. Had quite a few burgers by the pool and pizza, all were hot and fresh as usual. Some lunches in the dining room as well. No complaints about food or service.

 

We dined at Planks and Steamers. Food was okay but I wouldn't go back. I had a broiled seafood platter but it was pretty tasteless, The ones that had BBQ seemed to be happier. They did let us order from both menus only being on one side. 2 of us wanted seafood, 2 wanted BBQ. We also dined at Crown Grill one night, excellent as always.

Entertainment: The cruise director staff was very active and mingling. Duval was the highlight at any event we attended and he was a part. That young man will be the cruise director someday with his great talents.

 

Shows were hit or miss. My major complaint was that to get a seat you had to get there at least an hour early. I wonder if they should start thinking of having 3 shows a night. Just a thought. They had an overflow feed in Explorers lounge but that too would be packed and most of the time was out of sync. The first comedian was awful. He actually was much of the conversation on the ship, about how bad his material was. He told us he had a sarcastic sense of humor but so do I and I get more laughs at a dinner party then he did the whole 2 shows we saw him perform. The second one was more entertaining and we enjoyed the ventriliquest as well. We did not see any of the production shows.

 

Ports of call:

 

Princess Cays: We didn't get off the ship as I figured the water would be too cold to my liking. We wanted to watch a movie around the pool but all we had were commercials for Princess. It seemed the MUTTS did not have as many movies as were normally would see on board. Disappointing but we just moved on and read a book.

 

St Thomas: We had a friend who had never been there and was into jewerly so we took a cab downtown and took her shopping. We had a fun day then came back to the ship as it was my birthday and we had the balcony dinner. Wonderful exprerience, great food, excellent service. As an added bonus you have nice flowers in your room for the rest of the cruise. A very nice experience that we feel is worth the upcharge for a special treat.

 

St Marteen: We took a cab to Maho Beach. I read not much of the beach was back so we didn't bring swimsuits. We were sorry as there was plenty of sand on the far side from the Sunset Bar. They do not have the chairs and loungers back yet but at least half the beach is back. We had a nice time watching the planes, lunch and drinks. I have no desire to use the pool there, it looked cloudy. We have a pool and are pretty picky about getting in public pools. It is what it is. The devastation to the island, especially the French side, is awful. It will take them a long time to recover

 

St Kitts: We did a 4X4 tour of the island with a beach stop. The guide was very knowledgable and we enjoyed seeing the rain forest and sights, The beach stop was not long enough though but we knew that when we booked the tour,

 

Barbodos: We did a swim with the turtles and snorkel. One of the best tours of the cruise. The craft was nice, the water was perfect. We saw 3 turtles and the crew was very helpful. Rum punch after snorkeling and while we had free time to swim and sail back.

 

Martinique: We took the ferry to a beach area and it was very nice. It was a beach behind a hotel that one of the crew told us about, we took the ferry to the Les Trois Islet area. Walked about 10-15 minutes then off to the right were it was less crowded. We found out there was a spot to catch the ferry to the left when we left. Round trip on the ferry was $7 and they took American dollars. No chairs, food or drink but it was a pleasant area to enjoy the water.

 

Trinidad: It was raining and we had a beach excursion. About an hour over the mountains to the beach and we got lucky, it stopped raining and we salvaged our time! Some people hired a cab back but we rented 4 chairs and 2 umbrellas for a few hours for $25 for the 4 of us. I'm sure if it would of been a sunny day the price might of been more but it worked out fine for us. We enjoyed the scenery on both rides. I heard some people were upset the shops were closed as it was a Sunday. The shopping around the port is limited.

 

By now we were exhilrated we had a sea day to rest up!

 

Bonaire: We did a 4 wheel drive of the area. Lots and lots of catcus, saw wild donkeys and flamingos. We stopped for a while at a hotel for a drink and looked at the beautiful water and wished we were in it. We saw the salt mines, light houses and slave houses. Bonaire is just as lovely as I remember from our last visit. We picked up some nice pieces at Elements. By the port and down town are all the same pricing, let me save you from looking.

