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Princess Cruises: Caribbean Princess

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Mar 1, 2017

Review of Caribbean Princess

Dave Augustine Age: 66 Occupation:Retired Number of Cruises: 12 Cruise Line: Princess Ship: Caribbean Princess Sailing Date: 2016-03-10 Itinerary: Western Caribbean 5/10/16 My wife and I embarked on a 10 day cruise on the Caribbean Princess on March 20. 2016. We were very happy with the entire cruise experience – good food, good accommodations and friendly staff. The problem started when we had disembarked and realized a short while later that

we had left several zip lock bags of jewelry on the closet shelf of our stateroom. The contents of the bags included watches valued at over $200, James Avery bracelets valued at over $200, and numerous other necklaces bracelets and earrings. The most important valuable piece was a diamond ring valued at $4900. We immediately contacted Princess to tell them about our loss and they advised us that we would be required to submit a lost and found form and that it would be 4-6 weeks until our goods would be returned. We immediately submitted the form along with the appraisal for the ring and waited impatiently for the response. On May 10, 2016 we were advised by email that Princess had recovered our missing jewelry. They sent a picture of the recovered items and SURPISE! Everything was there except for the $4900 ring. A subsequent phone call to Princess Cruise Lines yielded no satisfaction. I asked if they were going to investigate to see who the thief was. Response was a curt “No”. I asked if there was a documented chain of custody for our items. Again “No”. I asked if there would be any compensation for our loss since it was obviously stolen by one of their employees. Once again “No”. The rude lady that I spoke with at their lost and found department was very insistent that Princess is not responsible for loss. I understand that position, but I at least expected them to give a damn, take corrective action within their company, and maybe offer some level of compensation in cruise credit. THEY DON’T CARE! You can be assured we will NEVER cruise with Princess again, and I would advise you to avoid them along with ALL of the “Carnival Group” which includes Carnival, Cunard, Seabourn, Holland America, Costa, Aida.

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May 9, 2016

Western Caribbean

5/10/16 My wife and I embarked on a 10 day cruise on the Caribbean Princess on March 20. 2016. We were very happy with the entire cruise experience – good food, good accommodations and friendly staff. The problem started when we had disembarked and realized a short while later that we had left several zip lock bags of jewelry on the closet shelf of our stateroom. The contents of the bags included watches valued at over $200, James Avery bracelets

valued at over $200, and numerous other necklaces bracelets and earrings. The most important valuable piece was a diamond ring valued at $4900. We immediately contacted Princess to tell them about our loss and they advised us that we would be required to submit a lost and found form and that it would be 4-6 weeks until our goods would be returned. We immediately submitted the form along with the appraisal for the ring and waited impatiently for the response. On May 10, 2016 we were advised by email that Princess had recovered our missing jewelry. They sent a picture of the recovered items and SURPISE! Everything was there except for the $4900 ring. A subsequent phone call to Princess Cruise Lines yielded no satisfaction. I asked if they were going to investigate to see who the thief was. Response was a curt “No”. I asked if there was a documented chain of custody for our items. Again “No”. I asked if there would be any compensation for our loss since it was obviously stolen by one of their employees. Once again “No”. The rude lady that I spoke with at their lost and found department was very insistent that Princess is not responsible for loss. I understand that position, but I at least expected them to give a damn, take corrective action within their company, and maybe offer some level of compensation in cruise credit. THEY DON’T CARE! You can be assured we will NEVER cruise with Princess again, and I would advise you to avoid them along with ALL of the “Carnival Group” which includes Carnival, Cunard, Seabourn, Holland America, Costa, Aida.

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Mar 7, 2016

Western and Eastern Caribbean

My husband and I have been on 13 cruises on two different cruise lines. We decided on this cruise due to itinerary only. This was the first time we were on a Princess Cruise -- Western and Eastern Caribbean. On the first day, we had a flood in the cabin. Water backed up. This never happened to us before. It was fixed in one day. We received 5 pieces of fudge for our inconvenience. On other cruises if there was a problem, they sent a bottle of

wine. This ship was very disorganized. It took me the first week to know where I was going and not getting turned around. The crew for the most part was courteous. At the main desk, when reporting the water problem, I got a curt answer. Also, at the excursion counter, I got a curt answer when they were slow with long line waiting and one one person working the desk. The ship needs some refurbishing, especially the cabin we were in. The last week of the cruise, they decided to replace the double door to the pool on Lido, Deck 15. There was plywood when you got off the elevators which was a huge inconvenience. They were working on it for days. Also, the elevators were constantly under maintenance so we could not use them. Toward the end of the cruise on Deck 6, the bathrooms were not working. The food was great in the Coral Dining Room. The main waiter and junior waiter were wonderful as well as the Mat'er De -- no problems there. Embarkment was good -- got on the ship in 20 minutes. Getting off the ship was not good. We were not given good directions regarding leaving the ship -- only where to meet and when. Many people brought their carry on luggage and had to drag them up or down stairs or take elevators when it was time for them to leave the ship. Not good for the disabled people for sure. We will never take another Princess cruise again.

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Jan 12, 2016

Caribbean

We have cruised 20+ times on five cruise lines. This review is for our fourth Princess Cruise on 11-29-15 but it is the first time I have ever provided a review. Our cruise was delayed one day leaving Houston one day due to fog in the Houston ship channel. Princess Cruise Lines cannot be faulted for that. Our 6 days on the ship was very good. Princess Corporate was MUCH less professional about how the one-day delay was communicated to passengers

and how the resulting change of the ships itinerary was handled. We were not told until we were onboard IN THE MUSTER DRILL at 3:45 pm that the ship would NOT be going to Grand Cayman. No way that itinerary change would not have been known and approved by Princess Corporate well prior to leaving the dock. Common sense tells me that it could ONLY have been intentional that we were not told until after the ship left the dock and was underway. We immediately went to the Customer Service desk to try to get OFF the ship but after waiting in a LONG line it was too late to disembark. There were LOTS of outraged passengers like us who had no interest in going to Belize. Princess credited passengers pro-rata for the one day shorter cruise but NOT for the significant difference in the itinerary. We SPECIFICALLY booked this cruise to go to Grand Cayman. We were not interested in going to Belize (which is a run that the Caribbean Princess frequently makes) or we would have booked one of those cruises. The dining room food was good; the Italian specialty restaurant food was excellent. The specialty steak house was good but not excellent. Our inside cabin was well laid-out with plenty of hanging storage separated from the bed area- much better than Carnival Dream, Magic or the older Carnival ships. Cable television did not include some of the NFL games we expected to be available. The plotting detail of the ships course on the TV was very poor compared to other cruise lines. The ships location did not often show the ships relation to where the ship had been or how far to where the ship was headed. Good. We do not gamble. The  production was one of the two best shows I've ever seen on a cruise. The other was the Texas Tenors (the $1million dollar winners of one of the TV talent contests) on Royal Caribbean. On the Caribbean Princess the band "Lots of Fun" from (Russia?) was excellent with strong voices, good range of music. The piano player in the piano bar was just OK - he certainly was not up to the standard of Bert Stratton whom we enjoyed on the same ship in April 2014. If you walk daily for exercise deck 7 is narrow and has stairs but it is about the only wind-protected option We've been to Belize before. After the fist time there we now don't bother getting off the ship since it is a tender port. We felt that the excursions were well over-priced. Princess corporate in California was NOT professional about EITHER notifying passengers directly (on Sunday or Monday) by not having information available for passengers to call to get a recorded update. Further I am confident that Princess Corporate in California for KNEW sometime on MONDAY (possibly even on Sunday) that the itinerary would be changed. Princess Corporate did finally contact me on Thursday 1-7 after being promised that I would receive a call within 2 business days of my cruise feedback provided to them on December 9th and after my follow-up emails. Unfortunately, Princess corporate expressed only lip service to being interested in their lack of communication to passengers or acting to improve customer relations. They were worthless.

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Jan 3, 2015

three nights

Princess Cruises has always been synonymous with providing a premier experience with excellent service. It turns out this is just a farce. My husband and I were extremely disappointed by our recent experience aboard the Caribbean Princess. From the very moment we boarded the ship until the time we got off, we had perfunctory service at best by staff who barely acknowledged our existence and were not equipped to answer basic questions, such as where

to make dinner reservations and how to check-in for a bungalow we rented on Princess Cays. While doing the muster drill, staff were extremely rude not even a smile or eye contact. At Princess Cays, we wasted well over a half-hour and were extremely frustrated by the time we got to our bungalow because our tickets said to check-in at the watersports area, which like all lines during the duration of our trip was long. When we asked several staff members where to go, none were able to guide us in the right direction. In fact, as we approached one female employee in particular, we were made to feel as if we were an extreme inconvenience. Not to mention, an employee, who appeared to be a manager, walked into our bungalow without saying a word to my husband and I as we sat directly in front of the cabana. My husband asked the manager if he could help him and in response the manager said he was checking to see what needed to be cleaned (at 1:30 p.m.) and even got defensive. Food also was a big disappointment, although we did have much better service in the specialty restaurants. Suffice to say, we will never book a Princess Cruise again and caution anyone else who has a similar perception about the cruise company's service. Just okay Fine and spacious N/A N/A Bad service experience. Will not book Princess ever again!

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Jun 7, 2014

Eastern Caribbean

My husband and I sailed on the Caribbean Princess to the Eastern Caribbean for our honeymoon. I have sailed on 2 other cruise lines and my husband was a first timer. We chose Princess because of their reputation as being the very best in all categories. For most of our honeymoon we had a great experience. Unfortunately, it was soured on the day before disembarkation due to a sewage water flood in our cabin.

What was much worse than that was how Passenger Services handled the incident. I have never had such dismissive customer service! The entire cruise there were issues with the toilets on the ship. For the most part, 2/3 of the general toilets on the ship were "out of order" and would not flush. Our personal cabin had this issue on the second to last day of the cruise. We called passenger services to let them know and they said they were having a 'suction issue' and would send someone up to take care of it. Being told the issue was taken care of; we left the ship to tender to the Princess Cays. After waiting for an hour to leave the ship, we were told we also needed photo I.D., so we ran back up to our cabin. When we reached our cabin, we found the toilet was overflowing and sewage water had filled the front half of the room. All of our luggage, shoes, and clothes that were in the closet were wet and discolored. The carpet was completely saturated. We immediately called passenger services and told them the toilet was currently flooding our cabin and they put us on hold for 15 minutes. We were never able to actually speak with anyone. We began moving all of our contaminated things to the dry areas and continued to wait for assistance... we never got any. We decided to leave to the island and deal with it when we came back, hoping that our calls for assistance would send someone to our cabin to fix the problem. We returned to the ship ~3 hours later to find the floors still completely saturated and our belongings in the contaminated heap where we had left them. You could see the floors had been vacuumed but not cleaned. We found our own personal beach towels had been used to mop up the sewage water and were thrown in a garbage bag sitting on the wet floor. There were no messages for us, no help, nothing. We again called Passenger Services for assistance. This time they sent someone up to talk to us. They tried to tell us the water overflow was from the clean line to the toilet, not the dirty. I picked up a swim suit top from the wet pile of clothes and showed them the disgusting, discoloration. I asked how that would come from clean water. No answer. They ended up laundering our clothes and bags for us. They said they "sanitized" our shoes, but we found out from our steward that all they did was put them in the clothes dryer. There was still dirt on our athletic shoes. We asked to be moved to another cabin while the carpets were cleaned and dried. We were told "no". Princess's solution: lay down beach towels on the carpet that was soaked with sewage water. We asked if there was anywhere we could shower. We were told "no", and passenger services couldn't understand why putting down towels on the carpet wasn't good enough. The beach towels soaked through within minutes. We obviously wore shoes at all times while in our cabin, so now not only is the wet carpet contaminated but so is the rest of the carpet and the bathroom. We went down to the Passenger Services desk to speak with the manager. He offered the least assistance. He said he didn't want to speak with us at the counter and asked us to follow him somewhere where we could talk. I was expecting to walk into his office. Instead, he led us into a public walkway outside the Crown Grill dining room. Here he continued to tell us that the best they could do was put down towels and try to dry out the carpet. He told us to go to dinner and he would figure out how he could better accommodate us, and he would leave a message on our cabin phone about how we would proceed from there. We went to dinner and walked for a while. When we returned to our cabin at ~8p.m. we found our laundered clothes on the bed. The carpet was still dirty and wet with a fresh layer of beach towels on top. We went back down to the Passenger Services desk to speak with him. We were told he left at 7 and would not return. We disembarked the next morning without ever hearing from anyone! As far as our steward knew, the carpets had never been cleaned. He was the one that kept replacing the towels trying to dry out the carpet. No one else paid any attention the raw sewage water that had soaked half of our cabin and belongings. Needless to say I was and still am absolutely shocked! Good luck to the next person that stays in cabin E321 on the Princess Caribbean. You are walking on and placing your belongings on sewage soaked carpet!

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Jan 13, 2014

Western Caribbean

Having taken four other cruises. (three of them with Carnival,) the selection of Princess brought a heightened expectation of better service, ambiance and perception of value than the competition. This was not the case. To get the particulars of this January 4th -11the voyage out of the way: Record cold was forecast for the region and it was quite chilly/windy in Houston. Embarkation was relatively swift and the Bayport Terminal well-suited

for the task. Lines moved quickly, alcohol possession was not checked, and we were exploring the ship by Noon, settling in and enjoying a leisurely lunch in the Horizon Court. Within hours after the hour late departure, we began to encounter the warmth of the Gulf. The first full day brought enough sun and heat to allow for a marginally acceptable "deck day," with many of our fellow travelers enjoying the plentiful lounges. Days two through six brought heavy showers, thunderstorms, low temperatures in the 50's ,and 45-50 knot sustained winds, with gusts in excess of 60 knots. The 950 foot ship rode heavily in the 20 foot plus seas, with several passenger areas closed. Day Seven brought some out to the first sunny day, in several. The following day was our arrival, with strong winds and temperatures in the upper 40's. In Cozumel, tThe excursion, to the Mayan ruins at Coba, cannot be recommended, as the participants travel in excess of eight hours, (including a 30 minute stop for shopping enroute,) to visit a significant archaeological site for a 45 minute visit and a 2 km walk. The tour guide, however, was excellent. As a result of the heavy weather, the stop in Roatan was cancelled altogether and the same caused the cancellation the tour to the Xuantunich ruin. While not Princess's fault, or responsibility, this certainly put a damper on the entire cruise experience. Note: There wer several bottles of alcohol purchased in both Cozumel and Belize and there was no effort to retain it for delivery pre-debarcation. Day Five bought an announcement that there was an outbreak of the Novo Virus on the ship, and "Condition Red" hygiene standards would be in effect for the remainder of the voyage. It turned out to be the symptoms of four, of the over 3,000 passengers, onboard. As others have reported, on other cruises, the fog delayed our entry into the port for 4 1/2 hours. with the ship's berthing at 11:30 AM. The debarkation, while not chaos, was disorganized, lacked efficiency and lacked real care for the passengers. Originally instructed to vacate the cabin at 8:AM, we remained there until well after Noon and independently decided to go down to the Island Dining Room, indicated as being our earlier assembly point. In situ for 1 1/2 hours, we were directed to depart the ship and claim our luggage. This was easily accomplished and a friendly porter secured. Transiting through customs was quick, with no one's bag being checked and brief, cursory questions asked by the Customs Agent. Now about the experience with Princess: This cruiseline was selected, above others, even though there was a closer port, (New Orleans,) the destinations similar, and the price higher. Originally booked as a single, there was no discount to the fare and the resultant rate was the merely doubled "per-person" rate, (less $75 port taxes.) Other lines frequently add only a single supplement. At the last minute, an additional passenger was secured and the $75 port tax fee paid. The balcony cabin was relatively small, clean, well appointed and adequate for this length of the cruise. Our cabin steward was accommodating, eager to serve and pleasant. Unfortunately, the condition of the ship itself is below standard. The paintwork and varnish are in real need of attention and some of the interiors seem dated. With 3,000 plus people on board, the ship never felt crowded, but this comes at a sacrifice. Unlike other ships, the Caribbean Princess seems a bit claustrophobic, with many low ceilings. The notable exceptions are the mid-ship Piazza (mid-ship deck 5 -7,) and the Princess Theater, (forward.) There are numerous "settings" above and below to read, exercise, be entertained, shop, etc. without feeling crowded. Our "anytime" dining usually occurred around 7, with minimal wait times. The food was, on average, "above average." The buffet usually good, the Coral Dining Room, up a notch from that, with the service, in each pleasant and eager. The food/in the upcharged Crown Grill was exceptional and the experience recommended. Sabatini's was universally disappointing with perfunctory service and pedestrian taste. Frankly, this was the biggest disappointment the cruise. Entertainment was predictable, with the times short and the settings minimal, especially in the Princess Theater. Much of the overall "entertainment" required passenger participation with bingo, trivia, a passenger singing chorus, an egg-drop and other similar events. This is a much older crowd, than some other cruiselines, and it showed in the types of activities as well as the "sidewalks" being rolled up at a way too early hour. We cannot recommend Princess, above what other cruises have to offer. As Princess is now owned by Carnival, the line between differences is quite blurred. As there is another port 4 hours closer to home, with more cruise options, future travel will likely occur there.

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Oct 7, 2013

Canada New England

Quick alternate to a 7 day Bermuda cruise, from New York food quality and selection excellent stateroom small, clean, good storage, balcony lacked teak decking typical on board activities did not book/take any excursions We took this cruise for it's general cruise area, and a chance to have as much seafood especially lobster, for lunch in the ports. Our "level" with Princes is that of Platinum, compared to other

cruise lines, no level of Princess really offered that much in special amenities, , for example, robes had to be asked for, no welcome bottle of bubbly, no fruit basket in cabin, no complimentary bottle of water - these are just nit-picky things, after all, Princes is not considered a Premium product, and these minuses were of no consequence to the overall satisfaction of the cruise. We did have priority boarding, and a chance to dine at the buffet early, and that was our one and only buffet during the cruise. Area is too small, passengers pushy, seniors using canes to break into the line - food not that appetizing, serving utensils sticky and gummy, traffic flow was poor. Pasta was hard, turkey chewy, no pizza just awful. Cabin small, bath small., shower small , balcony small. Nothing welcoming back for high level of repeater. Fridge had two cans of coke, one Pepsi, and 1.5L bottle of water @$3.75. Looked at room service menu, ok, just ok. No breakfast, only breakfast was on the laughable fill out form placed on the door knob , the smallest number of menu items I have ever seen for breakfast. Pizza was available at $3.00 delivery charge. Now, one more negative, ok, two more, the ships production show - we could not bear the one we saw, was awful. The male singers were sloppy dressers, the dancers seemed bored beyond belief, they danced as though they were asleep, yeah, even bumping into each other. And everyone's favorite, smoking. smoking is banned in all staterooms and on balconies, and everywhere, except outdoor designated areas', EXCEPT in the casino, which is dimly lit, smoke filled, nauseating to be in, and reeking. To get to point B from point A passengers must traverse the casino. Sure, go one deck up or below and maneuver around the smoke. These are my only peeves about this cruise, from here, all was absolutely wonderful. The ship is, very much in the mode of Princess ships built during the late 1990's, 2000's. She does have the iconic "handle bar" sited 18 decks above the sea that is home to Skywalker's, the ships, disco, note, it was removed from Grand Princess. As Platinum guests we were privy to a two hour daily cocktail hour with daily drink specials, and wonderful canapés, with decent DJ music playing. What a grand space, and what a view, especially at sail away. One sad thing about Skywalker's, with its disco theme, all that was played at night was 60's.70's and line dancing junk. One night we waited, and were promised it would be played, for three hours for a request, and by 1:00am left. Oh well, not a deal beaker. Far too many ships crowd every inch with photographers, with back drop scenes, posing stations et cetera. Not so on Caribbean Princess. They were there, not in you face, and no obstructing your way of passage. What was in the way, walkers, canes lying around and motorized scooters. Looked like a Wal Mart parking lot. Our first port was Newport, Rhode Island. Tendering is a must here, there is no dock per se, just a wooden pier. Anyone that has never been to New England will be struck by the true New England seaport town. Being New Englanders, Richard and me were ready for real New England lobster and some other wonderful North East delectable. We have our favorite place, however, there are several seafood restaurants along the piers that lead up to the Main Street of Newport. Not to be missed for many are the Mansions, the mammoth summer homes to millionaires, open and accepting tours. Not the cheap hot dog roll comments coming up. Our musts for lunch were real New England Clam Chowder, Ipswich fried clams, the whole ones with the bellies, Wellfleet oysters on the half shell, and lobster "lobsta" rolls on cheap hot dog rolls, that's rolls, not buns. Next up Boston, our home town. We wanted to go out to Eastie, East Boston, for pizza, by subway, and opted for China Town instead. We booked the shuttle from the newly enlarged Black Falcon Pier, to Northern Avenue, which is very close to Quincy Market, the perfect start to a self guided Boston visit. There are many excursions, if you do not know Boston, by all means, do not follow my lead, and take one for Boston's full impact. We now this city oh so well. We had this to do, that to see, and did what we personally wanted to do. Silly, to some, but we really needed, I mean needed, to experience Macy's. Once Jordan Marsh, now a huge Macy's, this is not your typical "mall" Macy's. It is floor upon floor of real Macy's. The store, rumored to be the second largest next to Harold Square, is going to be enlarged and become even more fabulous. Other fabulousness comes with the doubling in size of Neiman Marcus, one of the two there, Lord and Taylor was recently enlarged as well. Boston is a world class city, to wit, has a higher standard, and richness that other cities lack. The new sky scrapers and the most luxurious hotel marks and New York and Paris shops are here, dining has its own personality make the city unique, so Bostonian. Where else can you buy Gap jeans, a simple something for a ghastly price at Chanel, buy one tie and two free at Jos. A Bank, and have a bowl of Chowda at Legal's, all within 20 minutes? Why, Boston, Wicked good. We dined at Peach Ranch, in China Town, which is very traditional. Boston is known for its "Boston Style Chinese food". Plates are not garnished with fillers, like broccoli and pea pods. Those are ordered separately. Potions were huge, and we could not take any home. Directly across from Peach is China Pearl, one of the oldest Chinese restaurants in the city, offering a more Americanized menu. There are other great places to dine as well. Look for live poultry shops, Peking Duck roasting on spits, jade shops, tailors with Hong Kong quality - China Town Boston is a special place, easy to get around. We took the T, subway, to the Back Bay and spent a good amount of time in the Pru, the venerable Prudential Center, with its many high end shops. Visited our first Pink Berry, loved it. And, then there is the whole Quincy Market, a real treat, foodies and the like will love it. Next along comes Bar Harbor, with its fabulous Acadia Park, closed due to the government shutdown. We had planned to do our thing, so we did. Lots of Lobster places, and lots of good quality souvenir shops in this clean little beauty of a place. The place we enjoyed lunch was offering New England Clam Chowder, traditional lobster roll (yes on a cheap hot dog roll) and fresh Wild Maine Blueberry Pie, all for $21.99 per, and that was a steal. The restaurant, Rapahuni, odd name for Maine, was 2/3rd the way up "main street". A real relic from the past, Rexal Drugs, so old it comes on spell check(!), a real Rexal, with a real soda fountain and lunch counter! No Walgreen or Rite Aid here. Boy, it brought back memories. Our next port was totally new to us. St. John New Brunswick, not to be confused with St. John, Newfoundland. Not quite ready this John is for the new boom in cruise business. We booked Gray Line tour, $20.00CND on the pier, and got the full 2 hours worth of the little there is to see there. Don't get me wrong, we had a wonderful guide, Mile Stewart, a shoddy old bus, and saw it all. The reversing falls is a must, but, feh, looks like any rapids in a river. Saw the Red Rose tea plant, saw the Irving Oil Refinery, Irving Paper Mill, Irving Mansion and several parks founded by the Irving family, an the former Irving mansion and the current Irving mansion. Saw the City Market, pretty, full of wonderful meat and seafood, could not buy anything there. No places to buy anything, one hot and crowded souvenir shop, that's about it. Oh, I researched restaurants on line, and one look at them from the outside, and NOOOOOOOOOO. One place that was seemingly ok was Steamers, along the quay side, hanging lobster floats and netting and the like inside. Dirty place with an even dirtier men's room. This lunch offered lobster rolls on a croissant, the lobster spiced, some sort of brown sauce in it, the chowder, barely warm, too much potato and laced with sage and - well, lets just skip the rest. Awful. Aside from the St. J experience, Halifax, Nova Scotia was a joy, improved, grown and ready for prime time since our last visit. We have been to Halifax many times, and have enjoyed Nova Scotia on land vacations as well. We marveled at the new boardwalk, the endless shops, the gardens, and numerous places to eat and drink. I did research and we had to have lunch at Salty's, a fair walk up the boardwalk from where the Caribbean Princess was docked. Also docked were Carnival Glory and Veendam. We ambled along stopping at shops and galleries, found Salty's and had a very nice lunch, the cheap hot dog roll welcomed. Close to Salty's is Cows, offering excellent local ice creams and sundae's and the like and some wildly funny tee's, such as 40 shades of hay and other cheeky titles. That completes the ports part of this cruise. We booked this for the price, and it just happened to coincide with a perfect date for our honeymoon. Of course we booked it for Boston, since that is where we met and lived and enjoyed a standard of living we have not found in Virginia. We opted for fixed dining, in the Palm Restaurant, the more exciting of the three almost identical venues, had second seating and enjoyed a wonderful waiter who took care of every guest with a warmth that is rare at sea today, although young, Emil was versed in the old world standard of dining room manners. No dining venue has the upper level, in fact, no public rooms offer any upper ceiling vantages, save for the theater. Ceilings on Caribbean Princess are low. As for the dining, nothing, not anything was missing from the dinner menu's, and I would dare any main line cruise line to offer anything like those found in the MDR on Caribbean Princess. Duck breast, steaks chops, shrimp in many preps, escargots , Beef Wellington all of the expected's, the must haves, were here- on the left hand page of every dinner menu, the "always available" would others to shame, the "always" being extensive, an full menu unto itself. I could but will not go on and on here. We enjoyed Sabatini's, which has thankfully changed it's menu over the years, and now offers a more complete Italian experience, amenable to a wide range of tastes. We savored a "basa encrusted in clay", a bass type fish, wrapped in a salt and flour clay, in which the whole fish is stuffed with fresh green herbs then roasted then it is cracked open at table, whereupon the waiter skins, debones and filets it, sauces it then serves it. Oh my god, like beggars chicken with fish! The retro added Crown Grill is like the better steak house chains, all dark paneling, lots of brass. Chops, a rack, the finest beef are brought table side and described, just to let you know just how beautiful the quality is, and that should justify a fitting meal. The filet mignon that I ordered was superb beyond description, Richard's rack of lamb, consisting of 5 ribs, was purely heaven. Everything here was what one would expect, and to be perfectly honest, several notches ABOVE the alternate or inclusive chop venues on other cruise lines we have sailed these past years. Both venues offered their own special salads, soups and desserts as well as superb cheese board, all for $25.00 per person, per visit, a real steal, a little price for a lot of pleasure. Wines and drinks were also priced on the shy side of things. Wines, perfectly lovely and well rounded, offerings to enhance any meal, mood, or whim, some of the best old world European and U.S. and other "where" worldly wines, were priced on the low side, almost embarrassingly low, low compared to any cruise line we have sailed in this past decade, as seen and ordered and paid for on their ships, and gladly ordered and savored on Princess for less. Cocktails, strong, smooth and priced around $7.95, for martini's, single malts a good bargain as well. Princess has not added a lot of the latest innovations to their ships over the years, yet they keep up with the competition. We were a little wary going back to Princess after an absence, an absence due to Carnival buying the product, and what effect that may have had on a product we once adored. Our fears were all for naught, as not only has Princess survived, and expanded, is the same one we loved, and offers some new innovations we have come to enjoy at sea today.

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May 29, 2013

Europe

This Transatlantic cruise was on my bucket list since I was a child, the weather was really not good and therefore this made the crossing extremely long. The tours were interesting most of all Scotland where we would definitely return. The service on board of Princess is always excellent if I had to rate it on a 1 to 5 scale I would give them a five. The ship is huge and that to me was unpleasant, it felt like we were living in full shopping

mal. The food was very good, I cannot say excellent but as always on Princess very good will qualify the meals. The staterooms are extremely small and not very functional I have cruised a lot with Princess and other lines and truly have never seen such small stateroom, however we managed. Not the most pleasant however. Due to the number of people on board, it was very hard to join activities without feeling crowed, in the ship 's defense, we knew this was a huge ship and having no experience with this size of ship we were very disappointed and will never go on such a populated vessel again. The Lizard end in England is a must see , And Orkney Island in Scotland is wonderful and we would go back to Scotland, We had felt so crowed on the ship that we skipped all the big city like London and Paris and stuck to the small tours. All in all they were satisfying. The Caribbean Princess is a beautiful ship with all amenities that you can dream of. However, my partner and I love to read and were expecting the Library to be what we imagine as a library, LOTS OF BOOKS, comfortable reading areas , we must say that the Library was a total disappointment. I would not dare call that a library, it is an Internet café so Caribbean Princess should specify and clarify that part of their promotion. There is no Library Another negative on the ship is the lack of space at the Princess theater, many times we had to stand or skip the show altogether for lack of space. With the number of passengers on board, an effort should be made to accommodate everyone who wishes to see the show, perhaps by adding a third representation.

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By L K_CR

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May 15, 2013

Caribbean

Southern Caribbean cruise with stops to Curaco, Princess Cays, and Aruba. 3 at sea days in a 7 day trip, which my husband and I feel is awesome. The Specialty restaurants are very, very good. We were fortunate enough to be upgraded to a suite. We chose to have room service every night on our balcony. Absolutely incredible! Nothing like a full suite. I am pretty sure we will never be lucky enough again to get such an upgrade...this

was an unbelievable room. We spent most of our time on our balcony or at the pool. We did not really seek out the entertainment. I love Princess and hate to see the 1.5 stars average ratings. I really think that mostly the squeaky wheels are doing the reviews, which is what prompted me to do this short review. Princess is awesome, and if your expectations are in line with a realistic vacation experience, and not absolute perfection at every turn, you will be absolutely delighted.

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Jan 19, 2013

southern caribbean

AVOID THIS CRUISE LINE. When we booked our cruise I was pleased with our suite assignment, based upon the online information which led us to believe the suite had a great view of the forward seas. When we checked into our suite we were immediately disappointed with the room; there were no walk-in closets, as described, however the primary problem was that our balcony had a view of the bridge including a security camera directly facing us, people

in the bridge and other passengers on a walkway above the bridge facing our suite and balcony. Additionally the public walkway, which faced not only our balcony but the window into our bedroom, gave passengers the ability to look directly into our suite, which forced us to keep the drapes closed at all times. The Captain's decision to spend the full day at their Private Island, and not start earlier for Curacao knowing there was rough weather ahead, was a terrible decision for the passengers and a financial gain for Princess. His decision resulted in our arrival into Curacao at 4:30 pm. Needless to say we forfeited our excursion money for a diving trip. So we adjusted our schedule to walk the downtown area only to find out the shops closed at 6 pm. We had less that 45 minutes by the time we arrived to the shopping district to shop. This resulted in one of the two major ports a major disappointment based on the Captain's decision to spend the full time at Princess Cays. Fifty percent of our vacation was wiped out by a bad decision and poor planning by the Captain! Princess offered us $300 in cruise credit for another cruise after we complained. What an insult. Do not cruise with the company. If you do you will be disappointed. Specialty restaurants were good however the rest of the food was similar to that found on Carnival. If you purchase a soft drink pass be prepared for poor service. Extremely disappointing. We purchased a suite with "panoramic view" We received a view of the bridge. OK- not great POOR SERVICE.

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Aug 2, 2012

British Isles

I recently travelled with my wife on a Princess cruise to the United Kingdom. It began in Southampton and was supposed to go around Ireland, Liverpool, Scotland and one stop in France. This trip was meant to be a celebratory trip for our 35th wedding anniversary. There were countless delays. First, boarding the ship on embarkation day. The ship failed a security test, and then there were mechanical issues. Passengers were stuck at

the cruise terminal for hours waiting without enough food. Once the ship passed another security test, the cleaning staff were delayed with the staterooms, so we could not enter our rooms. The dining rooms were chaotic as everyone was very hungry after waiting for about 4 hours in the cruise terminal. The ship did not end up leaving Southampton until 24 hours after the original departure time. We were unsure how this would affect the itinerary, and passengers were not updated very quickly. People were walking around the ship complaining about sitting and not actually cruising, and not knowing what was going on. The next morning (two days after disembarkation), we were told that Liverpool (our only stop in England) was going to be cancelled. They should have cancelled Guernsey or Cobh instead. This opinion was voiced by many, many people onboard. The food was fine (as it should be for the price). Nothing excellent. Entertainment staff continually made jokes about other cruise lines. Holland America was particularly picked on, which is ironic considering we had a MUCH more enjoyable time with that company and not a single complaint. The service from waiters and room stewards was great. Because passengers were on the ship much more than expected with cancellations and delays with the ports, the staff was unable to have the breaks they were entitled to. Other passengers were also taking out their frustration on the stewards, which we thought was so unfair. If you do go with Princess, be aware that their shore excursions are extremely overpriced. This information is not made clear ahead of time, and they have strict rules about cancellation. One trip in Greenock cost us $140 (for two people) to simply get a ride into Glasgow. We later found out that if we had done it independently, it would have only cost $30 together. We found out in time to cancel our trip in Invergordon (which cost $110) and paid $40 for the both of us to get a ride into Inverness AND shown Loch Ness. The weather was not great throughout the trip, but that should be expected in the United Kingdom. In Edinburgh, the weather was so poor that we were told we would be unable to tender into the port. This was a huge disappointment on top of the already cancelled Liverpool. What annoyed us, however, was that the decision was made by 7:30am when the weather could have improved in an hour or two. As a result, we had another day at sea. We got very restless and bored with the options available on the ship. We were continually thanked for our understanding, which obviously was not the case. The night before disembarkation, we put our luggage outside of our stateroom. The morning of disembarkation, there were further delays. We left the ship nearly an hour later, and were rushed when claiming our luggage in the terminal. My wife's bag (which was bought specifically for this trip) had been badly damaged, and she was missing some possessions. There was no one around to speak to about this due to the rush. If staff had 12+ hours to transport a regular suitcase from the stateroom to the terminal, there is no reason for so much damage to the luggage. Because we were late leaving the ship, many passengers were worried about missing their flights from London (about a two hour drive from Southampton where the ship was). It was a very stressful morning and very disorganized. The staff seemed more concern with preparations for the next group of passengers than those they already had. As "compensation" (offered after Liverpool was cancelled at the beginning of the trip), they offered everyone onboard a "gesture of goodwill" in the form of $75 onboard credit. Quite frankly, this amount was insulting. My wife and I chose this specific trip to see Liverpool, Dublin and Edinburgh. All in all, we saw one out of three ports we really cared to see. We could have easily taken a trip around Alaska for a MUCH lower cost. When we returned home, we tried to file a claim for compensation by detailing all these issues. We were immediately and flatly denied any form of compensation. Princess is not a company that cares about customer satisfaction. They rely entirely on their passenger contract and care nothing about a truly enjoyable travel experience. Even with the baggage damage and lost property, we were offered nothing. The Princess passenger contract outlines that passengers are entitled to a maximum of $250 for these issues. We were given the run-around between Princess departments over the phone. We were assigned a particular compensation advisor and she was the one who initially denied us. We tried to speak with someone at the Property Claims Department and they told us they could do nothing as the compensation advisor had put a note on our file that we had been denied for any form of compensation. When we approached her following that, she said that we must not have called them (essentially saying we were making this up) and that we should fill out a "Missing/Damaged Luggage Report Form" which says on the first line "This request form does not constitute a claim against Princess Cruises." After three emails back and forth, she simply ignored our messages. We are beyond disappointed with our travel experience with Princess. These feelings were compounded with the customer service experience we had after. We asked for a credit to use towards a future Princess cruise as form of compensation, which would have ensured we would be on another Princess cruise and pay them even more money. We will NEVER go with Princess again, nor will we recommend to anyone we know. We wish we had read other passengers' reviews before we booked our trip.

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Dec 23, 2011

Southern Caribbean

My husband and I were on Caribbean Princess 5 years ago for our 25th wedding anniversary and thought it was pretty good. We decided to go on Caribbean Princess again for our 30th anniversary-what a difference! The room was not clean, the balcony was splattered with white paint and varnish-on the balcony glass, the chairs, the floor, the sliding doors-it was everywhere! We paid extra to be on the 14th floor of the ship, but ended up right under

the pool area-what a mistake that was! The noise was unbearable, from 8:00 in the morning to 2:00 the next morning, thumping, jumping, scraping of chairs, etc. Princess also booked our flights-as Canadians, we had to be off the ship by 9:30 am (what's up with that??), and our flight wasn't until 6:30 pm that night! The food was okay. They had German food at the buffet, 1 night each week that we were on the ship, which was great for the Germans on board, but left little variety for the rest of us! The dining room food was better, but space was limited, and most of the waiters had an attitude! The stateroom was not clean, it was rundown. Even the armchair in the room was filthy. As I've already said, it was noisy, and had Princess warned us that being on this floor would be noisy, we would have saved the extra money and booked a different floor! Princess charges $11.50 per person, per day, for cleaning of the room, so I think a little more attention to detail and cleanliness should be delivered! Didn't really participate in any onboard activities. This cruise was out of San Juan, so the entire cruise was dedicated to the Puerto Rican crowd. Apparently, there was a last minute sale to fill up the ship and the Puerto Ricans took advantage of it. Their kids were out of control and undisciplined, so we stayed away from most public areas. Ship staff were useless in trying to control the situation. My husband went deep sea fishing, but had to arrange this on his own, as Princess could not help. Excursions are overpriced, and transportation was overcrowed-like sardines crammed into a can! Our trip was a disaster. Accommodations were lousy to say the least. We could hardly stand to sit on the balcony due to the noise level above. Princess should have warned us that we would be below the pool area, and it would be noisy. We would never have gone with this room, had we known. We booked our flight through Princess also, and were advised there were no direct flights from Toronto, Ontario to San Juan-found out later, from another Ontario couple, that this was a lie. They had booked their flight also out of Toronto, with Westjet, and got a direct flight to San Juan, for less money. Princess destroyed our luggage when removing it from the ship to the onshore terminal-we should have kept it with us and brought it ourselves! Hard to believe they could do so much damage in such a short transfer, but they managed to rip the wheel off, and rip the luggage material wide open! Overall, our 30th wedding anniversary was a disaster. Worst vacation we've ever had.

