What a wonderful trip, from booking with Wendi at through the Charleston experience.
5 out of 5
Charleston is, by far, the best port we have ever encountered! From the efficiency and friendliness of the attendants in the parking area, the luggage porters who met us in the lot, to the helpful folks inside the terminal building, we sailed (pun intended) through all of the lines and boarded the ship in less than 20 minutes. Yes, 20 minutes from arriving until onboard. Everyone was full of Southern hospitality.
Food and Dining
5 out of 5
The food was good and plentiful and we certainly didn't go away hungry! The dining room service was attentive and the food was good. Each night there were plenty of choices on the menu - sometimes too many, but I always found the Warm Chocolate Melting Cake to end my meal!
We didn't try out the "Captain's Table" since we're perfectly happy with the included food and beverages, so I can't report on the experience, but those who we spoke with who tried it said it was wonderful!
2 out of 5
All of the trivia-like challenges during the sea days were held on the Promenade Deck right outside of the Casino and the Casino Bar and the whole area reeked of cigarette smoke. For someone who has a sensitivity to the smoke, it made participation in the games impossible. Some other games were held in the Atrium lobby which was nice.
3 out of 5
The entertainment was good, with two "Playlist" production numbers in the main theater, both of which we've seen before on other ships. The cast did a good job on them, though. The juggler was good (seen him and his act before, too). The Sammy Davis/Dean Martin singer was really good.
Service and Staff
4 out of 5
The cabin steward kept our room clean and neat, though only servicing once a day is now the norm. His service was a little spotty as we didn't get the ice we asked for on 3 out of the 7 days and we ran out of soap and didn't have any backup (though he seemed to think that we needed 3 backup rolls of toilet tissue). The dining room staff was great overall and the staff on Lido and other restaurants were attentive and friendly.
4 out of 5
The ship, while old, is still nicely appointed and well maintained. It's not a huge ship which makes getting around a bit easier for someone who is mobility-challenged. Getting to and from the Serenity deck with a wheelchair while the Starlight Lounge was in use was difficult as the ramp to Serenity is in the Lounge and there were a lot of people and feet in the way.
Cabin / Stateroom
3 out of 5
This cabin is almost all the way forward and low on the Port side. It's comfortable but certainly not spacious! There's room for two people but make sure you hide the suitcases under the bed or you'll not be able to walk around! The two portholes have a really big windowsill that sets them a way off from the room and makes it hard to see out, so all you really get is the light from them. Be warned: you will hear a LOT of noise from the forward engines (side-thrusters) that are used to position the ship when coming into and leaving ports. You'll also hear noise from the lowering and raising of ropes and the anchor. If you want peace and quiet, look elsewhere for a cabin.
Too many people crowding the exits to the port make for a bad experience trying to get out and visit the town. Didn't bother to get off here since we've been many times before. Stayed onboard and enjoyed the ship.
Love Princess Cays. Wish there was more time to spend relaxing in the water and on the beach. The only complaint about our visit is that the water was a wee bit cold, making it uncomfortable to stay in for too long. Other than that a pleasant stay.
Love Grand Turk and its people. Took the Hummer excursion tour and had a wonderful time seeing the island and meeting some of the people along the way. Seeing how the island is fighting back after the back-to-back hurricanes tried to destroy the island is heartwarming. The people are genuinely kind and caring. Get away from the end of the pier and go explore.
5 out of 5
Getting off was as easy as getting on. We ate a leisurely breakfast in the dining room and then waited in the Blue Sapphire Lounge until our number was called. We then went down and got right off the ship, found our luggage, breezed through Customs and out the door to a waiting bus and luggage trailer. We were quickly loaded aboard and whisked away to the garage where our car awaited. Within 5 minutes we were in our car and heading home. Best ever port experience overall!
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