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Caribbean Princess, Eschew and others who have sailed her lately

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Eschew, how did you like the Caribbean Princess, the ship itself? Any pros or cons, IYO, current condition, etc?

Our first cruise was on CP a few years ago, and I thought it was just beautiful. It was newer then, we were brand new to cruising, the itinerary took in Barbados, St Kitts, St Lucia, etc. it was so fabulous - such a great, and lucky, intro to cruising. It sure set the bar high for future cruises.

That is when we came home and booked the Crown Princess for two weeks later on a TA and another Princess for that fall to the Greek Islands. It is funny - I had not heard of the Norovirus, had no clue which cabin to choose, etc. just had incredible beginners' luck.

Anyway, very curious.
You are so much more experienced. How does the ship look to you now?

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    Hi Sass, the Caribbean Princess last face lift was 2011. The funny thing is, whatever they have done to it, it was hardly noticeable. If you were on the ship after the face lift, then nothing has changed.

    The first thing that we noticed was the absence of the library. It is now sort of part of the internet cafe. Vines is new after the face lift, as is the remodeled international cafe.

    Skywalker still has that "tunnel" with the people mover which looks marvelous but is disappearing from the other grand class ships. I was told the reason why the trade mark shopping cart handle-bar Skywalker was relocated was because of wind drag and poor fuel economy; and you thought only us worry about fuel economy on our cars.

    For a ship that is going to be 10 years old this April, it is still in pretty good shape and didn't show it's age. It still looks pretty good. With no smoking throughout the entire ship except on some open deck area, there are no cigarette burns on the carpet. The kept repainting the outside of the ship almost at every port so it looks shinny from the outside all the time.

    If you sailed with Princess more than once on any of their grand class ship, you would have noticed that the layout and the cabin designs are pretty well standard fare: they all look alike; and the location for the venues are pretty much at the same place.

    The Caribbean Princess does not have a sliding roof over the pool area like other Princess Grand Class ships. That's a major difference.

    Of all the Princess ships that we have been on, we liked the Diamond Princess the best, especially all the tile work around the pool. That was 2007. We have been on a few Princess ships since and they all looked very much alike.

    We have seen pictures of their new ship Royal Princess and it looks marvelous. DW didn't like the itinerary but we might give it a try anyway, maybe next winter, just to see the ship. We were on the Oasis of the Sea when it was debuted and that ship was the destination and not the ports. We doubted it that the Royal Princess and the newer Regal Princess would be a destination like the Oasis or the Allure but we are tired of the Grand class ships and want to experience something different.

    As to norovirus: knock on wood, we have not been sick on board yet. We are quite diligent with hand washing, use knuckle to push buttons, not touching hand rails etc. We seldom ate at the buffet except the welcome aboard lunch and the disembarkation breakfast. Other times would be really early excursions that leaves us with no choice but the buffet.

    DW came close but I think it was more motion sickness than anything else as the sea was quite rough both times.

    In terms of ships, we have not seen any ship that doesn't look fabulous, regardless of cruise lines. We haven't seen any ships we didn't like yet. We have avoid certain cruise lines due to quality issues but not because the ship looks dated or tire. For all the major mass market cruise lines, it pays to remodel the ships rather than to build new ones as it is so much cheaper to renovate.

    When the ship is so old that it is not even worth renovating, they'll either sell it to a second tier cruise line or put them into a new market where their customer don't know any better if it is still serviceable.

    We thought there are some ships out there that the colors are way too bright and the decor/scheme is too loud for our liking but it is more personal taste than the ship looks bad.

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    Eschew, "We haven't seen any ships we didn't like yet."
    Thanks for the review of the Princess for me. You must be a joy to travel with. I hope we meet up some day on a ship.

    My absolute favorite thing on the Princess ships I've been on are the long promenades on those ships. I love on Caribbean and Crown being able to walk nearly all the way around the ship on one level and being able to go inside and walk across to the other side to easily catch the views from both sides of the ship. Having health issues, I also like the no smoking policy.