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Sep 25, 2010

Canada-New England

We booked this cruise as we particularly wanted to see the Canada/New England area and this cruise had five ports with only one day at sea. Overall we were very pleased with the cruise but were disappointed in some aspects. Since Carnival Cruiselines has taken over Princess there has been a gradual deterioration of service on Princess ships. The Princess cruises used to be classy but now Princess seems to be cutting corners. The ship with 113,000

tons was 3,000 tons bigger than the Grand Princess on which we cruised last November. However it had 500 more passengers. This resulted in Princess running more shows to accommodate all the guests but guests could still not necessarily see the show they wanted when they wanted. We ended up waiting up to an hour reading a book just to guarantee seeing a show. The production shows were definitely worth the wait but I longed for the times when you would finish traditional dining and see the show or vice-versa. Life used to be simpler! The food was average to above. No wow factor but certainly very pleasant. They did not do as some cruiselines do and give you a choice of lobster or prime rib, on the same night. Lobster was paired with pheasant, and I ate both and they were both very good. As we are part of Princess elite program we were invited to have lunch with the Captain. This is for the 40 most traveled passengers. That was a fabulous experience. The lobster salad followed by halibut and lobster trimmings was exceptional and the service was wonderful. A totally elegant experience. Princess has an outstanding customer loyalty program and it made our vacation truly special. Service in the buffet area was spotty and the staff did not seem to be supervised. When we asked for coffee the waiter looked stunned - perhaps it was his first day on the job! The stateroom seemed a bit smaller, perhaps because there was a table with fresh fruit that seemed to be in the way most of the time. We were on Lido deck, inside cabin, and were directly below the wave pool which was rather noisy when the waves were activated late at night. What happened though to the towel animals? They have disappeared. Another way of Princess cutting back service. Silly and not important really but it reflects negative change. Because we had a port on the very first day we did not get too involved with ship activities until the very last day which was at sea and we missed the ship activities. There was plenty going on at all times and you could absolutely not get bored on this ship. We took a Best of Boston, Lexington and Concord tour. There were two coaches on this tour and I've heard that both guides were excellent. Ours was a Harvard graduate and he was entertaining and very knowledgeable. It was the best shore excursion we have ever had. The guide's detailed knowledge of American history and architecture was phenomenal. I couldn't praise the tour enough. We independently visited Newport and did the Cliff Walk on our own. Also visited Bar Harbor independently as we knew both towns very well. In Bar Harbor we took the free Island Explorer bus from the Village Green to Acadia National Park and as always it was a treasure.

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Aug 23, 2010

Canada and New England

Overall this cruise was good. Not great, but good. As described below, there were lots of pluses and minuses. Pluses: Weather (we were quite lucky), cost, itinerary, kids area, room size and upkeep. Minuses: Food, entertainment. The food was just OK. Not as good as I expect from a cruise. They tried to hype this ship as having been voted the best cuisine for a cruise ship in 2009. I'm not convinced. There were a few dishes that I thought

were really good, none that produced the "wow" reaction, but most were just plain good. We found the menu to be a bit limited in terms of the choices you had, and each of the 3 main dining rooms served the exact same menu. If each dining room had its own theme and menu each night we would have been happier. The buffet food was good (about what you'd expect from a buffet). The pizza and burger bars were better than expected. The ice cream station was way too limited in what they served (soft serve in a cone only). The international cafe was very good but only good for a snack (no full meals - just sandwiches, salads and desserts). The alcohol ordering was a disaster. The room key was supposed to be your credit card, but each drink order was written down on paper and later manually entered into the computer for the charge, versus electronically placing the order and swiping the card to complete the transaction. Many other charges on board were like this. Princess needs to move into the 21st century on this. As the ship was only about 60% full we didn't have to wait long for meals (sometimes not at all). Good size for an inside stateroom. They also had a pulldown bunk bed for my daughter which was a great feature. Our room steward was excellent - seemed like he was in ther 3 times a day to clean, do turndown, etc. And he was very personable and always in good spirits. Princess needs improvement in this area. The best entertainment we got was comedian Phil Tag who was incredibly funny. The hypnotist was generally dull. The singing/dancing squad was OK. Most other activities - side musicians, bingo, trivia, disco party, etc. - were lame. They need to bring in a consultant to bring them up to speed with other cruises. The ititerary was generally a plus for this cruise if you're looking to go to places in North America's eastern coast you may never otherwise see. Pluses: Boston, Bar Harbor, Halifax. Minuses: Newport, St. John. And don't waste your money pre-booking excursions. Get off the ship and there are a number of other options available to you nearby where you're not stuck to one particular tour or time. And they're a little cheaper this way. The weather was unbelievable all week - even in Canada - so we were quite lucky. The ship is laid out a little funny in that it was hard to find even the biggest rooms (dining, theater, etc.). Generally comfortable throughout. Because this trip originated in Brooklyn NY, about half of the ship was New Yorkers - I don't mind one or two of them but 1000 on one ship? - you get my drift. Also, and I think beacuse of the itinerary, there were a ton of senior citizens on board - I have never seen so many canes, walkers and wheelchairs in one place. So if you're looking for a cruise with a younger crowd - STAY AWAY!!! The onboard photographers were OK but trying to find your own pictures was a mess. Instead of associating them with your room number and viewing them online they printed them all out and you had to search one by one. Ordering the promotional photo book was a complete mess as only one station could do this. The kids program was pretty good as my daughter enjoyed the kids and counselors. Their activities were fun and age-appropriate. Overall, we probably won't go with Princess next time. We need to see what others can offer first.

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By Ryan_CR

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Feb 24, 2010

Southern Caribbean

This is the second cruise we have been on the first being Carnival 2 years ago. The ports in the S. Caribbean really caught our eye really wanting to make 5 stops instead of 4 like other ships offer. We decided this made a great honeymoon vacation for us, but were very disappointed in many of the areas. We understood that this ship is more "relaxed" compared to Carnival meaning less of a college age drinking crowed however we did not realize that

after 9pm it was a ghost town with the average age of 65 the energy level on the boat was at a yawning level. I was not there to get drunk and hoot and holler all night but it was laughable how boring it really was. To sum it up great stops (St Thomas, Grenada, Dominica, Aruba and Bonaire) but the ship has a lot of work to do to be at the same level of their competition. Food buffet was good, great selection I did not have any issues with waiting in line with as many locations as they have there was not an issues. There is NO and I repeat NO seating if you go at peak times you will have to take it back to your room like I did 3/4 of the time. The formal dining was awful! I am not a seafood person so I knew going in my options would be minimal since they try to impress everyone with the seafood options, but there were nights that I ordered something and it just tasted bad! (good thing for the pizza bar hard to mess that up) this ran a close second to the entertainment for me as something I was looking forward to the most and could not have been more disappointed. Stateroom was a stateroom. Bathroom and shower was as expected and clean most of the time. We went with a balcony this time and were very happy with the size and all of that. Our cleaning lady was very nice on day one but by the end of the cruise my wife and I laughed we thought she was going to jump off the balcony she was so miserable. She did not say 1 word to us the last 3 days and we saw her at least 3-4 times a day. She had this scowl on her face the whole time it was actually quite comical. I will sum this up with a question......what activities??? If you consider seeing the same comedian 2-3 nights in a row with the same material activates then I guess I need to re-think what I consider entertainment. The entertainment on this ship is by far the worst thing. I understand the average age on the boat was 65 and wine tasting and Art auctions and Bingo was probably the best activity choice but let's consider the whole group. If you want to go on a cruise and be entertained every night then don't go on this one because by 9pm you will be yawning. After 9pm with the exception of the casino the ship is boring. The bartender under the large screen that plays movies said to me that this was the most bored he had been in years (when staff is bored it's hard to give that energy to the guest) Snorkeling you can't go wrong with. Island tours are always fun if you don't want to spend the whole day doing something, however I found the island tours not booked through the cruise were a lot more fun and MUCH cheaper. I understand the ship needs to make MORE money and hikes the price up but every stop there are locals who have their own tours to offer (Only go on ones that can hold 10 or more people do not go alone or even a couple, maybe I watch to many TV shows that bad things happen to people, but some of the people seem a little sketchy) Anytime you can go from 10 degree winter weather to 90+ sunny weather you are going to enjoy it (providing you like the warm weather) however do not go on Princess if you are looking to be entertained or have 100% of the staff being friendly and outgoing. I learned my lesson I had read so many reviews before booking and saw all the negative things but thought nah I can make it fun, I can honestly tell you they were all right! If you want to just go island to island then this might be ok for you but if you want to be wowed you won't be. The cost of everything is through the roof (Pictures 5x7 that they take when you get off the boat 2 years ago on Carnival they were $7.99 Princess $19.99) Just because Princess might seem cheaper in price at the end of it you will end up paying more between gratuity and daily gratuity and all the prices being more. I will cruise again but not on this cruise ship! They better figure things out quick or they will be sailing a 1/2 full boat.

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By Don_CR

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Feb 1, 2010

Canada and New England

This is my 4th Princess cruise, and my 7th overall (Royal Caribbean once, Disney short cruise twice). This was for just my high school-aged daughter and myself. We booked through a local travel agent, who matched the price I had been quoted by a large internet agency. Nice to have an actual name, place to go, etc. if necessary. We took the least expensive inside cabin I could book. We didn't stay in there much but they have always been quiet

and comfortable. There was no view though. We arrived to the departure terminal in Brooklyn via Amtrak and a $40 cab ride from Penn Station. We are from way, way upstate NY. Embarkation was crowded and busy, but efficient and it proceeded fast! I'd say we were on board within 20-25 minutes of getting out of the cab. The food we ate was great and we ate as many meals as possible in the main dining room. I loved the outdoor waffle area for breakfast too. Our cabin was small but clean and bright with lots of storage. It was an inside cabin. The shows on-board were good for the most part. Nightlife was not going on much, since it was an older crowd. One thing I can recommend is to see the mansions in Newport! They are like castles but here in the U.S. I traveled with just my 18 year old daughter. We liked it a lot and enjoyed the ports. It is a fairly low key cruise, being an older crowd and not a party atmosphere. The food was very good, I don't know how they put on such good meals for so many people.

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Sep 5, 2009

Canada and New England

We have been on many, many cruises but never on a Princess cruise, our first Princess cruise. Unfortunately this will also be our last Princess cruise. We were so disappointed. We were on the Caribbean Princess. The traditional dining food was sometimes actually inedible, it was just terrible food. Every plate had food just slopped on it and looked like yesterdays' mess. There was no finess in service at all. We found the food in the buffet better.

They need a new chef and new 'people that plate the food. The shows were poor. They were more like high school productions than professional entertainment. The only good thing was the Comedy Club comedian fellow they had on, he was awesome. Everything was 'cheap' from the toilet paper, hand towels, kleenex; it was really surprising. We were expecting so much more from Princess. We will stick with Royal Caribben and Carnieval in the future. The onboard activities in one word: awful. Our stateroom was pretty good except for the cheap toilet paper and kleenex. There was no comparison to Royal Caribbean or Carnival. The whole experience was way below par. There was no midnight buffet with ice carvings, no dancing on the deck (all the things we have come to expect). The trip was just really third class and very disappointing. We took an excusion every day and had no problem with any of them, actually the one in Halifax with Wenday and Allen was superior; that was wonderful. We made the best of things but I must say we were very disappointed overall on Princess.

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By Marc_CR

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Aug 25, 2009

Caribbean

AVOID THIS CRUISE LINE AT ALL COSTS! The cruise we took was the worst vacation we have ever had. As experienced travelers and cruisers we had a good idea of what to expect. We were disappointed in almost every aspect of the cruise. One expects a certain amount of "nickel and diming" as that is the nature of cruises; but Princess takes this to a bizarre extreme. Every possible way to separate one from his or her money is exploited. The ship

is completely and totally overcrowded. There is no where to go and nothing to do without being crowded by other passengers. The dining rooms, the fitness center, the decks, the pools - everything was crowded. The anytime dining rooms had lines frequently an hour or more. In the buffet areas the dining areas were always full leaving no place to sit. Princess cruises staff actually took up tables while passengers had no where to sit. Early in the morning passengers would spread towels on lounge chairs since if one waited until late morning there would be no available lounge chairs to use. Even though there are signs asking passengers not to reserve lounge chairs, this was never enforced. The pools were always packed, the adults only pools frequently had many children in them. The staff seemed simply angry. From the cabin steward to the bar tenders to the front desk it was clear that they were overworked, mistreated, or just unhappy to be there. Our cabin steward was frequently AWOL. On more than one occasion we actually had to go to the front desk to request someone clean our room and bring some fresh towels. Our room was not clean when we arrived. My wife actually had to do cleaning in the bathroom area. The towel she used was filthy when she finished. When calling for room service or any other service the phone would ring, on some occasions 20 times or more. Both times we ordered room service they said they were extremely busy and the service took over an hour. There was never a time when anything was done in a reasonable amount of time. The ship was too crowded. There are many other examples of poor service and a lack of promised facilities. I rarely write reviews for cruises but in this case I wanted to warn those who may be contemplating booking a cruise with Princess. What is promised in their promotional material will not be delivered. You will spend far more money than you expect due to the extreme nickel and diming that is practiced by princess. You will receive poor service. The food was ok, not great. Trying to get a table in the anytime dining rooms is impossible. Expect to wait in long lines. The buffet areas are so busy that it's very difficult to make ones way through. Fining a place to sit is also very difficult. If your expecting gourmet meals served by good waiters then you will be very disappointed. The cuisine is similar to what one would find in a chain restaurant. The service will be far less than one would expect. We had a balcony stateroom on the Riviera deck. The room was small as one would expect. The balcony was small. There is a plastic pane that is about 4ft high. This piece of plastic was so filthy that one could not see through it. I requested that it be cleaned and was told that nothing could be done. I have been on other ships and this pane of plastic is cleaned each day. The television would frequently lose its signal. The only stations that would be available were the ones that have promotional commercials. It was actually comical to see them trying to market their cruise showing people in different parts of the ship. In their infomercial nothing was crowded. On the ship everything was crowded. The bottom line: the room was about what was expected as far as size, but unacceptably dirty. The onboard activities were lacking. The swim against the current pool NEVER worked not once when we were on the cruise. Each time we inquired as to the reason, we got a different answer as to why it was not working. The internet cafe charged exorbitant rates to use the computer. The connection was frequently poor, resulting in the need to reboot. The shows in the evening filled up very fast. If you did not get there early, you would not get a seat. The cruise director and staff in general seemed to think that we were there for them instead of them being there for us. Plan on entertaining yourself on this ship. Lesson to the wise: do not plan ahead for shoe excursions! Our itineary was changed while we were on the cruise and we were not able to attend any of the shore excursions we had booked. Princess re-routed us to ports of call that had limited shore excursions and extremely limited tourist amenities. The alternate route was clearly chosen to save Princess money (i.e. a lot fewer nautical miles traveled). It was clear to us that more desirable ports could have been chosen with no danger based on weather conditions. Avoid this cruise at all costs! You were warned. The culture of this cruise company is designed to make money and not to satisfy the customer.

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Aug 22, 2009

Bermuda

Our cruise was dissapointing. Many members of staff were rude or apathetic. The ships' activities were boring. The ports that we actually did make were mostlty uninteresting. Our cabin was acceptable. Our cabin steward was the only worker that we tipped extra. You will be herded like cattle during the shore excursions. Create your own excursions. From day one we saw that the ship's staff was unproffesional. We asked one for directions to

our room and he said "There are no rooms on this level". (Our room was about 50 feet away!). At the buffet we alerted a staff member to a giant dragonfly buzzing around on the windowsill next to our table. He sarcastically remarked; "Looks like he's on vacation", and walked away (I wrapped it in a napkin and set it free outside). My wife cut her arm badly by brushing against a sharp picture frame in our room. She went to ship's medical, and was told that she had to go and buy her own bandaids and antisceptic! They showed little concern and offered little help. We missed 2 ports because of the weather, which we understand, but it seemed that there could have been better alternative plans. We could only stay an average of 5 hours at most stops. Next time we will stick to Carnival or Disney.

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Aug 14, 2009

Eastern Caribbean

This cruise was our honeymoon and though we enjoyed ourselves, I really would not recommend a summer cruise for honeymooners. There were 700 children on the boat and they were running up and down the halls and along the decks and were even in the adults only hot tub. A lot of parents seemed to just let their kids do whatever. It became really frustrating after awhile especially after my husband and I were were kept awake the last night by a group

of teenagers who were congregating outside our room. I really lked the food and the options available. Depending on our mood, we could have an upscale, romantic dinner or a relaxed, casual buffet experience. The food was always fresh and was usually excellent. We booked a balcony mini-sweet. Our room was very spacious and clean and the view from the balcony was also amazing. For the most part, the onboard activities were great. Depending on the day, there was line dancing, trivia, scrapbooking, or comedy shows. We did the catamaran sail and snorkeling adventure in Bermuda and really enjoyed it. As I stated above, I really enjoyed cruise, but would have liked to have taken it during a time when there would be fewer children on the boat. This particular cruise during the summer is definately a family cruise.

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By Gary_CR

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Jul 29, 2009

NY-East Caribbean

Just a room....Large Bath with Tub and Large Balcony The activities were bad. There not enough to do. We feel like we were taken for a long ride with little to do. Okay, first off...I am not a complainer. But this one I have to let people know about. The Room: We had a $4300 mini suite. The bed was very hard. I took 3 nights of the room steward adding stuff under the sheets before it felt halfway okay. The room smelled like smoke and,

because the 3100 passenger ship was overbooked with 3500 passengers, we could not change rooms. The room steward Dennis was nice. Although he never created special towel animal on the bed or anything like typical cruise room stewards do. He cleaned the room, that's it. The room reminds you of a traditional old school hotel room. Nothing Special about it at all. They just added cheap shelf mounted flat screens TVs to help the appearance but it does not help the decor much. The bathroom was a good size for a cruise and it had a tub in it. The Ship: This ship in no way takes your breath away. It looks a little like it came out of the 'Love Boat' TV show. Nothing special. It has the most illogical design of any ship we have been on. There are very few venues. Princess ships have a design concept where they break up the pool decks into three areas. This design is actually kind of bad. The Middle section has the Movie screen which is nice. But if they did not have the movie screen you would really be bored. The shows are just okay. They had only two theatrical performances (Musical Tribute, Caribbean theme), Magician (Adult oriented w/Comedy, a magician in a to-to), Hypnotist, Two Comedians. Now, this was a 9 night cruise. You get more than this in a 5 night cruise on the other cruise lines. What they did was keep repeating the shows over and over and over. They had to do this because the venues/theaters are pretty small when you are carrying 3500 people. There would be maybe only two major performances going on simultaneously. So people would be crowded around everywhere. The Dining: More Crowds! The buffets had pretty good food. We had lobster or crab several times. I was surprised that there were lobster claws in the buffet on the first day of departure. Of Of course they portioned them out to you. But I had my share since most people were unaware it was being served. The dining room food was good also. The service was really bad since there were so many people. You would have to wait to be seated, and then wait to be served for each course of the meal. Once it arrived it was usually good. The wait staff often time were rude or just non-attentive, we heard this from everyone we dined with. We had anytime seating so we met several new people each night. I believe since they have started charging you automatically for tips that service has gone down (freestyle cruising causes this also). In the buffet you will always find yourself looking around for a while for a seat. Every Cruise I have been on host special nights on the pool deck. Usually there are several theme nights. Usually there is a Themed cuisine buffet style on the outside decks. In this 9 night cruise they only had ONE and all they served was FRUIT! Oh I'm sorry they did have a few fried appetizers. There was only ONE LINE and a serving area that was only 6 tables long for a ship that had 3500+ (700 kids) people on it! There was not one special midnight buffet evening! No special themes or waiter performances in the dining room. One night they did wear Italian sailor outfits. This was such an uneventful cruise it is crazy! If you never cruised you would not know this. I have to take a moment to talk about the ICE CREAM. Every cruise I have been on they have self serve ice cream machines placed around the pool decks or the buffet. NOT PRINCESS. When you get on the ship at the door they tell you that free ice cream is only available between 2-4pm. So, if you want unlimited ice cream you must purchase a $93.00 'Soda and Ice Cream' sticker. Okay...you buy this and the you find out that ice cream is only served until 6pm, and there is only one place to get Ice Cream, and there are only ever 1 or 2 people working at the stand...for 3500+ people!, and they give you a mini-cone. THEY TRY TO CHARGE YOU FOR ALMOST EVERYTHING, SPIN, YOGA, ETC. In the workout room they shut down the treadmills at 8pm because there are rooms under the gym and it disturbs the passengers. WHAT KIND OF SHIP DESIGN IS THIS?! There is now separate Karaoke Place like Royal and others...they just convert the main club into a Karaoke place for an hour then change the theme. The cruise director is able to Host every major event because only one good thing is going on at a time. You would think he was the STAR on board. I could go on and on. We made the best of it. We had fun meeting people and doing the things we did. We ended up just relaxing on deck mostly because the bed was hard. The best part of the cruise was the MOVIES under the stars and the food. 85% of the Passengers are from the New York, Boston, NJ, Penn. areas. Maybe the staff has been beaten down by the strength of the New York style personalities. I don't know... but this is not a quality cruise. It's maybe a Cruise for beginners who don't know better.

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Jul 20, 2009

Caribbean

Overall, the cruise had it's good times and it's bad times. Being a 20 year old on the Caribbean Princess was tough. The service people were very strict with the drinking and gambling age being 21. Luckily for me, I have three older brothers who were able to buy me alcohol, but there was still one night where I was basically being stalked by a bartender, who was making sure I wasn't drinking. Basically, if you are under the age of 21, good luck trying

to have a good time on this cruise ship. The food on the ship was beyond my expectations. Both the dining room and the steakhouse food were great. From the appetizers to the main course, the food was great. The buffett had its ups and downs. If you want a good breakfast, do not go to the buffett expecting to be satisfied with breakfast. For lunch, you can have pizza, which actually wasn't that bad for a cruise ship, or you can go to the grill, poolside, where you can enjoy a nice hamburger or chicken sandwich. For dinner, the dining room food was really good. We also had the best waiter and assistant waitor in both John and Arthur, who helped make our food enjoyment that much better. My family never left the dining room disappointed. For one night, we ate at the steakhouse which my family really enjoyed. From the steak to the side orders, the food was amazing. Overall, the food was as good as you can ask for. The stateroom was pretty bad. We had a balcony room which we thought would be a nice sized room for four people. What we should've gotten was an inside cabin, because the inside cabins were surprisingly bigger than our balcony room. There was hardly any room to move a muscle. The bathrooms were the worst part of the room. Actually to be a little more specific, the shower is the worst part of room. It was so small that a comedian on the ship had to make fun of it. It was so hard to have a good shower without hitting your elbows on the wall. By the way, I'm only 185 lbs, so it has to be a pretty small shower for me to be uncomfortable in it. The only good part about of rooms was our room service guy Dino. The onboard activities or, I should say lackthereof onboard activities. A few years ago, my family went on the Norwegian Dawn. From morning until the pool deck was completely empty, there would be music playing by the pool either by a band or by a CD. Not on the Caribbean Princess. The band would only play for about a half hour to an hour and the worst part is they would play the same songs over and over everytime they played. It was very annoying after a while. They also didn't play any requested songs. My brother asked them to play a song, they said they were going to play it but they never did. After the band stopped playing, it was rare that you would hear music playing from a CD, and when you did, that music was the same also. Besides the poolside music, there weren't that many activities to enjoy when the ship was at sea. My little cousin is 12 years old, but he couldn't play games in the video arcade because he wasn't 13. Unless you're a big bingo player or you're a big movie buff, where they have a big screen TV outside by another pool, there is nothing for you to enjoy during the day. Unless you are quick off your feet to quickly sign-up for pool games because only 12 people were able to play pool games for 20 minutes you wouldn't get in that either. For nightlife, there was only one club that was open for people above the age of 18. The Skywalkers nightclub wasn't that bad. It was our only choice for fun at night, so we had to make the best of it. As for gambling, you have to be 21 just to stay in the casino. I got asked for my ID, when all I was doing was looking around. I found my ways to stay in, but they are very strict about that. There also weren't many production shows other than comedians. Usually, you will see maybe 3 or 4 production shows on a nice 9-day cruise. We only saw one. The cruiseship definitely slacked on the most important category on a cruise ship: entertainment. Our first stop was Bermuda. We went to Horseshoe Bay, which was an unbelievable beach. The water and sand were unbelievable sights. Being from Brooklyn, you don't ever get to see water and sand like the water and sand at Horseshoe Bay. We stood there for most of our time because we had to be back on the boat at 5 p.m. Our second stop was San Juan, Puerto Rico. We went to the El San Juan Casino & Hotel. We were able to get wristbands so that we could be by the pool hotel and the beach. The hotel was a 5-star hotel. We didn't want to leave, that's how nice it was. Our third stop was St. Thomas. There we went to Megan's Bay which was also very nice. The water was unbelievable there as well. After the beach we went shopping on the main strip. If you like to buy things, i suggest you go there to shop. The prices were unbelievable to those of the United States. My brother bought a very expensive watch for a very reasonable price. Our fourth and final stop was Gran Turk. It is a little island basically just for the cruise ship. It was a lot of fun going by Margaritaville and the pool that was there. The beach wasn't as good as we thought it would be, which is why we stood by the pool. It was probably the best port of call on the whole cruise. If you were in the pool and wanted to buy alcohol, you didn't have to go far because the bar was in the pool. Overall, we didn't go on any excursions, but we had a lot of fun getting off the ship when we were docked. In conclusion, our cruise had its ups and its downs. If I had to recommend this cruise, it wouldn't be to a person under the age of 21, and to tell you the truth, i really wouldn't recommend it to anyone under the age of 35. If you want to relax on a cruise, by all means, go on the Caribbean Princess. If you want to enjoy yourself with entertainment and have a great time, find another ship.

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By Brad_CR

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Jul 14, 2009

NY to Bermuda and the Caribbean

Our recent vacation on the Caribbean Princess fell well below our expectations. My wife and I decided to celebrate our anniversary with a cruise (her first and my fourth). We left on 6-29-09 for our nine night cruise from NY to Bermuda and the Caribbean. The first indication that our vacation was going to be a disappointment occurred during embarkation – we arrived on time with all travel documents ready, bags tagged, etc. We were given

a number and told to wait in a crowded room for 2+ hours before our number was called to board the boat. We were told the delay was caused by high tide. We felt that was a poor excuse as high tide occurs everyday (they acted as if it was a surprise high tide!) and if you are going to run a cruise line you should be able to figure out a way to load regardless of the tide. We had booked a balcony stateroom. Upon arrival we saw the bed skirt and sheets had stains on them and the bed was terribly lumpy and saggy. These issues were resolved fairly quickly. The room was far smaller than a balcony stateroom on my previous Royal Caribbean cruise which had room for a sofa and coffee table. A room with these amenities on the Caribbean Princess would be called a “mini-suite” and be pricier. A passenger services person called us shortly after we got to our room to inform us that one of our bags had fallen in the water during the loading process! Yes, our bag fell in the East River! How a cruise ship company can let that happen is beyond me. Sure enough, our bag was delivered to our stateroom and it was torn and full of stinky water. They offered to launder the clothes; however this bag contained all of our shoes so the solution wasn't quite so simple. After several phone calls to the ships passenger services desk we were informed that the main office of Princess Cruises felt the fault was actually with the longshoremen who were employed by the port and that Princess Cruises would not immediately reimburse us for the damaged bag and stained shoes. The passenger services person on the Caribbean Princess advised us to “fight” for reimbursement from the main office upon returning from our vacation. This uncertainty hung over us for the entire trip. What a lousy way to treat customers. The ship itself was okay. The common areas were surprisingly lack-luster. The dining rooms have low ceilings and are not memorable. There is no large promenade as on Royal Caribbean's newer ships. The pools were nice and were kept clean. The "movies under the stars" feature was nice and we watched several movies. The boat felt very overcrowded and we couldn't figure out if it was too many people for a boat of its size or a poor layout. There were 3,301 passengers, 200 more than the 3,100 passengers stated on their website. This included 600-700 kids. There were lines for almost everything passenger services, buffet dining, regular dining, activities, etc. We got so fed up with trying to find lounge chairs that we tried to pay for them in the "sanctuary" area, surprise, the sanctuary was completely sold out for the day. We asked them what time we should come in the morning so as to be able to get chairs for the day and were told to come at 8am, when they open and start taking reservations. My wife woke up early (actually setting an alarm on our vacation) got to the “Sanctuary” at 7:40 only to be told that people had arrived at 7am and their 24 chairs were full even before they opened. We couldn't even pay Princess for a lounge chair which is completely absurd! We ended up spending the day on the balcony of our stateroom. This leads us into another topic – charging for almost everything. We were surprised to learn that fitness programs (spinning class, yoga, pilates, etc.) all had fees to participate. There was a fee for a decent cup of coffee (the coffee in the buffet was similar to the East River water in my shoes). If you wanted better than average food you had to eat at one of their specialty restaurants for a fee. Soda fee. Food delivered to your room fee. Pottery class fee. Almost everything highlighted in their Princess Patter itinerary each day had a nominal fee which will apply. In summary, our vacation was a flop. It seems the head honchos at Princess Cruises decided to weather this recession by lowering their rates, overbooking their ships, and nickel and diming their customers for things that should be included. It was the worst vacation we've taken in awhile.

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Jul 2, 2009

southern caribbean

This was my 3rd cruise the first on the Princess we were celebrating our retirement. This was the most terrible experience on a cruise. The staff was rude, the food was terrible in both the dining rooms and buffet. I would not recommend this ship to anyone, please save your money and go on another cruise line. Complaining to the front desk did not help they didn't care about anything but their money. The food was was really bad the only thing

that we could eat was a hot dog on the grill by the pool. The stateroom was small and the steward did not clean it very well. The only on board activity was a big screen TV across the whole ship that you could not see in the bright sunlight. There was no music or anything to get you in the spirit. People were complaining on the elevators, at the tables and on the islands. Just don't go on this cruise and forget about excursions period. Unacceptable in every area, was looking for to my favorite Island St. Thomas and the captain decided to dock to a remote part of the island and you were only allowed on the pier. A lot of money for a lot of aggravation.

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May 14, 2009

Caribbean

Although the childrens camp was awesome, I was disappointed with other areas of the cruise. It was a nightmare getting off the ship (both at Grand Turk & on our return). The public areas were too crowded - getting a seat at the late show was almost impossible. When we were diverted away from Bermuda, due to Hurricane Bertha. The ship just sat in the ocean for the extra day. We had a family of 13, which included five children. After three days

at sea, we were screaming for land. However, the kids program was fabulous. All five children (ages 6, 7, 8, 8 & 10) absolutely loved it. The camp counselors are worth their weight in gold. Good. My husband and I loved the traditional dinners. My kids lived off of the pizza. Clean & comfortable. Don't miss the pirate/shopping excursion in St. Thomas.

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By Stan_CR

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May 3, 2009

Caribbean

The worst travel experience of my life. The ship was not ready on time and after the cruise got underway the steak house and casino weren't open. The wine bar was located in a very convenient location except the area is also used for circus acts, very loud and very bad acts. The food was good, but not excellent. We were expecting more. The rooms were clean and good cabin service. The on board activities were ok, however having acts in

the lobby area made it impossible to talk to the front desk or enjoy the wine bar. Yes, stay away from this ship. The worst trip of my life.... back to Celebrity for us!!

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By John_CR

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Mar 16, 2009

Caribbean

We would not sail with princess again, though our previous experience was excellent on the Island Princess. This ship is too big, there is far too much effort to sell garbage, all day and night. Clogging up the walkways indoors and out. They actually charge to use a pool on the upper deck called "Sanctuary," what will be free in the future? The food in the dining room and service, were both well below par. Very disappointed. The two specialty restaurants,

Sabatini's and Crown grill were excellent. The destinations were good, you should know ahead of time that some ports are inhabited by poor people who count on tourists for their living. Some fellow passengers were afraid to be approached, but they were just paranoid. The ports were beautiful and very safe. Terrible in the main dining room. We elected the alternate choice 4/5 nights because the evening's special was bad. Eat at the specialty - it's worth the $25 to enjoy great food and service. Though the main dining room should have much better food than they offered. This may have been their way to get you to pay, don't know. We also had a Grand Suite, with a glass dining room table and outdoor table on the huge rear deck. This is the most expensive suite on the ship and on other cruises we could have had our meal brought from the dining room and served to us in our room by our butler. Not on Princess. Sounds picky, well, for $9,000 for a one week cruise certain things should be made available and included for free. They would, however, serve us a dinner for two, not the same dinner, for $100 a couple. We were not impressed and would sooner go to the buffet. The room was excellent. There was free internet, typically slow, but free. The in-room PC was broken, after a few days the "internet guy" told me that it needed to be replaced when next in port. It looked like it was broke before the last cruise ended. Asked if he could bring us a pc from elsewhere in the ship he said "no." The customer is always, well, not "right" in Princess land - again, $9000. Excellent cabin steward and room service, which by the way , is no longer free. Typical pool games, dancing, outdoor parties and buffets. These never interested me, but looked similar to what we've seen before.

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By JAM_CR

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Nov 10, 2008

Caribbean

We just left the ship after a week of great disappointment. Boarding ths ship in San Juan was a nightmare at best. We waited in the heat and the hot sun for 1 1/2-2 hours before we could board the ship. The lines through the x-ray machines were long and slow. The boarding process probably took 3+ hours. The major issue was the air conditioning in our room failed on a regular basis and after being off the ship all day; we returned to a hot

room. Actually the entire ship was very warm and most people we interacted with felt the same. Even though we enjoyed our time off the ship, we feel we will not cruise again on Princess. We understand there are always issues that arise but most have been solved in our past experience. The lack of air conditioning ruined our time on board. Our last trip on Royal Caribbean far exceeds the experience we just had on Princess. The food was basic and unappealing. The service was generally good although they lacked the personal touch and friendliness we have found on Royal Caribbean. We had difficulty getting a seat with anytime dining ,sometimes waiting 90 minutes. They alowed passengers to make reservations, yes, at anytime dining, so the rest of us waited in line. We only learned of that on day three. The buffet was good, not much different than in our dining room, but the area was hot and very crowded. Room service was good and delivered quickly. As mentioned above the air conditioning did not work. The engineer tried desperately to serve us but we were told there is a systems problem and the room could not be cooled. It was probably around 76-78 degrees, totally unacceptable. The steward was wonderful and serviced us well. He went out of his way to try and help us with the air issue. We always had fresh, clean linens and our request for anything extra was always met, and quickly. The room was clean and although not very big, met our needs; the space on the balcony helped a lot. We sat out there while cruising at night..to cool off; at least there was a breeze. We're actually not hard to please, with the exception of liking it cool. Loved the big screen movie theatre outside on the top deck. Enjoyed the piano music in the central locations and the band was good. Disembarkment was relatively quick and easy, did not wait in long lines. The casino was smoky, had only a few nickel/penny machines and with this economy, not many passengers were playing any other machines. Actaully most times we were there; the casino was very empty. I do have to admit, it was quite cool in the casino ????? The entertainment was less than expected and on two occassions, we left the theatre. This cruise lines does not compare to the RC, Navigator of the Seas. We did not book excursions on this trip although we usually do, and they have been well worth the money. It was our second trip to the Caribbean so we booked our own tours around the islands and had wonderful experiences. The tours, taxi rides, were less expensive and they took us where we wanted to go. Our last cruise before this one was a 10 day trip on the Star Princess and we enjoyed it very much. We toured Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Russia, Poland and Estonia. There is a big difference between the two ships in most every way. Overall we thought the ship was "TIRED." It appears that it may be in need an over-haul soon. The ship looked bland; the carpets were dirty and worn. It is very much in need of new/updated decor. We were sorry we had chosen this ship; we'll go back to RC for sure.

