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amandaepperson21

Caribbean Princess - a 30something’s perspective/review

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We were on the June 30th cruise and found the ship to be a great mix of all ages. There were many families due to summer vacations. Princess hasn't cruised a summer in the Caribbean in many years. They have made some changes to the ship to attract families.

 

what specific changes were made to CB that were family specific - other than the Caribbean itineraries in the summer - which I just saw a price of $ 399 pp for guest 1 & 2 for a 7night cruise - either east or west...

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my kids (28-32) have stressful jobs. they love princess for down time. for being taken care of; for recharging.

when they want a more active cruise, they choose royal caribbean.

none of them are partiers and because their children are up early, the adults go to bed early.

the kids clubs on both are very good.

thank you for your review. just know that depending on who is in charge at any given time, the experience can be very different (from ship to ship and also on the same ship).

i hope your daughter's arm is okay. i also think it strange it wasn't x-rayed. our medical care over the years has been stellar. i also think the doctors look like teenagers!

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Your review is excellent--thanks. And everyone is entitled to their opinion, whether the long-termers on the boards agree or not!

 

One thing that I've noticed on Princess that differs from some of the other lines you mentioned is that there is more variation from one ship to another and one season or week to another. The differences among the ships include design differences built in, which result in features that one ship has but another doesn't. There are also major differences in food outlets, etc--far more than the name or decor or a restaurant. For instance, some ships have a full walk around promenade, International Cafe, thermal suite (Rainforest, Persian Suite, etc. on other lines), Alfredo's, gelato bar, while others don't have these.

 

The time variation on Princess affects the kid population greatly. We've done cruises that probably had fewer than 30 kids as well as cruises with about 1000 kids. Yes, you see variations in ages on other lines--during traditional school times, there will be many infants and toddlers with few teens--but you don't see almost no kids. Those differences just attract different cruisers.

 

Would I choose Princess with young kids? Well, the kid experience, at least on some Princess cruises, is better than the experience on the mouse, at least for some kids. Princess is far more organized and there is a greater effort to include all kids. On DCL, a less assertive child can easily be left out--free play is a big part of the program, and the child has to make an effort to join in a scheduled activity. Most of the time, the YAC don't bother to ask Suzy if she'd like to dance with Snow White--if Suzy is sitting in the corner coloring, they ignore her. That doesn't happen on Princess, whether due to fewer kids or a different philosophy in the programming. I've never heard of a kid not liking the Princess program, but I've seen and heard of plenty not enjoying the DCL set up. So just as it is a matter of which line might suit a particular adult better, it is also a matter of what a given child might like.

 

On thing that Princess lacks in is quality entertainment. I've seen plenty of people recently out of college drama and musical theatre programs who perform far better than most of what I've seen on Princess, and being "newbies," would probably work for what Princess pays. Granted, a cruise line gig isn't at the top of the entertainment totem pole, but the only stage productions I've seen that were worst than Princess were on Celebrity. The variety entertainers tend to be quite similar across lines.

 

Hope your daughter is OK. Try to remember that the ship functions in many ways like an emergency room. Overall, the care on board is quite good. We've had a fracture missed in the ER that the orthopedist had no trouble diagnosing and treating!

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I am 48 and I personally think princess is boring but my husband is an old soul and likes them so we cruise on them. We are taking our 29 and 30 yr olds next time. I have already warned them of the differences they will notice.

 

 

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One problem I have noticed over many years of cruises is that many lines do not know who their target market is. I love to meet new people of all ages but I have spoken to older people who cruise to escape children. They aren’t many but tend to be vocal. They even live in communities that try to exclude children. On the other side a few unnamed lines tend to resemble hospital ships. That is why anyone who has strong likes or dislikes about such things should do a lot of research or they will be very unhappy. Because of weather in the Midwest I tend to cruise during the Winter on longer cruises. Due to this Princess and other lines sometimes have very few families at that time of year. I just use that as an example. Most lines try to appeal to all ages and likes and that is very difficult! Mike

 

 

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what specific changes were made to CB that were family specific - other than the Caribbean itineraries in the summer - which I just saw a price of $ 399 pp for guest 1 & 2 for a 7night cruise - either east or west...