 

Another blissful day at sea!

 

Grand Turk: I know many people bash Grand Turk but I personally love it. We rented 2 beach chairs and umbrella for $15 for the day and the place had free wifi, food and drinks. We were at the place with the padded blue loungers. Bathrooms were clean, food was good, internet was pretty fast before the Carnival ship arrived and it got more crowded. The only negative was they tie up the party boats right in front as they day goes on but we just entered the beach away from them. We had a few drinks after at Margaritaville to enjoy the fun then back to the ship.

 

The last sea day we were rocking and rolling until dinner time. Packing and swaying was quite a challenge! I wanted one more afternoon by the pool but you can't have perfection everyday. Instead we had lunch in the dining room and just relaxed.

 

Casino: Dealers were very friendly while they took my shirt! Gamblers were lite on this cruise I was told.

 

Disembarkation: We used EZ Check and have Global entry. From the Coral Dining room to our gate at Southwest in 25 minutes. Very smooth and easy!

 

A few notes: There were 3 formal nights. They installed new 43 inch TV's throughout the cruise and they are really nice with movies on demand, etc. They are very user freindly.

 

The were many elite guests so there was a note that laundry service would take 3 days. I sent a few things out but do prefer to launder my own clothes.

 

Platinum and Elite lounge was in Club Fusion every night from 5-7. The usual cheese, crackers, shrimp, drink specials. It's a nice place to unwind and enjoy a drink. I also enjoy people watching from Crooners.

 

I know the Caribbean Princess is older but it was our 4th time and we were happy to be back on again. Our last cruise was on the Regal and it's a lovely shiny new penny but the balconies are so small, It was nice to have room to stretch out again. The crew was very freindly and we seen them handle rude people very professionally. It never ceases to amaze me how rude some people can be. The first night at dinner a man put on a spectacular show over sparkling water and for the next 2 weeks we would see him and he was "that guy" the whole time. He might of been the nicest person otherwise but you know what they say about first impressions....

 

We were very happy with the cruise even though they had to substitute some ports due to the problems with the Caribbean Princess. I know some people were disappointed and cancelled but we had been to the other ports so it made no difference to us. We loved having 14 nights of vacation to enjoy, weather was good and we had wonderful service. My husband retires this spring and we look forward to planning even longer adventures when it works with my schedule.

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Thanks for the review. We sail CB on March 18 so the information is timely. While I had read about the new televisions I am quite pleased to hear about the movies "on demand". My wife and I each spent 2 days (not the same days) self-confined to the cabin due to a cold that was going around. We felt lousy and didn't want to spread it any more than was already happening. It's a drag to catch a movie in the middle and then watch the first half later. Fortunately it was a 28 day cruise and we each spent sea days in the cabin so it wasn't as much of a loss to the cruise as it could have been.

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Thanks for the review, I enjoyed reading it.

 

I had to cancel at the last minute just 2 days before we were to leave. I was sad at first, a little bit anyway, but my dog is better now and I would have been too worried about her to enjoy the cruise and it wouldn't have been safe to board her anyway. So we got an FCC for the entire amount we spent on the cruise minus the cost of insurance and I have booked us on the Royal TA this spring and still have enough left over for another cruise.

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Thanks for a wonderful review; you covered all the things I am interested in. Was the ship full to capacity? Was your cruise director Corey?

 

The cruise director was Micheal Reitano. He was very visible as well around the cruise and very personable.

 

As for the ship being at capacity, I doubt it. There were still several cabins available days before sailing, including a great offer on a window suite!

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Thanks for the review, I enjoyed reading it.

 

I had to cancel at the last minute just 2 days before we were to leave. I was sad at first, a little bit anyway, but my dog is better now and I would have been too worried about her to enjoy the cruise and it wouldn't have been safe to board her anyway. So we got an FCC for the entire amount we spent on the cruise minus the cost of insurance and I have booked us on the Royal TA this spring and still have enough left over for another cruise.