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Apr 28, 2006

Caribbean

The Caribbean Princess This is the first review we have posted in the last eighteen months. We want to thank you, our readers, for your many e-mails expressing your concern for our well being. We had some serious bumps in our journey of life and had to curtail our cruising. Just as we were at a critical stage of dealing with the many issues resulting from a catastrophic fire at our restaurant, Glynn’s Inn, in Huntington, Long

Island, we learned I needed open heart surgery, for replacement of my aorta Valve. I was operated on one year ago this week. My Mary also had a medical problem and was hospitalized. We have fully recovered from our medical problems but this past September we were devastated by something that parents pray will never happen and something they never fully recover from. But we thank God for our faith; we would never have survived without it. We are working hard at taking each day of our life, one day at a time and we are gradually getting our life in order. Our anniversary was approaching, and I thought a cruise on the beautiful, tranquil, waters of the Caribbean might help soothe Mary’s aching heart. Our cruise exceeded our expectations and we had a glorious time. It was just what the doctor ordered. It was the first time I saw my Mary relaxed in months. Being on this magnificent vessel and having an attentive, caring crew go out of their way to take care of our every need, rekindled our passion for cruising. While at sea, we went to see Gloria Mallard, the Onboard Sales Manager at the Future Cruise Sales Desk and we booked a cruise on the Coral Princess, partial transit of the Panama Canal, for December 12, to celebrate Mary’s birthday and my anniversary. We are also looking to book two more Princess cruises before than. As you can tell we are once again bitten by the cruise bug and we are in full cruise mode. (A little later I will tell you about this great program, FCS that Princess has for booking future cruises.) Although we have made 36 cruises we do not consider ourselves cruise experts; we are simply a couple that is passionate about cruising and get immense pleasure from sharing our cruise experience with you, our fellow cruisers. As most of you know, Mary & I refer to our cruises as ‘Honeymoons’ because we can’t think of a more romantic, intimate, exciting way to spend quality time with the one you love, than when cruising. Our New Format: At our CruiseReviews.com web-site, http://www.tomandmaryscruisereviews.com there are 25 reviews of ships of the major cruise lines we have sailed on. At the end of those reviews there is a segment entitled, “Suggestions that Could Enhance Your Cruise”, a capitulation of many things we have learned from our cruise experience. You will be able to access that information in our former reviews... that is with one exception. We have revisited the area of cruise pricing and have revised our suggestion “How to get the best price when you book a cruise.” Send an e-mail to tomandmarymilano@yahoo.com and write best price in the subject box. We are going to leave out all the nuts and bolts and tell you about the things that interest us and we think interest you... and of course... we are going to tell you what wimpy did for Mary to make her cruise special? (For those who have no idea who Wimpy is and what we’re talking about, the following explanation.) *** Our regular readers are familiar with the Wimpy character (Tom’s cruise persona) I refer to in our reviews, but for our new readers a quick explanation. Tom had been a Macho man most of his early life. In his latter years he began to realize when he did those little wimpy things that women liked and Mary loved him to do, his lovely Mary gave him a lot more reason to smile. Although Tom was macho, he wasn't dumb. When Tom is at sea on another of their honeymoons, he takes on the Wimpy persona to its highest degree. He views cruising as the Super Bowl of marriage maintenance and uses these occasions to do all sorts of lovely little wimpy things for his Mary. *** Wimpy’s credo is, “A marriage may be made in heaven but the maintenance is done on earth.” The Reason We Want You to Know Our Age: I will be 79 this July and Mary is 82. We decided we would tell you our age and let me explain why. The prognosis for a long term marriage in this country has declined at an alarming rate. I’m not sure, but I think the figure is 54% of marriages will end in divorce. As you know we are writing about our anniversary cruise, but there is an important, unique aspect to our marriage that is very special. On May 8th we celebrated our 38th anniversary and that may not be special but what is special, is the fact that Mary and I were both previously married for more than 20+ years. We receive many e-mails from young readers telling us that knowing we are in the latter stages of life and still in love has been an inspiration to them and gives them hope that it’s possible to have a marriage that will last. We have a dual purpose in mind by revealing our age. We hope that we will be an example of the truth of Leo Buscaglia’s phrase that, “Love is truly the fountain of youth and can be retained and grow until we breathe our last breath.” We also hope we can inspire folks in the latter stages of their life. We know having a medical problem cause’s life to take on a different hue, but we encourage you to do what you’re capable of doing, and live every day, every moment of your life like it’s your last day. Mary and I are fortunate we can do the things we do, and we are going to do everything we can do, as long as we can do it. And for the young couples that are reading our review, we want you to know, although we are in the twilight years of our life, our love continues to grow. We have learned that when the physical attributes begin to diminish, which happens to all of us, those things that are most important, things of the heart and the mind surface and cast a bright light. I pen the words for our reviews, but as I think many of our long-time readers have suspected, Mary is the inspiration for my thoughts. I asked Mary to edit this segment of the review and when she finished she said, “Tom, I think some of the young couples might like to read this.” She handed me the following article. In Trying Times Don’t Quit Trying Take any major individual-oriented athletic event, and you’ll probably find that far more people are starters than are finishers. How many people have started the Tour de France bicycle race, the Boston marathon, or a swim of the English Channel... only to drop out before reaching their goal? Those who finish these long distance endurance events speak of “pushing through the wall.” The “wall” in these events is the point where the body cries out to the mind,” We can’t go on. I’ve given all I can. I don’t have any more to give.” Every endurance racer hits the wall, including those who may have completed the event in years past. Those who push through the wall are those whose mind say back to their body, “Oh yes we can.” The mind compels—yes, forces—the body to keep moving. The ability to keep moving when your instincts say otherwise is called perseverance. Every couple needs to keep that word in mind when they hit the wall in their relationship. Perseverance is the ability to hang on, rather than hang up. It’s the ability to keep going, rather than to call it quits. It’s a matter of the heart saying, to the relationship,” Oh yes we can.”... Marriage is a marathon, not a sprint. Hang in there! Highlight: A Certain Something Happens When We Cruise: It is difficult to put into words the feeling we have when we’re on a cruise. I treasure these special moments we share. We’ve always had a wonderful, loving relationship, but there is a certain something that happens when we cruise that takes it to a new level. I think it’s partly because we can give each other our undivided attention without having the normal interruptions that beg our attention when we are home. When we are cruising we start our day by having a romantic breakfast on our balcony; then during the day we do a number of things that interest both of us. When evening approaches we look forward to a romantic dinner followed by a little hold me tight dancing, and then we proceed to a beautiful theater to see a wonderful show. After the show we stop by a lounge on the way to our cabin and trip the light fantastic once again. When I wrote this I had Mary read it and I asked her to give me her thoughts. She read it and said, “it reminds me when we were dating.’ Leave it to my Mary. She said in a few words what that special something is; being on a cruise is like being on an extended date... a date that doesn’t end but continues each and every day of the cruise. I will soon be relating the things Wimpy did for Mary that helped them revive that special feeling on their cruise and also when they returned home. Highlight: How Not to Gain Weight On a Fourteen Day Cruise: You should pay me for the advice I am about to give you; if you weren’t friends of ours, I wouldn’t be telling you our secret... If you want to keep your weight down without going to the gym, book the first forward cabin or the last aft cabin on the ship. This was the first time we had booked a 14 day back/back cruise and we were concerned about the very real possibility that we wouldn’t be able to fit into our clothes by the middle of the second week. Because of Mary’s penchant for taking enough clothes for a round the world cruise, it was important that we have the same cabin for both segments of our cruise. She not only takes a different dress or gown for each night of the cruise, but also a half dozen others in case she changes her mind. The only way we could do fourteen days, was to have the same cabin for both legs of our cruise. The only cabin available for both segments was a mini suite. Our mini-suite, D733, was the last cabin on the starboard side of the ship. Every time we went to breakfast, lunch or dinner and other times when my Mary was at dinner and realized she had forgotten something, or other times when my memory let me down and I forgot something, I trudged the hallway of the Dolphin deck, like an athlete training for the Olympics. I walked that hallway so many times, at all different times of the day and night, that I made friends with all the cabin attendants along the way. Although my legs haven’t fully recovered, my tale of woe has a happy ending. My total weight gain for our fourteen day cruise was two and a half lbs and Mary gained two lbs. The motto of my story; book the first or last cabin on the ship and forget all that nonsense about going to the gym. Not only will you lose weight, you’ll also make a lot of new friends. Highlight: Movies Under the Stars: I had read quite a bit about Movies Under the Stars, a unique, innovative idea Princess has introduced on three of their ships and will also have it on the new Crown Princess that will sail a Caribbean itinerary out of the port of New York. The write-ups do not do it justice; it is a fabulous idea. If you’re a movie buff, run to the phone and call your agent as soon as you can and book a Princess ship that has this feature. I guarantee you will absolutely love it. The screen is unlike anything you or I have seen. It is a 300 sq. ft. screen, with a LED projection system that allows you to watch movies during bright sunlight the same as you do at night. You can view it from three decks. You can also view it while swimming, while relaxing in a hot tub, or cuddled up with your loved one under a blanket, while a waiter fetches you a drink and pop-corn. Tell me, how in the world can you beat that. They usually show four or five movies during the day and two first run movies at night, and fill in with concerts of famous entertainers like Tom Jones, Tina Turner and you name it and they have it. For movie buffs it’s worth the price of a cruise. The Heart And Soul of a Cruise Ship, Crew Members That Have Direct Contact With Passengers. The ship or the itinerary we sail is not what makes our cruises special. What makes our cruises special is our interacting with the crew members who come in direct contact with the passengers. Nicola Binetti the Captain of the Caribbean Princess and the ship’s officers are no doubt the back bone of this magnificent, majestic vessel, but it’s the crew members who are in direct contact with the passengers, that are the heart and soul of a cruise ship. They are the ones responsible for creating an atmosphere that makes cruising so special. We believe the major reason people have become passionate about cruising, and why the cruise industry continues to grow, is because of them. When we speak of the highlights of our cruise, we are mostly referring to the many memorable moments we spent interacting with members of the crew. When Mary & I cruise we make it a point to compliment the servers every opportunity we have. We all need to hear a compliment or a word of encouragement from time to time, but no one needs it more than these servers who work long hours and are away from their loved ones for long periods of time. ‘It has been said that a compliment or a word of encouragement is oxygen to the soul. Let them know you appreciate what they do. Shortly I will be telling you about the crew members on the Caribbean Princess who made a deep impression on us. Highlight: Sometimes We Men Don’t Get It: I recall Leo Buscaglia writing about a letter he received. “I received a letter from a woman who wrote, “I don’t think my husband has really looked at me for the last fifteen years. We’re seldom apart, yet I think I could come into a room stark naked on a white horse, with my hair on fire and he’d go right on watching TV or reading the paper. It’s not that he doesn’t love me. It’s just that I’ve become the invisible woman.” I read the above letter at the time the Mr. Macho phase of my life was coming to an end. I didn’t like the feelings I was feeling and I asked myself, long before I heard the expression on the Dr. Phil show; “How is the Mr. Macho attitude working for you? I had to answer, not very good! I was beginning to sense my life was about to change. I was emotionally ready for a message of some sort, but I was wary, like the time my father wanted to tell about the birds and the bees. I knew something important was about to happen, but I wasn’t sure what it was. Then shortly after reading the above letter, I came upon the following story about Sarah, you are about to read, and it was the clincher. It spoke to me in a very special way at a very special time in my life and it drove the final nail into Macho mans coffin. Could it be true after all these years, ‘I was about to get it?’ My mind kicked into another gear and I pictured Rex Harrison, after spending many arduous months in trying to change the thinking of that street urchin, singing that unforgettable song in the movie ‘My Fair Lady’, the song where he sang, “I think she got it”... “by Jove, I think she got it.” I was holding the book with the story about Sarah in my hand, and the thought flashed across my mind, “My god, I think I get it!”... “I really think I get it!” It’s a good thing Mary didn’t come into the den and see me with this silly grin on my face, she would have thought for sure I lost it. As I look back at this eventful moment, I believe this might have been the moment Wimpy was given life. "Say Something Nice To Sarah" Rev. Chalfant tells of a couple who were celebrating their golden wedding anniversary. The husband was asked what the secret was to his successful marriage. As the elderly have a tendency to do, the old gentleman answered with a story. His wife, Sarah, was the only girl he ever dated. He grew up in an orphanage and worked hard for everything he had. He never had time to date until Sarah swept him off his feet. Before he knew it she had managed to get him to ask her to marry him. After they had said their vows on their wedding day, Sarah=s father took the new groom aside and handed him a small gift. He said "within this gift is all you need to know to have a happy marriage." The nervous young man fumbled with the paper and ribbon until he got the package unwrapped. Within the box lay a large gold watch. With great care he picked it up. Upon close examination he saw etched across the face of the watch a prudent reminder he would see whenever he checked the time of day... words that, if heeded, held the secret to a successful marriage. They were, "Say something nice to Sarah." Reading about the ‘Lady on a white horse, with her hair on fire’ and the gold watch with ‘Say Something Nice to Sarah’ on its face, made a deep impression on me, and I vowed that I would never let another day go by without saying something nice to Mary. In fact, on Mary’s birthday in December 2000, while on the Splendour of the Seas, as an additional birthday present, I surprised Mary by having my gold wedding band engraved with the letters, SSNTM. Yes, those letters are an abbreviation for, “Say Something Nice Too Mary” I knew my memory was not what it used to be and I wanted to make sure I never forget to SSNTM. The first thing I do in the morning after I shower and shave, is to look at my wedding band and I am reminded what I need to do. Wimpy Says Something Nice To Mary: Wimpy made sure their mini-suite had the proper atmosphere for their anniversary. He had ordered flowers from home. As they entered their suite, Mary spotted the beautiful bouquet of flowers on the desk, and of course thanked him with a kiss on the cheek. Wimpy brought with him one of those new scent dispensers with a fan. It didn’t perform as well as he would have liked but it wasn’t bad. We could detect the scent of Gardenias throughout the cabin. Wimpy likes to say SSNTM in many different ways. He spent hours reading Hall Mark “For The One You Love” & ‘Between You & Me’ cards at Walgreen’s, until he found seven cards that spoke his heart and seven cards that tell your spouse of your love in very humorous ways. He alternated the cards, having her read them while we were having breakfast on our balcony. We find sharing beautiful positive, loving thoughts is a wonderful way to start our day. Another mainstay of Wimpy’s marriage maintenance is the endearing messages he prints on cloud paper business cards and gives Mary at different times during their cruise. It may seem like a bit much but I go along with the romantic theory that you can never say too many nice things to your lady. On our anniversary morning, we gave each other hand written notes that left us both teary eyed. Mary is a sweet spirit. It’s so much fun to do nice things for her because she reacts as if it was something new and wonderful, whereas it probably was something that Wimpy re-cycled from a previous cruise. Our Anniversary Dinner: We had our anniversary dinner at the Sterling Steak House and we were seated at a very nice table for two. Wimpy had arranged to have a vase of yellow roses at our table, one of Mary’s favorite flowers. Here we were on another wonderful, romantic date, one of the many we’ve had in our 38 years of married life. The great thing about being married for a long time is falling in love with the same person again... and again... and again and to remember if you win an argument with your wife, the wisest thing you can do is apologize. We enjoyed an excellent dinner and after dinner Mary remarked about the many weddings that were occurring aboard ship. We heard there was eight on Eastern leg and eleven on the Western, which kept the captain very busy. She asked if the Captain was going to have a renewal of wedding vows. I said to myself... here we go again! Usually the first thing Mary looks for in a ships bulletin is to see if the Captain is going to have a renewal of vows ceremony. I often kid her; I tell her she’s been married more times than Elizabeth Taylor. Mary’s Birthday and My Anniversary Celebration on the Coral Princess, Dec. 2nd: If you have read our past reviews, you have probably surmised I am a long time friend of Bill W. (Bill Wilson one of the founders of the A.A. Program) December 2nd, has a great deal of significance in our lives. It’s Mary’s birthday and it’s also the day I walked into an AA meeting forty years ago. I can’t believe I’m celebrating my fortieth year as a recovering alcoholic, and that during our dating and thirty eight years of marriage, Mary has never seen me drink. God truly does some wonderful things. I was blessed to have found this God given program and I owe my life to it. I am anxiously looking forward to celebrating Mary’s birthday aboard the Coral Princess. Mary's ageing process is very much the same as that of a very rare, vintage wine. She gets mellower, softer, silkier, and more velvety with every passing year. We may be in the twilight years and then some, but our relationship deepens and gets better with every passing day. We recently heard someone say, "I don't think love at first sight is so remarkable. It's when people have been looking at each other for years, that aged love becomes remarkable." I tried to get into a conversation with one of the young newly wed couples so I could spring that on them, but I wasn't successful. Highlight: Champagne Waterfall: Mary was chosen to be the Champagne Lady again. Doesn’t she look stunning? Generosa took her arm and helped her pour the first bottle of Champagne. As the first bottle was poured, the multitude of people filling the six decks of the Atrium erupted into a deafening roar, and balloons, confetti, streamers started pouring down from the upper decks as people were waving, applauding and shouting their approval. Waiters were weaving through the crowd serving champagne and hors d’ouvres. People were dancing and singing everywhere. It was like being in the midst of a huge New Years Eve Party. It’s a scene we won’t soon forget. It truly was the one of the highlights of our cruise... If you meet any of the crew members we will be telling you about, make sure you tell them that Tom & Mary said hello. They love to be acknowledged... Crew members that helped make our cruise so special. Generosa Mazzone, the Maitre d’Hotel. Generosa left after the first leg of our cruise to fly to Europe to meet and train the crew of the new Crown Princess that will be sailing a Caribbean itinerary out of the port of New York. We met Generosa three years ago when we sailed with him on the Coral Princess and have sailed with him on two other occasions. He is without a doubt, the epitome of what a Maitre d’ should be... He is one of the most gracious, charming men we have ever met. We were thrilled when we found out he was the Maitre d’ on our cruise. When we went to dinner he met us at the entrance to the dinning room and came toward with outstretched arms and a big smile on his face. He greeted Mary, “Buonasera Mary” and put his arms around her gave her a big hug and then kissed her on both cheeks, as the Europeans do. Then he turned to me and addressed me the same way, “Buonasera Tom” and it didn’t surprise me one bit when he kissed me on both cheeks. He’s a warm, sensitive, caring man that isn’t afraid to show his affections. He learned of our loss and he exuded an aura of comfort. We consider him a dear friend. If you are fortunate enough to sail with Generosa on the new Crown Princess, make it a point to meet him and be sure to tell him Tom & Mary said hello. He might surprise for you. [Nicola Furlan replaced Generosa as Maitre d’Hotel for the second leg of our cruise. We didn’t have a chance to spend much time with him; he was kept busy taking care of the PC dining rooms. We hope to get to know him when we sail with him again in the near future.] Melania Parnisari, First Purser F & B. Just thinking about her, as I am writing this, has brought a smile to my face. She is an absolutely delightful woman who is responsible for the operation of the Food & Beverage venues aboard the Caribbean Princess, a very important position. Generosa introduced us to Melania one evening as we entered the dining room. She gave us a very warm greeting and kissed the two of us on both cheeks. I was beginning to like this European type greeting. We engaged in a very pleasant conversation, and then as Generosa took Mary’s arm and started walking her to our table, I commented to Melania what a gracious, charming man he was. She looked at me with that beautiful smile on her face, took my arm and said, if he can do it so can I. She took my arm and walked me the full length of the dining room to our table for two. I felt like a celebrity walking beside this beautiful young lady. We met Melania on several other occasions and she was always gracious and it was a pleasure to be with her. We are looking forward to seeing her on a future cruise. If you see Melania’s name in the officer column in the Princess Patter, look her up and tell her, we said Hello. You will be mesmerized by her smile. Gerry: Our cabin Attendant: Gerry is from Colombia. He was new at his job, it was his first contract. There were a few problems with our cabin but Gerry saw to it that they were corrected. He kept our cabin in tip top shape and was always near by when we needed something. We had our anniversary dinner at the Sterling Steak House and Mary ordered Filet Mignon and couldn’t finish it. There was quite a large portion left and she told the waiter she wanted to box it and take it with her. I thought she had gone bonkers. I told her she was on a cruise, not back home finishing an early bird dinner. Her reply was, “I want to bring it back for Gerry, I think he would enjoy it.” Sure enough she brought it back to our cabin and put it in the refrigerator and gave it to Gerry later that night. He later told us, he brought it back to the crew’s quarters and shared it with his buddies. That’s my Mary. Laura Morales & Dawn Fraser at The Pursers Desk: The afternoon of the first day of our cruise we needed to go to the purser’s desk. We were greeted by a very pretty young lady with a smile that could melt an iceberg. Her name was Laura Morales. She was from Mexico. After she finished doing what we needed to be done, we had a very pleasant conversation and thanked her. We had to pass that area a couple more times and when we looked over at Laura, sure enough, there she was... smiling at us. It reminded me of a story I read about a newspaper boy that was standing outside a restaurant in Chicago on a bitter cold night. A beautiful movie star was leaving the restaurant when she saw the newspaper boy shivering as he stood holding his newspapers. She smiled at him and said, “Aren’t you cold?” He said, “I was until you smiled at me!” We told Laura her smile was like a ray of sunshine and we would be stopping by every day to say hello. During the second week of our cruise we had a serious situation develop that little Laura brought to the attention of the Dawn Fraser, the Senior Purser. I was a complex problem but Dawn went the extra mile f or us. She took care of and handled it in very professional manner and we owe her our thanks, for resolving our problem. If you sail on the Caribbean Princess, make sure you stop by and say hello to Laura and Dawn. Dominika & Petya: Liquor & Sundry Items; 6th deck: These are two charming and delightful young ladies. Dominika is from Poland and Petya is from Bulgaria. We first met Dominika when I was in dire need of something to help me after an acid-reflux attach. Someone sent a dozen chocolate covered strawberries to our room and after eating four of them I woke-up in the middle of the night with a searing pain that felt like I had hot tamale stuck in my throat. She said they only stocked Tums. Taking Tums for what I had was the same as trying to put out a roaring fire with a garden hose. Dominika was so sympathetic and concerned, I thought she was going to call the captain and ask him if he any Mylanta. I bought a half dozen packets Tums. The next day as we were walking by, she waved to us to come in. and asked how I was feeling. One thing led to another and before you know it, she was telling us all about herself and her family and how she missed them. This was the beginning of a budding friendship. We stopped by the next day and met her partner Petya. Petya is from Bulgaria. She reminded us of Carmen Miranda, the Cuban bombshell. (I wonder how may of you remember her. If you do, your not to much younger than we are.) She became animated when she spoke. She loved to talk about her family and how family life was back home. Both of them remarked that they liked the way Mary dressed for dinner, so we made sure we stopped by every night on the way to dinner, so they could see what Mary was wearing. Mary noticed they were so busy at times, that they didn’t have time to eat. On a few occasions Mary had our waiter wrap up some cookies to take to the girls. On the last night when they are the busiest, Mary went to the Caribe Café and she brought them sandwiches, cookies and milk. They couldn’t thank her enough. If you meet these charming young ladies on one of your cruises, be sure to introduce your self and tell them, Tom & Mary said hello. Sy & Anderson: Dining Room, Waiter & Assistant Sy and Anderson were from the Philippines. They made a great team. Sy has worked six contracts and has been training Anderson to be a full fledged waiter and he’s done a fine job. Anderson started working in the kitchen and has worked his way up to being an assistant and will become a full waiter when he signs his next contract. It was a pleasure to have them serve our table.. Antonio & Amandeo: Dining room, Head Waiters These are two fine head waiters who have been with Princess many years. They are the right hand of the maitre d’ and assist him in all areas of service. Amandeo joined The Caribbean Princess on the second leg of our cruise. He has a charming personality and we hope to see him on a future cruise. Highlight: Champagne Waterfall: Mary was chosen to be the Champagne Lady again. Doesn’t she look stunning? Generosa took her arm and helped her pour the first bottle of Champagne. As the first bottle was poured, the multitude of people filling the six decks of the Atrium erupted into a deafening roar, and balloons, confetti, streamers started pouring down from the upper decks as people were waving, applauding and shouting their approval. Waiters were weaving through the crowd serving champagne and hors d’ouvres. People were dancing and singing everywhere. It was like being in the midst of a huge New Years Eve Party. It’s a scene we won’t soon forget. It truly was the one of the highlights of our cruise... Highlight: Cruise Director and Entertainment The Cruise Director David Cole and his staff were outstanding. David was a great host and always had the right comment for every occasion. After hearing him sing I wasn’t surprised to learn that he has performed as a professional singer and dancer for nearly thirty years and has held principal roles in musical theatre. He did a great job of programming the entertainment. Most of the single acts are scheduled so everyone regardless of the time of their dinner seating, has a chance to see them. There was a full array of single acts, something for everyone. The production show, Piano Man, was as good as it gets. The four lead singers were exceptional and the dancers were the best we have seen. David Orion: Mary & I both like comics and they featured a number of them on this cruise. There was one, David Orion, who is one of the finest comedians we have seen in many years. He wasn’t on stage five minutes when he connected with the audience and had them in the palm of his hand. He had a homespun, Will Rogers type aura about him that made you want to lean forward and listen to every word he said. It’s a little hard to describe his humor because it was so different. The audience not only enjoyed his humor immensely but you could sense they liked him. He affected us the same way but even more so after seeing him interact with his daughters. The next evening after seeing his show, we went to the Fusion Lounge to listen to and dance to the big band sound of Terry Belanger and his Caribbean Princess orchestra. We were sitting off to the side in a darkened area, when we took notice to a man on the dance floor, who was taking turns dancing with two young girls, who appeared to be between nine and twelve years old, two cute little girls, wearing little girl gowns, who were David’s daughters. David took turns dancing with one and than the other. He would hold they’re hand high as he slowly had them do a turn and then he would ever so gently take their hand and then maybe do a little side step with them. He didn’t do this just once or twice; he did it for the full dance set. Mary and I were enthralled watching them. There is no doubt David is one of the very best comedians working today, but what he does as a comedian pales in comparison to the loving, tender care he shows his two young daughters. These young ladies will remember forever that night their daddy danced with them. It’s was a very special moment for us, a memory we will long remember. The Princess FSC Program When cruising on a Princess ship you can go to the Future Cruise Desk and book a future cruise for a deposit of $100 per person and receive an on board credit up too $150 per person. You have four years to make up your mind what cruise you want to book and you don’t have to book with Princess, you can have it booked through your agent. Wimpy Sightings: When we were at our Mall back home, at one of the Kiosk’s, that did lettering on peak caps. I decided to have one done with white lettering of Tom & Mary, on a deep blue cap. I thought it would be fun to wear it at different times and see, by chance, if one of our review readers might notice it and say hello. Much to our surprise, there was a number of wimpy sightings. The first hours of the cruise as were walking on the pool deck, before I donned my cap, a young couple came walking straight at us and said, “Your Tom & Mary.” They were a handsome young couple from Orlando, Florida, Jen & Justin Evans. Another time on a Catamaran sailing from St. Thomas to St’ Johns Island, wearing my new peak cap, we noticed a young women starring at us and all of a sudden she pointed to us and said, “Of course, you’re the Tom & Mary that write reviews, were fans of yours.” Her husband Rob and his mother then joined the conversation and he told us he had used many of our suggestions but he had one of his own that Wimpy never thought of. He said when they returned home from a cruise, he wanted to remind his wife of the wonderful intimate moments they shared, so he collected all the chocolates that the cabin attendant put on their pillows at night, and brought them home with him and continued the nightly ritual at home. Rob said it worked better than he had thought it would; they kept on experiencing those wonderful, intimate moments long after he ran out of chocolates. (There were a number of other sightings.) Wimpy wants Rob to know he is using his idea; that he also collected the chocolates from their pillows, and is putting them on Mary’s pillow at home. He even scouted the candy shops and bought some similar chocolates so he had enough to continue doing it until their next cruise. While we were writing the last paragraphs of this review, we received an e-mail from our friends Charlie and Marie Phillips from Virginia. This is what it said: [Hi Tom and Mary, I read an article in the Washington Post that tells us to throw out our air fresheners because they emit toxic pollutants. We need to keep Wimpy healthy. . I know you use them when you cruise so now you will just have to spray Mary's expensive perfume around the room and buy her more. Love, Charlie and Marie] I think Charlie’s idea is a good one and I’m sure Wimpy will use it on their next cruise. Our conclusion: This cruise was just what the doctor ordered. We had a very difficult two years and being on the beautiful Caribbean Princess has recharged our batteries. In the middle of writing this review Mary told me she wouldn’t mind doing this same ship with the same itinerary this coming September. I couldn’t believe my ears. I am so happy she once again is interested in doing the things we used to do. I’m trying to think of how I can put into words what I feel in my heart. Mary and I are so utterly grateful to God for giving us a second chance at having a happy, fruitful life. He has made our lives into something beautiful and we will forever be grateful. If you think you might be too old to start cruising, Mary & I are going to let you in on a secret of ours. It has often been said that the romantic fire dwindles as you enter the twilight years. We are of the age they speak of and we can tell you, that's a myth. Despite one's age, romanticism never dies. It's true, some of our physical aspects might lessen, but then it's a matter of finding new ways to stoke the fire. We find that cruising is one way that works for us. Try it. It might work for you. Remember, "You're never too old for a Honeymoon." We can't think of anything we would rather do, then being together on one of these beautiful, magnificent floating resorts. We wish everyone had the means to go on their first cruise. We welcome any questions or comments you might have, especially those from first time cruisers. A Special Note to our Readers: Just as we wrote that encouragement and acknowledgement are like oxygen to the soul of crew members, it also has the same affect on Mary & I. We would like you write us and let us know if you like the things we write about. Give us your honest opinion; it will help us when we write our next review. May your next cruise be your best, Our warm regards, Tom & Mary Milano,

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Jan 7, 2006

Eastern Caribbean

Jan. 7, 2006 Eastern Caribbean was our first cruise on Princess. We've sailed 9 times on RCCL and twice on Carnival. Since this is Princess' mega ship and our favorite ship is Royal Caribbean's Mariner, I'll structure this review as a comparison between the ships and the cruise lines by P+ or RC+. We flew into FLL around 10:30 a.m. and took a taxi to the dock. There was a lot of traffic congestion and it took about 25 minutes. Once there,

we waited in a room and were given a number and called to check in at about 11:45. We had pre-registered online, so it only took seconds. We were on the ship before noon, and our luggage arrived at our room by 2 pm. On last year's Mariner, we were in the Platinum check-in and it was a mess. Our cabin was on the Caribe deck with a huge balcony. Much larger than Mariner, plus there was more storage, a larger closet and just a better flow. We enjoyed the bathrobes and they provided shampoo and conditioner, unlike RC. The hair dryer was easier to use, but not great for styling. Our room steward , Mark, did an excellent job. No towel animals on CP. SHIPS This ship, for it's age and size, is quite dull in appearance. Wood and more wood. The marble atrium is pretty, but the art work is boring, and unlike the Mariner is non-exisitent in halls. The theatre with the red walls, red chairs and red curtain is ugly. The Mariner is jaw-dropping gorgeous in all places. The dining rooms are small and unimpressive on this ship, the Mariner's tiered open dining room with chandelier and waiters' parades on the staircases is spectacular. RC puts more into making a production of things! However boring I thought the ship was, that doesn't make it a bad cruise! I liked having the pool with Movies Under the Stars (MUTS); we enjoyed that a lot. However, the other pool area with the band has hardly any space to dance and really is too small for a good party under the stars. We left that event early. I loved the swim against the current pool by the gym. It's not very good for a strong swimmer; I had to just use my arms and not kick or would smash into the machine. Still, it's fun. I also loved the Promenade deck for an hour of power walking daily. It's divided on 2 levels and you must walk up and down stairs, but it's continuous unlike the Mariner. Mariner has a jogging track which is larger than Princess', but it's on a deck with chairs and people and it's impossible to use after 9 am. The jogging track on CP is small and is 9 laps to the mile with steep turns. One other area we liked was the adult pool and bar behind Cafe Caribbean. We enjoyed having breakfast out there or a snack during the day. Mariner lacks outdoor venues such as this because of the kids area in back. The Mariner's sports deck is far superior to the CP. It has full court basketball, which CP shares with paddle tennis play. Mariner has in-line skating, rock climbing wall and a very nice 18 hole mini-golf course. CP's mini-golf is ridiculously tiny and a waste of space. My husband used the golf simulator on both ships and like the CP best with a newer and different technology. There are more deck chairs on the sports deck on this ship. Many reviewers comment that the entertainment venues are too small, and I agree. We had to get to the theatre almost an hour early to get a seat for the shows. Ditto for shows in the Explorer Lounge. Bert Stratton's popularity makes Crooner's packed an hour early and people crowd the entire area and it's hard to walk through there. I found the ship difficult to navigate and it took me the entire week to find my way around. I didn't like the Lido deck opening into a small hall of cabins. If you were coming through there with food, you had to be careful. I did, however, like the atrium library with comfortable leather chairs and ocean views. Mariner's is enclosed and on 2 levels, which I don't like. There are more places to enjoy the ocean on the CP, in my opinion. Both have dull Internet Cafes, but the satellite worked far better on this ship and AOL didn't malfunction badly. Also, they had a person helping others in there.The coffee bar in atrium was a pleasant place to sit in the morning. I don't think anything can match the Promenade on the Mariner with the shops, bars (including our favorite, Vintages Wine bar) and parades. We loved hanging out there watching people, sipping wine, listening to music, etc. However, and this is a HUGE thing for me, the CP allows no smoking in areas where public must pass. That means no smoking in Crooner's or the atrium. The ship doesn't have the disgusting side stream stench that you encounter on the Mariner. You'd think with 14 bars that RC could have a smoke free Promenade, especially with all the children who enjoy it. It simply ruins the wine bar experience. This is one cruise where I came home breathing freely where I've had bronchitis in the past. Princess scores +5 on controlling the smoke. I don't use spas, but am a serious athlete who expects a first rate gym. The CP was not perfect, but it was adequate. First, it was almost always too warm, as was the Mariner. All the aerobic machines were in a single line under the windows, which made it hotter. Mariner had them staggered in three rows with bikes on the side. The weight machines were directly behind the other machines which made it crowded at times with people going all ways. Mariner's had a separate area and more machines. Though busy, I always found a machine. During port days, the gym was nearly empty. They offered seminars which were the same bull on RC- detox, etc. which is such a crock. If all those people would get out of the algae wraps and onto a treadmill, they'd be better off! One thing I loved on CP was that each aerobic machine had it's own monitor and they showed the same TV programs that were on in the room. At any time, you could watch news, sports, movies, cartoons or listen to music. VERY nice. They would loan headsets at the desk, but I'd recommend bringing your own as theirs were plastic and not comfortable. They had Cybex equipment which was in good shape. I only saw one machine broken, and it was fixed quickly. They had a new "Arc" trainer which was splendid for people with knee problems. I saw the 2 fitness instructors doing seminars and selling services, but never saw anyone instructing people on machines , helping them with adjustments, or checking on the health of those there. Same for RC. Someone could really get hurt, this should be addressed. ENTERTAINMENT Without a doubt, RC has far better entertainment hands down. We saw "Piano Man" and "Caribbean Caliente" in the theatre. The first was a collection of songs by famous pianists. Only one female singer was up to par. The males couldn't sing in Billy Joel's or Elton John's keys. They changed the songs to fit their voices, which was lame. Costumes were good, but dancers were weak. Very amateurish. Also, they used much pre-recorded music in the performances. The orchestra, while small, was good and we really enjoyed dancing to them when they performed in the lounges. Kudos to Gretchen Marks, an outstanding saxophone player from Chicago. She can really belt out a tune. We saw her last year on the Voyager; Princess is lucky to have her. In the Wheelhouse Lounge the Elua duo provided half the music. They were okay, but they used all midi tracks. The other group, Jean Mac quartet, was simply spectacular. I'm a professional musician, and I can honestly say that George, the pianist, is one of the best I've ever heard. Eugene, the drummer and Robert, the upright bassist were awesome. Jean is a soulful singer with a low, lush voice who can sing anything well. Plus, they take requests and are impossible to stump. We danced till our legs gave out here! There was a young dance band from Britain, 5th Element, in Explorer's Lounge. They were pretty typical and did the theme stuff, plus generic dance tunes. They were enthusiastic, which was cute. The other dance nights were covered by Epithini, who also played by the pool. These guys were excellent! I wish I'd had more time to enjoy them; I stayed out of the sun a lot. Michael played tunes in the atrium and was enjoyable and very personable. The ever popular pianist/singer Bert Stratton was way over the top for us. We like to sit around the piano and sing as well as do the crazy stuff. Bert sings at you, not with you. Plus, he's so hyper he reminds me of Neil Sedaka on speed. The crowd loves him, though. Having another pianist in Crooner's with a different style and at earlier times would be nice. At Princess Cays, the entertainers were terrible. One was a keyboard player who sang (badly) and at another venue was a bad guitarist who sang even more pitifully. While waiting for shows to begin (sometimes an hour) there is no music or anything. RC has comics, jugglers, etc who keep you having fun while you wait. This is where CP really needs improvement. One fun event was the cooking demo with the robust Italian chef and the diminutive maitre d'. They were a hoot- it was informative yet hysterical. We had a tour of the galley afterwards where at least 20 people kept pushing people to buy cookbooks. We played trivia three times and won twice. They have daily games; often two. We never played bingo or used the smoky casino. The cigar bar by the theatre made parts of the theatre smell badly. Bad design here. The Mariner had a wild and crazy Quest game for adults which was a ball. It also had a spectacular ice show as well as a 50's-60's party and dance contest. Idol contests were a huge production on RC; much more professional. The ice skating rink made a huge venue for other shows and dances, which Princess could have used. FOOD I thought both were comparable. Some things very good, some so-so. The breakfast buffet was better on CP with more choices and fresh, not canned, salsa. RC uses hard tater tots or greasy patties where CP had potato pancakes and other varieties. The buffet is cramped and crazy on CP- really bad design. We had dinner there twice and enjoyed it. I think the salad bar also has more choices, though they had no non-fat dressings. The late night buffet had huge shrimp and scallop skewers which were great. We used personal choice in dining room and really liked it. We showed up between 530 or 6 and requested a large table. We made many friends this way and it was something we would definitely do again. We were always seated immediately and service was always excellent. Pizza was a little soggy on the deck. Popcorn at MUTS was yummy. We didn't try Sabatini's or Sterling's- we were trying to lose a couple pounds this week and succeeded. PORTS We don't care that much about where we go. I loved having two sea days at the beginning, even though the second was rough and we had up to 18 ft seas! We stayed on the ship in St. Thomas. If we were to go ashore, it would be to ferry to St. John. In St Maarten, we took a 35 min cab to Marigot (terrible traffic both ways) and caught the ferry to Anguilla, which I had never seen. It was a very rough ride and the waters were rough there as well. I wanted to swim, but we spent the day walking Shoal Bay and then having a delicious lunch at a beach restaurant. We had a friendly cab driver who gave us a tour of the island with a short history lesson. The people on the island were very friendly and gracious and the island, while not lush, was unspoiled and the beach with it's natural vegetation and turquoise water, was lovely. Very relaxing day. Give yourselves at least sixty or seventy five minutes from ship to shore. The day at Princess Cays was perfect. The water was calm and it was easy to swim a mile at the cove at the far right of the tender. The beach barbecue was a bit crowded and not very good, especially for non-meat eaters. However, they had cold drinking water all over and there was a paved walking trail to most of the spots. RC's island, Coco Cay, has nice beaches and more shade, but it's sand walking only. The snorkeling there isn't much, where this place had a good reef and many kinds of coral. RC's other private place, Labadee, on the tip of Haiti, has murky water with seaweed, no coral and no fish. They do have better island entertainment, however. OTHER The crowd on the ship was the same as RC in January; lots of older people, few children or teens. We talked to many veteran cruisers who had sailed other Princess ships and many had negative comments about service and entertainment. I had no negative experiences with service, I loved the staff. They were a bit pushy with the drinks, pictures and selling services. The CB was a little calmer than RC- no singing waiters, Quest, sexy leg contests or horse racing. Champagne waterfall was festive, but it was also too crowded as was the Captain's party. Cruise director James Lay was very good and funny. He did an excellent job. Some people really don't like the big ships for the same reason that I love them. I get lots of exercise walking and doing stairs. There are many, many activities and no way to do all you want. There always seemed to be chairs on some deck, maybe not by the pool but somewhere. I would cruise with Princess again, though our next cruise will be RC's Freedom. DEBARK We had blue tags and were off rather late. However, it was a beautiful day so we sat on the pool deck and had a drink (cash bar) and chilled out. We were pushed out of there, crowded again, into the customs area where we sailed smoothly and quickly through. Once in the luggage area, it was a zoo. Huge room with luggage everywhere; ours was not even together. On Mariner, we had airport-style kiosks in separate rooms for tag colors, very organized. FLL airport was crowded with passengers and has really bad food choices. Miami isn't much better. Orlando and Tampa are my favorite by far. Easy flights home and great memories, once again. Feel free to ask questions at LLindaC@aol.com  

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Nov 19, 2005

Eastern Caribbean

We just returned from a cruise to the Eastern Caribbean aboard the Caribbean Princess. Below I have organized the review into a few categories: Embarkation: We decided to heed the advise of other reviews and arrive after 1:00 p.m. It definitely is much easier and faster to wait until that time. On a non-holiday cruise, I am sure the process will run even quicker. Overall it was smooth and easy. Stateroom: We splurged on a Mini-Suite

with a Balcony, E731. Absolutely wonderful. I don't think I could go back to a room without a balcony. It was so nice to relax in solitude. The room was rather spacious and our two girls loved the bunk bed set-up in the sitting room area. This room has a bathtub which made things much easier with the kids. The only drawback of this specific room was that it was at the very back of the ship. One can feel the rockiness of the ship more in the back. But, none of our family is prone to seasickness so it wasn't a major problem. Recommendation - try the Mini-Suite. Service: Overall, I thought the service was outstanding. We never had any problems receiving our drinks, food, etc. The Cabin Steward was very efficient. It seemed like he was non-existent in a good way. He always had our room done and did not bother us in any way. Personally, I like a steward that stays in the background. The ship's crew were very friendly and helpful. Ship Navigation: It took me about 2 hours to figure out the set-up of the ship and how to get there. I will say that I am very good at finding my way around things. So, I will say that it can be confusing for a bit. The ship is divided up to give it the feel of a smaller ship. The elevators do not all go to every floor so be mindful of that. Funzone (Kids program): Our daughters had a great time in the cruise's kids program. There were over 600 kids on our cruise so Princess brought in extra counselors to help. Overall, the kids enjoyed themselves and had a positive experience. Entertainment: The worst part of the cruise. I am a musician myself and was thoroughly disappointed by the level of talent in the cruise entertainment. The only solid show was with one of the comedians and that was not even in the main theater. The entertainment on the Caribbean Princess needs to be revamped altogether. Food: The dining room food was absolutely amazing! The buffet was mediocre at best. MUTS: The Movie Under The Stars is definitely a big draw. Our family had a great time watching all the films and swimming at the same time. Very cool. Ports of Call: St. Thomas is a decent port overall. The scenery is not the prettiest in the Caribbean. We went on an excursion with the kids - The Semi-Submersible Sub and Coral World Aquarium. This was fun and the kids really had a blast. If you have younger children I would suggest this excursion St. Maartens is a nicer island than St. Thomas. The beach was small, but we had a good time. In hindsight, I wish we would have done a shore excursion in St. Maartens because it is a much prettier area. Princess Cays was fun. I didn't think it was as crowded as some reviewers have said. I live in Florida so maybe I'm used to a lot of people at the beach. We took the kids snorkeling and they had a great time. The water is absolutely beautiful! Disembarkation: Long and unorganized. There has to be a better way to disembark. We couldn't wait much longer than we did because the kids were getting antsy. They did not call our color, but we decided to go anyways. There was no problem after that. Be prepared for a long wait. Overall: Our cruise was fantastic! I would definitely go on Princess again. There were some minor disappoints but in the end it was an overall success!

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Nov 12, 2005

Eastern Caribbean

This was my 8 cruise and third with the Princess Fleet. Princess has proven to be pretty reliable and always a good value for you money if you know what to expect. The Caribbean Princess has been the largest ship I have sailed on followed by the Princess Grand. There are many similarities but also some significant differences. For the first time since beginning cruising I found the Caribbean Princess a difficult ship to navigate.

