July 2014 - 7 Night Western Caribbean (Ft. Lauderdale Roundtrip) Cruise on Caribbean Princess
It was our 1st cruise with Princess Cruises; however we've been on Celebrity and Holland America before, so we had a reasonable idea of what to expect from a cruise.
Penthouse Suite: We had booked a 2 weeks cruise and a penthouse suite with the ship called “Caribbean Princess” . The journey was starting from Fort Lauderdale and around Caribbean. The reason for booking the penthouse suite was the additional space, the extra comfort and amenities promoted, and advertised prior to the cruise. We were indeed expecting the same level and standards, as we’ve been used to during our previous cruises. It was therefore a gigantic disappointment to discover the very little space allocated to the so called “penthouse suite” Moreover, the furniture’s and sun-beds on the balcony were very old, and one sun bed had to be replaced, as it was completely broken. Usually, there is allocated a special lounge for all suites, where you will find plenty of chocolate, canapés etc available all day. Unfortunately, this was not the case on Caribbean Princess. We could only choose 6 pcs to be delivered a day, which by the way was exact the same 6pcs for 14 days. (Extremely boring in the end, especially because 70% were fish and my husband don’t eat fish)
Entertainment: The standard of entertainment was in general very poor and it was difficult to find any suitable entertainment for us (We’re mid 30 and normally not difficult to entertain) The theatre was several times performed by cruise members and therefore not very professional. We also tried the singers in the bar, but they were singing in a false note and the guy with the guitar could barely play on it!
Drinks & Bar Service: Drinks service on deck was almost non-existent! It was extremely crowded and sometimes very difficult to find space. If you were unlucky to find a sunbed far from the pool, or one deck above there was no service at all. The drinks and especially the Pina Colada was far from the Pina Colada that I’m familiar with. Knowing that we’re being charged a 15% 'gratuity' the service and the drinks should be reaching a minimum standard. The number of bartenders seemed to be much lesser than our previous cruises. Buffet & Restaurants: The quality of food served in both the buffet was in the cheaper end and not very interesting, as it the same kind of food was served very often. In fact there was often only one buffet open, which obliviously caused a lot of waiting! My husband mostly eats chicken, hence he were having several vegetarian meals for lunch, as they simply didn’t had any chicken for lunch. I have to mention that this is the first time, we ever experience such a poor variety in the buffet restaurant onboard. However, the food in Coral dining was indeed more acceptable and the service was good. We also tried the steakhouse, which had a tempting menu. The food was great, but the waiters were so extremely slow, despite that the restaurant weren’t busy at that particular time. We received our starter after more than one hour of waiting.
We did a couple of ship excursions, one were well-organized and value for money. The 2nd one was a buggy tour on the Island Grand Turk, which was a complete disaster. The registration on all vehicles was expired almost 3 month back and our breaks didn’t work at all. The tour took us through a narrow route full of bushes on each side for about 45 minutes. There was absolutely nothing to see, and because we were driving back to back in a long lane, we were inhaling so much exhaust, which literally made me feel dizzy. However, we were told that we couldn’t go back, despite of the lack of safety and my dizziness. We ended up in a beautiful beach, but we only had 20 minutes to enjoy, which was not even enough to swim. We went back on the exact same road. The tour was 250 USD + 15% gratuity for one buggy, which is complete rip off knowing that this buggy is worth a maximum of 800-900 USD from brand new.
Overall Rating: Our overall rating is not very impressive. We paid more than the double than a standard room with balcony, hence we were expecting more than what we actually got. Princess Caribbean cannot be compared with either Celebrity or Holland America cruises, simply because the level is not high enough. The overall standards is not even average in comparison