 

They did a major overhaul of the kids clubs, equipment and facilities.

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I love Princess, and I am not offended that Princess was not a good fit for your expectations for your vacation. I also like Carnival, but I need to be in a mood for that party atmosphere. I think of cruise lines as having a personality. Some times I want to hang with my fun loving friends, other times I want to sit and crochet and just visit. Right now Princess fits with my DH's needs and also mine. If I went with my fun loving friends I would pick Carnival. If I had school age kids I would pick Royal.

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anandaepperson21 (the thread starter)

Thanks for your time to post your review!

Always good to read the thoughts of others. :)

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One problem I have noticed over many years of cruises is that many lines do not know who their target market is.

I actually think it is more the reverse. I think most cruise lines know precisely who their target audience is and it hinders them in being able to expand the brand. Think about it. Carnival has a very distinct reputation for the type of experience it offers. So does DCL. So does Royal Caribbean and so too does HAL. Among all of these cruise lines, it is Princess that does not have a reputation or target audience that is, for lack of a better word, stereotypical. I think its audience range is among the most diverse. Celebrity would be in that grouping too. And Royal Caribbean might come close, especially with its older ships.

 

I would actually like to see Princess try to capture some of the Disney market and Royal Caribbean market when it builds its next generation of ships. If they are going to build 4,500 passenger ships, might as well bring on the zip lines, water slides, climbing walls and skating rinks. With 20+ ships in the fleet, people who despise that type of cruise can pick a different ship. It's not as if Princess doesn't have multiple ships running the same itinerary at the same time. If you are going to have 4 ships all sailing the Eastern Caribbean 7 day cruise, why not have 3 traditional Princess ships and one ship that takes the Oasis of the Seas head-on for market share? That way, Princess wouldn't have a "target audience" in the stereotypical sense. It's target audience would be "everyone". If a cruise line is to succeed in the post-millennial age, I think this is essential. You have to have a mix of sedentary, relaxing and vibrant cruises. Princess should be aiming away from the old norm of: "If you want that type of cruise , you should pick XYZ Cruise line." In the future it should be: "You want that type of cruise? We got that! (For every type of cruise that isn't "Frat Boys Gone Wild". Leave that for the competition.)

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The above post responding to my previous one has changed my mind. I think you are correct. This is the great benefit of listening to each other and exchanging views. Thanks. Mike

 

 

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I got so tickled reading your review because I’m also a 30something that has an elementary child in tow. We are all old souls in our house so we love the calmness. 😁

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Our first Princess cruise was a Panama cruise. Our 30ish son was on that cruise. So was my 60ish sister.

 

Everyone loved the cruise, the service etc., with one exception, the music was slower than slow. I was down at the desk complaining time and again that there should be one good option for more modern music. As ds put it, something newer than half a century ago would be nice.

 

We all decided, that given the itinerary, they were deliberately catering to an ancient crowd. They did get the message eventually. When we walked into a dance venue, the music would pick up a bit to the 60's and 70's, and when we walked out, the music went back to snoreville. As one guy put it, (old guy), we may be old but we're not dead yet!!!

 

Ds was reluctant to try Princess again after the experience, but given the itinerary was the Panama, agreed he would 'think' about trying a 7 day out of CA.

 

In the meantime we tried Carnival again just for ds. UGH!! Even ds has no desire to ever try that again. The worst was their neglect in handling dh's salt issues. He was in a wheelchair by the time we disembarked. He could barely breathe on the plane. NEVER AGAIN!!!! Service was a definite decline from Princess and even the late night parties that ds usually enjoys were a disappointment for him.

 

So he is scheduled to try Princess twice more. One is the British Isles, and with no expectations for old vs young. That one is all about the itinerary. The other will be Pacific Coastals out of CA. If they also draw the silver crowds with no younger population or semi-recent music, we will likely choose another line in the future when booking with ds, with the exception of strong itineraries.