There was something about the ship that just didn't flow as easily as the others. Apparently with this new ship Princess has found a way to add an additional deck which brought the total number of passengers to somewhere in the 3200 range. It was very noticeable that there were "a lot" of people on this ship. Quite frankly too many. Surprisingly enough however, we never had a problem with waiting times. We chose anytime seating which was a pleasure. We simply made reservations for the entire week and tweaked them ever so slightly as the week wore on. We never had to wait for a seating and by request had the same wait staff all week. I would highly recommend the anytime dining arrangement and would also recommend keeping the same table throughout the week. It's nice when you get to know your waiters and vice versa. The food I thought was good. It wasn't great, but certainly good and plenty of it. The breakfast and lunch buffet lines always seemed to move quickly and generally finding a seat was not a problem. Embarkation seemed to flow smoothly enough. Be patient as the process takes less than an hour. Debarkation while much more hectic, also requires less than an hour. I think we were off the ship by 9:30. We had a 2:00 departure and found that we had 4 hours to kill. The crew on the Caribbean Princess was great. Very accommodating, pleasant and willing to help in anyway. So the down side with a ship of this size is the number of people. 3,200 passengers and another 1,200 crew is A LOT of people. Overall I will continue to cruise with Princess and others but would look for something again more the size of the Grand or Crown.

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Oct 14, 2005

Eastern Caribbean

This was my our 18th cruise. We have been on many other cruise lines. We just choose the Caribbean Princess because of the time and the nearest port to us in Indiana. We arrived late so it was easy on. We were Captain Culb members so it would have been fairly easy on board I thought if we would have been earlier. Overall thoughts on the crusie were: Service was good considering the number of persons on board. Food was not as

good as years past but was OK. My wife and I thought the entertainment was as good as any cruise in the past. The cruise staff was excellent. They worked their hearts out to keep passengers busy and entertained. The pizza and the hamburger, hotdogs were about the same as all the ships we have sailed. We opted for the Anytime Dining as in the past and we waited for a table for two only 15 minutes one time. If we had wanted to share a table we would never had to wait. This was an improvment from the past where the dining room staff openly tried to discourage us from trying to get a table for two. Sitting with other people for three meals a day for seven days telling where you are from and what you do gets old fast. (for you first time cruisers) We thought for the price Princess does its best with the number of people aboard these super modern ships. Its apparent that the service and quality that we used to have is gone, unless you wish to pay alot more money for the much higher priced cruises. If you are willing to pay the money you can get a ship with much less people and alot more service. Leaving the ship on return is always a mess on every cruise line. We were off the ship by around 9:30am. which we thought was not to bad. For those of you who want off earlier remember you couldn't even check your luggage at the aiport until 4 hour prior to your departure. Overall, we think for the price the Caribbean Princess gave us a very nice week of food and entertainment. Thanks to the entir staff of the ship for a nice week.

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Oct 14, 2005

Eastern Caribbean

1. This was our seventh total cruise, fifth on Princess, and our second on the Caribbean Princess. Our first two cruises were on Holland America, but we switched to Princess and have been satisfied ever since. 2. Booking and customizing For the first time we booked our cruise through a link associated with a major discount retailer rather than a local travel agent we had used for years. We received excellent service, a price that

was $100 less per person, and ship credits for $40 each. We submitted our personal information, cruise preferences and booked shore excursions via the Princess website well in advance. We had no trouble at check in, and the tickets for the excursions were delivered to our cabin the first day. I did ask for grapes and robes just to see if anyone was paying attention. The grapes were in the cabin, but not the robes. 3. Check-in and embarkation Our party arrived at the port about 2:30 in the afternoon, and we were in our cabin by 3:00. We still had lots of time to explore the ship and eat a little lunch before departure, and did not have to stand in long lines before boarding. We later talked to people who had arrived at 11:00 and it took much longer for them to board. A lot of new cruisers ignore the boarding time on their tickets and arrive long before the ship is ready. They often spend long, hot hours on hard plastic seats (if they can find one) or in long lines that don’t move. Don’t arrive before 1:00! This ship will seem VERY crowded when loading, and elevators will be at a premium. Lunch is being served on the Lido deck and people will act as if they haven’t eaten for days. (Perhaps they haven’t) Have patience and don’t get nervous. The ship will not seem nearly as crowded once people begin to settle in. Everyone wants to explore the ship, but it might be more comfortable in your cabin for a while. Our luggage was delivered to our cabin by 4:00. Two couples did not get their garment bags with their other luggage but everything was in place before dinner. 4. The ship The Caribbean Princess was only a few months old when sailed her the first time, and everything was brand new. A year later some of the carpet in heavy traffic areas looked a little worn, and the carpet in a couple of the cabins showed staining and wear around the doors to the balconies. Many of the deck chairs were stained from sunscreen or ?, but that is why you put down the towels first. Otherwise, the ship still looked new. The bathrooms have tile floors and the grout showed staining, but had obviously been thoroughly cleaned before our trip. We never detected any odors of any kind around the ship. Overall condition: Excellent 5. Service Service was very good throughout the ship. We opted for “anytime” dining, and NEVER had to wait for a table. The wait staff was very friendly, but very busy. They were happy to take a few minutes and talk to us if we initiated the conversation, but never intruded when we were talking among ourselves. We never felt rushed, and never had to ask for anything. Once or twice we didn’t really like the table we were first shown, but in each case we were moved to another without fuss. The bartenders and drink servers were just fine, even when we presented them with the “Coke” sticker. (I would guess they do not earn “tips” on Coke stickers) Again, they would happily talk about their homes, families and jobs if we initiated the conversation, but otherwise kept a little distance. 6. Food Invariably, one of our party of six would have a dinner entrée that disappointed. At the same meal two would be “good” and three would be “excellent”. I enjoyed all of my meals, but perhaps I am easy to please. In any event, the wait staff quickly whisked away anything that disappointed and replaced it with another choice. On lobster night the servers came around with platters and offered everyone, including those who had selected another entrée, seconds. The tails, they said, were too small for most people. Most people who tried the buffets had fewer complaints, probably because they just passed over anything that did not look appealing. The “Carib” buffet, by the way, is a lot more adventurous that the “Horizon Court”. Try both. The pizza was good, the hamburgers fair. We were sitting a dinner one evening next to a roped-off empty table. From out of the kitchen comes a crew equipped with full “HAZMAT” outfits: coveralls, boots, hoods, goggles and masks. When properly suited up they thoroughly sprayed the carpet, all of the chairs and the table, and wiped everything down several times. The table cloth, napkins and HAZMAT clothing all went into red “Bio-Hazard” bags when they finished, and the bag was carefully sealed before being taken off. It seems that a few minutes earlier someone had become ill at dinner. While this was somewhat discomforting, the Princess reaction showed that they took the situation seriously, and were prepared to contain any potential spread of the illness. 7. Entertainment The “Piano Man” show was very good, the “Caribbean Caliente” awful. The shows in the smaller lounges and bars varied. “Burt” in the Crooners Bar was excellent every night, and his show in the Explorers’ Lounge the best of the week. Daytime events and activities were uninspired. “Club Fusion” is one of the best decorated public rooms, but seemed to be underused most of the time. “Movies Under the Stars” works well, but nothing on the program really appealed to us this cruise. 8. Pools My wife is a “Pool Person”, and will spend most of her days in the adult section in the stern under the spoiler. We easily found deck chairs the two days I joined her, and she said several times it seemed less crowded than the year before when she went alone. The two pools in the center of the ship were way too crowded and chairs were definitely in short supply. There were always lots of empty deck chairs in areas away from the pools. I found our balcony a nice place to be during the day. 9. Disembarkation Getting off the ship is always a trying experience, but this time we hit the gangway at 9:30, an hour better than last year. Finding our luggage and a porter was easy, but the mob scene in the loading area wasn’t pretty. 10. Summary Princess Cruises are well run, the ships are well maintained, the people are pleasant to be around, and the cruises offer excellent value for the dollar (even if the occasional meal or production show is not as good as it could be). Most of the people we talked to were having a very good time. There are probably better cruise lines, but not at a Princess Price. No cruise will be absolutely perfect every day, but with a positive attitude and a little rum, the overall experience will be great.

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Oct 9, 2005

Eastern Caribbean

I went with my boyfriend and another couple and we all had a excellent time. I have sailed with Royal Caribbean and Carnival in the past. There were some things that I really liked about RCCL and some things that I really liked about Princess and there is nothing I liked about Carnival. The Caribbean Princess had wonderful public areas but some of the rooms were a little bland. The food was pretty good, some dishes better than others but

I think the same is true for RCCL. The deserts were definitely a hit every time. I usually hate buffet food but we found the food in the buffet to actually be a bit better than the dining rooms. The staff was very friendly and I don't know how people could write such horrible reviews. I was a bit hesitant to go on this ship due to some comments but now I see that some people just love to complain and will never be happy. Its vacation enjoy it! Do NOT miss the following if you go on this ship The Magic Comedian (Best performance on board not to mention best comedian I have ever seen) The Hypnotist Carribe Calliente (excellent show) The International Show I would of really liked this cruise better if there was one more port added to the itinerary. The Princess cays were a little disappointing to me just because I would of preferred something a little quieter and not so commercialized. I still had a wonderful time. The biggest tip I would give about this cruise is when you arrive at port on the islands make sure you do something! So many people go shopping...yes its fun to shop but one hour will do...all of the stores are the same. We went snorkeling on the French side in st martin if we hadn't done that we would of been very disappointed. It was so beautiful on Orient beach...do NOT miss. Remember the port is just where they drop you off IT IS NOT the most beautiful part of the island. So rent scooters or arrange for a excursion (remember you don't have to go through the cruise line and normally you can find a much cheaper excursion right off the ship) Whatever you do get out there and explore you will be very happy if you do!

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Sep 16, 2005

Western Caribbean

This was scheduled to be an Eastern Caribbean cruise, but after our first stop at Princess Cays in the Bahamas, the captain decided to change it to a Western Caribbean cruise because of the weather. Hurricane Rita was just beginning to make herself known and there were two other tropical depressions in the making. Turned out this was a wonderful decision on his part. We had fantastic weather and calm seas on the entire trip. We heard

later that the Carnival Glory decided to proceed with their cruise to the Eastern Caribbean and they were sorry they did – encountering heavy seas and making the passenger very uncomfortable. Because of the change, we naturally heard a few complaints from passengers who had booked back-to-back cruises so they could do both the Eastern and the Western only to now being doing the Western twice. But you can’t control Mother Nature and most passengers realized there was nothing anyone could do and just made the best of it. For us, we prefer the Western Caribbean, so it was fine with us. We have been to the Western Caribbean several times and have always enjoyed it. Mostly, this is due to the fact that we are scuba divers and Cozumel is one of the premier places in the world to go scuba diving. But I’ll talk more about that later. The Ship This was a family and friends cruise to say Bon Voyage to our daughter, who just recently joined the U.S. Navy and was shipping out to boot camp two days after we get back. So we had a total of 9 people (ages 20 – 55) and ‘party’ was definitely a verb on this cruise! For this trip, we chose the Caribbean Princess. It is an absolutely wonderful ship and has our stamp of approval for families or first time cruisers. The Caribbean Princess is the newest ship in the Grand-class and began service in April 2004. At 116,000 gross tons, it’s their latest entry into the mega-ship race. For our last family reunion a couple of years ago, we went on the Royal Caribbean Navigator of the Seas, so all of us were comparing the two. And, after spending a week on both, it was tough to decide which one we liked the best. For families, it’s tough to beat all the amenities on the Navigator, so we tended to lean a little more in its favor. But other than that, the food, the service, the ship – everything was wonderful on the Caribbean Princess and we only had some very minor complaints. We were all from the Washington, DC area and after doing a 15 hour drive to Miami on their previous trip, everyone decided to spend the extra money and fly down with us this time. We originally purchased roundtrip tickets on Jet Blue for $160 each. However, between the time we booked the airfare and the time we left, the price dropped twice so we were able to get a $30 rebate each time thereby bringing the total fare down to $130 per person, which was cheaper than our last family reunion two years ago. When we got to the Ft. Lauderdale airport, we tried to find a van to take our party of 5 to the pier. (The other four flew down the day before.) There were absolutely no vans to be found anywhere and we ended up having to take two taxis instead. Needless to say, I wasn’t happy with spending the extra money for nothing. And then we tried to tell these two drivers we needed to stick together as we wanted to make a stop at a liquor store to get some wine and champagne to take onboard. We might as well have been speaking a foreign language. Long story short, we got separated and had trouble trying to find each other later on at the pier. If you’ve ever been through embarkation at a cruise ship pier, you know what it’s like and I don’t have to provide all the details. If you haven’t been in one of these lines, It’s always a lot of fun and seems to take forever. From the time we got in line until we got on the ship was only an hour, so we have no real complaints. The only negative comment is to say that we were handed forms to fill out while moving through the line. I do not understand why these could not have been sent with the cruise documents so we could have done this earlier. Some cruise lines force everyone to go through their picture taking area in hopes you will buy them. Most people don’t know that this is not a mandatory stop and they can bypass the line and just board the ship. It would be very much appreciated by those of us who cruise on a regular basis if they made it easy to just walk around this. Anyway, we decided to take this particular trip as they offered a good rate. We could not afford to book a cabin as Travel to surprise your partner. I had preordered flowers to be delivered to our cabin and they were there when we arrived, much to my wife’s approval. You can carry wine or champagne with you on the ship, so I also brought two bottles along with me for consumption later in the cruise. But you can also buy packages for your cabin that include bathrobes, hors d'oeuvres, champagne, pictures, etc. They add a very nice touch to the romance of the cruise. I bought a champagne breakfast for $25 to be served to us on the balcony on our last day at sea and it was wonderful! Ok, back to the ship; our cabin, which was on the starboard side towards the aft. The hallways on this deck run the entire length of the ship, making it easy to get around. We were only two decks below the Lido Deck, so it was easy to walk up the steps for food or drinks. We did not feel the ‘motion of the ocean’ during any part of our trip, but our group in the back of the ship noticed the vibration of the engines the entire trip. Our cabin was very quiet and afforded plenty of room for our clothes. The bathroom was rather small, as is usually the case, but we’ve gotten use to becoming intimately attached to our shower curtain. Our cabin attendant was great. The ship is said to hold 3,114 passengers when there are 2-to a room. This is exactly the same as the Navigator of the Seas. Since our cruise was sold out, there were actually 3,158 passengers on board. The reason I know is because I was the last one on the ship one day. As I put my boarding pass in the computer, I asked him if I was the last and he said, “3158. Yep, you’re the last one.” There are three dining rooms on this ship. The Coral Dining Room and the Palm Dining Room are both on the Fiesta Deck and are both for Personal Choice Dining, which allows passengers to eat when they want. The Island Dining Room is on the Plaza Deck and is for those wanting traditional dining with an early or late seating. Since we had a group of 9, we chose traditional dining. Our waiter and assistant waiter were among the best we have ever had on any of our cruises. They went out of their way to insure everything was perfect. Since the ship is so large and has so many pools (4 large, one small) , we never really felt crowded anywhere on the ship at any time; except when we first got on board and went to the Horizon Court buffet for lunch, along with everyone else. I won’t go into all the amenities on board, as I could fill a book talking about them. But they are as wonderful as the rest of the ship. Of course their biggest attraction is the large outdoor screen in the middle of the ship by the pool. They had movies running most of the time (days & evenings), so you could sit, eat, drink, swim – all while watching a movie outside. It was very nice. In fact, being Washington Redskins fans, we absolutely had to watch Monday Night Football under the Caribbean stars on the big screen. We had pizza, beer, popcorn, beer, hamburgers, beer, hot dogs, and more beer. It was an awesome setting to watch the Redskins beat Dallas in Dallas! It just doesn’t get any better than that! The only negative about the whole thing was that they could not get the color corrected so all the players were blue and the uniforms were anything but the normal colors. It was distracting but didn’t take away from the excitement. We’ve had enough of the cruise line shows, so we didn’t’ go to any of them. The others in our group said they were good but not great. We did go see one of the comedians/magician and he was really good. In fact our kids made friends with him later in the bar and found he graduated high school down the road from us. So they’ve made plans to see him at the local comedy nightclub when he comes here. On the days at sea we had no desire to sit in the sun all day, but we did go by a few times to see how crowded the pool areas were. On other cruises, there were always too many people and not enough lounge chairs. This was not the case on this cruise and it was very enjoyable. It also made using the spa, hot tubs, steam rooms, etc. much nicer as well. As I mentioned, there are 4 large pools; the adult pool near the spa, two in the middle of the ship (one with the big screen and one without), and then one on the back of the ship. There’s also a small adult pool and a children’s pool near the aft. So there were plenty of places to go, but we preferred the pool in the back. It’s directly under the nightclub, so it stays in the shade during the hottest part of the day. And contrary to what we’ve heard and read, the sound from the movies did not interfere with the other areas. Something we always enjoy about Princess is that they do not make a lot of announcements and this was true on this cruise as well. One thing that made this ship a lot nicer than most is that they have laundry rooms for their guests, so they can wash out a few things or use the iron to take out a few wrinkles. I wish all ships would do this. The food was very good. In fact, none of us had a bad meal during the entire cruise. Most of the time, we chose to eat in the formal dining room for all breakfasts and dinners, then would eat lunch on shore. But we did try the buffet during a couple of breakfasts and lunches and it was very good also. A wide variety was available for all types of tastes. On Monday night before the football game, we were going to try Sterling’s Steakhouse, but they were booked so we decided to eat at the buffet instead and it was very good for dinner We did have a couple in our party try Sterling’s and they said it was wonderful. But I talked to others and they said it wasn’t all that good and took too long. So I guess everyone’s taste is different. Their pizza kitchen was the best! It’s made by hand and cooked in real pizza ovens. The hamburger place was good, but not as good as some we’ve had on other cruises. And speaking of food, as I mentioned earlier, on our last day at sea I ordered a complete champagne breakfast to be served on our balcony. It was a very romantic way to enjoy a beautiful day while watching the deep blue sea. We had Quiche’ Loraine, fruit, salmon, pastries, orange juice and Moet Champagne. Overall, this is an awesome ship and I would not hesitate going on it again. I would highly recommend it to my clients, especially to those with kids. I can provide additional information to you if needed, but this ship literally has something for everyone and if you find yourself bored, it’s only because you want to be. Princess Cays This is Princess’ private island. Because there is no pier, all passengers must be tendered to the beach, which was handled relatively quickly considering the number of passengers. Getting back on board took a while longer only because everyone waits until the last minute to get in line. It’s a beautiful beach and everything is laid out well with lots to do and plenty of places to sit. It was a beautiful day and the water was very warm and clear – truly a lovely day at the beach to relax. We chose to walk the furthest from the tender station, so it was not as crowded and the snorkeling was much better. I only had one complaint about our day; they close the bars at 1:30pm, yet the last tender wasn’t scheduled to leave until 3:30pm! As with all of the cruise lines’ private islands, the food is brought over from the ship. The food is okay and the choices were few, but given the circumstances, they did a pretty good job of providing for everyone. For those more adventuresome, there is sailing, banana boat rides, kayaking, and snorkeling gear available for rent. But overall, it was a nice day to relax and enjoy the sun, sand, and water at a beautiful beach. Cozumel, Mexico My wife and I spent a week in Cozumel about 12 years ago and we have visited it several times on various cruises, so we are very familiar with the island. We love Cozumel for its laid-back atmosphere and beautiful blue water. We ate breakfast early so we could get started as soon as we arrived. Luckily, our ship docked at the Downtown Pier instead of the International Pier, which is a couple miles south. So we were able to walk everywhere without having to take taxis. We had prearranged to charter a boat just for our group with Deep Blue Divers. We had 5 certified divers, 1 snorkeler, and 1 that wanted to learn how to scuba dive. We walked over to the dive shop and after taking care of paperwork, they drove us out to a boat they had rented for us, which was at a marina south of the International Pier. The boat was more than adequate for our group and the captain and crew were wonderful. Our first dive was just for the 5 of us who were certified; we went to Santa Rosa Reef where we made a 105’ dive through coral formations. It was absolutely awesome! Cozumel is one of the premier diving locations in the world with water temperature around 84 degrees and visibility up to 200’ at times, and every time I dive there it just keeps getting better and better. While we were diving, my wife was snorkeling above us. After we completed our dive, the boat headed back to the marina to pick up the lady in our group who did the resort course so she could go diving with us. Unfortunately, she couldn’t clear her ears and was unable to dive, so she just snorkeled with my wife. (The Resort Course but does not count towards any certification; it’s more of an introduction to the sport, but gives people the opportunity to see what scuba diving is all about.) After picker her up, we changed out our tanks and headed to Paradise Reef where we headed down to 45 feet for another incredible dive. After about 50 minutes, we reluctantly surfaced and the captain took us back to the marina. Note: scuba diving in Cozumel will run about $65 for a two-tank dive, while the Resort Course will cost about $75, plus the cost of a one-tank dive, which is another $35. After completing our diving excursion, we were all hungry, so we decided to head to Carlos’ ‘n Charlie’s. During the ride over, we were extremely disappointed to find that our all-time favorite restaurant, Santiago’s, had closed down and been bought by someone else. Don’t know what the food is like now, but this place was the best kept secret in the entire Caribbean. It’s not a very big place and is about 5 blocks off the beaten path, so it’s not crowded and most tourists don’t know it’s there, especially the cruise ship passengers. We can only hope the food is as good as it use to be because Santiago’s was truly the best restaurant I have ever eaten in. Note: I have to add here that the best hamburgers, steaks, seafood, fruits, and vegetables that we have ever had in our lives have all been while in Mexico. We lived in Albuquerque, New Mexico for 9 years and during that time we took an annual vacation in San Carlos, Mexico, which is about 6 hours south of Tucson. We spent 2-3 weeks down there every Summer, so trust me when I say that Mexico has fantastic food and should be savored at every opportunity without worry. Anyway, we walked over to the new Carlos’ ‘n Charlie’s, which is now on the main street a few blocks south of their old location. Anyone who’s ever been to Cancun or Cozumel knows that Carlos’ ‘n Charlie’s is THE place to p-a-r-t-y!!! While this new restaurant/bar is large and very nice, it lacks the ambiance of the old place, which was small, crowded, and dirty but it had a certain flair about it. The party is still there and all the cruise ship passengers still go there to have a few too many drinks and let it all hang out! It does not take long to get into the party spirit in this place. We immediately ordered up 6 Dos Equis and 6 shots of tequila to toast our great day of diving. Nobody really cares about how good the food tastes, because you really don’t go there for the food. But we didn’t have a lot of time, so we only ordered some nachos to hold us over until we got back on the ship. After spending about $100 for three rounds of drinks and the obligatory group photo, we decided it was time to head back to the ship before we missed it. Cozumel is an easy island to get around; there’s only one main road that goes in a circle around the south end of the island and then cuts the island in half. You can rent a car for about $50-$85 per day or the preferred method for cruise ship passengers - motor-scooters for about $25 per day (no helmets or special license required). You can rent cars and scooters right at the International Pier. Compare these prices against a $20 roundtrip taxi ride to town. But you’ll get the best prices if you reserve ahead of time. If you rent a car, the town of San Miguel is north of the International Pier. But if you head south, the road will take you to Chankanaab National Park. Snorkeling and scuba diving are very nice in the park. I had the best hamburger at the little restaurant. There’s also a wildlife refuge you can walk through. Further south is San Francisco Beach, where there are millions of conch shells on the sea bottom. There’s also a restaurant and bar. You can walk south of the restaurant if you want to find some privacy for topless sunbathing. A little further south, there are some all-inclusive resorts; some of which are very nice. The main road heads east towards the Atlantic Ocean. Once there, you can take a dirt road south to the Punta Celarain Lighthouse. There’s no charge to climb up, but there is usually someone there to convince you otherwise. Yes, it’s a scam, but it’s a great view and we didn’t mind haggling him down to a dollar. On the road down to the lighthouse, there are some beautiful hidden beaches, which are great places to skinny dip in the ocean. Unlike the western side of the island, which has calm sea, the ocean is a beautiful blue with white waves, making it a wonderful place to explore and take pictures. Heading north up the road, you’ll find the occasional restaurant/bar. I highly recommend stopping at all of them as they are usually quite a treat and most are pretty nice with great scenery, as you can see by this picture. We even got to pet a live iguana at the Naked Iguana Restaurant. Eventually, the main road will turn westward. However, there is another dirt road that heads north towards another lighthouse. One time we saw a sign for a bar ¼ mile up the road, so we ventured up the dirt road and came across a quaint little place. It was a big thatched-roof building with no sides. There was a sign on the post that said, “Air Conditioned.” We parked the car and went in to find Credence Clearwater Revival playing on the 8-track tape player. We sat on the beach, drank a couple of Dos Equis, enjoyed the magnificent view of the beautiful blue water, listened to the waves crashing, and talked with the owner for a while. We had wonderfully relaxing time. There are some Mayan ruins near Cerveza, but they are relatively small compared to the ones on the mainland and the entry fee is a bit overpriced. This brings me to shore excursions. I’m not a big proponent of shore excursions, as we’d rather explore on our own than pay the high prices for prearranged trips that are usually very crowded. For example, all the cruise ships offer trips to places like Tulum, which is a wonderful Mayan temple on the coast. However, they make it seem like it’s an easy and quick trip – it’s not. It takes about 8 hours to make the roundtrip of which only about 1-1/2 hours are actually at the site, the rest of the time is spent getting there and back. I’ve heard from many people who have done this tour and regretted it, so it’s not one I would recommend. A word here about alcohol: It’s generally cheaper than it is in the States, but you have to shop around. The highest prices are at the pier; the lowest prices are at the airport. However, when you board the ship, if you’re carrying any alcohol, they will confiscate the bottle and return it to you on the last night of the cruise. So, here’s a little secret; first, always carry a backpack with you. Second, buy a one liter bottle of water and drink it while you’re walking around town. Third, buy a one liter bottle of clear alcohol (I prefer tequila). Fourth, pour the alcohol in the empty water bottle and carry it out in plain site when you walk onboard. No one will question your bottle of “water”. By the way, just for informational purposes, I’ll offer you advice I got from an old Mexican bartender; the only difference between gold tequila and white tequila is caramel coloring! And there’s not much difference between the advertised brands and the local stuff except the price. But if you want a really good smooth tequila, make sure it says ‘reposado’ on the bottle, which means it’s aged, or ‘anejo’, which means aged even more. Two of my personal favorites are Don Julio and Tres Generaciones (Three Generations), but there are several others. They are wonderfully smooth and mellow, but pricey. If you’re looking for a nice gift for someone, these have my highest recommendation. Don Julio cost us $32 at the pier, whereas back home it runs $48. I can offer much more information about Cozumel, but overall it is very safe and is one of our favorite islands in the Caribbean. The Mexican people are friendly and helpful, especially if you at least try to speak some of their language with them. Georgetown, Grand Cayman There’s good news and bad news about Georgetown; it is a beautiful town with a beautiful harbor with crystal clear water. Unfortunately, there’s no pier and everyone has to be tendered to and from the ship. This can lead to some long waiting times both getting off and getting back on the ship. This is probably one of the only ports I would recommend a shore excursion and that is the one to see Stingray City. Some advice about this; first, make sure you go in the morning. When the stingrays hear the boats coming in the morning, it’s like someone ringing a dinner bell. However, because they feast in the morning, they are not as interactive in the afternoon and you miss out on all the fun. The stingrays are extremely docile and playful. Occasionally, they will actually adhere to your body with their mouths and suck on your skin, leaving big ‘hickies’. So if you handle pieces of squid to feed the stingrays, don’t touch other parts of your body. But it’s worth it just to see and pet them. There are usually several shore excursions that include a stop at Stingray City. I highly recommend that you take one that includes a stop there and Coral Gardens. Otherwise, after about 20-30 minutes, you’ll get bored with the stingrays and there’s nothing else to see since it’s a white sanding bottom. If you take the excursion that includes Coral Gardens, you also get to snorkel and see some fantastic coral and beautiful fish. There are several companies offering these trips, so you do not need to purchase one through the cruise line along with everyone else. Since we had done the Stingray City tour last time with this group, everyone decided to do their own thing, so the kids went shopping and then to the beach. Nancy and I decided to go the Hell! Yes, there’s a small place in Grand Cayman called Hell, so we decided to go see this tourist spot. We found that getting a taxi was out of the question as they are very expensive. So, we inquired about local transportation and found they have vans that leave every 15 minutes or so near the library. We walked over there and were told it was $2.50 per person to go anywhere on the island. Off we went on another adventure. The town of Hell is not much of a town and not real high on my places you have to visit, but what the hell, it was a hell of a good time and unusual. After spending time in Hell, one likes to cool off. So back we went on public transportation to the beach. We found a great little place on 7-Mile Beach called Calico Jacks. They had great hamburgers, French fries, onion rings, and especially cold beer! The beach was wonderful, the water was clear and warm, and the rest of the day was spent having a wonderfully relaxing day. We met another couple who, it turned out, were also from the ship. The four of us came together and enjoyed each other’s company then shared a ride on public transportation back to town just in time to make the last tender to the ship. The kids keep reminding me that I bragged too much about being the last one on the ship that day. Hey, I take great pride in that feat, which has happened on many, many occasions. While in Grand Cayman, instead of taking a shore excursion, you can walk either north or south of the pier and find scuba shops. They offer snorkeling right there in the harbor in the crystal clear water. Following your morning adventures, you can walk around and do what most cruise ship passengers love to do: shop! Grand Cayman is not a cheap place. In fact, it’s one of the more expensive places in the Caribbean, so don’t expect to find any real bargains there. But the people are friendly, there’s plenty of air-conditioned shops, and great food. One of the more popular items you’ll see offered everywhere is their famous rum cake. They all offer free samples, so try before you buy as they all different. The Tortuga Rum Cake you see everywhere is not, in my opinion, all that good. There are some local brands that are much better. Another thing you’ll see offered a lot is Tortuga Rum. It’s okay, but I recommend you wait until your stop in Jamaica to buy your rum – better prices and better rum. One important note; you will see a lot of Cuban products for sale, such as the famous Cuban cigars and coffee. Be advised that contrary to what they tell you, you cannot bring Cuban cigars back into the United States! I know one guy who unfortunately listened to the untruths provided by the salesperson and bought a whole box of cigars only to find out after he got on the ship that Customs would confiscate them. He ended up passing them out to everyone on the last night of the cruise to smoke after dinner. Cost him a lot of money to learn that lesson. So, if you have to buy one, only buy one or two to smoke before your cruise ends. And if you like cigars, then you definitely have to try one of these – they are very mild and very nice. After the day is done and it’s time to board the ship, you’ll usually find a long line. Well, the good news is that cattycorner from the dock there is a very nice English pub upstairs. They not only offer excellent libations, but they have a great view of the dock so you can watch the line. Our group drank in air-conditioned comfort while watching this long line of hot sweating passengers wait their turn to board the tenders back to the ship. Gee, now there’s a tough choice: wait in line and sweat or sit in a cool bar and drink beer. Ocho Rios, Jamaica Jamaica is a very poor country, so you will be hassled everywhere you go to buy from people hawking their wares. Unfortunately, there’s not much to do in Jamaica. Most people will take a shore excursion that includes a stop at Dunns River Falls. It’s a great place to cool off and take some wonderful pictures. However, it is usually very crowded and walking up the falls is more of a hassle than fun with all those people. If you want to go to the falls, I highly recommend you bypass the shore excursions and do it yourself. You can take a taxi to the falls as it only takes about 10 minutes to get there. There is also a Jimmy Buffet’s Magaritiville right near the pier with some water activities, but you can only take so much of that. This is another one of our little-known secrets: When visiting Jamaica, we prefer to buy a day-pass at one of the local all-inclusive resorts. Jamaica is well known for an abundance of these resorts because of the warm water and white sandy beaches. It’s worth the price of admission, which will run anywhere from $65 to $85 per person. However, the price includes all water activities (sailing, water skiing, etc), lunch, and alcohol. It’ll cost about $30 for a roundtrip taxi ride to most of the resorts, but you can haggle the price. You can also choose between the nice resorts of Sandals, Dreams, or Couples, or you can go for the wicked, such as Hedonism, or perhaps the upscale resorts such as the Grand Lido Braco, or the Sans Souci Resort & Spa are more to your liking. We prefer the latter. Some are for families and others are for couples only. It’s best to contact them before your cruise and secure your reservations as often they get booked and will not allow day visitors. It also depends on whether your ship arrives in Ocho Rios or Montego Bay as to which resorts are available. We’ve been to the Sans Souci Resort & Spa many times and it is always wonderful. So we decided to take our group there for the day – price was $70 per person. The facilities are absolutely beautiful. It is a couples-only adult resort and therefore is very romantic. As with most of the resorts in Jamaica, there are two beaches; one for the normal folks, and the other is for clothing-optional enthusiasts. This area also has its own clothing-optional pool, bar, and snack bar. Since we decided we did not want to spend our day with the kids, we opted for the less crowded clothing-optional area, which was wonderful. The youngsters in the group spent their day kneeboarding, paddling around in various water craft, and enjoying themselves in the pool. However, the majority of the day, they spent drinking a wide variety of local concoctions with lots of rum. You can eat either at one of the two snack areas (hamburgers, hot dogs, steak sandwiches, French fries, etc.) or you can eat in the dining room. There you’ll you have to get dressed, but the food is more plentiful and very good. It is classy and very nice. The buffet had a huge assortment and the food was superb. They also had the traditional Jamaican fare including beef jerky. We had an extremely relaxing day and highly recommend this option instead of the usual overcrowded shore excursions. Comparatively speaking, a typical excursion to the falls will run about $100 per couple, usually with a small lunch, a couple of drinks, and a crowd of people for a few hours. Whereas, an all day trip to Sans Souci will run about $180, including taxi, but will offer a variety of water sports, a beautiful beach, all the alcohol you want to drink, all the fantastic food you care to eat, a very small number of people, and a place to sun your buns, if you’re so inclined. In our opinion, there is no choice – not when you’re on vacation! Following a wonderful day at the resort, we had the taxi driver drop us off at the Taj Mahal shopping area. This is like a strip-mall full of small shops – all selling pretty much the same things. It’s gated, so only the cruise ship passengers are allowed inside. This way you don’t get hassled by the local beggars – of which there are a lot. This is a good place to buy some rum and, as with most alcohol, you can get cheap or expensive rum. The more you pay, the better it is, but they will allow you to try before you buy so you can decide the best for you. My recommendation is the 8-year old rum; it’s smooth, aromatic, and more flavorful, plus it’s less expensive than the 12-year old rum. One of the unfortunate sides of Jamaica is that people will try to sell you marijuana, or ganja as it’s locally called. It is grown everywhere on the island and is one of their biggest cash crops, so it’s also relatively cheap. Obviously, I do not recommend purchasing this illegal drug – and yes, it is illegal in Jamaica even though it’s sold and used openly. The Jamaican government uses undercover police to try and catch the unsuspecting tourist. So you are hereby forewarned as the consequences can be very severe and very expensive. But when you’re walking around the ship after leaving port, you’ll definitely smell it everywhere. Now for our best advice while in Jamaica: You have to buy some Jablum (Jamaican Blue Mountain) Coffee!!! In our opinion, it is one of THE best coffees in the world! For the best flavor, buy the whole bean and grind it yourself. The beans are grown in a small part of the island at an altitude of 4,200 feet above sea level and all the beans are still picked by hand. I can’t remember exactly what we paid for a pound, but I think it was around $12. In the U.S. it’ll cost you at least $25 per pound. If nothing else, you should buy at least two pounds; one to try for yourself and one to give me for telling you about it! If that doesn’t strike your fancy, then buy them anyway and I’ll pay you for both of them when you get back. But trust me when I say this is the best coffee you will ever taste. Conclusion As I said in the beginning, this was a wonderful ship for a family or a group; it has something for everybody and there’s always something going on. But then cruises are always what you make them to be. If you want to lay around and do nothing, there’s plenty of that available. On days at sea, I like to just lay on the balcony and read a good book while I smell the warm salt air and listen to the water beat against the hull. Doesn’t take long before naptime overtakes me. The 8 youngsters in our group ranged in age from 17 to 26 and they were never bored. But as we always tell our clients, a cruise is what you make it. Please contact me if you have any questions about anything in this review or if you are interested in taking a cruise.

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Feb 19, 2005

Eastern Caribbean

This review is quite a bit belated, but I’ve used this site over the last few months so much in planning my honeymoon cruise (aboard the Carnival Conquest in April 2006) that I wanted to help other potential cruisers considering using Princess. Overall, I can say without a doubt that the week my fiance and I spent on the Caribbean Princess was the best vacation of my life. Of course, there was an added bonus because I got engaged

during the trip ;) but even if I hadn’t, I would have had a wonderful time. GETTING THERE Heading down to Fort Lauderdale from Detroit, our flight was delayed and we were a bit panicky that we would miss the boat. Since we booked the airfare through Princess, we would have been flown to the first port if we would have missed the boat, but who wants to do that? In the future, we will always fly down a day ahead of schedule just to avoid the hassle. Boarding was no big deal; completing the online registration form ahead of time definitely sped up the process. Stepping into the main atrium, I was stunned; it’s gorgeous, with multiple stories and carved dolphins and sea life surrounding the elevator shafts. People who have been on many cruises may not be as fascinated by the aesthetics as I was, but to me, as a first-time cruiser, I was just blown away. ACCOMODATIONS AND AMENITIES Our room was oceanview obstructed, which meant there was a giant tangerine-orange tender boat right in front of our window. But it wasn’t a problem; we were just happy to be able to see the water and be able to tell what time of day it was. I was curious to see how small the room was, because I’m a bit claustrophobic, but it was more than sufficient for the amount of time we actually spent in there. Our steward was named Choosit, and he was from Thailand. He introduced himself the first afternoon, but other than that, we rarely saw him. Yet, our room was always spotless. I was amazed at how stealthy the stewards were. They were great! The food was fabulous. We usually ate at the buffet in the morning and for lunch, then in the formal dining room for dinner. We usually ate dinner rather early so we could enjoy the late night buffet. ;) The selection at dinner was always very good and the desserts, especially the crème brulee and cheesecake, were excellent. We found the pizzeria and grill near the pool to be just average. We didn’t eat at the specialty restaurants where you had to pay cover, but I hear they were very good. There was a wide range of entertainment available, and it was kind of hit or miss. We always checked in the “Princess Patter” newsletter each night and planned out the next day. Some of the comedy shows were so bad that we walked out; others were so good, we were nearly in tears. Surprisingly, there was a very entertaining juggler and some other offbeat entertainment. We even hit an art auction just to see what it was like. There definitely were many options for all ages and interests. There were a lot of kids in the pools – I got my head jumped on the very first day – so we pretty much stuck with the adults only pool, which was a little chilly because it was aft, underneath the nightclub. But it was near a bar, and the banana daiquiris on the ship are fabulous! ;) We managed to ring up quite a tab on our ship card by the end of the week. The pools and hot tubs on Princess are freshwater, which I hear is very rare on cruise ships, so I guess we were spoiled! :) I’ll never forget the first time I got saltwater in my mouth while snorkeling at St. Maarten…I had no idea it would be that disgusting. :) So the freshwater pools were a definite plus. I only have a few complaints. It was absolutely impossible to find a deck chair unless it was in a windy or shaded area. We had to circle the ship forever and pounce before we could find two chairs together. Also, the pedicure I got at the spa was a complete rip off. Although the vast majority of the ship employees, most of whom were from foreign countries, were charming and helpful, my Canadian pedicurist snapped gum and talked to a co-worker during my entire pedicure, and it wasn’t worth the money. But, perhaps if I would have had a different employee, I would have had a better experience. We loved the outdoor movie concept, but unfortunately we were saddled with a Jennifer Lopez movie and “Beyonce in Concert” pretty much all week. :) PORTS We hit St. Thomas, St. Maarten and Princess Cays during the week. We liked St. Thomas, but the salespeople are aggressive and people were following me around, asking me to braid my hair. We took a bus tour of the island as our shore excursion, and I thought we were going to die because the driver was speeding and careening around corners. But apparently that’s how they drive there, because I’ve had multiple people tell me they had the same experience. :) We got some beautiful shots of the island’s awesome beaches from our vantage point, so it was worth it. At St. Maarten, we did the shipwreck snorkel shore excursion and it was definitely worth every dollar. None of our underwater pictures came out, but we had a fantastic time. It was my first time snorkeling. I must warn, though, that you are going out into deep water. Some people didn’t seem to know what they were in for and were panicking as they got into the water, floundering and kicking everywhere. I got quite a few flippers in the face from the panicking people. ;) There also were many kids, and I wouldn’t recommend it for children, unless they’re very comfortable in the water. There were a lot of wailing kids who were afraid to get off the boat. Basically, if you don’t like deep water, and you don’t like fish getting up close and personal with you, this is NOT the excursion for you. But I thought it was great. The guide let us hold a starfish and some other kinds of sea life. Very, very cool! At Princess Cays, we just relaxed on the beach and went snorkeling again. The water is much shallower there, so better suited for the fearful swimmers. The outdoor barbecue put on by Princess was very good. For people who like to shop, especially for jewelry, there were constant shows running on TV that told you the best shops at all the ports and how to find the genuine gemstones, etc. It was very informative. You could also go to the customer service desk and speak to the woman who did the presentations if you had any questions. DISEMBARKATION Getting off the ship was kind of a mess. But I’m very impatient ;) and it was my first cruise, so maybe it’s always like that. Our bags all got out, safe and sound. But to speed the process along in the future, I’m planning to only bring a carry on. I didn’t really need the huge bag that I brought, anyway. :) A FINAL NOTE… For anyone who suffers from motion sickness as I do, I recommend getting Transderm patches and wearing them the entire trip. We hit some rough seas during the first few days, and some people were looking a little green. I got nauseous right away, but once I put the patch on, I was fine the rest of the time, even when we were tendering to Princess Cays and bouncing around on the ocean like crazy. The patches last three days each, and stay on even in the water. I saw lots of other people with them on, and I was thankful I had them. It was much better than having to pop pills the entire time. In general, the Caribbean Princess is a gorgeous ship with a great staff, great food and very good entertainment. I had even more fun just hanging out and exploring the ship than I did stopping at ports! :) Don’t miss the aft nightclub; the drinks are expensive, but it’s a fun place to hang out after hours. It’ll definitely be a hard experience to beat, but we’ll see when I hit the Western Caribbean on the Carnival Conquest in April. Feel free to contact me with any questions!  