    The Royal Princess does look beautiful, but has a few issues that are putting me off. They have done away with the long promenade deck and I would really miss that. They have also eliminated central stairs, but added more cabins, with no more elevators. Complaints I read are that movement is slower and more crowded. There are no places where you can walk directly across the ship without going up or down first. The rest of the ship looks so lovely though, I could get past those things. However, the other issue is the revamping of the theater with no outside isles. One reviewer said it felt terribly tight, and even unsafe. However, I like sitting in the back anyway, so maybe not a problem, and it would be fun to go on such a new ship.

    Crown is the biggest ship I have been on. It seemed huge. It is hard to wrap my head around these even larger ships. I would like to try one just once though.

    Thanks again for your view of the CP.

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    Crown is the same size as the Caribbean Princess, almost identical in size.

    We were on the Oasis of the sea for a "preview" in 2009. That's a big ship. Imagine twice the size of the Crown Princess and twice as many people. After our visit, it is safe to say I had my curiosity fixed and have no desire to go on that ship again.

    The Royal Princess in comparison, is not all that much bigger than the Crown Princess and holds only a few hundred more passengers. As I have said before, we have not been on it as DW did not like their itinerary. We will see if 2014 and 2015 is any different. The Regal Princess is coming on line as well so there maybe more options to try their newer ships.

    It's kind of funny that through the process of elimination, we ended up narrowing our choices to 2 or 3 cruise lines. I have to confess, it's been quite a few years now that we have been on a HAL, NCL, RCL or Carnival ship. The last time we were not on a Princess or Celebrity ship was 2009 and it was the then brand new RCL Oasis. Carnival and NCL was the year before that and HAL was even further back.

    The reason for not on those ship for a while? Not many. We didn't felt comfortable with the fellow passengers on HAL. We thought we didn't fit in. We didn't care for the layout and decor of NCL ships. We thought the color scheme was too loud, just not our personal taste. Our experience with them was also average, very inattentive service and quality of food not so good in the main dining room.

    We actually didn't mind Carnival and RCL. We thought the food on Carnival was actually quite good and we didn't have any bad experience with them. Food on the RCL is not as good but they made very good pizzas. The service was as good as Carnival's. What I don't enjoy about the 3 of them was the constant push to sell sell sell, some times to the point of being in your face. As an example: I really don't care for staff trying to sell me Bailey's Irish Cream liqueur with my morning coffee. I also dislike PA announcements and there were lots. We can handle (ignore) the subtle sale pitches.

    And for the last 3 to 4 years, it was down to Princess and Celebrity. I have no preference between the two but DW does. A happy wife is a happy home, so you get the idea. We are also getting close to level up on the loyalty programs so we thought we should level up first. Loyalty has its benefits! So for now, it's only Princess and Celebrity for the next few cruises.

    The food in the MDR is a touch better on Celebrity but quantity was less, which was fine. Celebrity also offers special lunch/brunch once in a while which takes out the monotony. The buffet on the Princess is better than Celebrity but it is always the same and gets boring after a few days of the same old same old, especially for breakfast. Since we stop going to the buffet for breakfast most of the time, it is not an issue any more.

    What we did find is the sanitation practices and general cleanliness of the Celebrity ships are not as good as the Princess ships. Most won't notice the difference but it is the little things, the attention to finer details that makes the difference. We took extra caution while we were on board a cruise ship anyway but we took it one step further on Celebrity because of our findings.

    On last last cruise with Princess, we noticed that there were more PA announcements to promote sales events which I found annoying. I politely suggested to the cruise director that some announcements were intrusive and we did not care for them. We also put it into our survey. Let's hope that this is just a one-off and not the trend as it may turn out to be a major turn off.

    In the end, we felt they both offer good value for the $$ in comparison to the other cruise lines and that's why we are sticking with both of them so far.

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