 

I am so sorry you had a to cancel but I understand your worry about the dog. Thankfully, your dog is better now but being a pet lover I understand the worry.

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Great review. We will be doing the Circle the Caribbean cruise this fall but on a slightly different itinerary. We have been on the CB quite a few times so it will be a welcome back experience. We are booked in a mini on deck 8 as well which we have had before. Nice to hear the TVs were updated and the life jackets are no longer required at the safety briefing.

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We returned yesterday from our 2 week Circle Caribbean cruise on Caribbean Princess. I am not going to do a day by day review but will try to break it down into categories. Any questions, I'll try to help as best I can.

 

Pre cruise: We flew in the day before, stayed at the Hyatt Place. Publix within walking distance for picking up cruise supplies. We had dinner at the Bistro Mezzaluna next door, excellent food!

 

Embarkation: We took a cab to the ship around 10:30. The Elite area was already crowded. The let us on the ship before the rooms were ready, not sure I like that. Also, no more fried scallops on the buffet. It was a tradition, sorry to see them gone. No more life jackets at muster, that was nice. We were able to go directly to the aft for sailaway and toast the cruise, not having to go back to the cabins to take the life vest back. I was pleasantly surprised at the passenger make up. I heard 12 children on board but there were also many younger people (20's, 30's) on board which was nice.

 

Cabin: We had 2 mini suites side by side on Emerald, E729 and E731 with the extended balcony. We opened the door between for ease, E731 has covered extended balcony and was perfect for dinner for 4 the night were were in St Thomas for the balcony dinner. This was 3rd time in this cabin on Caribbean Princess. Tile is work, some rust on the balcony but nothing that was going to spoil our experience. We are pretty low maintenance people, just grateful to be on vacation. The door dividing the 2 balconies never banged, even the last day when we had very rough seas. It actually was pretty amazing it never moved as we were rolling along. Our cabin steward, Menardo, was one of the best we have had, genuinely sincere when talking to us about our day and telling us about his years on the ship.

 

Dining: We chose anytime dining, some nights shared to avoid a wait but if you usually checked between the 2 dining rooms there was not a way. We figured out the rhythm and would go down around 6:30 and never had a wait. Early diners arrived around 5 and would finish up around that time. If we wanted to see the show we dined earlier when necessary or caught the late show. Food was excellent as usual. Fettuccine was never served in the Parmesan bowl but I personally like it that way, I think the bowl absorbs the cream. We are not buffet people so we only ate breakfast there for speed and variety as I don't like most breakfast dishes and stick to yogurt, fruit and cereal. Had quite a few burgers by the pool and pizza, all were hot and fresh as usual. Some lunches in the dining room as well. No complaints about food or service.

 

We dined at Planks and Steamers. Food was okay but I wouldn't go back. I had a broiled seafood platter but it was pretty tasteless, The ones that had BBQ seemed to be happier. They did let us order from both menus only being on one side. 2 of us wanted seafood, 2 wanted BBQ. We also dined at Crown Grill one night, excellent as always.

Entertainment: The cruise director staff was very active and mingling. Duval was the highlight at any event we attended and he was a part. That young man will be the cruise director someday with his great talents.

 

Shows were hit or miss. My major complaint was that to get a seat you had to get there at least an hour early. I wonder if they should start thinking of having 3 shows a night. Just a thought. They had an overflow feed in Explorers lounge but that too would be packed and most of the time was out of sync. The first comedian was awful. He actually was much of the conversation on the ship, about how bad his material was. He told us he had a sarcastic sense of humor but so do I and I get more laughs at a dinner party then he did the whole 2 shows we saw him perform. The second one was more entertaining and we enjoyed the ventriliquest as well. We did not see any of the production shows.

 

Ports of call:

 

Princess Cays: We didn't get off the ship as I figured the water would be too cold to my liking. We wanted to watch a movie around the pool but all we had were commercials for Princess. It seemed the MUTTS did not have as many movies as were normally would see on board. Disappointing but we just moved on and read a book.