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Nov 25, 2004

Eastern Caribbean

Overall Rating: B-/C+ After researching various cruises for the week that I vacationed, I found a reasonable deal on the Caribbean Princess. Upon talking to the Princess people on the phone, I was informed that the ship was the biggest/newest in the class, which seemed intriguing. However, I was unable to get much detail about the amenities onboard from a phone conversation, and decided to book based on the price. While waiting

in line to board the ship, I noticed that the majority of the passengers were in the range of 60 years and up. Being 23 and single, I was hoping to have a better mix of passengers to mingle with. At any rate, after boarding the ship, I was pleased to find an elaborate setup, and was very pleased by the interior of the ship. My bone to pick is with the design of the upper decks. I found an abundance of pools, and hardly any space dedicated to sport activities. There was one area at the front of the ship that had table tennis, and a small mock tennis court. Not even a shuffleboard area, or any basketball! For the most part, the ship itself was more than adequate, minus the fitness aspect. I found that the staff treated their duties as a job, rather than being cheerful and enthusiastic about making the passengers' vacations a memorable experience. There were not enough activities going on during our sea days onboard, and the ones that did only lasted 45min maximum. The activity staff just dropped the ball. There were not many opportunities to participate in organized acitivity, which hindered most passengers ability to meet other vacationers. It was a keep to yourself atmosphere that was provided by the staff. Luckily, the ports were amazing, which was enough to make me want to try again. However, I think if you are in my situation, you are best fit going on a Royal Caribbean or Carnival cruise line.

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Nov 30, -0001

Eastern Caribbean

Once again I have taken to the high seas in search of a little relaxation and adventure, this time (June 17, Father’s Day, what a great way to celebrate) on Princess Cruise Line’s Caribbean Princess. Now, at my age the prospect of adventure is not zip-lining through the rain forest, riding a wave runner or parasailing over the beautiful blue Caribbean waters. Nor is it sitting in a lounge chair wrapped in a blanket for hours on end. I guess

I’m in that in between stage that Rod Serling called “The Twilight Zone” and I call “The Golden Years Zone”. While the joy of these and other extreme adventures have now been passed on to my children, my husband and I continue to seek out our own type of adventure and surely are surprised at whatever direction it might take. As a frequent cruiser, I decided, along with my husband, to take a cruise on Princess Cruise Line’s Caribbean Princess. We booked it as we often do just a few days before sailing to get the best rates. Being a first time cruiser on the Princess Lines I really wasn’t sure what to expect but isn’t that an adventure in itself? What I found pleasantly surprising was that the demographics of the passengers on board ranged from singles to families to seniors. I am always looking for cruise ships that are senior and children friendly since I love to cruise with my adult children and my six year old grandson. It really was a diverse group; Princess did a good job of providing plenty of activities and events for all to enjoy. I was especially impressed with their “Movies Under the Stars” feature, a gigantic outdoor movie screen on one of the central pool decks that could be viewed and heard from a distance and seen very clearly even during the light of the day in the Caribbean sun and in the darkness of a starlit night. It is truly spectacular and something worth seeing. Since my Sicilian husband, considers himself a gourmet cook, it’s always interesting to hear his comments about the food served on board. Yahoo, he gave this Princess ship - five thumbs up. The selection of food served both in the Lido Deck buffets, (Café Caribe and Horizon’s) and the sit down dining rooms were first quality. Kudos’ go out to the Executive Chef, Giuseppe Pollara and Executive Sous Chef, Michael Siebold, and their staff for a job well done. The two specialty restaurants on board, Sabatini’s Italian Trattoria ($20 surcharge per person) and Sterling Steakhouse ($15 surcharge per person) were definitely worth it. These also are among the lowest surcharges for comparable specialty restaurants on other Cruise Lines. The amount of food served to each guest in Sabatini’s, “Taste of the Menu” service, was unbelievable and only could be totally consumed if you had fasted for three days, (but I forced myself for the sake of research, Ha!) and it was fabulous. Sterling’s steaks were good but not what I would call exceptional. However, they did have a dessert, a deep fried peach turnover, that I will be dreaming about for the next month. In our opinion the food on board even surpassed the selections, varieties and meals that we had on a Celebrity Cruise Line ship, Constellation a few months before. I love to poke around, talk to the crew and search out information that you usually don’t read about in all the travel brochures. From different sources, including crew and passengers, I learned that the quality and preparation of food on each ship and cruise line can vary considerably depending on the Chef and his team’s skills. Okay, so I’m also nosy, matter a fact I’m one of those people who would dare to sneak into the ship’s kitchen for a peek if I weren’t worried that my husband would have to bail me out of the ship’s brig. Earlier this month (see, my blog, Cruising The Seas with The Norovirus, June 15), we cruised on Royal Caribbean’s, Liberty of the Seas and listened to the cruise director tout RCI as a family friendly cruise line. However, the specialty restaurants on board all Royal Caribbean cruise ships that I know about do not permit children to dine there while the Caribbean Princess welcomed all families; which one do you think is more family-friendly? Now there may be some people who prefer to dine without young children around but if these children are well behaved I see no reason to exclude them from a nice family dining experience. While cruising on RCI in the past my children and grandson loved the children’s and teen programs. However, on RCI I did not see any events that were specifically targeting families. Drum roll...I also take offense to any cruise line that charges full fare for children and then restricts them from certain areas of the ship, if that is the case fine, but then give the kids a reduced fare. The Caribbean Princess did take that extra step and had family Karaoke night and family dancing in their Club Fusion room and even closed it to adults half of one evening so it was all just for the kids. It was so very nice to see Moms and Dads get up on the dance floor with their children. Isn’t that what a family friendly vacation is all about? Somehow the thought of Mom and Dad placing the kids in a program and going off on their own for seven days (no matter how appealing that might seem at times, is not my idea of a family vacation. Okay, so that’s just one Savvy Old Lady’s opinion. But bottom line for me, Princess Cruise Lines not only uses a family-friendly slogan but actually delivers a family-friendly experience. Now let me tell you about the fabulous Cruise Director, David Cole, and Associate Cruise Director, Hollywood (that is not a made up name) and their staff. They all worked tirelessly ensuring all the passengers had a memorable cruise. Not only were they constantly visible and on the move while answering all the passengers questions, but they were sensitive to the passengers needs. When show time came they knew how to lightheartedly make fun of themselves for the passengers’ entertainment. One Cruise Director’s staff member stands out in my mind; her name is Amanda, and she hails from Australia. That woman had more energy than any Turkish Whirling Dervish I’ve ever seen. One evening this raven haired young woman hosted the Ballroom Dancing event in Club Fusion (yes, another family-friendly event). She was chicly dressed in a white suit and high heels. The poor girl was losing her voice but that didn’t stop her or curb her enthusiasm! She had everyone up and dancing, except my husband, who preferred to nurse some sort of banana rum drink than trip the light fantastic with ME. Anyway, did our hostess Amanda stand back on the sidelines and watch the folks dance...NO! She danced almost every single dance for the hour with different male passengers. All this in between helping select songs, making jokes and cheering everyone else on! Now we all know there are some men out there with dreams of grandeur and a Fred Astaire complex, and unfortunately for poor Amanda several of them were on board the Caribbean Princess and at the Club Fusion that night but Amanda never once winced as she was whirled around and around the dance floor by these fellows. YOU RULE GIRL! There were a few things on the Caribbean Princess that I thought could be improved on. First, we had a BB balcony cabin which surprisingly was much smaller than any comparably-priced balcony stateroom we have had on any other cruise line. On Princess you need to book a Mini-suite (A-category) cabin to get a cabin comparable in size and appointments to those on other mid-priced cruise lines at roughly the same price-point. These Mini-suites are not that much more expensive on Princess, but there are fewer of them on each ship and I hear that they go really fast. Future cruisers, please note when you see the dimensions of your cabin on Princess Cruise Lines it also includes the square footage of your balcony. My husband was told that the living quarters of the ‘B’ line ocean view-with-balcony cabins is the same as the inside of the non-balcony ocean view ones, (so you have to be careful in comparing). Second, on the Lido deck, on the aft part of the ship, each day many of us who wanted to eat breakfast or lunch outside had to ask the buffet staff to bring out more tables so we could enjoy the cool breeze and look out over the beautiful azure blue Caribbean waters while eating a leisurely meal. Lastly, Princess Cruise Lines might want to consider placing trash receptacles outside the bathrooms so that passengers (trying to avoid that pesky ole Norovirus and such) can use a paper towel to open the door after washing and sanitizing their hands and have some place to dispose of it. Now truthfully, as far as complaints go that’s really not much to grouse about. Well, to Princess Cruise Lines and the Caribbean Princess officers and crew, job well done! You can definitely plan on seeing us and our family on some of Princess's future cruises.

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Nov 30, -0001

Eastern Caribbean

We booked the Caribbean Princess for my wife's birthday hoping for a very special celebration. It was mildly disappointing. We've cruised on several different cruise lines over the years and expected much better from Princess. Here's the breakdown. The ship was lovely and well kept although a little confusing at times, occasionally you had to go up, to go down. We booked a little late so were stuck with an obstructed view cabin though we tried

for a balcony. Truthfully this was not an issue. The obstructed view was really not all that obstructed. The pools were clean and you could usually find a deck chair without a problem. We loved the Movies Under The Stars. The Princess Theater shows didn't appeal to us too much. The hypnotist was entertaining. One comedian we saw was really not funny. Almost inappropriate in his material. Ironically we saw him at the purser's desk the next day screaming about his cabin charges! The food was mostly terrible. The pizza by the pool was good and extremely convenient for those lay by the pool days. The buffet lines were long and disorganized. A lot of people didn't behave very well but that's not Princess' fault. They just should have been more organized. We were on the Anytime Dining program, a first for us. We finally figured out that the problem with this program is the wait staff. They don't develop a relationship with the passengers since they aren't with them every day. Some nights you just pointed to the menu because the servers didn't or didn't try to speak English. The upside of this program it really is convenient to decide to eat when your are hungry rather than 8PM every night. Tuesday night the service was the worst. It took several hours to get served and the staff just really didn't care. One older couple at our table became very upset because they were trying to make it to the Piano Man show and ended up missing it. Saturday night there were several hairs on my wife's chicken. That pretty much ruined everything for the entire table. One night we tried the Sterling Steakhouse. The food was fabulous and the service much better than in the regular dining rooms. There is a $15 per person surcharge for this though. We did have an issue with some purchases we made in St Maarten. We were advised to have our packages from the Belgium Chocolate Shop delivered to the ship rather than carry them in the hot sun. We were assured that everything would be fine. When out packages hadn't arrived late that evening we called the pursers desk. They advised to wait for them to contact us before 9A the next morning. We waited until 11A and then called. They were rude and not very helpful at all. By this point we had blown half our day in St Thomas so decided to go into town for a while. When we returned the purser's desk advised that we needed to talk to the woman who conducted the shopping seminars and she would be available at her desk at 5P. We waited until about 6P and no one showed up. Finally one of the guys from the dive desk asked if we needed something. When I explained who I was waiting for he let us know that she would actually not be available again for 2 days. He tracked her down and a couple of days later our packages were located and left in our cabin. The whole experience was a little frustrating. The thing that made me most upset is that Princess advertises celebrations. When I booked they asked if we were celebrating anything? I told them it was my wife's birthday and the reservation agent advised that they would do a birthday cake for her at dinner and the cabin steward would decorate our door for her birthday. I know this doesn't sound like a big deal, but for me it really was. My wife always does everything for everybody. I wanted to surprise her for once. Every time I walked up and down the hallways I saw happy birthday balloons, happy anniversary decorations, etc.....They were all done a little different and I was excited anticipating what was to be done for my wife. I'm glad she didn't know about it because they did nothing. No birthday cake, no balloons, nothing. If they aren't going to really do it, they shouldn't offer it. I would have brought something onboard had I known they hadn't been truthful. My wife said no big deal when I finally told her. She was happy with the ring we got, but it still bothered me a lot. All in all the cruise was disappointing, though it certainly didn't ruin our vacation. We were in the Caribbean away from work, so nothing could have ruined that! It seemed like there was an employee moral problem that week. It was obvious they were short staffed. The bar service people didn't know what many drinks were. One advised that she was actually a bus person, and they just made her come out to the pool to serve drinks. I just think in the future I will stick to Royal Caribbean. We have never been disappointed with them before.

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Nov 30, -0001

Eastern Caribbean

For my 50th birthday, my husband and I went on our first cruise. We had some expert advice from a someone that has taken 20 cruises. He recommended Princess line and gave us some good advice about what to do, and not to do. Our shuttle dropped us off at the port about 11:00 am and we were in our rooms before 12:00. They have check in down to a science, if you pre-check-in on the internet. From Sunday until we returned the following Sunday the

sea's were calm. The weather was perfect. We chose the anytime dining, which let us eat when ever we wanted without missing any shows or events we wanted to attend. Most of the time we ate at the buffet. We could eat 24 hours a day however much we wanted or how little. The food was excellent at both the buffet and the dining rooms. You will not go hungry. One of the most memorable times on the ship was watching "Pirates of the Caribbean" movie under the stars. This ship offers a large screen outdoor movie theater where they serve you drinks and free popcorn while you snuggle under a blanket, while you watch the sun sink into the ocean. We had two days at sea to walk the promenade deck, rest, and sit by the pool. We took in comedy shows, most of which were excellent. On the third day we stopped at St Maartin and took a half day shore excursion. It was Sea and See. You take a bus around to the far side of the island and are met by a boat that takes you out to an island. You descend down stairs to a runway the length of the boat flanked on either side by windows. A diver goes down with fish food and the fish follow him around the boat for you to see. There are fish, turtles and stingrays in the coral and sea grass to view. Then you are taken back to the bus and on your way to the French town of Margot for a short stop of shopping. The bus completes the circle of the island and you are dropped off at town or back at the ship. We then spent the afternoon shopping before our ship departed for St Thomas island. On St Thomas, we walked, shopped and ate. No excursion this day. We took the sky lift up the side of the hill and had a panoramic view of the ships and the bays. It was a beautiful view and a photographers dream. The next day was a sea day, to rest and enjoy the cruise. On the last full day we stopped at the Princess Cay island beach. What a beautiful beach to play on. About the ship and staff. Our room steward was wonderful. He kept our room clean and stocked. Turned our beds down and left us chocolate. The entire staff of the ship was friendly and there to help in whatever you needed. I never saw or heard a rude staff member. They made our first cruise experience memorable. I am already planning my next cruise, and it will be on Princess cruise.

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Nov 30, -0001

Eastern Caribbean

My family and I took our first cruise over spring break. It was the only time we could all get off at the same time and I have to admit I expected the worst due to spring break crowds. We arrived at the ship around 3pm and had a very quick embarkation. On advice of a friend that had sailed this ship before, we skipped the seafood buffet as soon as we got on the ship to avoid the lines. We did look at the lines and sure enough there was a backup,

but it was the only time on the whole cruise we saw a line that would have made us turn around. Instead, we called the concierge and reserved a table for dining at 8:30 and explored the ship. In retrospect, this was by far the best way to leave port, fighting for a place in line and a table on deck for seafood would have ruined the first day mood. Dinner was great, as were all the meals on the ship. We watched a movie on deck and hit the seafood buffet at around midnight for a snack. This first day pretty much describes how we spent our cruise, doing whatever we wanted, missing crowds and having a good time. This is a big plus for Princess, I can’t imagine how we would have enjoyed our cruise as much with scheduled dining. I’m going to break down the rest of my review by parts: Food: Outstanding! I never trust other people’s opinions on food, so I expected the dining to be ok at best. Boy was I surprised! Top quality ingredients, expert preparation, and top notch service. We enjoyed the buffet lines immensely. We had heard that Princess did not have a midnight buffet, but in fact every night they had a buffet running from 1100 to 0500, so there was always something open to eat. Sit down dining was very good with great service. We bought a bottle of wine on the second meal and the staff moved it to 3 different dining rooms for us till we finished it. I love good quality cheese and was pleasantly surprised that each day they had a new selection of international quality cheese. It was just ridiculous all the choice you have each day to eat. Deserts were another high point, with anything involving fresh fruit being particularly good. Buffet lines were theme based and always interesting to see what they would present next. I went on the ship a skeptic, and left amazed. Sabatini’s is a MUST! Just crazy, you look at the menu and expect to choose between courses, but instead they bring you everything on the menu up till your entrée. We had four appetizers, pizza, pasta, caviar, two lobster tails and desert. Best $20 per person I spent. Your meal is served by waiters from Italy and it is just an experience not to miss. Ship: Always something to do! Shopping, gambling, plenty of lounge chairs, spas etc.. Our cruise had 3, 400+ people and we never felt like we were fighting crowds. Entertainment: Movies under the stars is just great! I can’t imagine taking a cruise without this feature. There is always something showing. The shows were fine, and my wife enjoyed them very much. The casino is very nice, but I thought the slot machines were pretty tight. There was always something going on, and everything looked like fun. Our style was to enjoy the sun, so we skipped a lot of the daytime activities. Formal nights were great. I’m always disappointed in the fact that dining in the U.S. has become such a shorts and T-Shirts affair. A nice couple of nights in suits and gowns was great. Ports: St Marteen, St Thomas were great. Don’t believe all the hype about the shopping, you can find better deals on the internet for most items. If you go to the main city near each dock, expect a tourist trap. In retrospect, I would get a cab and get as far away from the ship as possible just to get a view of real life on the islands. Each was safe to walk around and eat. One note for the drinkers out there, you can take 5 bottles of alcohol from St Thomas for each adult since it is an American territory. I bought six bottles of liquor for $40 and brought it back without issue. Princess Cays is a great beach day. I spent the day playing volleyball and snorkeling. There is a nice BBQ and plenty of lounge chairs for all. My only complaint was that Princess Cays was too short, we had to be on tender back at the boat by 3 p.m.. If I had had my choice, I would have spent the longest day at this location. Cabin: Just fine. We had an interior, since prices were so high over spring break. It was great and we were very happy with our room service. We had 3 people in our room and managed quite well. When we cruise next, we will get a balcony room, they looked great! Bad things: There was an outbreak of stomach flu while we were onboard. As someone familiar with the medical field, I can tell you the crew did an outstanding job of containing the illness. As soon as people began to complain of symptoms, the crew took over serving on buffet lines and insisted that each person sanitize their hands prior to eating. Everywhere you go on the ship, there is hand sanitizer available. If you use it and wash your hands often you will likely never have to worry about illness while onboard. My only other bad experience is the preponderance of the cruise line to pimp you for money as much as they can. They are literally trying to sell you something from the time you get on the ship till you get off. Drinks are expensive and of course you have no alternative to their service. This is a minor gripe on my part, and I only include it so readers can plan to set aside additional money to pay for onboard charges. One more note. If you are planning your first cruise you will be surprised to see that most of the staff is foreign (to the U.S.) This was another great feature. It was great talking to staff members from England to Italy. Everyone was friendly, and the service was great. I highly recommend sailing on the Princess Caribbean, another line or ship will have to really show me something to get me to switch!!!

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Nov 30, -0001

Eastern Caribbean

Fort Lauderdale: We stayed at the AmeriSuites on 17th the night before the cruise. Shuttle service provided to the pier the day of the cruise, although everyone sailing had to sign up for shuttle service at 2:30pm, not a minute before. Once all seats were signed for, sorry about your luck....you had to get a cab. Given the low cost of a cab, we'll probably go that route next time rather than fight for our place in the 'Sign-up' line. Breakfast was

included with our hotel, eggs, pastries, waffles, cereals, etc... Price of the hotel very reasonable. Good restaurants and shopping within walking distance of the hotel. We purchased some Pepsi products to carry on-board (learned from our 1st cruise that Princess only carries Coke products, I'm not a fan of Coke) Embarkation: Arrived at the pier at 11:00 am, started embarkation at 11:25 am, in our stateroom at 11:40 am. Princess has to be the best at this process, went very smoothly. Carried our Diet Pepsi on board without a problem. (I've seen people do this on other cruises, but it still made me nervous). We met our room stewardess, Celia, very nice. She asked us to come into our room because she had to talk with us about something, I thought, “oh no, there goes our Diet Pepsi!”. She just wanted to let us know to call her anytime, that she was there for our every need. Ship: Huge, beautiful, never felt crowded. I had been worried that it would feel crowded given the number of passengers sailing. The ship was immaculate and beautiful, very sophisticated, but still very comfortable. Stateroom: Caribe deck, balcony stateroom. LOVED it! Very spacious, huge closet, small bathroom, shower only. Do not bend over in the shower, small pipe protrudes from the side, nailing you in the wrong place if you know what I mean. Balcony was lovely, and very large, partially covered. Two comfortable high-back chairs and a dining table. 1st day: Had a scheduled appointment for manicure/pedicure the morning of our first sea day. Manicure was great, although the Spa is run by Steiner and they expect their employees to do a “hard sell”. Pedicure didn't go as well as the manicure. The gal use a body brush to exfoliate my legs and proceeded to grab my thigh and tell me that I had too much fat on my thighs and the brush would cure this problem (I”m 5'6” and 130 lbs and pretty well toned). Needless to say, no tip, no products purchased. Given the “hard sell” nature of Steiner, I probably won't be doing any more Spas with Princess or any other line that contracts with Steiner. Formal night: Very nice. Women dressed in everything from cocktail dresses to long gowns. Men in tuxedos to very nice suits. Smart-casual nights – sun dresses to Capri's, nice slacks for women, no shorts or jeans in the dining rooms. Men in Dockers and open neck shirts, in the dining rooms. We did eat some of our meals in the Horizon Court, good food – not gourmet great, but good. I've got to say I'm not a fan of the Caribe Cafe'- small and served the same food as Horizon Court, got kind of congested at times. Deck food – loved Princess pizza! Had to limit myself to 2 slices or I would have eaten this EVERDAY. My husband said the burger and fries were good as well. M.U.T.S. (Movies Under The Stars) – I really liked this feature during the evening. We usually sunned on the Aft Pool, didn't do M.U.T.S. during the day. But the night movies were fantastic- probably saw 3 movies at night. Entertainment – great shows, comedians, Piano Man. Can't say enough. Club Fusion always had something fun going on. We took dance lessons a couple of times...a few Latin dances, good times! St. Maarten: We didn't do any excursions this trip, just some shopping and a few drinks and lunch on the beach. This is a beautiful island, friendly people. Great deals on jewelry. Some folks say St. Thomas is better, but I think both St. Maarten and St. Thomas are pretty equal. Snorkeling is very good on this island, although we didn't do it this trip. St. Thomas: Princess has built their own pier, not sure I like it. You must get a cab or shuttle to go shopping or downtown. Previous pier, you could actually walk to town. We went shopping, bought some jewelry, Coach bag, souvenirs, etc... Then we took a shuttle to Magan's Bay beach. It was very pretty, but expensive to get there, pay your way in, rent a chair, etc.. Very crowded, not what I expected. Given the reputation of its beauty, I couldn't see it for the crowds, I'd pass this excursion next time. Princess Cays: Gorgeous island, lots to do. Snorkel, swim, boating, paddle boats, volleyball, walking and of course -eating. It was a beautiful day on the island, very relaxing. Disembarkation: Again, Princess is King.....went very smoothly. We waited approximately 30 minutes to disembark. Were at the airport by 9:30 am for our 10:55 flight. Overall, great cruise. We booked a 10 day Southern Caribbean with the Emerald Princess next February, can't wait.

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Nov 30, -0001

Eastern Caribbean

This was our 1st Princess Cruise. We drove to Ft. Lauderdale and took the Park and Drive package at the Ramada Inn Airport/Cruise port, which worked out very well. EMBARKATION: We arrived at the port at 11:15 and got in line at 11:25. While waiting in line they provided cold drinking water and there were benches along the wall. We arrived at our cabin at 12:25 and received our luggage at 2 P.M. CABIN: We had cabin L306, a balcony cabin on the

Lido Deck. This had to be the smallest cabin we ever had. The location was great. There was enough storage space for the clothes and the luggage. The bathroom was a typical cruise ship bathroom. Since we were on the Lido Deck we had a covered balcony, the balconies on the Dolphin and Emerald Decks are open (not covered). The décor is plain and somewhat practical. Our cabin steward Vicki was friendly and very efficient. MUSTER DRILL: I have to mention this, though necessary it is a royal pain in the lower extremities. On the Caribbean Princess it was amazing, our muster station was in the main theater, comfortable, air conditioned, and we were able to sit. WOW! DINING: We liked the option that we can either do traditional or anytime dining; as long as you do not reserve a table for anytime dining you do not lose your traditional seating. We only did anytime once, 1st seating at the Island Restaurant. David and his assistant were superb and friendly. Our tablemates were fun and great to be with. The food was ok, some days better than others. The buffet restaurants were better than some, always crowded, usually shared a table, which we liked, we met many different people and enjoyed the conversations we had. One problem, though, if you wanted to go from one side of the restaurant to the other, you had to leave the restaurant to cross over. The Caribe restaurant had a buffet from 11 P.M. to 4 A.M. for those who “craved” more food. ROOM SERVICE: A free service, you just tip the room service steward. Just be careful, you don’t always get exactly what you ordered. SPECIALTY RESTAURANTS: We booked Sabatini’s on Sunday for Tuesday evening. Our waiter was Allesandro, very friendly, funny, and an excellent waiter. You get small portions, BUT many different appetizers, thankfully they were small or we would have been in big trouble. We were there from 6:15 P.M. to 8:45 P.M. the cost was $20 P.P. and well worth it. This is a must do “event.” We met people who ate at Sterling’s and were not impressed. ICE CREAM: I mention this because people complained that it is not free. In the Horizon Court, at both ends on one side you can make your own, free sundae, from 3:30 P.M. to 4:30 P.M. OK, happy now? ENTERTAINMENT: Though no Carnival, the shows were good. There were two production shows, the first “Piano Man” was good the second was so-so. The main problem was the evening shows and entertainment, was scheduled so that you had to choose one. The dance bands was continuous, but the comedians, game shows, were scheduled poorly. MUTS, Movies under the Stars, looked great, but we did not see this at night. During the day while we were swimming we watched the movies, which was interesting. ISLANDS: The only thing I want to talk about is Princess Cays, their private island. This was reached by tender. Again Princess proved up to the task. We met in the main theater where you sit and wait to be escorted to the tender, quick and painless. The island is beautiful, we snorkeled and had a great time. DISEMBARKATION: We were in no hurry so we let them take our luggage for us. We were scheduled to meet at the Wheelhouse Bar at 8:30 A.M. At 8:32 they came for us, by the time we left the ship , found our luggage and went through immigration, it was 8:50 A.M. Barely 20 minutes, fantastic. OVERALL: The ship is sedate, quiet and laid back. Not for everyone, but the service was very good our fellow passengers were friendly and fun to be with. My main complaint is that you CANNOT review your account on your TV, you must go to Passenger Services. The food could have been better and a bit more selections. I might try another Princess Ship in the future. We did enjoy the cruise and do recommend this ship.

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Nov 30, -0001

Southern Carribean

Overall, it was a disapointment, we have always cruised on Carnival, and I guess they spoiled us. We were not prepared for this circus. What this ship needs is new management! The Capitan was no where to be found onboard. And comments from the various crew members say he is not available to them either. One person stated he had been onboad for 3 years, and had only seen the Captain 3 times in that period. What happens onboard is his direct

responsibility .... he sets the tone for his domain. Perhaps he should return to cargo ships where he came from? Food was nothing to get excited about, the most enjoyable meal we had was a steak in the Coral dining room, which was closed most of the cruise. The coffee on this ship was worse than any swill I have ever had at a truckstop! The one saving grace was the coffee service by the pursers desk, where you had to pay get a good cup! I researched the coffee issue, and was informed the coffee is placed aboard the ship in a frozen format, which is then hearted and served. And it was obvious! Our room was standard fare, I suppose, the steward did an excellent job and was rewarded accordingly. Casino was closed the first couple of days, the ship had just returned to service from a dry dock overhaul. And many features were not available. The ship should have never sailed on this date, it was not ready for service. Bonaire snorkling on the "SeaCow" was great! Grenada was an experience, we went to spice and rum factories. No biggie there, but we did see much of the island that way. The people of Grenada were preparing to celebrate the 25th anniversary of their independence. The island was abuzz with that. We booked nothing in Dominica, and the ship berthed at the commerical pier, making it necessary to ride a shuttle to "town". St. Thomas remained a great place to go ashore. Just wandered around. This trip was booked early in 2008 to coincide with our weekly sojurn to Aruba. We were to depart on Jan 11, 2009. Late last year we received notice out cruise had been canceled due to ship entering dry dock and would not sail before Jan 25th. We re-arranged all our schedules and plane reservations and sailed after Aruba. Strike 1. When we arrived in San Juan at 530pm, after the flight from Aruba, we were detained at the airport, we were informed the boarding proceedure was non-exsistent. We ramained at the airport until 730pm. Upon arrival at the ship, we learned others had been standing in line since 12 noon, and many of the elderly had indeed passed out from the heat and delays in boarding. The ship was scheduled to sail at 11pm Sunday, it finally slipped the berth at 630am on Monday. Strike 2 Enroute we discovered many sections of the ship were off limits, as construction was ongoing. The Coral dining room and the casino were closed completly. When we arrived in Bonaire, there was a crew overhead our balcony painting, the fumes were terrible. The next day in Grenada, they decided it was a good time to paint our deck. It was unannounced and the paint crew had entered the cabin to store the deck chairs. (Unacceptable, we anticipated some security of our pocessions. The steward is the only person we should have seen unannounced in our cabin.) Strike 3 When departing the ship, we were "Pink 7" on the luggage tag, indicating we had a later flight. When asked to depart the lounge, instead of using the numbering system 1-2-3-4-5-6-7 they dumped us all into the stairwell at once. Traffic jam from deck 7 to deck 4. Resulting in customs closing the terminal until they could clear some of the jam. Strike 4 Overall, this ship is poorly managed and needs much more than dry dock to improve upon it. Princess should consider re-vamping the Captain and Senior staff. Hopefully Carnival will welcome us back with open arms. (Since Carnival now owns Princess, perhaps they need bring the "fun ship" atmosphere to the siblings!

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Nov 30, -0001

Southern Caribbean

Worst cruise ever. We have been on this boat twice before and it was our favorite. This cruise was the worst ever in 18 cruises and not by a little. Very mediocre. Not up to cruise standards at all. Nice Cabin and good Steward. On board activities were about usual, but the crew was not up to standard. We booked most excursions on shore and they were great. The ports were very nice. We booked a group of six on the Caribbean Princess.

This was going to be our 3rd seven day cruise on the Caribbean Princess. We were aware that she just came out of dry dock and we were excited about all the new changes. The paperwork we received said boarding would start around 2:00 p.m., and we arrived from our flight about 1:45. When we got there, it was pretty confusing, and when we asked the baggage handlers which way to go they directed us to this one guy who was walking around handing out papers. The piece of paper apologized for the delay, but it stated that they had just COMPLETED a multi-million dollar renovation on the Caribbean Princess and just need a little more time to clean up and that we could board at 5:00. It said we should go to the convention center to wait. It was pretty confusing to figure out how and what, but we did and found the bus to the convention center. Please understand by this time no one is upset, a little confused and slightly disappointed from not getting to start their great vacation, but we and most of the passengers were patient, upbeat and took it in stride as just a minor inconvenience. We entered the convention center and they gave us a number for the return trip to the dock. They checked us in, we got a burger and we all sat a large table for the 3 hour wait. We got there earlier than some and there probably about 500 people there. There seemed to be ample food available then, but as hours went by and more people got there, the wait in the food line got up to 1 1/2 hours long and they ran out of food before some people got anything to eat. They told us at 5:00 they would start calling groups by numbers and we would be taken back to the ship to board. (No Problem Right) We were group #4, by about 5:20 we were still standing in line to get on a bus. It wasns't organized, they called out 10 times as many people as they had buses available, they had absolutely no method, but it didn't take terribly long and you are looking forward to getting on the ship, so we still, at that point weren't really upset, but it was beginning to take its toll. By about 5:40 we were back at the dock. When we got off the bus there were no Princess people in sight, just lines that looked like snakes of people and we had to figure out on our own where to go (with the help of all the very angry people in the line already). We stood in line about 2 and 1/2 hours in a hot parking lot, with no shade, and no idea what we were doing or suppose to do. My husband has arthritic knees and for two days his right knee was sore and swollen and he was very limited in what he could do. There was a gentleman in front of us in line that had a heart condition and his friend would hold his spot in line so he leave the line and go and sit under a nearby tree to rest. One of my brothers-in-law's has back and leg problems from cancer radiation treatments and standing for long periods of time wreaks havoc on him. He really didn't recover from this the entire trip. It limited everything he could do. You are standing there not knowing if it is going to be 5 more minutes or hours. If you get out of line, what do you do then? By this time we are hearing so many people complaining about how horribly this is being handled, but if the rest of the trip had gone better I think most could have all got past this. Please keep in mind, in these lines, were thousands of people, from elderly and disabled people to moms holding babies for hours in a line. I can't speak for the other people in line, just us, WE probably could have got past this had it not just got worse and worse. All this time, no information as to what, why or when. No Princess people telling anyone anything. We and thousands more, stood in a line that didn't move at all for at least the first hour and a half, not knowing if it was ever going to move, or what to do. Not a soul anywhere that appeared to work for Princess, nor anyone who knew anything about what was happening. What we latter surmised that they obviously had all their people working on trying to get the ship ready and they dumped this on some San Juan tourism people who were totally overwhelmed, understaffed and unorganized. I guess Princess assumed it is not their problem if they keep you off the ship. When we were finally on board I think around 8:30 Sunday night we noticed the ship was really HOT. We figured they didn't have all the generators running or something. By the 2nd day we were at sea and our cabin still had never seemed to get cool (My husband is a Contractor and he figured the temp was somewhere between 78 and 80 most of the time). The first 4 days, it didn't cool off in our cabin enough for us to go to sleep until about 2 a.m. The Palm dining room was so Hot you couldn't enjoy your dinner, you were sticky hot. The ship was basically hot everywhere, everyone was complaining, the passengers were always sweaty. On to other problems my brother-in-law's stateroom didn't have hot water, so they had to take cold showers. When we went to the purser's desk to complain for the fourth time about the hot cabin, the hot ship and my brother in law not having hot water, a man standing next to us over heard us complaining and said he had to buy bottled water everyday to brush his teeth because he didn't have any cold water. The hot water problem was never fixed, but they learned if they ran they water in the shower for 45 minutes to an hour prior to using it, they could get some hot water. They would literally get up an hour before they had to, to start the shower so they would have some hot water in time to get ready. Every time we would finally get through the service desk line to talk to a Princess employee they would tell us they would have our air checked again and that they weren't aware of any air conditioning problems. We noticed on the 4th time that the man we were talking to and the other people behind the counter were visibly perspiring at the time they were telling us they knew of no problems with air conditioning. I realized it was hotter at the passenger services desk than in our cabin. It is terrible that these people had to stand there hot and perspiring and lie to us that they knew of no air conditioning problems on the ship, I am sure, because they were directed to do so. Every public ladies restroom had at least one toilet out of order the whole trip. My brother-in-law's girlfriend was using one of the restrooms and a vent fell from the ceiling and hit her on the head. The casino open 2 days late, the steakhouse never opened. They said they had the, so called, "up scale steakhouse," but just guided people to a table in the upstairs buffet area, (what a rip). They were still working on the ship constantly while we were on it. It smelled like something burning, we assumed it was welding fumes. You couldn't use certain access areas. You would have to go up a floor, go all the way over, then back down to get to a lot of areas. Basically no one on this ship, that are in any sort of management position employed by Princess, wanted to admit this ship was not ready for passengers and, very obviously, they were sternly directed to constantly say there were no problems. Working crew members however were much more forthcoming. Some would comment on the problems at great length and others were rude and ill to passengers. We assumed that was from the pressure they were under and the conditions they were forced to work in. There are many outstanding crew members that did their very best to make the best of it and make sure we were cared for the best they could, but they were the minority. We rewarded them accordingly. Although we heard a lot of people say they were not going to tip or tip as much. We felt our waiter and room steward went above and beyond, in the conditions they had to work in, and we rewarded them fully on our on board account and additionally outside that. Everyday in the elevators and on the decks the conversation was how horrible this trip is. I overheard one couple on the deck saying with the economy this bad they should not have spent the money on this vacation. They made me think, if Princess is now treating customers this way in a bad economy, when you would think they really need passengers, how do they usually do business. I know you can't always make everyone happy, but you would be hard pressed to find anyone who had ever been on a cruise and had anything to compare it to that was pleased on this trip. I talked with a family that had never cruised and they remarked that this was not what they expected from what friends and family had told them about cruising. We told them this was not what we had ever received in 18 cruises and we were sorry their first one had to be this. Regrettably this was our 3rd cruise on the Caribbean Princess, the only ship we have ever repeated, and we are guilty of recommending it highly in the past. We have told hundreds of family, friends, acquaintances, and total strangers about our cruising experiences and have helped many of those arrange their first cruises. We have always said that of all our cruises, rated on a scale of 1 to 10 the worst was an 8 and 1/2. We have never written a complaint. We have never rated anything on a ship below "good" or 4 out of 5 on their customer satisfaction survey and those were rare, almost always excellent. We rated this ship at the top in all categories including the food on our previous 2 sailings. This trip the food dropped to the lowest of any cruise we have been on. We are not sure if this is related to all these other problems or related to some new attitude that Princess has about customer service, but it was not up to previous levels. Mind you, it was not as bad as all these other issues, but it would not impress you, especially in the buffet areas. Some items in the dining room were good and some were not. The soups, which are a particular favorite of my husband, were drastically below par. I don't think he finished a single bowl and many times just tasted and pushed it aside. The other problems on this cruise were so severe, I pondered whether to even mention the sub par food, since it was only somewhat below par and the rest of the ship was a catastrophe. The food did go from a 10+ to a 7. Understand we have never had a 7 before, but the rest of the ship rated about a 2 and we have never had anything we would rate below an 8 and 1/2. Finally we were getting off the ship. We booked a tour on board for San Juan, since our flight didn't leave until late. The tour lasted 4 hours and they said they would have us to the airport about 1 p.m. We were directed to a vacate dining room at 8 a.m. to await our tour, which we assumed needed to leave about 9 (four hours 9-1). Our luggage tags color weren't called until right at 9, and we thought we were still fine, so several hundred of us filed out of the dining and were directed to go down a few flights of stairs to depart to the luggage and customs areas. The stairs were packed with people going down (reminiscent of a life boat drill) except most were carrying luggage, so it was really, really crowded, then suddenly with us about half way down the flights the line stopped. We had no idea why. No one told us anything and it was so crowded you could barely move. We were stuck there for nearly an hour on a flight of stairs, again standing up. My husband's knees were hurting, but the gentleman beside us that had had knee replacement surgery and was walking with a cane was even worse. He was in severe pain standing there that long. You couldn't get through to go down or up and if you did you didn't know what to do. When it finally did move and we got to bottom of the stairs, there was a Princess Officer in a white uniform and we asked what the problem was. He told us customs had held things up. When we got to the luggage and got a porter we asked about the delay and he said they and customs had been waiting for more than an hour before Princess would let anyone off the ship. We asked the customs officer was it them and he said, "Absolutely not." He said they had stood and waited for over an hour before Princess let anyone off. We told him that the Princess people were blaming customs and he was not pleased. He said several things, but he was not pleased that he and the other officers had stood there that long waiting and then were blamed for Princess' problem. For us it just added insult to injury. We were on the Royal Caribbean Adventure of the Seas sailing from San Juan just 4 month prior to this. Same airport, same town, same customs. There weren't any of these problems. It was very nice, but we really looked forward to the Caribbean Princess because, from past history, we rated it even better the Adventure of the Seas. Were we ever wrong! They made Princess look like lying, blundering, uncaring amateurs. No actually Princess made Princess look like lying, blundering, uncaring amateurs. I shouldn't put that on the nice folks at Royal Caribbean. Bottom line, had Princess offered a very discounted cruise and said this is a cruise to finish the ships final touches fix any problems and basically do an experimental trip maybe you would say you received what you paid for. But instead this is a ship that, other than Puerto Rican residents, everyone had to fly to San Juan to board. As you know, this cruise itself was very pricey, not to mention the airfare to San Juan to go on this ship. You can't help but feel you woefully didn't get nearly what you paid for, because hopefully if you were to go on this ship two months from now, the air conditioning would work, ALL the public amenities would be available for you to enjoy, the crew would not be in such a bad mood and you would not feel like you were being lied to constantly and you could basically have a nice vacation. If you want one final note, we went on this ship intending to book another cruise on the Emerald Princess for October 2009. However, cruising again on Princess is not likely for us. From what we heard from most everyone on board, they will never cruise Princess again or let anyone they know cruise Princess again.