 

Princess has an opportunity to expand it's clientele simply by doing small changes. One venue consistently using more modern music for instance. I mean, I like the 50's and 60's well enough, (though I've never heard them done so badly before), but I understand what ds means when he said the music was over a half century old.

 

On the other hand, I found enough music that I liked on Carnival, that I strained a ligament dancing too much. Maybe Princess IS for me! :eek: *LOL*

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I got so tickled reading your review because I’m also a 30something that has an elementary child in tow. We are all old souls in our house so we love the calmness. 😁

 

Same here. My sons always loved the calmness of Princess. When we tried to change brands, we all felt out of our element therefore staying with Princess.

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Music story.

 

Last December we took a Sea of Cortez cruise on the Ruby Princess. On sailaway day we were walking around, just checking things out. As we were walking by the Explorer's Lounge, I noticed a band assembling on the stage. I'm going it skip ahead, a bit, and explain that the band was not setting up to perform, they were working with the sound engineer on levels. So, the engineer was having each instrument/voice play a bit to set the levels. Just as we happened to walk past, he had the keyboardist play. When I heard the "Waldstein" sonata, I stopped in my tracks. Here was this pop band on the stage, and the keyboardist is playing Beethoven. Now, make no mistake, it was not the greatest performance I have ever heard, but, talk about an unexpected pleasure.

 

Some of us like 200 year old music.

 

;)

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It's definitely the lack of upbeat, modern music that disappoints us most with Princess. We've spoken to bands that have performed on many cruise ships and they tell us that Princess gives them a very specific song list that is very dated and conservative. Whereas lines like Carnival tell them to "Play whatever you'd like".

 

Warm weather cruises should be more active and fun by their very nature, and this is where Princess fails in our opinion.

 

How many passengers still remember the 50's and 60's songs they constantly play poolside? I guarantee fewer and fewer every year - it's a decreasing population.

 

So for us we look to Carnival and RCL for warm weather cruises and Princess for cooler weather like Alaska and the British Isles.

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Everyone loved the cruise, the service etc., with one exception, the music was slower than slow. I was down at the desk complaining time and again that there should be one good option for more modern music. As ds put it, something newer than half a century ago would be nice.

 

 

Well at least the Andrews Sisters and Glenn Miller Band have given way to the Rolling Stones and The Doors in recent years.

 

'Cept, yeah...What may have been cutting edge 'rock'n'roll' at the time...That music is now a half-a-century old, and has gone from 'classic-rock' stage to 'vintage rock' stage.:cool: Can we at least get some Zeppelin or Foghat in rotation?;p

 

We(DW and I) started cruising Princess about a decade ago in our late 20s/early 30s. However, we tend to prefer the more sedate style of cruising -- as we're itinerary-based cruisers that are often maximizing our days in port. We're usually too wiped out to be concerned with action after 10p, with the intent to put our energies into the next day in port. On sea days, we're usually content to lay out by the pool, but at times, do find a little boredom seep in with not much more than Bingo piquing our interest. (Speaking for the DW), one can only attend so many 'shopping advice' seminars w/ the hope of winning some bauble or spa raffle to endure the pitch of a 'hard sell'.

 

As for music selections, as long as they're aren't piping Top-40 Pop Music or New Country, I'm essentially amenable to just about anything being played, as long it isn't too loud as to have meaningful conversations with those around me.

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Thanks so much for your review.

 

My husband and I are sailing on our first Princess cruise in Oct, just a short 4 day on Emerald from Vancouver to LA. We picked this cruise because

A. It sailed out of Vancouver and we can drive to Vancouver, visit some family and then head to the port

B. It is super cheap...

C. This is our first time away from our 2 year old and it's a short cruise with minimal travel time

 

We are 36 and 38- our cruising history is 2 cruises on RCCL and 1 Disney and 1 on HAL to Alaska last year. We are expecting this cruise to be a lot like HAL..ie we don't expect much for night life, plan to just enjoy pool/deck time, each other's company and the port day in Astoria...hopefully we will be pleasantly surprised. Although we love the pzazz of the big ships, we are just happy to get away, and the date worked and the price was too good to pass up :)