 

St Thomas: We had a friend who had never been there and was into jewerly so we took a cab downtown and took her shopping. We had a fun day then came back to the ship as it was my birthday and we had the balcony dinner. Wonderful exprerience, great food, excellent service. As an added bonus you have nice flowers in your room for the rest of the cruise. A very nice experience that we feel is worth the upcharge for a special treat.

 

St Marteen: We took a cab to Maho Beach. I read not much of the beach was back so we didn't bring swimsuits. We were sorry as there was plenty of sand on the far side from the Sunset Bar. They do not have the chairs and loungers back yet but at least half the beach is back. We had a nice time watching the planes, lunch and drinks. I have no desire to use the pool there, it looked cloudy. We have a pool and are pretty picky about getting in public pools. It is what it is. The devastation to the island, especially the French side, is awful. It will take them a long time to recover

 

St Kitts: We did a 4X4 tour of the island with a beach stop. The guide was very knowledgable and we enjoyed seeing the rain forest and sights, The beach stop was not long enough though but we knew that when we booked the tour,

 

Barbodos: We did a swim with the turtles and snorkel. One of the best tours of the cruise. The craft was nice, the water was perfect. We saw 3 turtles and the crew was very helpful. Rum punch after snorkeling and while we had free time to swim and sail back.

 

Martinique: We took the ferry to a beach area and it was very nice. It was a beach behind a hotel that one of the crew told us about, we took the ferry to the Les Trois Islet area. Walked about 10-15 minutes then off to the right were it was less crowded. We found out there was a spot to catch the ferry to the left when we left. Round trip on the ferry was $7 and they took American dollars. No chairs, food or drink but it was a pleasant area to enjoy the water.

 

Trinidad: It was raining and we had a beach excursion. About an hour over the mountains to the beach and we got lucky, it stopped raining and we salvaged our time! Some people hired a cab back but we rented 4 chairs and 2 umbrellas for a few hours for $25 for the 4 of us. I'm sure if it would of been a sunny day the price might of been more but it worked out fine for us. We enjoyed the scenery on both rides. I heard some people were upset the shops were closed as it was a Sunday. The shopping around the port is limited.

 

By now we were exhilrated we had a sea day to rest up!

 

Bonaire: We did a 4 wheel drive of the area. Lots and lots of catcus, saw wild donkeys and flamingos. We stopped for a while at a hotel for a drink and looked at the beautiful water and wished we were in it. We saw the salt mines, light houses and slave houses. Bonaire is just as lovely as I remember from our last visit. We picked up some nice pieces at Elements. By the port and down town are all the same pricing, let me save you from looking.

 

Another blissful day at sea!

 

Grand Turk: I know many people bash Grand Turk but I personally love it. We rented 2 beach chairs and umbrella for $15 for the day and the place had free wifi, food and drinks. We were at the place with the padded blue loungers. Bathrooms were clean, food was good, internet was pretty fast before the Carnival ship arrived and it got more crowded. The only negative was they tie up the party boats right in front as they day goes on but we just entered the beach away from them. We had a few drinks after at Margaritaville to enjoy the fun then back to the ship.

 

The last sea day we were rocking and rolling until dinner time. Packing and swaying was quite a challenge! I wanted one more afternoon by the pool but you can't have perfection everyday. Instead we had lunch in the dining room and just relaxed.

 

Casino: Dealers were very friendly while they took my shirt! Gamblers were lite on this cruise I was told.

 

Disembarkation: We used EZ Check and have Global entry. From the Coral Dining room to our gate at Southwest in 25 minutes. Very smooth and easy!

 

A few notes: There were 3 formal nights. They installed new 43 inch TV's throughout the cruise and they are really nice with movies on demand, etc. They are very user freindly.

 

The were many elite guests so there was a note that laundry service would take 3 days. I sent a few things out but do prefer to launder my own clothes.

 

Platinum and Elite lounge was in Club Fusion every night from 5-7. The usual cheese, crackers, shrimp, drink specials. It's a nice place to unwind and enjoy a drink. I also enjoy people watching from Crooners.