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Nov 30, -0001

Caribbean

We just returned from our second cruise with Princess. Last year we went on the Crown Princess to the Caribbean, and this year on the Caribbean Princess. We had a wonderful trip last year; however, this year's was extraordinarily disappointing. First, the ship had been drydocked for three weeks prior to our departure. Apparently, it was not quite ready to open on time, and the boarding process was inefficient and chaotic. Fortunately, we were

not bused to the convention center to endure that nightmare as other passengers were. We were bused directly from the San Juan airport to port where we waited in line on the concrete dock for over 2 1/2 hours to board the ship. The stateroom we stayed in was also disappointing. The sheer curtain had the hem ripped out, and looked dirty, so it gave the whole room, which was a balcony room, the feel of a cheap motel. Construction on the ship was not completed, so even getting around the ship was a challenge. To reach some places you had to go down stairs at one part and then upstairs in another. The casino was not opened when the cruise began, and the specialty steak house restaurant was not open either. The itinerary was also disappointing. The island of Grenada was filled with hawkers and poverty. We did an excursion to see the species and natural areas which was supposed to be four hours long (too long as it was) but actually took almost five hours! On our previous cruise, we had enjoyed the piazza area and international cafe. This time, while there were some times when a very fine pianist played, other times the music was so loud that it dominated the several floors open to the piazza, which interferred with shopping the displays and communicating with the pursers' desk. Service also was poor in the piazza/international cafe area. We would sit and sit but not be served. In defense of the servers, they were woefully understaffed for such a large area especially compared to other areas of the ship. All that being said, there were some positive things about the cruise. Our cabin steward was very helpful. The food was very good in the sit down restaurants (only mediocre in the buffet). We thoroughly enjoyed the piano players in the piazza, and especially Chris in the Crooners lounge. We had a family emergency while on board, and Adam, from South Africa ,at the pursers' desk was especially helpful--tracking down a fax that I had sent that had not arrived. In fact, he personally went after the fax to find it and make sure it was sent. I also, especially because of our family emergency, appreciated the internet use. All-in-all, we were both very disappointed, especially compared to our last year's experience. If I cruise again, I will look at other cruise lines. Buffet was fair to mediocre. The sit down restaurants were very good. We like the personal choice dining option. The sheer curtain was ripped and looked dirty. Otherwise, it was acceptable. The balcony was very nice. We liked the Princess theater dance production and liked the pianists in the atrium and especially Chris in Crooners Lounge. Depends on the type you want. Excursion in Grenada made me want to skip the rest of the excursions we had planned. Disappointing....details in the summary. Many things the cruise line needs to address especially efficiency of boarding and disembarkation.

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By Jane_CR

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Nov 30, -0001

Southern Caribbean

This was my first cruise and I don't think I will sail on the Princess again. We came from Montreal and it was a disaster getting to the ship to start off with. The room sevice and food was horrible, but the crew, island people and the excursions made up for it. Everyone talks so much about the Princess being far better then RCL. I will try RCL next time. Apparently, the ship will be in drydock in January. The sea was rough. Thank Gosh I never

got seasick. We had a balcony on the port side which was nice when we came into port. Turtle Cove for snorkeliing was the highlight of this trip. Amazing St John's. Grab a taxi and go exploring in Dominica-Grenada and Aruba. The beaches in Aruba are pristine and so very beautiful.

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Nov 30, -0001

Eastern Caribbean

I just recently return from the Princess Eastern Caribbean Cruise and was very disappointed. I heard so much praise about the Princess cruise line so I thought I would give it a try. My first cruise was with COSTA and now I will always book with them. Airport: First impression of the crew at the airport was bad. The people were rude and not very helpful. I'm talking about the Princess crew people who are there to take you to the ship not the airport

employees. So my first impression of Princess already started off bad. Embankment: This process was very fast. They say to arrive an hour earlier, but we arrived at 1 and there was no wait at all. Cruise: Overall the places we visited were very nice. It was the crew members that made my experience not so great. they didn't seem as happy as the Costa cruise crew. The rooms were definitely smaller. I had a balcony room with my fiancé and it was much smaller then the balcony on our first cruise. The design of the ship was not was beautiful as I expected it to be. I think we were disappointed because this ship had a higher rank then our first one but didn't meet our expectations. The shows were no as good as Costa. it seemed like the cruise was aimed more towards older people than people our age. Another thing was the ship seemed to rock allot. Our first experience on a cruise barely had any rocking, but we had rocking pretty much the whole time we were at sea. Coke sticker: Advice on this is just buy one sticker! We bought one and would ask for two drinks and they would bring it out without checking for two stickers. The cost of the unlimited drink sticker was $35.00. Worth it if you drink lots of soda, which we didn't St Maarten: The island is the not as pretty as the other three but still pretty. We went to Orient Beach, which was beautiful but lots of waves. Another piece of advice; do not book the taxi through the cruise ship, just get one when you get off the port. They are exactly like the one you get on the cruise but more expensive. It's because the cruise charges you $9 per person one way versus $6 if you wait till you get off the ship and get the taxi. If you're going to shop for diamonds, St. Maarten is the place to do it. My friend went looking for diamonds but ran out of time. The thought that it would be the same price as St. Thomas, but it turned out St. Thomas cost more. St. Thomas: One this island we decided to go to Magen's Bay. This place was beautiful. My fiancé and I brought some floats to lay on so we didn't have to rent any. The water was very calm. After spending time at the beach we went shopping. St. Thomas does have more shopping then St. Maarten but it was just a little more expensive. Princess Cays: Now this was our last stop and it made my trip better! This place is BEAUTIFUL!!!! Crystal clear water!!!!!!! with white sand. I can't even begin to describe how beautiful Princess Cays was!!!! We brought our own floats and just floated in the ocean. We had our own goggles to go snorkeling, and it was worth it. We would pick up sand and fishes thought it was food and would swim up to us. The ship does have a bbq on the island, but some advice the buffet closes at 1:00!!! We didn't know that and we were ten minutes late and they wouldn't let us in line, but we managed to jump in to get food. They didn't post the time anywhere on our schedule so we didn't know. It was sad that this was the BEST island but you get the least amount of time! I would advised you to wake up on time and spend the entire time on the beach!!!!! We didn't even want to leave when it was time to go!

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Nov 30, -0001

Western Caribbean

My wife and I had a wonderful Western Caribbean cruise on the Caribbean Princess from Sept. 16th to Sept. 23rd. It was her second cruise – her first was also on the Caribbean Princess. It was my first cruise. We booked our cruise through Adams Travel in our hometown of Adams, MA. We’ve traveled with this agency quite a bit and had great luck. All of our travel arrangements, flights, etc., went off without a hitch. At first, the size of a

ship like the Caribbean Princess surprised me, the newcomer to cruising. It’s a bit of a challenge figuring out where you are for the first couple of days. But the ship has very functional maps outside of each elevator station that surprisingly actually help to successfully describe where you are and where you want to go. We had a room with a balcony on the Caribe deck. The balcony on this deck level seemed to be a bit roomier than the balconies on the levels immediately below and above us, but I’m not sure if that’s true. At any rate, it was great and we spent a lot of time out there just watching the beautifully scenic views of the sky and ocean. The food was fantastic. We actually preferred the buffets to the sit-down restaurants. It was a lot of fun choosing from such a wide menu. The desserts were out of this world. And I can say unequivocally that each and every item was well-prepared and far above the usual food one associates with a large-scale buffet. It could be a little challenging finding a table for two, but we always managed. Occasionally, especially at breakfast, we shared a table which turned out to be fun. There is a dress code at the sit-down restaurants – they call it dress casual or something like that. From what I gathered, it simply meant no shorts plus collared shirts for the men. Reasonable enough. The sit-down restaurants function either by reservation or on a walk-in basis. Even on very busy nights, without a reservation, we never had to wait more than ten or fifteen minutes for a table for two. And if we had been more willing to share seating, we would have had no wait at all. There was one restaurant that functioned on a reservation only, more arranged schedule, but we never went there. There are also two restaurants which require reservations and charge a fee, but we never made it to them either. There were also two formal nights which we worked around. Too dressy for us, but it was fun watching all the tuxes and evening gowns floating around. The entertainment was also a surprise – it was good. We have spent vacations at several Caribbean resorts and the Caribbean Princess’ on-board entertainment was definitely a notch above what we have experienced there. We saw two great comics/musicians, a really fun hypnotist and a great magic/comedy act. I can only remember the names of the two music/comedy acts because we saw each of these guys twice - Steve Moris was great, as was Carl Strong. Moris is a talented guitarist and joke teller. Strong’s first show was a comedy-central type act – very funny. His second show on the last night was a wildly energetic Motown-oriented musical/comedy act that was very funny and very entertaining. We loved it! The Caribbean Princess knows its clientele. There are a couple of pools where it seems that it’s all loud music and party games, but there are also a couple of pools that are adults-only. The music is pleasant and enjoyable and there are ample spots to park on deck chairs in either shade or sun. We spent many pleasant hours dozing and reading in the pool area at the very back of the ship. The outdoor movie screen is fun, but the audio seems to lose a lot in the human voice frequency. We only watched one movie, Casino Royale, but much of the dialogue was inaudible and unintelligible. The first stop the Caribbean Princess made was at a private beach they call Princess Cays on Eleuthera Island in the Bahamas. We more or less knew what to expect here because the Sandals we once stayed at in Nassau had a similar deal. Princess Cays was well run, the meal ashore was good and the snorkeling was surprisingly good – nice selection of fish. I even saw two stingrays. The two shore excursions we did were good and as advertised, especially the Stingray tour with Allura at Grand Cayman. What a blast! I was a little worried when our catamaran first pulled up because there was a crowd of tour boats there, but it was no problem. We were able to spend ample time with the strange beasts. The Allura’s crew was very friendly and casual and informative. The other tour we took was a beach day at a day resort in Cozumel. No great shakes, but we knew what to expect. It met our expectations and it was as advertised. The most negative moment on the whole trip was going ashore at Ocho Rios in Jamaica. There’s no other word besides creepy to describe the experience. We didn’t have a shore excursion booked, but thought we might walk around a little and see what was what. We were back on the ship in less than a couple of hours. The most positive experience of the trip, after the quality of the food, was the steward service in our room. Our steward, Jaeda, was absolutely a gem. She was polite and genuinely responsive to our requests. As a matter of fact, we didn’t have any bad staff experiences. We booked our Cozumel shore excursion literally minutes before it was due to take off and the tour person was calm, cool and collected about it. The crew also gets points for moving large numbers of people very efficiently whenever we disembarked for shore. Our Caribbean Princess cruise was a great time and we would certainly recommend one to anyone. We’ve only been home a few days and we’re checking cruise itineraries for ’08!

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Nov 30, -0001

Eastern Caribbean

This was our second Princess cruise. I can’t see why anyone wouldn’t enjoy cruising, its such a great way to see a variety of countries and places, without the hassle of airports, checking in, security, and all the other joys of traveling. The Caribbean Princess is a massive ship, although we found that there were a lot of times and areas where we felt we were the only couple on the entire ship. Days at sea when the weather is nice, you can

expect the pools and outdoor common areas will be crowded, but not so crowded that you can’t find a lounge chair. Princess does a great job of keeping the ship clean and well appointed. Cruise staff do their best to make you feel welcome, and make you feel that they are there for your comfort. I felt uncomfortable with how often they would come in and pick up our clothes and make the bed, it was great, but at the same time, I’m not used to having my things picked up by someone else…no complaints though. The ONLY thing that I wish they would change is that they don’t really have non smoking rooms, so people can smoke in the room next to you if they desire. Great for smokers, but for me, I find the smell repulsive, and really wish they would make a smoke free ship. I did notice that there were a lot less smoking areas this year on the Caribbean ship than the Star Princess, which was great to see. The food was excellent, although not always 5 star quality, the presentation and taste was good, and always fresh, and of course as much of it as you wanted. The Spa is beautiful, and relaxing. The treatments are fairly priced, and the staff works hard to earn the gratuity. The entertainment was fair, and exactly what one should expect on such a line, nothing spectacular, but all done in good taste, and enough of it to keep you occupied. We did have some issues with the movies under the stars not showing the movie that was printed a couple times which we were told were “misprints” in the program. Instead of the movies they were showing college football, which also was airing in the sports lounge and in the staterooms, however the movies were not. Princess is a great cruise line for the value and quality of the rooms, ships, food, and service.

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Nov 30, -0001

Eastern Caribbean

I just got back from a seven day cruise on the Caribbean Princess that began in Ft. Lauderdale and made its way to St. Thomas, St. Maarten, Princess Cay, and ending back in Ft. Lauderdale. Embarkation Very easy. My partner and I live in Orlando so we drove down. We have a friend in the car rental business so instead of driving our own and leaving it in the garage for a week we rented and dropped it off from Ft. Lauderdale airport

where a shuttle dropped us off at the terminal. We dropped off our luggage with the porter and made our way into the terminal where we didn’t even wait (and this was at 1:30 pm). The Ship The Caribbean Princess is beautiful. It’s huge and very long! I have been on five cruises from different cruise lines and thought I would get my bearing quickly ... I was wrong! It took me at least two to three days where I was still going “is this the front or the back of the boat?”. I don’t know how to tell someone how to get their bearing other than be sure to keep the little map they give you, on you. We have no kids but for those of you who do, this cruise is for you. I thought it being the middle of April that all the Spring Breaks would be over. Unfortunately, Spring Break was still happening up north. Not a big deal but kids love pools and they were in them. Caribbean Princess does have two pools for adults (but alas, they are mostly in the shade). It also seemed that Princess had a lot of programs for the kids as they were always in groups doing things. One thing we tend to do is over pack and once again we didn’t let ourselves down. We were surprised though that Princess has Laundromats to do your laundry. That was great and a lot less expensive than the dry cleaning! Princess even supplied the irons. The gym was incredible! After going on Carnival last year and complaining about their gym (which still had machines from the early eighties) I was so happy to see the gym we had on Caribbean Princess. There was at least ten treadmills, six elliptical, two bikes, cybex machines, free weights, and an aerobic floor for stretches and classes. Princess did offer yoga and pilates classes ($10 to $15 a shot) but I did not partake of those. The Food I love to eat and I thought Princess would at least be better than Royal Caribbean which I went on last year. I was disappointed! The food was so sub-par from the buffet dining to the main dining. Honestly, a meal at Picadilly cafeteria could give Princess a run for their money. And if you don’t like seafood you may want to start crying (as I wanted to when I opened the menu). Nothing stood out. Maybe a good thing, though, since I didn’t gain too much weight. We also went to Sabotini’s. I would absolutely not recommend this unless you like seafood. I thought it would be more Italian but you really need to be a seafood italian lover. I did not think was deserving the $20 per person fee. I would not recommend this dinner at all. The Food Service Uh-oh. Were we surprised. Princess has traditional and any time dining. We loved any time dining as we could eat our dinner whenever we wanted to. But let’s tell that to the staff. We were merely there to be handed our meal and have it taken away (and if the staff had their way it would be done quickly!). Sometimes we got no smiles and on our last night the waiter was literally throwing our silverware on the table. It was incredible! And are they heavy promoters of alcohol consumption! They obviously get their tips from alcohol as they will heavily push large size drinks on you. One time we asked for Diet Cokes and the waiter kept trying us to get Diet Coke with alcohol in it. Actually, that happened more than once. I was not too thrilled with the Princess service. Other things We loved the fact that Princess had a theater to go to that showed movies in the afternoon. It was nice when the weather outside was not so nice. The shows were so-so. It was kind of cool that Princess put on a semi-risque show (and I mean PG rating) but the performers had no oompf about them (though, what do you do if the audience is dragging you down also?). Read up on St. Thomas and St. Maarten before you go. Also, if you plan on doing excursions that look fun in the book then make sure you sign up on-line before you go on the cruise. Disembarkation We sat down after breakfast at 8:00 to wait for disembarkation. We sat until 11:00 am. I would not rush it if you don’t have to. Wake up later and enjoy your breakfast. If they call you and you’re not ready, hey, you just go down. Final review (out of four stars) Food (One and a half stars) Service (Room steward -- 3 stars) (Food service - One and a half to two stars) Ship (3 stars) Overall (2 stars) Not the best. Will probably not do Princess again. For those with families, though, I think this really could be the cruise for you.

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Nov 30, -0001

Eastern Caribbean

We have just returned from a fun-filled week on the Caribbean Princess. The ship was very clean, fresh and huge (and constantly maintained). There were 2 families (9 of us) with kids ages 15, 15, 13, 12 and 4. There was lots to do. The crew were wonderful everywhere. The children's staff were very animated except they could have been a little more enthusiastic in the Pelican's age group (3-5). There was just the right amount of

ship and shore time on this eastern Caribbean itinerary (3 ports; St. Thomas, St. Maarten and Princess Cays, and the rest of the time to explore and relax on the ship). You can definitely just pick up a cab in the ports and ask them to take you to the best beaches (they will even return for you at a set time - be sure to set the full, return price, before you go). It is well worth getting up early to see the ship (and other ships) coming in to port. The children's play area on Princess Cay was great. The rooms were all well-laid out (we had 4 cabins between the 2 families). If there are more than 2 of you in the smaller cabins, storage may be a little tight, but not too bad with some planning. We had two of us in an outside cabin (the Mum and Dad) with our 3 sons (15, 13 and 4) opposite the hall from us on the Plaza deck (P225 and P227). You can store your suitcases under the beds which is helpful. The inside cabins are a nice size with a nice, big picture window in the outside cabins. This is a big ship and, depending on where your cabin is, there is lots of walking, especially to the children's programs. Please look at the deck plans when you are booking your cabin as some (especially on the Lido deck near the pool areas) are continuous access points for everyone going to the buffet restaurants, pools, children's programs and upper decks. It did take almost a full week to finally get my bearings (I almost wanted a compass at times). The food was not haute cuisine, but still very good, plentiful, well-presented and prepared. The only drinks included would be coffee, tea, non-bottled water and non-sweetened iced tea (juice at breakfast only) so be prepared to pay for everything else. We had the second seating for dinner and found that we were not rushed. Would highly recommend the room service breakfast (or room service at any time) as it really helped with getting ready in the morning for our little guy and the other kids enjoyed having down time in the cabin with room service sometimes (all included in the cost, except for a few items on the room service menu). You can ask for a robe from your steward and they will also supply a bowl of fresh fruit every day in your cabin. "Movies under the Stars" was lovely. The ships programs seemed able to really blend the needs of families, singles and seniors. I could not say that one age group was more represented than another. The ship has adult only areas and lots of more active programs as well. The ship is big enough to allow rest and quiet or activity if desired and our sailing dates were with a totally full ship. Embarkation and Disembarkation went smoothly (on and off in less than 1/2 hour), you can definitely begin embarking earlier than the times listed. We stayed before and after the cruise in Fort Lauderdale and then in Miami for a week. We had a car rental and they dropped and picked us up right at the port. We were always the most impressive ship in port. Great experience. We are already planning for next year (and saving).

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Nov 30, -0001

Eastern Caribbean

We have been on 6 cruises with Santino and Blakjax. They are the best entertainment you can find on land or sea. The whole band is very talented and the lead singer Santino, has such a wonderful voice, what a talent! He connects with people of all ages and gets the whole crowd involved. My husband and myself will follow him on whatever ship he goes on. He makes everybody in the crowd feel like he is singing to them. He is the "Ultimate

Entertainer".

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Nov 30, -0001

Eastern Caribbean

My boyfriend and I just returned from our 7-day Eastern Caribbean cruise on Caribbean Princess. I used this site extensively when researching possible cruises, and wanted to repay the favor with this review. First of all, I have to say that the trip exceeded both of our expectations. We had a fantastic time, and we hated for it to end. Being young, first time cruisers, we had no idea what to expect. We had heard all the stereotypes

about cruising, but decided to try it anyway. We chose Caribbean Princess because we wanted a nice ship (more than 3 stars) that was large and fairly new. Being just over a year old, and holding approx. 3,200 passangers, Caribbean Princess met all of the above. Embarkation was super easy - we showed up about 11:30am and were on the ship by 12:30pm. We were both amazed at how easy Princess makes the whole process - the logistics of the whole thing were amazing, but the process was easy and the line moved very quickly. We booked a balcony stateroom on the port side, and I have to say that it was definitely worth shelling out a little extra dough for the balcony. We spent many wonderful evenings pulling out of port and having a cocktail on the balcony. The ship is amazing! It really seems they have thought of everything, and seem to have every amenity (bars, restaurants, clubs, pools, gyms, etc). Even with so many passengers, we could always find a quiet area on the ship and never felt crowded. We chose anytime dining (table for 2)because we were more interested in spending time with each other than meeting new friends. We did notice a good number of younger couples, although the majority of passengers were in their 30s-50s. We only ate in the dining room a few times, as the menu was somewhat limited and we could get more options elsewhere. The buffets were really quite good (especially the lobster!) and we also ate at Sterling's Steakhouse, which is also recommended. We weren't expecting the food to be that great, so were pleasantly surprised when we had good meals. I would say not to expect gourmet cuisine, but there is plenty of good food. And if you don't like a particular dinner, you can always order something else from room service or check out the buffet. The course had us stopping in St. Thomas, St. Martin, and Princess Cays. I think the intinerary could be improved with one more port (instead of having back-to-back at sea days in the beginning of the week), but we enjoyed all of our ports. We did not book any excursions with the cruise, as we wanted to do our own thing. We also ended up saving some money this way, since cheap taxis are plentiful right by the port. We mainly visited the beaches, which were excellent, and had some of our most relaxing days swimming in the beautiful waters of the Caribbean. The onboard entertainment is also plentiful - we saw several really funny comedians, and there is always something going on. Princess has two formal nights - we did not want to dress up on our vacation, so we opted for the more casual route and had no problem. I can't really think of anything negative about the cruise - we were impressed with everything (logistics, crew, food, facilities, ports) and we had a great cruise. We are already looking forward to our next one, and would highly recommend the Caribbean Princess for your next vacation.

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Nov 30, -0001

Eastern Caribbean

Disembarkation: This was a nightmare. My wife and I had "Express-Check-in" and that was a joke. We waited about 2 hours before we were finally able to board the ship. Itinerary: We enjoyed each of the islands visited. Cindy, the in-port shopping advisor was great. The day we left she held a meeting about the best places to shop on each island, and she really knew her stuff. Our tour in St. Thomas had been cancelled but we ended

up taking a private tour that far exceeded our expectations. If you are shopping for jewelry, the islands are the place to do it. Food: As an avid cruise traveler, I found the food to be excellent. The dining rooms offered a nice selection although the dessert menu was a little disappointing. The Horizon court was great for a buffet, and the room service was also good. The ship: The Golden is one of the classiest ships I have been on. Its decor was beautiful and very well maintained. You always saw the crew members cleaning something. We had gotten a great deal on our balcony cabin, L307, at a rate off $733 p/p. The cabin was a nice size, great for 2 anyway. The common rooms on board were also very well appointed. No matter where you go on this ship, you feel an aire of class. The entertainment was good, but in my experience, I thought the shows on Carnival were better. I have traveled, Carnival, RCCL, and now Princess. Overall, this was the best cruise as far as value and to me, the food was also great. The Perfect Storm: Early Saturday morning, we headed straight into a Nor'easter. Winds were about 70mph and it was enough to give us a rough ride. My wife and I were woken up at about 6am by a large bang, assumed to be a wave. The Captain came over the loudspeaker and announced that we had dropped our speed from 20 knots to about 4 knots. We decided to get up at that point and look outside. The waves were huge and the weather was awful. We were on the 14th floor, and the waves still looked huge. We went down to the Bernini Dining Room to find not many passengers and that all the curtains were closed. Being on the 5th floor, it was quite scary to look out the window. I took pictures of course. The rest of the morning was extremely rocky as the ship pushed through the storm. Most of the days activities had been cancelled and we were advised to take the day and relax. At 4pm the Captain announced that we would delay docking in NY until Monday the ninth. That caused a very mixed reaction. Perhaps if my wife and I were retired, it wouldn't have been so bad. We lost a days work, had to make a rental car reservation as our ride could no longer pick us up. We stood in the phone line for 3 hours to call home and weren't even able to reach anyone. We made three calls from our cabin and thought we would dispute the charges. Our phone bill came out to about $130. Had this not happened, we would never have had to use the phone. The staff was not exactly polite as I overheard on employee tell a passenger, "We're only one day late, its not like were 20 days late". That ticked me off. My life is not on the ship as are the employees. My life is at home. On Sunday morning, after the storm passed, the ship was creaking all over the place. Any time you took an elevator you heard a horrific loud bang. We went to the Pursers desk to get credited for our calls, and to make a long story short, the gave us a $20 credit. They also had the audacity to charge us gratuities for the extra day. We had them credit that as well. Right now, we are dealing w/ the passenger relations department to have the calls credited and our rental car reimbursed. I thought the whole storm situation was handled poorly. They knew on land Friday that there was a huge storm forming. Why didn't the Captain know this. I think the passengers should have been offered a chance to dock in a safe place, and fly home. I know I would have done that. Overall Conclusion: In spite of the storm, everything prior was great. We enjoyed the ship, the ports, and the activities. The service was excellent and our Cabin Steward Ruel was above and beyond! If we hadn't hit the storm, I would have given this cruise a higher rating! W/O the storm: 5 stars With Storm: 3 stars

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Nov 30, -0001

Eastern Caribbean

I want to begin by saying that both my husband and I consider ourselves positive people who try to start our day over when things aren’t going as we wish they would. We found it quite difficult to be positive, however, on our seven-day cruise aboard the Caribbean Princess, sailing May 28-June 4, as there was very little to be positive about. This was our first cruise, and while I doubt we will ever cruise again, I am writing to express

both of our feelings of dissatisfaction with the vacation and to provide documentation of the experiences leading to these feelings. Embarkation: Our first complaint is the lack of clear communication at embarkation. We arrived at the embarkation gate at 11:15 A.M. There were no Princess crew members available to assist us, but a security guard told us to just be seated. As a result, we had no idea that we had to check our luggage. One half hour into our wait, we noticed that no one else had their luggage, and we asked another passenger. He showed us where to check our luggage in. We returned the favor by helping another group of people who still had their luggage 15 minutes later. As the gate continued to fill and crew members began to appear, they attempted to tell passengers what to do, but there was no P.A. system or message board, so we could never understand what was being called out to us. The crew seemed just as frustrated as the passengers. Stateroom #1: While our room, Lido 307, was clean, we had the following complaints: • Although Princess calls itself a 5-star cruise line, the linens are not 100% cotton. The cruise line representative who I spoke to three weeks before embarkation was shocked at this fact as well. My travel agent called in advance to let the ship know that I have an allergic reaction to polyester sheets. They not only failed to respond to the medical form she filed stating I would need cotton sheets, this accommodation was never made for me. I brought my own sheets. • We were originally registered for a queen bed configuration, but I made a change 2 weeks before embarkation to put the beds in a twin bed configuration. This change was not made in our room until after our arrival. • I asked for robes in the room. (Nor were there laundry bags) Our steward said we would not be able to get them until the following morning, May 29. The evening of May 29, I called the front desk because we still had not received them and she was not answering our page. At this point, we received our robes. • Our room was incredibly loud. The main door to the Lido deck pool, bar, Pizza, and grille was located right outside our room, so there was constant, audible traffic. Also, at 6:30 A.M. each morning, the area above us began loud movements of setting up the restaurant level. The deck area just above us also had much audible traffic. Basically, it sounded like Grand Central Station. I will say that the balcony on this room was really quiet. • Loudness was brought to an optimum at the “deck party” on the Lido deck after the day in St. Thomas. • On Saturday night, I was on hold with room service for twenty minutes to get some hot water delivered for tea in our room, and I finally called the front desk who had it delivered to us. • Monday A.M., we had opted not to get the continental breakfast, just in case we were able to sleep in. We’d already called at 6:45 A.M. about the noise above us, which we were informed was the bar being set up, but we were trying to go back to sleep. At 7:20, a knock at the door from room service occurred. I thought that maybe the card we filled out the first day may have extended through the whole cruise, so I realized I better accept the service. Still in bed, I called, “Please, just leave it by the door.” “But ma’am, you have to sign for it!” he answered. I reluctantly rose from bed, put on a robe, found my glasses, but when I got to the door, I saw two grapefruit halves and coffee, and said out loud, “That’s not our breakfast.” He looked at the tag, looked down the hall, apologized quietly, and left, realizing he had the wrong room. Spa: We decided we should take advantage of the spa to try to relax. We scheduled appointments for 4:00 P.M. and 4:30 P.M. massages. Our spa experience was terrible: We decided to arrive 90 minutes early to take advantage of the other amenities of the spa. Upon arrival at the spa, our key was taken, and we were told to make sure we were in the meditation room “down the hall” at promptly 4:00 and 4:30, accordingly. I asked where our robes would be, and they said to look in the lockers. We each proceeded to our locker rooms with our locker keys, and no one gave either of us further direction. I was not fully in to the idea of searching everything out in my robe, so I asked another woman in the locker room what to do. She looked relieved, and said, “I have no idea where the relaxation rooms are either. My masseuse told me to relax in one, but I don’t know where they are. Do you want to go look for them with me?” When you’re paying $109 for a massage, you shouldn’t have to search out the amenities without help from the service staff. Together, we went in our robes to the main room and asked where the other amenities were located. A staff member pointed us in the direction, and I remembered the rooms from the tour from the previous day. Good thing, because the staff member didn’t show us anything else. One of the toilets was clogged with feces, and the locker room was foul-smelling as a result. No sandals were provided for me (or for my husband), so I walked barefoot. I relaxed in the aromatherapy room that was gorgeous, but because the spa is located just below the basketball court, it was incredibly hard to relax. There was no calming music—bird sounds, Native American flutes, chimes, or other typical spa music—to try to cover up the buffalo-like sounds from above. The room with the stone loungers has bright lights that shine into your eyes. I made sure to be in the meditation room at 3:50, remembering how emphatic the staff had been that I needed to be there at exactly 4:00. I saw my husband in there, and he said the sauna and steam rooms in the men’s locker room were not even warm. This room is far from a meditation area. It looks out onto a pool full of people, and the blinds were open. The delicious berry water was wonderful, but it attracted traffic from the fitness center passengers, and there was really nothing to deter these people from entering. The lights were bright, no calming music, no candles, no encouragement for quietness. No cool towels for the customers’ faces. It was no better than a waiting room in a hospital. At 4:05, I asked a staff member whether they were running behind with the massage times. She answered, “Oh we’re on time. She is probably cleaning the room right now.” Another client was in the waiting room, and at 4:10, he asked the same staff member about his appointment. She had the same answer, “Oh it’s still on time.” The client’s response was, “Not by my watch. She’s late.” Fuming from this whole spa experience, I asked to speak with a manager. This same staff person’s response was, “Well, he’s not in his office, he’s up at the front desk.” I answered, “Okay, well will you please get him from the front desk, then?” My masseuse became ready at 4:15, but I told her I wanted to speak with the manager before my massage rather than after so that I didn’t defeat the purpose of the massage. She looked concerned that I was complaining about her, but I reassured her that I wasn’t. In my robe, I was escorted down the hallway leading to the treatment rooms to meet Goran, the spa manager. I wanted to speak quietly so as not to disturb the clients having treatments completed—what a bad place to meet with a client who is complaining. I explained my dissatisfactory experiences as discussed above, and his answer was, “You are complaining about things that are unchangeable. I wish things were quieter, but I can’t change that. The problem is you people who go to day spas at home, and you think you can get the same experience on a cruise ship. This is a ship, not land. I am sorry about the toilet. We must keep the steam and spa rooms cooler for people with high blood pressure. Now that you tell me about it, I can fix that. I can not change the other things.” The steam and sauna rooms in the women’s locker rooms were very comfortably warm, contradicting Goran’s statements about blood pressure, unless they don’t worry about this for the women. My husband said the sauna was warmer when he returned to it after his spa treatment. He gave me a choice to not have my massage, to leave, but I opted to stay. My masseuse was wonderful—Dolores. Miscommunication, Misrepresentation in Literature about Sports bar: My husband and I are San Antonio Spurs fans, so we went to the Churchill Sports Bar (that’s what it is listed as in the literature), and when we asked if the Spurs game would be on Saturday evening the bartender said, “We don’t show sports games in here anymore.” I honestly thought he was joking…it’s a sports bar for goodness sake! But when we peeked down in the bar that evening, there were no sports being shown on the T.V. On Tuesday evening, the next Spurs game, we called the front desk and pleaded, “Is there anywhere on the ship besides our stateroom that we can watch the Spurs game?” The clerk answered, “Yes ma’am, we have the Churchill Sports bar.” “Really?” I asked. “On Saturday, we stopped by and asked the bartender if the game would be on and he stated that they don’t show sports in there anymore. I thought he might be kidding.” “Oh, he must have been kidding, ma’am,” the clerk answered. “It is a sports bar.” “So you’re positive if we go down there, we can watch the game if we can find it on ESPN?” “Yes, ma’am. Just ask the bartender.” My husband and I put on our Spurs shirts and caps, and headed down to the bar. Once again, there were no sports on the T.V. I approached the bartender as I’d been directed, and he said, “The cruise director doesn’t like sports in here. It’s a cognac and cigar bar now.” “But the pamphlet says it’s a sports bar,” I persisted. “And we called the front desk and were reassured you showed sports on the T.V.’s.” It just so happened that James, the cruise director, was having a drink at this bar at this moment. I went directly up to him and told him our situation. He wanted me to give him the name of the front desk clerk who has misinformed me, and apologized for the fact that I got misinformation. My answer was that it is printed in the literature, and I didn’t blame the clerk for getting it wrong. Two gentlemen behind us called out, “The ship’s too cheap to get ABC or the main channels—we didn’t get to watch our game either.” Not wanting to start a riot, we quietly and disappointedly left. Dining Dinner on Sunday, our first formal night, we decided to go to a sit down area as opposed to the buffet. Upon arrival at the Palm, we were told it would be easier to seat us as a couple instead of with a group, and I answered O.K., if we could still sit by a window, which was what we had reserved. Our server was far from happy to have us at his table. The table was nice, but we really wanted to have it look out over the water, so we asked him if he could turn our table so that we were parallel to the window. He immediately shook his head, and explained, “You see, we have regulations about how far the tables must be from the window.” However when we looked around, we noticed that other tables were right up next to the wall. I guess he noticed this too, immediately stating, “I’ll ask the head waiter.” I started to tell him not to worry about it, but he kept walking. The head waiter came and said our request was no problem. He moved our table the 2 feet necessary, but I felt like we had asked for a really huge request. Our service remained bad this particular evening. Our water glasses remained empty for 15 minutes, and every time I tried to get someone’s attention for water, they didn’t hear me. We poured our own wine all evening. At dessert, our waiter’s attitude changed a bit. He seemed a little less busy, and he asked us, “How is your cruise going so far?” “Well, to be honest,” I answered, “we’ve found it difficult to get good service. The staff seems rushed and overwhelmed. It just seems that there are too many people and not enough help. Is the boat really overloaded or what?” He responded, “Passengers on this cruise eat all at the same time. It’s the problem with the Anytime Dining…everyone wants to eat at 8:00-9:30 P.M. Or maybe they go to the buffet and then come here. You come in at 6:00 and there is no one.” It was an odd answer. I felt bad for coming at 8:00, as if we were a burden. If this was so, we should have been told that we should come back later. On Monday night, we decided to try the Coral Dining Room, hoping for better service. The food was poor, including my main dish of mussels and pasta which included only 4-5 mussels in the whole plate. We had a hard time getting refills on coffee. The two other couples at our table were on different courses, and there was not attempt to try to catch us up to each other…rather, it was a rushed dinner for everyone. The waiter tried to take my plate twice before I was finished. The other two couples stated they were dissatisfied with their cruises as well. One elderly couple said they’d never take Princess again, and they cruise all the time. This couple explained that they were offered to take the same cruise in July and $500 shipboard credit if they would do so because the boat was overbooked. The woman explained that being made such an offer the night before departure was almost insulting. She also said that they were bumped from a suite to a balcony room. The elderly gentleman received no help from the staff getting back into his wheelchair, so the other passengers at the table helped him. The third couple at our table was also disappointed with their trip. We attended the buffet twice, and while the food was amazing, the thunderous thumping from the “Fun Zone” and basketball court above the Horizon and Caribe buffet areas caused us to feel unrelaxed and rushed. Customer Service: We met with Graham Kelly on Monday evening. The front desk had made a copy of my notes, so he had the gist of our complaints before we met with him. He was very nice, but said there was no way we could get our room changed because the ship was booked. He explained that the Caribbean Princess is modeled after two other Princess ships that have fewer rooms. He said that people complained that there weren’t enough people on board (can you ever imagine such a complaint), so this ship added rooms for 500 more people (or was it 500 rooms), while keeping the same sized ship. Had the ship had 500 fewer people, many of the problems we were encountering would have been avoided, I believe. What else could he do? I guess he could have offered us ship board credit or a free trip to the spa. We could tell he felt badly for us, especially when I explained I’m a school teacher badly in need of sleep after the last week of school We did let him know that we’d be in contact with the main cruise line when we returned to shore. Stateroom #2 On June 1, Graham Kelly called us and told us that another room had come available and we could be moved. We took him up on the offer, and moved to Baja 522. Unfortunately, we were placed across the hall from five rooms that had doors slamming constantly, rooms of teenagers and kids. There were also several instances of kids running down the halls. Maybe signs should be posted on the doors asking people to hold the doors as they close so that they don’t slam shut. I guess some people don’t realize. Our new balcony was loud and smoky because people on either side of us smoked. You can hear the neighbor’s toilet flush and my husband, a typically sound sleeper, lay awake as our next door neighbors coughed all night. My husband realized he had left his swim trunks in the shower of the old room on Thursday morning. I called the front desk, and they said they had found nothing else in the room, but they’d check on it. At 5:00 that evening, his swim trunks were brought up to the room, but he went the whole day without them. Our new steward, Jefferson, was friendly and highly-available, making us understand that when Imelda did not answer her pages when we were in room L307, she wasn’t doing her job. Excursions and Activities: On Thursday, I called to find out if we were to receive a cabana on the Princess Cayes as we requested online two weeks before the cruise. We were told that we were on a waitlist of 207 people requesting the cabanas, and that if we hadn’t received tickets yet, we were not to receive one. I was taken aback. My husband is very fair-skinned, and we thought without proper covering, it would be a bad idea to head ashore. We actually enjoyed being on the ship this particular day as it was quieter and not full of people. The two nights we called for tickets for Movies Under the Stars, we were too late and we could not get reservations. It should be made clear that you must make all these reservations early in the trip in order to ensure participation. Sterling, the specialty restaurant, had no availability for reservations after Tuesday. Disembarkation: On Wednesday night, we received our disembarkation bag tags. They were silver, but I woke up in the middle of the night with a feeling that I should call to make sure they remembered we had an early flight (I called Passenger Services 2 weeks prior to the cruise to make sure they knew). The front desk clerk was annoyed that I was just now calling about this because we had been put with the silver group rather than one that we needed to be with. I explained that I had already called, but reminded her that we had switched rooms mid-cruise. She realized this was the problem after checking her computer, and asked if we could come down and pick up our new tags. We had just gotten ready for bed (11:00 P.M.), so I asked her to have them delivered to our room. Friday morning, we saw that they weren’t in our box, so out of curiosity, we went to our first room, and low and behold, this is where the tags were as well as our “Captain’s Circle” package. Had we not checked on this ourselves, we may never have received the proper tags. I certainly did not feel “taken care of”. I went to the front desk to let them know about their error. The clerk didn’t even apologize. Disembarkation was nuts. I guess this is inevitable with 3300 passengers. Before leaving the room, I could not find my glasses in the cabin where I thought I had left them, but then figured I must have packed them. Upon arriving home, I realized they weren’t in my bag and since they weren’t where I thought they’d be in the room, I am wondering whether they were stolen. I’ve already called the cruise line, and I’ve been told it will be 4-6 weeks before I’ll know because they send all lost items to California, they are searched through, and any potential matches from customer reports are then distributed to the passengers. Seems like a very complicated procedure for merely finding something a passenger left in the room and mailing it to them if the passenger calls. And for all I know, they were stolen. In conclusion, my husband and I feel very tired, disappointed, and resentful about our vacation with Princess. We each took sleeping pills every night to try to block out the noise, and sometimes these were helpful. We both find the fact that sleeping pills were necessary aboard a “five-star” cruise. We need to recuperate from a lack of sleep rather than from a fun-filled vacation.