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We were on the same cruise and I agree with just about everything you mentioned. The muster drill was painfully slow...IT seems to be very lacking on Princess. We are several years older (mid 50s) and our kids are too old for kids' club which was part of the reason we went with Princess instead of our usual RCI. They are now more interested in the bars (all young adults.) They are pretty tame when it comes to late night parties, but they even said it was a little too quiet. We've sailed one other Princess cruise on Regal-it was still pretty sedate but the food was better. Our young adults all said they'd sail on Princess again, but a few years ago they would have been bored. If you are looking for mellow, Princess works. With younger kids, RCI will give you many more options.

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I never paid attention to the music on our Princess cruise last year; so if they were playing music from the 60's; well then; that would be great. We are taking a oldies cruise on this ship next February; all the groups are from the 60's; so that would make them in their 70's; but I figure that some of the original members are no longer with the band and they have been replaced by younger members; we shall see. The OP complained about air conditioning in the cabins; I read on another Princess thread that the guest asked the room attendant about lack of air in the cabin; and the room attendant took the air conditioning grate off; after that the guest said the air worked fine for the rest of their cruise. So maybe next time you can have room attendant do that for you.

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Thank you for your review! I was on the same cruise and I loved it! I have been on other cruise lines but always return to Princess. I take my grandchildren on Carnival, NCL or RCI. I know they would be bored on a Princess cruise. But for me, it is JUST RIGHT!

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I will begin by saying I didn’t know Princess caters mostly to an older crowd. I should’ve done my homework before booking. I have cruised with Carnival, MSC, Costa and now Princess. If you’re just going to pick apart my review in the comments, please stop reading now. This is my opinion and my experience that I am sharing for the benefit of others like me who may be considering Princess. This is not to dissuade loyal Princess cruisers or anything like that. If your experience was great, good for you!! This is my perspective only.

 

So. Let’s start with the GOOD!!

 

The service was fantastic! There was nowhere on board that the service wasn’t great. Every crew member I encountered was polite. The wait staff was great. Our cabins (one balcony for hubby and I, one inside for the kids) stayed clean. There’s lots of wait staff in the buffet and around the pools at all times. At first I didn’t like that there weren’t many beverage stations, but I quickly realized that the wait staff was more than happy to serve anything from water to included beverages to bar drinks.

 

I like that Princess isn’t ridiculous about what you can’t bring on board. I brougnt on 6 bottles of wine. I had them in my carry luggage. I wasn’t sure where to go or what to do to pay the extra $15/each corkage so I ended up just keeping them in my room. I brought two back though. We also brought three 12 packs of soda for the kids and a case of water for port days. I put luggage tags on them. They arrived fine. My water case could’ve used some tape though.

 

The food was decent. I read a lot of meh and bad reviews about the food. It wasn’t bad. Some of it was great. Some of it was meh. Nothing was just plain bad.

 

I liked that we kept local port time instead of “ship time” like other cruise lines. I liked that the pools were open late. Salty Dog food was good. Especially the hot dogs. Perfect since the lunch buffet is pretty sad. One day the lunch buffet only had vegetarian sandwiches left by the time I got there.

 

Disembark was a breeze.

 

The On Demand movie list was great!! I’ve never been one to watch movies on a cruise, but the entertainment wasn’t really our scene so between the 6 of us we watched quite a few movies.

 

Medical staff... my daughter fell out of the top bunk. We still aren’t sure if she fractured her arm. The physician on board didn’t think so, but it’s been 2.5 days and I’m not convinced otherwise. We will get her checked at home tonight. Anyhoo, I called 911 around midnight. A nurse came promptly. She was so kind, patient and knowledgeable. She took us down to medical quickly. The physician (I don’t think he was a doctor - the credentials on our invoice are foreign to me and he looked maybe 25) evaluated her and said he didn’t think it was broken. I was surprised to find that they had x-ray equipment and the ability to set her break if it had been broken. I’ve always wondered the extent of the care available in medical. I’m not sure why he didn’t x-ray her though. Either way, I’m happy with the speed and care received. $200 for a midnight trip.