 

I know the Caribbean Princess is older but it was our 4th time and we were happy to be back on again. Our last cruise was on the Regal and it's a lovely shiny new penny but the balconies are so small, It was nice to have room to stretch out again. The crew was very freindly and we seen them handle rude people very professionally. It never ceases to amaze me how rude some people can be. The first night at dinner a man put on a spectacular show over sparkling water and for the next 2 weeks we would see him and he was "that guy" the whole time. He might of been the nicest person otherwise but you know what they say about first impressions....

 

We were very happy with the cruise even though they had to substitute some ports due to the problems with the Caribbean Princess. I know some people were disappointed and cancelled but we had been to the other ports so it made no difference to us. We loved having 14 nights of vacation to enjoy, weather was good and we had wonderful service. My husband retires this spring and we look forward to planning even longer adventures when it works with my schedule.

 

How was the noise from Club Fusion below your cabins. I understand you also get thruster noise when docking - How was it?

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I was on the same cruise. I didn’t have much luck in the dining room. I only went twice and did not enjoy it either time so I went to the buffet each night.

I enjoyed all of the islands.

Thought the condition of the ship was fine. Yes, did I see things that could be repaired but it was so so minor that it didn’t matter at all to me.

I thought the entertainment to be lacking but always found something to do.

I miss being on a cruise

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How was the noise from Club Fusion below your cabins. I understand you also get thruster noise when docking - How was it?

 

 

We were on Dolphin deck (9) aft...YES you knew when the thrusters were in use! A lot of vibrations, some shaking and definite noise. Only time it bothered us was very early am when still sleeping.

 

Never heard anything from Club Fusion.

 

***

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How was the noise from Club Fusion below your cabins. I understand you also get thruster noise when docking - How was it?

 

You do get the thruster noise and vibration being in the aft. We always think of it as our wake up call for port days!

 

We didn't hear anything from Club Fusion, Starboard side less likely to have any noise from Club Fusion. I have been in E730 on the Emerald and had some bass noise but nothing that bothered us or would keep us from booking that cabin again.

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We have been in a mini several times on the Explorer deck (8). We have never heard anything from Club Fusion just below our cabin. When they use the aft thrusters to position the ship, we can hear it in use and feel the vibrations. We have had the same experiences on the Dolphin deck (9) when in an aft stateroom as well as on the Caribe deck (10). The thrusters are loud and the vibration shakes the aft as does the bow thrusters I imagine. We prefer an aft cabin somewhere near the aft elevator bank and stairway and almost always on the port side.

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Hi Whimsy, Enjoyed your review and pics on FB too. We are doing a 10 day in April on the CB. New TV'S look good and have the mattresses been replaced?

 

One other thing, was the Elite/Platinum lounge in Skywalkers or Club Fusion?

 

Andrea

 

 

Sent from my SM-G930V using Forums mobile app

 

 

Hi Andrea !

What a pleasant surprise to see your post! I am on CC quite bit posting on my roll calls and always get excited when I see someone I know.

Oct. 26 I was on the Regal leaving NYC and going to the Carib for 10 days and FLL. On the very active roll call there was group of cruisers doing the same cruise for 7 years. Very organized and with lots of activities because the main leader of the group became very tight with the Princess brass and we had lots of extra activities. We had been posting over 1 1/2 years. They had 2 videographers taking pictures and videos of us in activities. Our M & G had 200 + cruisers. They really get into Halloween and the costumes were very creative. After we gathered in the piazza to take pictures of each other and socialize we (200 of us ) went to the main dining room for dinner. They had set aside the tables in the any time dining room.

My group originally met at the Regal Princess Inaugural to the U.S. and Inaugural to the Carib.We enjoyed ourselves so much we sometimes have 2 reunions a year. We are going March 10 for a Pacific Coastal cruise stopping in LA, San Fran, Monterrey, San Diego and Ensenada.

Andrea, you are lucky living so close to the port. Airfares from Syracuse are so expensive.

Hopefully, our paths will cross again in the future.

Sali

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