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Nov 30, -0001

Eastern Caribbean

This was the first cruise for both of us. We booked in August 2004 for our May 2005 honeymoon and probably received the worst room on the ship. It was located in the back of the boat on Deck 11 (very high up). It was also extremely tiny. It was difficult to even turn around in the shower. Mirrors covered almost every wall, to enhance the size of the room, but we believe Princess failed. We had four bags of luggage (including our carryon)

and we wondered where to put things. We lived out of the suitcase for a week. Drawer and closet space was seriously lacking. On day two or three of the cruise we received three balloons stating "Just Married" on them, but that was it. We didn't expect to be catered too, but some sort of acknowledgment would have been nice -a cake, a bottle of champagne, onboard credit - ANYTHING. We found the staff to be very nice and attentive. We couldn't have asked for a better room steward. He was personable, helpful, and did a fantastic job of keeping up with our room. I'd give him 5 stars for service. The food on the buffets (while there was plenty of it) was either very good or very bad. The dining room staff was efficient in keeping up with cleaning tables etc. They weren't the most personable, but they didn't seem angry or rude - just busy. We enjoyed the dining room food much more than the buffet, but even there dessert was the best course. The desserts were fantastic tasting and always had a nice presentation. The rest of the food was better than mediocre, but for the most part could have been improved upon. Dining room staff were not any more personable than the buffet staff, but they weren't as busy. Again they weren't rude, but they did the bare minimum (for the most part) to keep the guests happy. The onboard entertainment (in particular the comedians) were great. We made sure to hit every show at least once. The cruise staff show was also good - Caribbean Caliente. We definitely enjoyed the nightly entertainment. We stopped at St. Thomas, St. Maartin, and the Princess Cays. St. Thomas is very commercialized and if you're into shopping, definitely a worthy stop. We took an island tour excursion that was interesting and we enjoyed it. Our tour guide was very knowledgeable and personable. We rented Rhino Riders on St. Maartin for $180 per boat. We LOVED this excursion. I'd do it all over again and it was well worth every single penny we spent. You have to have some sort of adventure to really enjoy this excursion. It's not a leisurely sail to the other side of the island. It's petal to the metal and go. It was GREAT. We didn't tender over to the Princess Cays. There didn't seem to be much to do on the island and by the end of our cruise we felt Princess had nickel and dimed us to death. There are fees and gratuities for everything. We would have preferred to pay a little more for the cruise upfront and actually feel like we were getting something onboard complimentary. We spent seven days on the ship and it did take quite a bit of time to become oriented. The ship could have been laid out a little better. It was confusing and we heard a lot of people saying, "I don't know where we are ever, I just follow you." That's certainly how Dana felt on this cruise. The Caribbean Princess touts it's "Movies Under the Stars" screen. It's a wonderful concept, but the the cruiseline only offers two or three movies throughout the entire cruise. We watched The Incredibles and while the staff does offer complimentary popcorn, candy is charged to your room. There is a small tennis court, two table tennis tables and a basketball hoop on the top deck. We played a lot of tennis, but there could have been more sport activities onboard. There are swimming pools and hot tubs everywhere though. We were both impressed with how clean the ship was. There were also people cleaning, painting, etc onboard so we certainly can't complain about that. Oh, and for anyone who tells you that you won't feel a big ship move quite as much. YES, you will. Dana spent the entire first three days slightly seasick (Dramamine was the only thing that worked, the patch was worthless). Dramamine is available at the Calypso Cove gift shop for $2.49 a pack (2 tablets). Embarkation seemed to take forever, but it was organized and they did their best to keep the line moving. However, anytime you're trying to board 3000 people through one doorway it's bound to take some time. Disembarkation went smoothly as well and we didn't wait to terribly long. They do kick you out of your room early (around 7am) so they can start cleaning for the next group of passengers. We took a taxi from the airport to board the ship and back to the airport after the cruise. That's definitely the way to go. It's less than $10 for a carload and you don't have to wait for a bus or van to completely fill. Their are attendants that direct you from the ship to a waiting taxi. Very efficient. If we were to cruise again, we would try another cruiseline (Royal Caribbean). Even onboard we heard much better things about ship layout, food, and staff on RC.

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Nov 30, -0001

Eastern Caribbean

This ship has some significant problems! GENERAL COMMENTS: If you prefer small ships don't take this cruise. This is a large ship. However, I have cruised large ships in the past and did not experience the same type of issues I did on this cruise. The ship is not laid out in a manner that makes sense, so be prepared to get lost a lot. It is very crowded with few places to sit quietly. EMBARKATION: We arrived at the port at 1230

via taxi. The porters were very rude and downright demanded/threatened a tip from my mother. This occurred in spite of the fact that there were signs posted everywhere that clearly stated that "tipping is optional." It was 230 before we finally arrived at our stateroom. During embarkation, there were no places to sit while waiting and my mother, who is in her 70s, had a tough time with the wait. Be prepared for airport style security and make sure you are ready to show your documents at least 4 times. STATEROOM: Compared to Royal Caribbean and Holland America the staterooms are tiny. We paid for a balcony, BB class, but it was not worth it. Very small with just a small table and two chairs. Storage space is very good. Having a refrigerator in our room was wonderful. We had fresh fruit delivered and it was great-with the exception of the pears which did not ripen during the entire trip. STAFF: Perhaps the biggest disappointment. For the first few days we both felt that the staff was very rude-they acted as if they were doing us a favor. We did NOT feel like VIPS as we have on other lines. Our steward was the exception and we tipped him heavily. After about day 3 it appeared that someone had talked with the staff and the attitudes dramatically improved. However, the attitude was clearly about MAKING MONEY. I took a tour of the galley only to be hit up 3 times at the end to buy a cookbook. After I finally told a staff person that I work all of the time and don't have time to cook, she suggested that I buy it and ask my daughter to do the cooking! At lunch staff rolled carts through the dining room hawking bottled water and soda. NO drinks were free except tap water, cofee, milk, and sometimes juice during meals. Be prepared to buy and buy and buy on this trip. The photographers were obnoxious, persisting in taking pictures even when we said NO. ROOM SERVICE: DON'T order the breakfast-it was almost inedible and the person who delivered it was rude, showing up early and clearly angry with the time it took us to wake up and answer the door. FOOD: The food was quite good and offered a lot of healthy choices. The Personal Choice option is great. If you want good coffee make sure you go to the bar on deck 5. Otherwise the coffee is VERY weak. BAR: We met friends every night for a drink at a bar. Be aware that you may or may not get what you order. Drinks were priced high (about what you would expect on a cruise). ENTERTAINMENT: We did not attend many shows but fellow passengers reported that they were great. I attended the cooking show and would highly recomend it. Try out the MOVIES UNDER THE STARS-pretty cool. POOLS/HOT TUBS: We found only one hot hot tub and it was located next to the children's area. The pools are nice and large. EXCURSIONS: The ports of call were absolutely beautiful and the value for the money was good. Be aware that if you take the St. John's tour you will not see one of the most interesting aspects of the park (historical site with slave quarters-we saw on a different cruise line). The horseback riding was absolutely wonderful in St. Martin-however, they promise you water in the brochure and don't deliver! Be prepared to return from that trip stinky and wet, but it is well worth it. DISEMBARKATION: This was a smooth process and we were off the ship quickly. A FEW MORE COMMENTS.... I think if I was a first time cruiser this ship would not have been as much of a disappointment. Take my advice, spend the extra money and upgrade to Royal Caribbean or Holland America.

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Nov 30, -0001

Eastern Caribbean

Very simply, this cruise was perfect. The food, the service, the ship. I have nothing to complain about. It never seemed over crowded. The waiters were Eastern European, very formal and just fantastic. Our cabin was always spotless thanks to our steward. We just loved it. I highly recommend Princess!

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Nov 30, -0001

Eastern Caribbean

This was our second big ship cruise, our first having been with Carnival Paradise, which was a smoke free ship at the time. We were eager to try something different, though we did enjoy our previous cruise. Prior to leaving, I read a number of reviews, and searched for the areas that seemed to be common problems, which I determined were: Bad coffee Lack of space in the room, specifically the shower Crowded public spaces Long wait

times for dinner or shows So, I went into the cruise knowing that some of these things might be problems. I think if you know you are going on a huge ship with lots of people, you should have the right expectations. Now that I have taken the cruise, here's my 2 cents on the items above: Bad coffee I don't drink coffee anyway, but my husband does and he said that it wasn't all that great. I think it might have depended on how fresh it was though, because he had one cup that was actually ok. Lack of space in the room, specifically the shower Yes, the room was small, as was the shower. However, we found all parts of the room were very well laid out, and that it was very functional - more so than the larger stateroom we had on Carnival. We also preferred the decor on the Princess ship. Crowded public spaces There were definitely crowds, especially in the popular spots around the pools. However, we NEVER had trouble finding a quiet respite somewhere on the ship. There are lots of intimate spaces both inside and out. Long wait times for dinner or shows We choose to go to the earlier shows and never had problems getting a seat at any venue. We often arrived early but sometimes by only about 10 minutes or so. I think perhaps the later shows might have been busier. At any rate, we did not find problems with the shows. There were crowds at dinner, especially at popular times. Since food is constantly available, we modified our eating times to later dinners and found this to be a much more relaxing time. Overall thoughts - Ports We had San Juan substituted for Princess Cays which is still under repairs. Though we arrived in the evening, the bay has beautiful views and we took a private tour for $10 a person. This took us all throughout new and old San Juan with two stops for pictures and souvenirs. It lasted about 1.5 hours and was well worth it. Our guide, Javier, was very friendly and knowledgable. My only regret was that we arrived later in the day (4pm) and didn't have more time to walk the streets of old San Juan. We had beautiful weather in St. Thomas. We opted for the Skyride to Paradise Point which afforded us lovely views of the island and our ship from way up high. It's also across the street from the pier so it didn't cost us anything to get there. It was $15 PP and though it wasn't the best part of the trip, it was enjoyable. We then took a cab ($6 for both) to town and visited the Fort St Christian museum ($6 for both) which was interesting but unrefined - ok for us. We went to some shops, walked around a bit and then returned back to the ship. In St. Maarten we booked the ship's Under Two Flags tour which lasted about 2.5 hours. We travelled to Marigot on the French side and had three photo/shopping stops. Honestly, we were not that thrilled with Marigot, but did see some nice views of the island and beaches on the trip. We also got some cheap t-shirts and hats on the shopping stop (not in Marigot). It was a good way to see the entire island and still have your afternoon free for shopping - which we did. I found prices were very reasonable and we picked up some jewelry and liquor. Overall thoughts - the ship and experience We found the ship to be very classy and elegant in appearance. Lots of wood grain and marble, with beautiful carpets and public spaces. It wasn't as glitzy as Carnival but we actually preferred that aspect and found the decor to be very soothing. It was still bright and colourful in places due to the overall Caribbean theme. Smoking was controlled and there seemed to be a majority of non smokers on ship. The ship had just come out of dry dock and there some wet paint and varnish spots. Our cabin was well laid out, but because we were on the lowest deck, when we experienced some rough seas en route to San Juan it became very noisy and we had a hard time sleeping. This was probably the worst aspect of this cruise for us. I would recommend paying the extra money for a cabin on a higher level as we will in the future. We went to see the various comedians they brought on board (5 in total!) and we enjoyed all the shows - some more than others, but each made us laugh at least a few times.We also enjoyed the poolside games. Movies Under the Stars was GREAT! We reserved spots for both movies the day we boarded and the tickets arrived at our statement by 6pm the day of the shows. It felt like a drive-in movie, and ships crew were quick to supply popcorn, drinks and blankets. The food was very good ranging from decent to WOW - especially the desserts. Of course, cuisine is such a personal matter but both of us enjoyed everything. I particularly loved the pizza and burger grill during the day, and the themed menus at the buffets were a great idea. We had lobster twice in the Cafe Caribe buffet. The food was plentiful and always available. The drink machines (dispensing water, ice, tea, coffee) had a lot of mechanical problems and seemed to frequently be empty or out of service. We did find the elevators to be somewhat inefficient - while waiting for one to come up or down, you would see the other four of them sitting stationary on the same floor - seemed odd to us. We choose to walk when there were only a few floors to travel. Service was very good - we never had challenges ordering drinks or having plates cleared. In fact, one of the comedians made a joke that we thought was very true - there was always an attendant coming by to take your plate when you were done, even just seconds after you finished. Our stateroom attendant, Jose, was very friendly and kept our room well attended to. To conclude, we will definitely cruise Princess again - in fact, we pre-booked an open ended future cruise on the ship. I do think we will try one of their smaller ships next time to compare the experience. I do recommend this ship, and think a cruise or any vacation is what you make of it. You can certainly make your experience on the Caribbean Princess a enjoyable and memorable one.

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Nov 30, -0001

Western Caribbean

CRUISE LINE SHUTTLE SERVICE FROM AIRPORT This is a wonderful service, cost was $20 per person to/from ship. Highly recommend using this service. All we had to do was go to baggage claim and there was a person there holding “Princess Cruises” sign. We picked up our luggage from the carousel, stood to the side, followed the person guiding us to the shuttle, but our luggage by the bus, it was loaded by the driver, get on the bus and enjoy the

10 minute ride to the ship. When we arrived at the ship, the bus driver unloaded our luggage, and we got in line to embark. EMBARKATION Embarkation was very and easy and ran very smoothly. When we first arrived, everything was "overwhelming," huge ship and very long line. But the line moved very fast, I would say we were only outside in line for about 15 -20 minutes, and being out of the sun, made it very enjoyable. We entered a large warehouse type setting, and check in was so easy. You went to the line that had your “Deck Name,” and we were checked in within 5 - 10 minutes, (ensure you take care of all your boarding & immigration information on the “Princess Cruises” website, it makes everything so much easier). After receiving our passenger cards, we went to the security area, put our carry on items on the conveyer belt and go through security screener (just like when you go to the airport), went up stairs and onto the ship. THE SHIP The ship was beautiful, very big and overwhelming at first sight. However, we all enter through the same location, making it very crowded and elevators overloaded, because everyone was trying to get on the same elevators. Some of the crew directing passengers to their quarters were rude, but the majority were extremely friendly and very knowledgeable. Everything was new, shiny and clean. There are 17 decks on this ship, so be prepared to do a lot of walking if you can’t get on an elevator, which sometimes was hard to do. We stayed on the Caribe Deck (deck 10) which was perfect. THE ROOM This cruise we stayed in an interior room - C517 (Caribe deck). The room was very nice, your standard room, but we had more moving room on this ship than the other 2 cruises we went on. The room was laid out so much better, every space was utilized in a wonderful way. We chose to have two twin beds, which gave each of us a night stand which had plenty of drawer space, and there was more drawer space in the dressing table. There was plenty of closet space (which we were able to store our two large suitcases) and space in the closet area where the safe was. We felt we had more than enough room for the two of us. Our room steward was fantastic, and kept us updated on daily events and always making sure we had everything we needed or wanted. The only complaint we had, was that children and some young adults, would run up and down the hallways, but it wasn’t that big a deal, we never heard any other noises. It was very peaceful. THE FOOD We were not very impressed with the hot breakfast or lunch buffet food in the Horizon dinning room. The food that should have been hot, was maybe room temperature. We felt there were a lot of choices, but sometimes there were items that did not appeal to our taste, but we did not starve, we always found something to eat. The way the food was set up was a little confusing, and people were all over the place cutting in and out of people, which made it very congested at times. The ice in big plastic container with a spoon, was uncalled for, don’t understand the logic in that. We chose to have the “Traditional” dining, and we were told by our travel agent, and I saw it, that we were “Confirmed,” however, when we checked in we were told we were “Not Confirmed,” and would have to speak with the Head Waiter, which we did, and the next day after returning from the Private Island, we had a confirmation table. We sat with some very nice people who we enjoyed tremendously. The food in the “Island” dining room was very good, however, everyday, there were a few items on the menu that did not appeal to our tastes, and my husband will eat just about everything. We had a wonderful waiter for our table, Eduardo, he was funny, polite, very knowledgeable, and made our dining special every night. We did not eat at any of the specialty dining rooms (Sabatini’s or Sterling Steakhouse), because they were always booked, we tried but could not get in. We have decided that the next time, we will make our reservation as soon as we get on the ship. THE PORTS Our first stop was Princess Cays, the private island. We got up early, ate breakfast, and took the first launch over. We had a really nice time, didn’t do much, but hang out in the water and the sun, but we loved it. We only stayed a few hours and did a little shopping right there before taking the launch back to the ship. Our next stop was Montego Bay, Jamaica, which were not even going to go and explore, but at the last minute we decided to take a morning excursion, “Taste of Jamaica and Bellfield Plantation (with lunch tour). We had breakfast before leaving the ship to go to the shopping area to catch our bus tour. Our first stop was the City Centre Plaza (shopping area), then off to the plantation. The tour of this over 300 year old plantation was very interesting, with a breathtaking view of the beautiful blue ocean. After the first portion of our tour, we had a traditional Jamaican lunch, which consisted of: Jerk Chicken and Jerk Pork, beans and rice, plantains, salad, fruit, and coffee or tea. The food was absolutely delicious, and the entertainment by the women tour guides was wonderful. After lunch, we were shown how the sugar cane was stripped and processed during that time. We then got back on our tour bus, and were let off at our pick up location, and did some more shopping. We are so glad that we decided to go into Montego Bay, we had a wonderful day. Our third stop was Grand Cayman, British West Indies which we were the most excited about going to. We planned a morning excursion to the “Butterfly Farm and Nautilus Semi Sub.” So we got up, had a good breakfast, as we knew we would be gone most of the day, took the first launch over, met up with the person taking us to the bus for our excursion, which by the way, we had to walk a very long distance to get too. We boarded our bus, without a tour guide, were dropped off at the “Butterfly Farm” and then our bus left, which I am glad that we did not leave our backpack on. We were a little disappointed by this tour. After completed our tour of the very small “Butterfly Farm,” we boarded another bus, which dropped us off at the Nautilus part of the tour, must say we were not impressed by this tour either. After that tour, we again boarded the bus, and were dropped off at the same location that we picked it up from. We had to walk the rest of the way into Georgetown, and had very little time for shopping. The place was so crowded, as there were “four”, yes I said “four” cruise ships in, which made everything very crowded. However, we did, however, find the “Harley Davidson” and Lladro shops (which we bought items from), and we picked up some tee-shirts at other shops along the way. We would have loved to have more time in Grand Cayman, but everyone had to be back in time for a 4:00 p.m. departure. Our last stop was Cozumel, Mexico, which we had not been to since 1994 in the evening, so we didn’t see much of anything. We did not plan any excursions here, we just wanted to shop and enjoy the sights, which we did. When we got off the ship, we immediately noticed how beautiful it was there and that the pier we were on was not the one we got off at in 1994, it was a new pier. We did have to walk quite a ways to take a taxi ($6.00 each way) to the “Forum” shopping area. We then noticed that the shops were very familiar to us, and we knew that we had been in these shops before, so we asked one of the employees if there was another pier that the cruise ships use to come to and he said yes, the one across the street. Cozumel has really prospered, and is so beautiful. We had a wonderful time. We had a wonderful time in all our ports. ENTERTAINMENT All the shows we attended were fantastic and beautiful, we always got there about 30 minutes before the show was to start, as it got crowded very quickly. I, however, did not enjoy a few of the comedians, I felt they were a little “Raw” for my taste, however, my husband liked them. I prefer the singing and dancing shows. My favorite show was “Kimba,” they are so talented. The cruise director, Graham Syemour, was fantastic and so funny. We always saw his morning show. BOUTIQUE SHOPPING The boutiques were very nice, and had a lot of merchandise. The fine jewelry store was beautiful. I especially loved the “Fire Opal,” and was tempted to purchase one, but didn’t. I also so another wonderful stone, “Parieba Topaz,” which I also, did not purchase. Maybe the next Princess Cruise. We felt the boutique prices were very reasonable. We did find some very nice items to purchase in the boutiques, and the “Inch of Gold” deals were fantastic. We purchase a really nice chain for my husband, and some very nice “Amber” jewelry for our daughter and myself. TIPPING The $10 per person per day tipping system is wonderful. You do not have to worry about making up your tipping envelopes and ensuring each person receives them. We especially like the idea that if you wish to give extra to a particular employee, you can, and as we did to our waiter “Eduardo” and room steward. EXTRA INFORMATION When we cruised with Norwegian and Royal Caribbean, the ice cream and cokes were free, not the case on the Princess cruise, which was very disappointing. We did not purchase the $20 soda sticker, and every time you got a soda from the bar, there was a 15% gratuity fee. We recommend bringing your own coke with you, if you can. Unfortunately, when you’re flying in, that is difficult to do. We decided that if when we cruise again and have to fly in, we will go down the evening before and get our soda and water to take to the ship. We did not care for any of the pictures that were taken of us. It was like “Cattle Call,” just hurry up, stand still or face this way and “Click.” You could make an appointment and have pictures done, but it was always busy. DISEMBARKATION This went very well. On Thursday evening, you receive a package with all your luggage tags, custom forms, and any other information required. The luggage tags are based on your flight times. You are requested to have your luggage outside your door on Friday evening beginning at 5:00 p.m., but we put ours out around 8:30 p.m. after returning from dinner. We chose to begin our luggage packing Friday morning, as we were at sea all day, and just kept out our dinner clothes, pajamas, toiletries and clothing for the next day. This worked out wonderful, because all we had to do after dinner on Friday evening, was come back to the room, change, and put our luggage outside our door. Disembarkation begins Saturday morning approximately 8:30 a.m., everyone goes to a location and waits to hear their luggage tag color called. We had to show our room key as we were leaving the ship, and go to the same warehouse where we checked in, locate our luggage, which can be very tedious, (I suggest putting something on your luggage that will make it stand out), we had to turn in our customs papers before we left the building with our luggage. We then took our luggage to the shuttle, it was loaded by the driver and off we went to the airport. OVERALL EXPERIENCE We had a wonderful time, so glad we went on this much needed trip. We had an amazing time, and can’t wait to go again. We would travel on Princess Cruises and this ship again, and I think we would do more on the ship the next time, but relaxing and doing the ports was so much fun. Thanks Princess

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Nov 30, -0001

Western Caribbean

This was my first cruise for my 13 year old daughter and myself. It was wonderful! The Teen Club was great for my daughter. They scheduled activities every day and my daughter loved it. If you did not want to participate with any activities you were still welcome to watch or hang out in the Teen Club. This was a room just for teens. They had music and dance lights with areas to play cards or just sit and talk. Many nights she did not

even come into the room until after 12:00 a.m. At home she has to be at the house by dark but I felt very comfortable with her walking around the ship or hanging out at the Teen Club. We had excursions scheduled for every island but my daughter became sick from the heat (were from Michigan and are not used to seeing so much sun shine) so I took her to the doctor on board ($60.00) who excused the excursions we could not attend so we were refunded the money for them. I was not fond of the doctor at all but was happy to see the credit on my bill! Every excursion we did attend were great! The people were so nice. The ship was so beautiful and very clean. The employees were always busy and very friendly. Movies under the stars- this was great! On the ship they have a BIG screen by one of the main pools. At night they would show a movie or a concert. They would set up the lounge chairs at an angle so everyone could see with a small blanket (in case you were chilly) then they would make popcorn and walk around passing it out. You could watch the screen from the main deck or take a few flights up to watch from different decks. There were about 3 differnet decks you could see the screen from. One suggestion I would have is not go schedule a cruise during hurricane season. This year there have been 3 hurricanes back-to-back. During my cruise, we were detoured by the 2nd one "Hurrican Frances". The cruise line was great in handeling this. From the beginning, they changed our rout so we would be on the other side of the Bahama's away from the hurricane. On the way back in we were delayed due to the hurrician moving slower than expected. We ended up staying the night in Mexico which was a bonus! Loved it there! Then we were at sea for 2 days. The last day was the toughest... the waves in the ocean from the hurrican were rocking the ship. There were waves in the pools that were not supposed to be there. I can say that I had heard from others who traveled with Carnival that said they were given a "discount" for internet access and phone calls due to the hurricane. Princess allowed "free" calls to anywhere (if you could get a line out, it was so busy) and free internet access. There was always a line at the internet but it was only about a 20 min wait. This allowed us to call home to let them know we were fine and to make other arrangements for travel or hotel due to the dalay. The entire staff at Princess were of great help during this and I personally was impressed by the way they handled everything. Princess also had an update of the hurricanes and each ships location on their web page. I checked Carnival's web page when I returned and they did not have anything about the hurricane listed. I would choose Princess over any other cruise line any day.

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Nov 30, -0001

Western Caribbean

EMBARKATION Embarkation was very easy and ran very smoothly (be sure to take care of everything ahead of time on the website). The bus ride from the Ft. Lauderdale airport is about 10 minutes. Once at the boat, we were sent to the big warehouse where the luggage is put after your cruise. There were lines there, based on which deck you were on, to check in – you can get in the line for express check-in if you filled everything

out on the website. Be sure to look and make sure everything is valid on your cruise card before you step away from the counter. After check in, they take your picture (to purchase later on, if you want) and they also take another picture for security reasons. This is the picture they see when you scan your room card before/after each port. THE SHIP The ship is beautiful. We were on the Golden in March 2003 and the Carribean is very similar. The lounge area (Club Fusion) is set up differently. It was better on the Golden – seemed to allow for more seating there. To help you find your room after getting off the elevator, look at the carpet. The carpet with the red border is where the even numbered rooms are. The carpet with the blue border is where the odd numbers are. The elevators are extremely slow and fill up quickly. Be prepared to take the stairs a lot. For this, I would recommend a room no higher than Caribe (deck 10), since dinner is on deck 5 (traditional) or deck 6 (personal choice) and other activities are throughout decks 5-7. The pools are on decks 15-17. We were on deck 11 this cruise and it seemed to be one floor too many when traveling up the stairs. THE ROOM We stayed in an interior room - B508 (Baja deck). DO NOT stay in this room (on any floor). It is right next to where they wash dishes and do who knows what else and you can hear EVERYTHING. The first morning, they woke us at 2:30 AM. My husband thought it was coming from the floor under us, so he went down. He saw a sign in the workers’ area that said to try and keep the noise down, since C508 complains in the morning. So, obviously, this is not floor specific. Every other morning, after we complained about the noise, they woke us by 7:00 AM. The room was small, but we were expecting that. The shower was VERY small. The drawers that they have in the end tables beside the beds are not big enough for clothes. We hung up what we could and put the rest in the closet where the safe is and stored our suitcases under the bed. A couple we sat with at dinner said that you do not want to be directly under the Lido deck, since you can hear people walking/running and the staff setting up chairs in the morning. We met another couple who had a room above the theater and they said they could hear it as if they were in the theater. THE FOOD I was unimpressed with the buffet food. I did not care for the choices (or lack of choices) offered. I also did not like how the buffet was set up; it was a big circle, instead of a long line of tables. It made it very congested at times. I did like the lunch and dinner sit down meals, but was also not completely impressed. The pizza is AWESOME! The only problem is they are only open 10:30 AM – 8:00 PM. We would have had much more pizza if they were open later. We did not eat at any of the restaurants where you had to pay extra (Sabatini’s & Sterling Steakhouse). If you want to go to these restaurants, make reservations as soon as you get on the ship, since the spots fill up quickly. We remember a lot of the same food that we were served at dinner on the Golden in March 2003. THE PORTS Our first stop was Princess Cays – their private island. On our last cruise, we were not able to go here, due to weather, so we were really looking forward to it. We were on the first tender to the island (everyone meets in the theater and goes from there). We grabbed some beach chairs and then went snorkeling. It was so much fun! We had our own snorkeling gear, but you can also rent it on the island. They had a lunch BBQ that was really good. They served hamburgers, hotdogs, ribs, baked beans, salads, desserts and fruits. It was delicious. We did more snorkeling (go by the rocks) and then went into the shops to get some souvenirs. We then got in line to head back. The line can be big to go back towards the end, but it moves quickly, since each tender can hold about 100 passengers. I recommend that you get to this island early. Beach chairs fill up quickly, especially the ones in the shade. We really enjoyed this island and would cruise with Princess again for this experience. Our next stop was Montego Bay, Jamaica. We didn’t have any excursions here, so we took a taxi to Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville ($4/person). They have water trampolines and a water slide there. We also ate lunch there – it was good, but not as good as the Margaritaville in Universal Studios, FL. From there, you can walk over to the beach (Captain’s Cave - take a left out of the restaurant). It costs $5 to be at the beach, $5 per chair and $3 for an umbrella. You can also rent snorkeling gear there. We snorkeled – it wasn’t as good as Princess Cays was, but it was fun. They also have the water trampolines there too. You can rent jet skis ($50 for 30 minutes). You can also parasail ($150 pp, I think). We tried, but it was too late in the day and they had already gone to another area, so we rented the jet ski. They didn’t accept credit cards, so be prepared to have cash for these activities. After leaving the beach, we took a taxi back to the boat. Right before getting on the boat, they have several shops in a mall type area. We bought some jewelry there. Our third stop was Grand Cayman. We had a morning excursion – snorkeling with Sting Rays. Morning excursions get the first tenders over to the island. Our transportation to the excursion was a large motor boat. There are many different snorkeling with Sting Ray excursions – the difference in price is the mode of transportation. We opted for the cheapest one ($45) with the motor boat, instead of the catamaran. This excursion was amazing. You stand at a sandbar – about knee-high water and they are swimming all around. They give you a squid that you can feed them with. It is an awesome experience – you hold it by the floor and they swim over you and suck it out of your hand, like a vacuum. They have souvenirs you can buy and pictures too, if you choose to get your pictures taken. After the excursion, we went back to the boat for lunch and then came back to shop. They have a lot of nice shops there – I bought 2 watches from the Swatch store and some sunglasses from Del Sol. Del Sol is a store that has black and white tee-shirts and other items that become colorful when in the sun. Our last stop was Cozumel, Mexico. We did a lot of shopping, which is right off the boat. You can also take a taxi downtown, but we didn’t have time for that. After some shopping, we went back to the boat and ate lunch. Then, we went back out to go on our ‘Swim with Dolphins’ excursion. It was delayed by about 45 minutes, because it started to pour when we were supposed to leave. This excursion was even more amazing than the sting rays. You get to pet and kiss the dolphins. Then, they will do a couple of tricks with you that are really fun. You spend about 30 minutes in the water with the dolphins and each group has at the most, 8 people in it. They video tape everything and then show it to you afterwards. It was a great video and of course, we bought it ($50). We also bought some of the pictures they took of us and some souvenirs. We paid $56 for 4 pictures. ENTERTAINMENT All of the shows we attended were great (we prefer comedians over dancing shows), but there was some we chose not to go to, since it would have meant camping out there for 2+ hours to get a seat. We absolutely loved our cruise director – Graham Seymour! He was so funny! We would try to catch his morning show on the TV and any other shows he had, when we were in the room. We went to the art auctions – they are fun just to watch and learn a little something too. We ended up buying 3 pieces of art (we are not art people – we get bored at art museums). You would be surprised to hear that you can get items for less than $200. They also give free champagne at the first auction. There is not just art at these auctions, there’s animation cells, sports memorabilia and sometimes music memorabilia. Our ship was sold out, so that meant 3500+ passengers wanting to see the shows at night. There were issues where, if you didn’t get to the theater early enough, there was no room left (and don’t try to save seats – if the show is about to start and your entire party is not there, they may make you give up your saved seats). There were several (adult only) shows that should have been in the large theater, but were in Club Fusion instead, and you had to get there a few hours early to have a seat. We didn’t try it, but I’m sure the champagne waterfall was too busy to get a good view unless you camped out in a spot way before it started. THE CASINO My husband and I spent a lot of time at the casino. There was never an issue of the casino being too crowded that you couldn’t find a seat somewhere. I did hear though, that it varies week to week. The following games were available: Blackjack, Caribbean Stud, Let It Ride, Three Card Poker, Roulette (double zero), Craps (single odds) and many slot and video poker machines from 5 cents to 5 dollars. Table minimums were almost always $5, with the exception of a few $10 or $25 blackjack tables (but most were $5), and roulette which had a $1 minimum. TIPPING As for the $10/person/day tipping system they now have, we were fine with it. It saved us the time, at the end of the cruise, of having to get the tips together for each area. These tips include your dinner wait staff and your room steward. At the end of your cruise, you can have the amount adjusted up or down. Each meal is split out on your bill, so if there is a particular waiter that you liked or didn’t like, then you could just adjust that day if you wanted to. Since our waiters were so awesome (Island dining room – Eduardo and Levi), we also gave them an extra tip on the last day. EXTRAS The ice cream by the pools was not free. The only place you can get free ice cream is for dessert at the sit down lunches or dinners. The pictures that they take of you are expensive. We bought a formal picture for $20. You can get reprints smaller than 8x10, but it costs the same. The non-formal pictures (Embarkation, leaving the ship at the different ports…) were $15 each. All bar bills add a 15% gratuity. You can purchase a soda sticker (gets put on your room card) for $20.00 (or $22.50 with the Coke container). The Coke container did not hold much soda, especially when it was filled with ice, so I would not recommend buying the container. Horse racing was $2 a game I think. Don’t forget the $10/person/day tipping, although that was worth it. If you want to try the simulation golf, it’s $30 for 30 minutes. Mini-putt is free. If you choose to visit the spa, expect to pay mucho bucks there too. If you take all of these into consideration, the bill at the end won’t sting quite as bad. DISEMBARKATION This went surprisingly well. On Thursday night, you get luggage tags in your room. The color is based on your flight time and your deck. If your flight leaves before 12:00 PM or if you scheduled an excursion in Ft. Lauderdale, then you will get red tags. The rest of the people get colors based on their deck. After red is called, they call the other colors at random. You then proceed through security and then down to the luggage area. It is a mob scene in there. Your luggage is in the same HUGE room that you first checked in at. All of the same colors are together, but that doesn’t help. There are too many people looking for their luggage to even move around. We had to show our room cards as we left the boat and we had to turn in our customs paper after getting our luggage. Also, the travel agents suggest that you not get a return flight before 1:00 PM. Here’s the thing - if your flight is before 11:30 AM, you get red tags and you are off the boat by 9:00 AM. This means a 3+ hour wait at the airport. Next time, we would try and fly out by 11:30 AM. OVERALL EXPERIENCE Overall, we had an amazing time. We had more fun at the ports this time then we did on the ship (that’s not to say we didn’t have a great time on the ship), so we may opt for an all inclusive resort at Grand Cayman next trip. There really is a lot to do on the ship and at the different ports. We did the Eastern Caribbean last time and we preferred the Western ports. You can visit the Future Cruise rep on the boat, if you are at all interested in cruising with Princess again. You can put down $100/person deposit for your next cruise (instead of $500/person deposit through your travel agent). This will entitle you to $50/person ship credit, if you book an outside room ($25/person for an inside room). It also gives you 4 years to make/change your plans without losing your deposit. If you don’t know where or when you want to go next, you can choose the Open booking. Once you decide, you can still work with your travel agent for your arrangements.

