Great itinerary, but dated ship

Caribbean Princess Cruise Review to Europe - Western Europe

Cruises: 7+ cruises
Review: 1
Helpful Votes: 24

Overall rating:

3.3 out of 5
Caribbean Princess

12 Night British Isles (London Roundtrip)

Sail date: August 05, 2017

Ship: Caribbean Princess

Cabin type: Suite

Cabin number: D101/D105

Traveled as: Family (older children)

Reviewed: 4 years ago

Review summary

Princess over promises and under delivers. From a long list of privileges for the family suite, there were only a few that were fulfilled. Despite the fantastic itinerary and great staff, the cabins are terribly dated and poorly maintained, tendering is unorganized, free wi-fi is falsely advertised, many Princess excursions lack value, etc. We have cruised with many other liners, almost annually as a family. This was our first experience with Princess because of the great itinerary, but were very disappointed. If Princess does not plan to overhaul the Caribbean Princess, they must immediately consider replacing items in the cabin (ex. shower curtain, furniture) and act on their promises.

Embarkation

4 out of 5
There were long line-ups for embarkation, but we booked a family suite, so we received priority check-in. However, embarkation was uninformative. There was a lack of orientation to the ship as we were not given information about restaurants, programs, services, etc. You are on your own to introduce yourself to the ship.

Ship experiences

Food and Dining

4 out of 5
We opted for a fixed time for dinner and received fantastic service in the main dining room. Our waiters were well-trained and friendly. The menu changed daily, had many options, and was good overall. However, meals tended to be bland and could use more flavour. There was also a lack of local cuisine that reflected the ports of call. We only tried one specialty restaurant (The Crown Grill). We enjoyed the steak, had great service, and fantastic staff. We ate at the buffet for lunch on a few days. It is a complete zoo. It is packed, and very difficult to find a table for a group of 5. Food tended to be boring and below average.

Onboard Activities

1 out of 5
The cruise was an excursion-intensive vacation and we did not make use of the onboard activities. However, the "free wi-fi on board" should be mentioned and is the reason for single star rating. Princess advertises that the ship has free wireless connection, however this is FALSE advertising. The wi-fi is restricted to checking Princess' website, where you can review your schedule, account, etc. If you want to check your email, access social media, or search anything, you MUST pay for an internet plan (or use wi-fi at ports), which features outrageous prices on a per minute basis. There is not even wi-fi in common areas. In this day and age, wi-fi is a basic feature, and indicates how cheap Princess is.

Service and Staff

4 out of 5
The restaurant staff are excellent (well-trained, friendly, made the effort to get to know us, kind). The room steward was great. However, he had difficulty in obtaining services from the maintenance department (ex. It took several days for maintenance to clear the bathtub drain; it took a few days for maintenance to fix the fridge). The front desk is not helpful, and does not seem to be in the business of customer service. For example, we wanted to change the disembarkation time by an hour, but experienced rude and impolite service, despite the fact that we should have priority disembarkation as a family suite.

Ship Quality

3 out of 5
Despite the recent refurbishment in some common areas, it is obvious that the ship is old and in need of a major overhaul. Upgrades were made in some areas, such as the restaurants. However, there are signs of wear and tear, such as peeling wallpaper in the hallways, old flooring, chipped and discoloured paint, dated decor, etc.

Cabin / Stateroom

1 out of 5
The images and cabin layout on the Princess website are MISLEADING. The family suite appears large and well-lit online, however this is a MAJOR misrepresentation of reality. Perhaps the images are from when the ship was originally built. The furniture is very old - the couches are flat and too uncomfortable to sit on, let alone to be used as sofa beds for sleeping. Other furniture, including the TVs, are also in terrible condition. The adjoining interior room is tiny and dark. It would have been much better to have two separate balcony rooms for increased light and space. The bathrooms are especially disgusting. There are missing tiles, the shower curtain is dirty, the grout is discoloured, the caulking in the shower is peeled and discoloured, the shower temperature has limited ability to be adjusted, etc. If Princess does not want to do major renovations, they should at least do basic maintenance, such as spending a few dollars on replacing filthy shower curtains. Additionally, since the family suite is located at the front of the ship, the cabin is more susceptible to feeling the waves. During the first sea day, we could not stay in our cabin because of the motion, and moved to the middle of the ship.

Ship tip

The itinerary is one-of-a-kind and is a great way to see the U.K. However, have very low expectations of the ship itself so you are not disappointed. Furthermore, do not book a Princess excursion without first looking at other companies. There are often other tours that are more informative and less expensive than Princess.

Ports of call

Southampton (London), England Did not visit port

St. Peter Port, Guernsey, Channel Islands

2 out of 5
A beautiful island, however the ship's excursions were not comprehensive. As the island is small, there weren't many options for other tours unfortunately. Looking for other companies is recommended as we felt we did not receive a comprehensive tour. This is also a tender port of call. Disembarkation was okay as we had a priority pass with the family suite. However, returning to the ship was a disaster - there was a line that was half a mile long, and Princess could not cope with the demand.

Cobh (Cork), Ireland

5 out of 5
We booked a non-Princess excursion, which was superior to Princess. We really enjoyed this port of call.

Dublin, Ireland

4 out of 5
We booked a Princess excursion (Dublin Highlights), and were satisfied with the guide and itinerary.

Liverpool, England

4 out of 5
We booked a Princess excursion (Liverpool City Highlights), and were satisfied with the guide and itinerary. However, the city is not a must-see, and lacks in major tourist attractions.

Belfast, Northern Ireland

5 out of 5
We booked a non-Princess excursion and spent most of the time outside of the city. The Giant's Causeway is amazing, the countryside is beautiful, and the guide was knowledgable.

Greenock (Glasgow), Scotland

5 out of 5
We booked a non-Princess excursion, and enjoyed seeing Loch Lomond, the Trossachs and Stirling Castle. We covered a great distance and got a great flavour of the area.

Invergordon (Inverness & Loch Ness), Scotland

5 out of 5
We booked a Princess excursion (Culloden Moor, Beauly and Loch Ness scenic drive) and enjoyed it! The tour guide was very informative. However, there was a bit too much time at Culloden.

South Queensferry (Edinburgh), Scotland

5 out of 5
We booked a non-Princess excursion, but unfortunately received a poor introduction to a beautiful city. The city is beautiful and we would recommend taking the time to exploring it.

Le Havre (Paris), France

4 out of 5
We booked a Princess excursion (Mont Saint-Michel) and had an excellent guide! Mont Saint-Michel is beautiful, but was extremely busy in mid-August. The main road was packed with visitors, making for a dangerous situation.

Disembarkation

3 out of 5
General disembarkation at each port of call was often disorganized. Lines formed as passengers waited for the ship to dock, which was late the majority of the time. Despite having gone through the process of disembarkation many times, Princess staff seemed to lack experience and coordination. Tendering at ports of calls was also unorganized, and took far too long. Returning to the ship was a particularly long process, where long lines formed and hundreds of people waited in the rain. Disembarkation at the end of the cruise went smoothly. It did not take long, and our luggage was waiting for us after we left the ship. However, as aforementioned, we experienced difficulty and rude service with the front desk when we wanted to change our disembarkation time by an hour in order to catch a train.
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