 

Not sure if this is a Princess thing or what, but the two times we had to tender, the Princess line was much shorter and moved faster than the Carnival tender line. Also loved the cold towel and cold water. Oh and I enjoyed the dirty towel bin just inside the gangway. Perfect! Princess has lots of nice little touches that offer guests convenience and relaxation. That’s wonderful!

 

And the bad...

 

Room service menu is terribly small.

 

The only food open after 11:00 pm is the international cafe on deck 5, which is a small selection of sweets and honestly nothing too appetizing. No one wants shrimp pasta at midnight lol. We want pizza lol.

 

If Carnival is the Booze Cruise, this was the Snooze Cruise. I don’t remember how many nights the nightclub DJ played nothing but Michael Jackson from 10-11 pm. There was very little entertainment for people our age. Typical evening entertainment was very repetitive- one guy with an acoustic guitar (he couldn’t sing very well); a guy on the piano singing; steel drums in the piazza; a lady that sang slow, monotone songs; jazz jazz jazz everywhere; trivia (themes including Harry Potter, Disney, etc), family karaoke (which was actually fun)... for the most part, the entertainment was dull (in MY personal opinion). They kept playing the same music loop on the lido deck every day and most of the songs were several years old. I never want to hear that “this is gonna be the best day of my life” song again lol.

 

I get that Princess caters to an older crowd... but even my mom and mother in law would’ve been bored. Where’s the Tom Petty? Jimmy Buffet? Any rock music other than the sad guitarist??

 

Then on the one night we managed to stay awake past 11:00 pm, the music the DJ played in the nightclub was still disappointing, old and tired.

 

Our muster drill was a mess. There was a system problem with their card readers so everything had to be done by hand. I didn’t come prepared for an hour long muster drill. It would’ve been great if they could’ve passed out water or something.

 

Cabin gripes - the look of the cabin is reminiscent of a 1990s Holiday Inn. There were numerous scratches and dings in the wood. Spots where caulk had been peeled off in the bathroom. Raw edges of carpet were exposed and pulling at the balcony door frame. You can really tell the cabin is 14 years old and hasn’t been updated.

 

The top bunk fall could’ve been avoided if the railing were sufficient. There was a wide gap between the top rail and the bottom rail. There really needs to be a much longer rail. There were stickers on the bunk saying not recommended for children. We brought my cousin to help with the kids. She weighs about 250 lbs. None of us were comfortable with her sleeping on the top bunk with one of my elementary age children beneath her lol. I’ve never seen a cruise bunk say not recommended for children. Who else sleeps on them but children??

 

I’m not going to comment much about the ship decor, but I will say this is the most underwhelming ship I’ve ever been on. And the oak wood everywhere is dated. Oak hasn’t been on trend since the late 90s. The specialty restaurants and buffet were updated. Also Vines and the bar adjacent to it. The Fiesta Suites hall was much more appealing than the rest of the ship. I’m used to seeing nice little touches like that throughout the entire ship.

 

The shower must’ve been the smallest I’ve ever seen on a ship. I didn’t like that the shower head wasn’t detachable. Never been on a cruise where that wasn’t a thing.

 

The kids club doesn’t do dinnertime pickup. We either had to have our kids endure the whole shebang or one of us had to leave to run them upstairs between courses.

 

Conclusion....

 

Overall, we had a wonderful cruise. My husband and I spent a lot of time enjoying the peace on our balcony. We had a lot of quiet time together watching movies with the kids. So while we never really got to enjoy a party scene that we enjoy or found much of the entertainment very entertaining, we are certainly rested and have cleared our busy minds. We come back refreshed! And that’s what vacation is really about. We probably won’t cruise with Princess again (RCI is next!) but I have no regrets.

 

 

Good for you. You have realized what is important to you while crusing. I suggest the celebrity edge and Virgin is coming out with a new ship in about two years. It sounds exactly like what you are looking for. The new larger ships will suit you best and remember to research the night life first.

 

Please remember that we all age, even you. To your children, your old. And for the sake of God stop discriminating because of age..

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