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Nov 30, -0001

Mexico

This is our 7th cruise. We have cruised Carnival and Royal Caribbean before, as well as two other now-defunct lines. Embarkation and Debarkation: Both were painless. We waited very little. Ports of Call: Due to Hurricane Jeanne, the original itinerary was changed to a 5-day cruise to Costa Maya and Cozumel, Mexico, with 2 days at sea. Costa Maya is a very small town, apparently built by an entrepreneur 3 years ago. Everything

closes when the ships leave. They only recently installed phones, a gas station and electricity. I think only a few hundred people live in the town of Mahajual where Costa Maya is located. The town is about 3.5 hours from Playa Del Carmen and the ruins of Tulum. All the shops are at the pier (the usual port shops: jewelry stores, a real estate office and souvenir shops). The little shopping area is cute and can be seen in a few hours. The ship offered about 3-4 shore excursions. We took a safari to the beach, with lunch included. The tour company, Pelicanos, was very good and the tour guides were some of the best we have had. They provided a lot of information about the town, the people who live there, the history of Mexico, etc. The beach was nice, although not as nice as the beaches in St Thomas. The lunch offered as part of the excursion (fajitas, pico de gallo and guacamole, with an open bar), was excellent and very authentic. Our second stop was Cozumel. It is much bigger than Costa Maya. There are two piers in Cozumel: Punta Langosta and Puerto Maya. The ship can dock at either one. We docked in Puerto Maya, which is a long walk to downtown, but only a $5 cab ride. The shopping area around Puerto Maya pier is large. They have the usual shops (jewelry, alcohol, souvenirs, etc), but it is much larger than Costa Maya. Be prepared to bargain for everything. The port shopping area had good food. There is a restaurant called Pancho’s that overlooks the pier and has excellent food, strong drinks and a band playing Mexican music. There are also commercial establishments like Fat Tuesdays, Del Sol, Diamonds International, etc. The the Seas and this is comparable in beauty. I think Explorer is a little more grandiose because of its atrium, but both are equally luxurious. Service onboard Caribbean Princess was outstanding. We did not experience the “overcrowded” public rooms reported by others. The only time when it was overcrowded was during formal nights when everyone was trying to have pictures taken. By the way, I thought the price for the formal pictures, $20 each was too much. The ship has pools all over. There is one pool all the way in the back of the ship (aft). This pool has a lot of motion because of its location all the way back. There is also a pool right outside the gym/spa. Both these pools are adults-only. There is a pool for children located near the back pool (near the adults only pool). That is a strange location for a kids’ pool because, from the all-adult pool, you can hear the kids screaming. I would think adults who go to the adult pool are trying to get away from screaming kids. If that is the case, this back pool is not the place to be. Use the Spa pool instead. There are also pools in the middle of the ship. Although I had heard people complain about not finding lounge chairs on deck, we did not experience this. There were plenty of lounge chairs all over the ship. We did not experience problems ordering drinks, ever. At both the pool and the bars inside the ship, we were always approached to offer drinks and the drinks were promptly delivered. Also, we noticed the staff working diligently to maintain the pool deck and other public areas (both bar waiters and regular staff) clean and clear of empty plates and glasses. There is table tennis, regular tennis, a mini golf area, a golf simulator, a giant chess board and a movie screen outside. The movie screen cannot be seen very well during the day. The gym was great. We worked out every day and had no problem finding an available treadmill. They have equipment like any other gym. There was plenty to do all day and all night. During the day, they had ceramic painting, classes, line dancing lessons, bingo, etc. At night, the ship had a piano bar with an excellent pianist from Holland who could play pretty much any song you requested. There were musical shows, comedy, karaoke, tropical music, etc. Skywalker’s Lounger, the dance club, was smoky like any disco. Cabins were bigger than Royal Caribbean’s cabins. We had plenty of room for our luggage, clothes and to move around. We had a nice balcony. There is a particular, musty smell in the Horizon Café area. As if the carpet were dirty. It was not unbearable and we got used to it, but it was one thing we noticed as soon as we first toured the ship. Boutiques and shops were what you would expect in any ship. The internet café was large, although connectivity was erratic. Some days you connected right away, but not always. The musical shows at the Princess Theater were ok, nothing impressive in my opinion. They did have a very good singer the last night, a lady Jacqi something. They had two funny comedians. Unlike what other reviewers experienced, we found the staff to be very friendly and helpful, including the purser’s office. They went above the call of duty to help us. Food: The food was the best we have had in a cruise. It was all very tasty. Although we have read other reviews were people complain about breakfast, we thought breakfast was just fine. The usual choices: oatmeal, fried and scrambled eggs (both plain and with ham or asparagus or salmon, etc), eggs benedict, toast, bagels, pastries, sausage, bacon, french toast, pancakes, hash brown, corn beef hash, ham steak, yogurt, etc. All were very good. The only thing I don’t remember seeing in the buffet were omellettes, but I was not looking for them and I know for a fact they were available in the dining room because hubby had one. And yes, there was orange juice and milk offered, unlike what was posted in another review. All the food was good. I found desserts particularly flavorful. We did not experience problems or confusion navigating the buffet lines as others reported. There was no midnight buffet, but I have noticed this is a new trend with cruises. I believe Royal Caribbean no longer has them either. Nevertheless, there was always food available. I personally think midnight buffets were a waste of food. No one can possibly be hungry after such a large dinner and, if they are, they can order room service. Sabatini’s, the Italian restaurant, was outstanding and well worth the $20 per person cover charge. You try everything on the menu, everything: three types of pasta, pizza, salad, numerous appetizers, soup and then you pick an entrée. The choices were sea bass, lobster, shrimp, a seafood combo, chicken, veal, etc. I had the lobster and it was delicious. My husband had the seabass and it was also very good. Our waiter, Arnold from Hungary, was great. Dessert choices were not too Italian. Only tiramisu was Italian. However, they were all tasty. The Sterling Steakhouse was also good, although I liked the Italian place better. We had anytime (personal choice) dining so we did not have assigned dinner time. The regular dining room for anytime, the Palm Dining room, was also good. We had lobster and beef Wellington and they were both excellent and so was the passion fruit souffle. The Horizon Court and Café Caribe also had great food. They even had sushi for lunch. The desserts were delicious. Service all over the ship was great. They had an ice cream bar, which was good. However, I don’t think you should have to pay for the ice cream. It was not that much better than regular ice cream. They also had a pizza bar and a grill by the pool. Both were standard fare. If there is one thing that was bad was the coffee. Yes, what I had heard from other reviewers is true. The coffee was awful. You can order cappuccino or expresso, which were strong and good (but you have to pay for these). But the regular American Coffee was like water.

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Nov 30, -0001

Western Caribbean

Just got back from the Caribbean Princess cruise that departed on 9/27 (Hurricane date from 9/25) First time and last time for a cruise on the Princess Line. Though it was a very large ship, I very unimpressed with the service and especially the food. We have cruised Royal Caribbean and Carnival and I would suggest Carnival over Princess any day of the week. No one has yet to come close to RCI and the food and staff. I think Princess

spent too much time designing the ship and packing in the people that they took out many of the extras. Like no midnight buffet, no free ice cream, no free soda, college type entertainment for dancers and singers. Best part was a comedian called “Sarge”. He was the only really good and funny thing about this cruise. Though we spent a lot of time in the casino, I think we did so cause there really wasn’t a lot of things to interest us going on around the ship. Most lines will show the past day activities on the tv in your room and to me, that gets you a little more involved and says hmmm maybe it might be fun. Not on this ship. We chose the flex dinner plan and like many of the other comments, very disappointed in the level of food and presentation. Especially when they don’t get the order right the first night of you visit and look at you odd when you tell them they goofed. Believe me, give up and just eat what’s in front of you. Ports were very bland since the change went from East to West and got stuck with Costa Maya and Cozumel (3rd time to these ports) but then the hurricane hits, you really can’t complain as nature will do what it does. Maybe the trip would have been a bit better if we went to the Eastern Caribbean but 7 days on this ship would be way too much. Maybe I could’ve tried to change to the RCI ship in Costa Maya without anyone knowing (grin). When sitting with a table of 8 during the last night of dining, they all said the same things about the cruise (especially the food and service) 1 couple were 1st time cruises and the other 2 were cruisers from RCI, Carnival and Holland so you know it wasn’t just me thinking the same thing about this ship and reviews. I put things on a scale of 1 – 10 and Princess would be a 5 whereas I would rank Carnival 6 and RCI a 9. So, if you think about Princess and the Caribbean Princess, I urge you think again and look for another line. The only bright spots were the comedian and a big screen movie while you were swimming…. Not worth the price of the cruise at all. If you do decide (you'll eb sorry) make sure you get the express check in on the internet. It helps more than you know.

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Nov 30, -0001

Eastern Caribbean

My cruise was excellent. I wasnt sure how it would be because I was a teenager, and I'm picky. However, I found the cruise comfortable. The room- it was very comfortable. There were two beds in this room. The shower was a bit small, but it was fine. The safe was also helpful. There was no clock in the room except for on the phone. It was a little far away, but it was okay to manage. Hangouts- there was a teens place, and there

were a lot of cool people there. Thats were i met this big group i hung out with. Pools- they were opened all the time, and that was good. they crowded at daytime, but at night they were almost empty, so we went then. there were about 4 pools, and they were great. Food- the food was great. There were 2 buffets, and they were nice. They had great desserts, and even served crab legs one day. The dining room was very nice as well. The food was awesome, and they had a nice selection. We also ate at sabitinis and it was excellent, and i would highly reccomend it! Getting on and Off- it was quick and easy, and not much of a wait The shopping and excursions were excellent!!! This cruise was great! it was relaxing and fun.

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Nov 30, -0001

Eastern Caribbean

My husband and I embarked the Caribbean Princess for a 7 night Eastern Caribbean cruise on November 6. It was our fourth cruise on a Princess Grand-Class ship and our 26th cruise overall. We have previously cruised with Celebrity, RCCL, NCL, Costa, HAL, Carnival, Premier, Commodore. We have spent the most time on Celebrity but once we started with Princess on the Grand, we have quickly sailed with them 3 more times. We like the formality

of Celebrity and the flexibility of Princess – so we tend to favor those two lines the most. To give you some perspective, we are semi-retired, in our late 50’s and 60’s and have recently moved back to the Chicago area from Naples, FL after living there for 10 years. While living in FL we cruised 3-5 times a year since it was so easy to get to the port and we were able to go at the last minute. We had many enjoyable experiences doing that. This time we had to fly and worry about weather etc. I booked the air on Spirit – all went well and it was a pleasure to fly with them to get to Fort Lauderdale. We had the first flight out in the morning the day of the cruise and were on time landing in FLL. Coming home, we had a 6pm flight. We didn’t have to worry about dis-embarking, but the Fort Lauderdale airport is just not set up for a lot of people waiting there for flights. The next time, we will arrange to stay a few days in Florida after the cruise and then fly back to Chicago. Upon arrival in Fort Lauderdale, we got a taxi and went to the port – it was raining heavily and the line was indoors – we began moving quickly and were on board by 12:30 pm. We found our cabin easily – we had been upgraded from an inside guarantee to an obstructed view outside on Emerald Deck – E216. The lifeboat hanging by the window did not obstruct our view at all and we enjoyed the cabin very much. Our steward, Alfredo, was attentive and obtained robes and feather pillows for us. He kept our cabin in tip-top condition. We went up to the Lido Deck for the Welcome Aboard lunch which was very good. On the Caribbean Princess, there is the addition of the Café Caribe at the rear of the Horizon Court. There the menu is different than the Horizon Court and in the evening and during the night dinner and Bistro dining is served there. This addition has cut into the outside deck space above the pool aft. There are some tables and chairs and the bar remains there – but without all the space that is there on the Grand and the Golden. This space, however, remains a favourite place of ours to read and enjoy the out of doors. The pool there is an adult only pool which makes the area even more attractive to us. We also had dinner that night in the Café Caribe which served a wonderful seafood buffet consisting of Lobster Claws, King Crab, Shrimp along with other great food – It was excellent. As for food overall, we had breakfast only once in the dining room – the menu is a bit limited – the Horizon Court always had a good variety of food and my husband especially liked the French Toast served there. Lunch we had mostly in the Horizon court or Café Caribe – they served Sushi there a couple of times which was most enjoyable. We did have lunch in the dining room twice when the menu had something we especially liked on it. Both breakfast and lunch are served daily in the Coral dining room on Deck 6. Since we had PC dining, we tried the different dining rooms and also had an additional dinner in Café Caribe. The food in every instance was very good and the service was very good. We rarely had to wait for a table and then only about 10 minutes at peak dining times. We did make a reservation in the Palm dining room once and were seated immediately. We choose to have a table for two for dinner – but one night joined a delightful couple that we had met that afternoon. All in all – our dining experience was what we were expecting on Princess and we enjoyed it thoroughly. We also found the drinks in the bars to be fairly priced. We like one cocktail either before or with dinner and there were a number of places to enjoy those. My husband likes a good cigar and Churchill’s is the cigar bar on board. It is a very masculine, clubby-feeling room. We did not go to the other optional dining venues on board – so I can’t speak to the food or service there. We don’t cruise to be entertained and rarely go to the shows. We did enjoy Bert Stratton thoroughly and saw him every chance we got and we went to one show in the Princess Theater that featured a comedian/magician which was good. The weather did not co-operate for Movies Under the Stars – so we did not attend in the evenings. The features we wanted to see were rained out. Ports – San Juan was substituted for Princess Cays and was at the beginning of the cruise after a day at sea. We began approaching about 3 pm and were docked by 4 pm. This is a port we enjoy and we got off the ship immediately. We walked through Old San Juan shopping and had a very enjoyable visit – we were back on the ship by about 7 pm and then sampled the Bavarian Buffet in Café Caribe. The food was excellent and they also had a New Orleans style shrimp in addition to the Bavarian foods. St. Thomas was our next port. We have been there many times and like to walk into Charlotte Amalie. It is a 2 ½ mile walk and the weather was perfect. We spent the late morning and early afternoon hours shopping and then walked back to the ship. The next port was St. Maarten – which is our favourite in the Caribbean – both for the flavor of the two diverse cultures on the island as well as for the shopping. We have friends on the island and they picked us up outside the gates of the pier area – after visiting with them at their home, they dropped us back in Phillipsburg for some shopping. Front Street is under construction – it is about 60% finished and will be really nice when completed. This is an island that is constantly improving itself and we always enjoy visiting there. As you can tell, we are not beach people. We have been to all the beaches on the islands on this itinerary and have been to St. John’s as well. They are all beautiful and enjoyable. We especially enjoy Caneel Bay on St. John’s island and if we were going to go to a beach, that is the one we would go to. After we left St. Maarten, the seas turned very rough during the night and all the next day. We are not prone to seasickness, but many people were. On Friday the weather improved and was just beautiful and we spent an enjoyable day around various pools visiting with newly-made friends. All in all this was another excellent cruise. Caribbean Princess is a beautiful ship with some differences from the other Grand-class ships in the fleet. I would have to say the Golden is my favourite – but they are all beautiful. Our Captain was Guiseppe Romano who had been the Captain of our first Grand Princess cruise. The cruise director was James Lay . We particularly like Graham Seymour and missed him on this cruise. Disembarking was easy – our flight wasn’t until 6 pm so we didn’t have to hurry off the ship. Our color was one of the last called. We found our baggage easily, went through customs easily and then got in the mob-scene to get a cab. In the future, we will make arrangements to spend a few days in Florida before going home so that we don’t have to join all the cruisers flying out at the same time. Please feel free to email me at melnbobkaz@wowway.com with any questions you may have about this ship or cruise. We had a great time and will certainly cruise with Princess again. Melinda Kazmer

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Nov 30, -0001

Western Caribbean

I must tell you that I was disappointed initially that we did not cruise to the Eastern Carribean which was my chosen itinerary, and I was annoyed that we weren’t told until we were already inside the check in terminal, but after I thought about it I realized things could be a whole lot worse, particularly in hurricane season! I’m also glad I had nothing to compare the cruise to, because one of the most upsetting things to

me about the trip was all the people who had taken multiple cruises griping about how horrible things were. I thought our cabin steward went above and beyond the call of duty, and after 2 days knew exactly how we liked things, and had those things readily available to us. He gets an A+ in my book. I enjoyed the anytime dining, and the opportunity to meet different people every night. The food quality was ok, I didn’t think it was outstanding. This ship is huge, and there is always something going on. I enjoyed having an outside stateroom with balcony very much as my objective was to get lots of rest. However, I did not enjoy the people above me throwing cigarette butts on our balcony and I did not enjoy the person who spit on my feet while I was lounging. There were plenty of things to do and I did enjoy the shows, particularly a comedian named SARGE. I think even though the shows were very high energy shows, they never really rose above high school production level. I thought the staff did a great job on the extra days of the trip due to hurricane Frances, the extra time in Cozumel was fantastic, free internet and phone service were a nice touch. I liked this ship but I’ll try a different one the next time just for variety sake and I’d like to try a smaller ship, but I would go on this one again too.

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Nov 30, -0001

Eastern Caribbean

This was my third cruise, second with Princess, I have been on the Grand PRincess before and the Disney Wonder. I was traveling with my best friend, her parents, her sister and her sisters boyfriend. Also, I am a little resentful of my friend and the awful time I had on this cruise, so my review may be a little slanted. Day 1: Fort Lauderdale: We had arrived the day before and were staying in a small motel called the Blarney Castle.

I recommend this to anyone looking for a cheap nice room close to the beach and shops and the cruise itself. We arrived at one o'clock, even though I told my friend several times we should leave earlier to avoid the line and wait. Of course she never told her parents, so we didn't get on until much later. There was a huge line outside when we got there, out in the heat and sun. When we got inside we waited again, and then waited in the deck line, and we didn't get our gold cards, but the lady said, oh, it doesn't matter. We went to our rooms, B245, was our room, an inside room. It was one of the only things I loved. It was well laid out and cozy, and not bright from the awful sun we had just been in. We went up to the buffet and had lots of food. After exploring the ship, my friends parents said they were going up to watch the ship leave. We were just finishing unpacking, and said we would meet them up there. We spent half an hour trying to find them, this was my stupid friends fault, i didn't think it was necessary that we had to stand with her parents as the ship left. we practically missed the whole thing. Also, her parents decided to have dinner in the buffet that night. I was very disappointed, I liked eating in the restaurants. Day 2: At Sea: We had breakfast at the buffet, and then suntanned for the whole day with her parents. It was a very nice day, hot and sunny. It was our first formal night and we decided to eat in the restaurant. Note: People were very dressed up, like prom dresses and tuxes and the whole shebang. Dinner was very nice, the food was very good. Day 3: At Sea (Again!): I was definately getting sick of the ship. We had breakfast with her parents in the buffet, and then suntanned with her parents for the whole day. I found myself getting really bored, there was not as much to do as I remembered. We had dinner in the restaurant, it was very nice. Day 3: St. Thomas: I didn't like St. Thomas very much at all, there was a lot of shopping, but they were all jeweler and liquor stores. And the people were very pushy nad loud. We did the BOB excursion in the afternoon. The captain was hilarious, and the ride there was so much fun. We got to snorkel for an hour while the other groups took their turns. We say a stingray and a lot of people saw a turtle. The BOB is a big yellow machine, that u put your head in and control it with your steering wheel. You don't go very fast, but your 8 feet below the surface and once u get control of it and stop worrying, you realize that ur in the midst of all these tropical fish swimming right next to you, and the coral and everything is beautiful. You get the end and the divers take ur pictures, and then you head back. They give you juice and water, and cookies. We got back on the ship got showers to rinse ourselves of the sticky salt and went for dinner in the restaurant. The food was good and the service was very friendly, singing and laughing. We saw a movies under the stars that night, only because it was for teens, otherwise you have to make a reservation. They didn't hand out popcorn or drinks and I wasn't as impressed with it and I thought I would be. Day 4: St Maarten: I really like St. Maarten, there was lots of shopping and the beach was gorgeous. The water was refreshing but not cold. my friend and I did a horseback riding excursion that morning. It was good because it wasn't too hot when it was that early. The excursion was so much fun. The place was kind of stinky and gross, but once you got on your horse and past the industrial part of the ride, the view was gorgeous. You were up high looking down at the water and trees. The horses were well trained too. They knew to stay in line and they knew the route. Once you got to the beach, we went straight into the water. Up to your waist. It was amazing. The only problem is it was hard to take pictures, because you were obviously afraid to let go. I would definately do it again. That night we ate in the buffet, I was definately sick of it by now, I hated eating there for dinner, I could never get enough food, most of it was stuff I didn't like, I always had to go to the grill after. Day 5: At Sea: Again, another boring day at sea, we swam, we suntanned, we ate, I wished I could have been home rather than here. We spent the whole day with her parents. The only good thing about the day was dinner, it was a formal night, and it was lobster night. Everyone ordered lobster, except me, and they all said it was delicious. Day 6: Princess Cays: This was the biggest disappointment by far. I had been last year and loved it, but not this year. We were on the first tender to shore, on a rocky and scary ride. The beach was empty when we got there which was good, we got to take pictures before the beach filled with hundreds of people. The weather was cloudy and very windy. We went swimming, it was hard getting in, it was so rocky and full of broken shells. By the time you got out in the water, you tried desperately to find sandy parts, as there were rocks and coral everywhere! I cut my feet and they were sore for a long time. the waves were huge, and that was the only fun part of the day. I was so excited for the bbq too, I remembered it being so good. Obviously I was wrong. There was very little choices, the food was all right, but the corn, ew! It was soggy and didn't have any taste, and I didnt know where to get butter. In the afternoon, we had rented glass bottom kayaks. My and friend and I were in one, her parents in another, and her sister and boyfriend in another. the waves were very choppy and it was very hard to paddle. Getting there wasn't too bad because the wind was pushing us, but coming back, we couldn't make it! We tried so hard, but couldn't do it. Her parents came back and we drifted ashore far down from the beach. Her dad then took one of the kayaks and tried as hard as he could to paddle it back to get help for us. Lucky for us (or so we thought) a man on a sea doo came up, and offered us a ride back. The three of us squished on while he waded us out. He jumped on and the whole thing tipped over. We were still in very shallow water, and had to be careful not to land on coral. Her mom swam ashore, as we did not want to try getting on again. My friend and I decided to swim further down to avoid coral, but there was no avoiding it, it was everywhere. When we got ashore, we just walked back, on the hot sand all the way back to the kayak place. We got on a tender back to shore, for an even scarier ride back to the ship. We went for a quick swim because we were so exhausted and hot. We packed all our luggage, because apparently they thought they picked it up at 5, after we got back form looking at pictures, which was around 7, they were still there. Anyways, we prepared for our last dinner, only to find out we were going to the buffet, again! My friend and I were very upset, and I suggested that me and her could have dinner in the restaurant by ourselves, for once. She said no. So, we went to the buffet, where surprise, surprise, the food was not very good, and nothing that I liked. I couldn't wait to go home. The next morning, her parents woke us up at 6:30, we were done breakfast by 7:30, and waited for 2 and a half hours to get off the freaking ship. If they hadn't of woken us up so early it would have only been like an hour, but there a little bit psycho. And so concludes my awful trip. It would have been better if I hadn't have been with my stupid friend and her parents, but it was still not as good as before. The only thing I enjoyed was the excursions and the restaurants. I don't think I will go on the Caribbean Princess again, too many people, and not very well laid out. And too many days at sea. And I wouldn't go in may and june again, too hot and sticky, even when we were moving. I was very disappointed in princess.

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Nov 30, -0001

Eastern Caribbean

Our first cruise was in Aug of 2004 on Caribbean Princess and was a dream come true. Again, we decided to try Caribbean Princess but take another rout and different islands. This time we were on the mailing list and receive notice from Princess that they were running a "deal/special" for guests that had traveled with them before. I thought this was great! what a great perk! So, this time we booked our vacation with Princess instead

of going through the travel agent we had used for out first cruise. We were told by the agent with Princess that at the time we were booking this that there were no inside or outside rooms available so we would be automatically upgraded. I explained to them that I wanted to request being in the back or middle of the ship due to having had back surgery and still having chronic back pain. This would place me on he ship closest to the eatery and main pools. I was assured this would be considered. When we received our booklet for the cruise I noticed that they had placed us in a room at the very front of the ship, on the lowest floor (deck 5) which was the total opposite of what I asked for. I contacted Princess again to explained by physical limitations and was told that the ship was now completely booked and I would have to go to customer service when I arrived on the ship to request a change in rooms. I did request another room and it took them 2 days while on the ship before they delivered a denial letter to my room. I did go back to the guest service desk and again explain my physical disabilities to them and was told there was nothing they can do as they had every room on the ship occupied. I later met some employees who expressed that they had received nicer rooms this time while working and were placed in balcony rooms located on higher decks in the middle of the ship. Other employees told me that the cruise line had over booked their employees and had to place them in rooms that guests would normally have. They also told me that deck 3 is for employees only and when they need more rooms they use rooms on deck 5 in the front of the ship. I ask you, do you think a guest who is paying for this cruise be bumped from the guest rooms and placed in rooms that they would normally use for employees? Not only that, they say they will accommodate physical limitations but actually seem to make things as difficult for you when u have a disability. Take a look at the layout for Caribbean Princess. They placed me on deck 5 in the front of the ship and the main pools are on desk 15 along with at least 4 buffet's. I spend most of my time in my room. By the time I would walk to the theater, pool of buffet I was in so much pain that I had to go back to the room and lay down. Sitting and walking make the pain worse. I will never book a trip with Princess again and look forward to traveling with Royal Caribbean next time.

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By JJ _CR

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Nov 30, -0001

Eastern Caribbean

We had just come off a Panama Canal transit cruise in early May and the trip to the Eastern Caribbean was for rest and relaxation only. We planned no shore excursions and during days in port had the pools and sports venue facilities almost to ourselves. We did disembark at Princess Cays and it was well worth our time for another relaxing day sitting in the sun and snorkeling. We arrived at Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale at about 11:30 a.m.

We stood in line for about 45 minutes before entering the embarkation building due to our illustrious U.S. Customs Immigration officials that couldn't quite get all of their people in place for check in. They are the first people you see in the building and in my view are the most over paid people I've ever seen. Security was a hair above going in to a movie theater, basically zero. The Princess check in is done by decks with a couple of reps checking you in took no more than 10 minutes with about 7 of that waiting for the family in front of us in line. Then we entered the ship and proceeded to our room on the the Caribe Deck. We had a stateroom with a balcony. The balconies on the Caribe deck are the largest on the ship other than a master suite. About 5-6 feet extra length that is used to cover the mini suites below. The only minor disadvantage is that the people above can look down on about half of your balcony. We found this to be no problem at all and in fact when we encountered a brief shower while at sea moved back a few feet on the balcony and we were covered from the floor of the balcony above. We ate in the Palm dinning room each night and the second night we had Svetan and Angelica as our servers which we kept for the rest of the cruise. We absolutely prefer anytime dining and by simply calling the concierge we had table for four, #126, at 7:30 each evening with them, but if we wanted to go to a specialty restaurant that table and servers were still ours for the following evening. and the remainder of the cruise. In fact, the last formal night there were two lines of about 10-15 people each waiting for a table, but we went right in and to our table by passing the wait. The food by the way was excellent and our servers were two of the best we've had in our cruising experiences. The casino has the new slots that are computer linked to your on file credit card for an instant withdrawal to be played in the machine. My wife took ample advantage of my American Express card. Each transaction cost $1.50. I had many! (LOL) I don't smoke and she does - that might explain why I really didn't notice any smoke problems in the casino. Can't comment on the entertainment or activities because that was not on our agenda for the trip. Our day consisted of a continental breakfast on the balcony that was always there within ten minutes of calling. Hanging our at the adult pool aft on sea days and the middle pool during port days. Taking a nice power nap after lunch at either the Island Dining Room or the burger and piazza area by the main pool. Snacks from the buffet around 4-5. In the evening a drink or two before dinner and after dinner drinks in the lobby bar. R & R at it's finest. The ship of course is huge even bigger than the Star Princess we sailed on to Alaska. Even with the 3k plus people on board the only times we felt their presence was embarking and disembarking. Found we think an answer to the disembarking chaos. We waited for baggage colored tickets past ours to be called and when we went to get our luggage had no problem whatsoever finding it. We also had a pick up van service scheduled and with one call they were their within a few minutes picking us up in the assigned area. In conclusion, highly recommend this trip at least for our purpose.

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Nov 30, -0001

Eastern Caribbean

This was our second cruise, both on Princess. After an un-eventful red eye flight from Vegas to Fort Lauderdale we were anxious to get aboard the 3100 passenger mega-ship! Yes, it was crowded in some areas, especially the a.m. buffet, and pools, but not to the extent of being miserable. It's a beautiful ship, clean and well maintained, classy in most respects. We had a beautiful mini-suite on dolphin deck, nine.The extra space is well worth the money,

in our opinion. Please be aware the dolphin deck is un-covered from your neighbors above. We also enjoyed the extra space in the bathroom, with tub in the mini-suite. Our cabin steward was very attentive, and for the most part the ships staff does their best to accommodate you. You may want to bring your own mini coffee maker for your room, also a bottle opener. The ships coffee is not that good, and its nice to have a good cup of coffee, out on your balcony in the mornings. We purchased some beers for our room, and had to call our steward every time, for there is no opener in the rooms. The food was pretty good most of the time, although the steaks were over cooked, and dry! We think they were previously frozen? Also, the salmon was overcooked, and dry. The side dishes were always good, and you can always ask for something else if a particular item, is not to your liking. We were a little disappointed, there was not more seafood items on the menu. The caribe buffet was nice for a different dinner theme nightly. For a delicious lunch, or snack, try the pizza, and burger bar, out by the main pool, extra good! Anytime dining is a great choice, especially if your active, and like to party at night. Princess offers a lot of different evening activities, and you may want to indulge in the nightlife. We really enjoyed the karaoke competition in club Fusion, that was the fun place for us! Lots of fun things happening there, from 50s party, to dancing etc.The main shows in Princess theatre were very good, with great singing, and dancing. Get there early, especially for the first show, it's crowded. The "Movies Under The Stars", outside is spectacular!!! Princess really has the competition beat, on this. All cruise lines should take note! We really enjoyed the ports, and great climate in the western Caribbean. The seas were calm all seven days. Princess Cays in the Bahamas was terrific, great beaches, and excellent snorkeling.Ocho Rios, in Jamaica is gorgeous, especially the Duns river falls, a must see. Unfortunately the Jamaicans need a good lesson in manners. They can become a bit rude, and nasty, if you don't buy anything from them, stay together! Grand Cayman was just the opposite, very nice people, and appreciative of you. Don't miss the swimming with the stingrays, un-believable! Cozumel was beautiful, we took a private party barge over to a secluded beach for the day, great watersports,and shopping deals. This was a spectacular cruise with tons of things to do, and see. The more you are involved, the more fun you will have, especially if you participate. The crew on this particular ship really gives it's all, to make whatever your doing fun, and it shows. So much to see, and do you really need a road map, so you wont miss out. Read the daily Princess Patter, that will definitely help you plan your day, and night. You know you can find problems, and disappointments on any cruise line. It's all in your attitude. Don't sweat the small stuff, prepare, plan, and go with the flow. You will be much happier, and enjoy your cruise even more, I know I did! "Cruise to cure the blues". Next stop, Hawaii, April,07 on the Island Princess Aloha!

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Nov 30, -0001

Western Caribbean

CARIBBEAN PRINCESS Sept. 23-30, 2006 By Mary & Vincent Finelli We always enjoy our first visit to a newer ship and this cruise on the Caribbean Princess, launched in 2004, was no exception. This ship looked majestic in port with her eighteen deck high Skywalkers Nightclub suspended above the rear, like a race car spoiler. Capt. Manfuso was very happy to extend a real warm Princess greeting to us. We also met Passenger Services Director (PSD)

Peter Hollinson and his able assistant Rebecca Lamb, who proved to have a wealth of knowledge on the Caribbean Princess. Thus, just a few hours on board, we had several new acquaintances and were about to encounter an old one when we checked on our dining reservations, Maitre D' Nicola Furlan. We had met him a few years ago on the Grand Princess. We also made many new friends including Executive Chef Giuseppe Pollara and Pastry Chef Riccardo Bellaera (both from Sicily, Italy) and more on these two accomplished men later. This ship is the largest of the Princess ships --- picture this: The Grand Princess, plus one more deck. The old saying about the Grand Princess when she first sailed from Venice, Italy, in May 1998 was "...she presented a view so grand that only a solar eclipse is more spectacular..." must now be replaced by the idea that only the Caribbean Princess is closer to heaven! EMBARKATION We sailed from Ft. Lauderdale, which is the closest port to our home and thus our favorite. Saturday morning traffic was light on I-95 and we arrived at the port approximately 11:00am. There were still passengers debarking from the last cruise, but we were placed in a large cool waiting room and given a No. 1 boarding pass along with other wheel chair passengers. Boarding time is listed as 1:00pm, but it actually began at noon. We had wheelchair assistance all the way to our mini suite. Later we heard that some passengers had a long wait of up to 3 hours; thank goodness we didn't. THE SHIP The Caribbean Princess was built by Fincantieri Shipyards in Monfalcone, Italy and is hull #6067. Launched in 2004, she is registered in Hamilton, Bermuda and weighs 112,894 gross tons. She is 950.01 ft. long and has a total breadth including wings (2 folding fin stabilizers) of 165.7 ft. ; however, her moulded beam is 118 ft. with a maximum draft of 27.7 ft. Her passenger capacity is 3,740 with a crew of 1,060 (technical staff is 87 --- 23 officers and 64 crew). She has four 16 cylinder diesel engines in vee form, plus two 12 cylinder diesel engines all attached to a synchronous generator. Propulsion is provided by two electric motors activating two propellers, two rudders and six transverse thrusters, capable not only of forward and backward motion, but also of sideways movement. The only thing that surpasses her fuel capacity of 2,649 tons is her fresh water capacity of 2,731 tons. On board there are 14 passenger elevators (lifts), 13 service elevators, 4 handicapped platforms, 4 store platforms and a passenger conveyer (a movable walkway to the Skywalker's Nightclub). Enough of the mechanical specifics and now to the decor which is beautifully subdued. When entering on the Plaza Deck 5, the most stunning design is John Richen's "Caribbean Symphony" which are three deck tall hand carved aluminum panels set between glass panes. The underwater scenes picture fishes, manatees, medusas (jellyfish) etc. and sea flora. They are truly breathtaking. When inside the elevators, Deck 8 and up have fanciful porthole bubble displays. The handy Caribbean Princess's Passenger Pocket Guide starts with the following decks: Gala Deck 4 has the medical center, we were invited to tour it but could not make it --- from discussions with passengers who had occasion to use the facilities, we found out that they were more than adequate --- swift and complete. Aft Decks 4 & 5 have the Galley. Plaza Deck 5 midship has the Island Dining Room with Carlos Ozzimo's "Island Series." He has also done lovely pastoral series for the Coral and Palm Dining Rooms and even the "Grand Casino Series", all of which are acrylic on canvas. The simple wood paneled walls with smoked glass and brass sconces are stately but mellow. On the starboard side near the Panoramic Lifts there is the Joker's Card room with the "Old World Maps Series" (Anonymous), beautifully reproduced on tiles. In the atrium are also located the Grand Plaza Lobby Bar and the Passenger Services and the Tour Desks. Forward on Deck 5 there are staterooms and a Laundromat. Fiesta Deck 6 aft has the Palm Dining Room, the Gallery and the Coral Dining Room midship. Going toward forward again are the Boutiques and the Grand Casino. All the way forward is the Princess Theater with its warm Tuscan red walls and comfortable seats, with an excellent view of the stage from everywhere. Promenade Deck 7 aft has the Club Fusion with a Southwestern motif: dark woods, leather, surround bars, and a sunken dance floor and bandstand. Cowboy murals, one wall of old tint types and a mechanical bull complete the aura. Midship is the Photo Gallery, and Trattoria Sabatini, the upscale Italian Restaurant with murals by Istvan Bernath. Next, are two great rooms, the Explorers Lounge with its travel the world motif and the Wheelhouse Bar with its nautical theme. Midship are more boutiques and the Crooners' Bar with a grand piano and the interesting stained glass panels "Crooners Glass Series" by Janick Arts. From here there is the best view of the stunning light fixture shaped like a huge pendant flower: its petals of mysterious smoked glass edged in pewter. Look down on the wonderful round mosaic centered on the floor (oops deck). Next go forward to the Sterling Steak House and the Internet Cafe (Vincent and other Captain's Circles platinum and elite members have free internet access). Forward is the upper level of the Princess Theater, with a ramp for wheelchair access. There are many reserved seats for the handicapped and even ushers to make sure everyone is comfortable. Emerald Deck 8, Dolphin Deck 9, Caribe Deck 10, Baja Deck 11, Aloha Deck 12, Riviera Deck 14 are all staterooms and suites with a laundromat located on each deck. There is also ship's laundry service which is reasonable and prompt. There is a Terrace Pool aft on Deck 14. Lido Deck 15 has the Horizon Food Court midship, the Horizon Terrace aft, the Calypso Pool/Bar, Scoop's Ice cream, Neptune's Reef/Pool, Blackbeard's Bar, Prego Pizza and the Trident Grill. Sun Deck 16 forward has the Lotus Spa with another lovely "Japanese Fantasy Series" by Ozzimo; this is a very peaceful, restful area. There is also the Gym & Spa here. Aft are located the Fun Zone for children and the Off Limits for teens. Sports Deck 17 aft has the moving walkway up to Skywalker Night Club. Deck 18 forward has Cyber Golf, the Jogging Track, and Center court. Deck 19 has the Skywalker Night Club which is suspended high over the seas like a "Spoiler" on a racing car. Daytime its serene and quiet way up here, at night it's a whole new world. Over all the ship is lovely with many art works in stairwells and on walls and all tastefully done. FOOD & SERVICE We had high expectations for our 8th Princess cruise and we feel that they were met. Service always radiates down from the top and Capt. Manfuso is a serene, solid Commander who has well placed confidence in his crew. PSD Peter Hollinson has high standards and he ensures that they are met. Service throughout the ship was gracious, prompt and smiling. Especially helpful on a daily basis was Jr. Asst. Purser Hernan Cicchini (Want a daily paper? Times Fax? La Stampa? Money changed? Postage stamps? Ship information?, etc.). He is always pleasant and prompt, just incredible. Vincent also spent some time with the cordial Environmental Officer Tibor Filipovic to discuss the various on board activities, such as waste disposal, recycling, regulatory compliance, etc. The last CDC Vessel Sanitary Inspection made last March yielded a great score of 99/100. But, of course it is in the restaurants and dining rooms where the quality is most evident. Executive Chef Giuseppe Pollara was always on his toes: He made some potato gnocchi that were so light that they floated off the plate straight into the mouth. The menu was broad, diverse, and the "Always Available" items were excellent: Appetizers of shrimp cocktail, Fettuccine Alfredo in a cheese basket, and Caesar's Salad; and Entrees like Beef Filet, Salmon Filet or grilled Chicken breast. During the week there was succulent Swordfish, Pheasant, Lobster Tails, Ossobuco, and Rack of Lamb, etc. The desserts were great under Pastry Chef Riccardo Bellaera. A freshly made Torta Millefoglie e Crema Inglese was wonderful not overly sweet, just delicious. The piece de resistance was a strawberry crostata made in an almond tart crust with layers of cream, mascarpone, and chocolate --- topped with a rose of thinly sliced fresh strawberries. Ah, Heaven! The ice creams are made on board Italian Style (gelato); try the nocciola, fragole, stracciatella, or the terrific sorbets. Maitre D' Nicola Furlan is magnificent. His assistant Vitor remembered us from the Island Princess. It was like "Home Coming Week." Our Waiter Eduardo (Portugal) and his Asst. Waiter Pat (Thailand) were perfect. The pace was just right. Princess Cruises have distinctly Italian cuisine, since circa half of their executive chefs are Italian born and trained. We love it. The breads are properly cooked, crunchy crusts, white, whole grained, dark rolls and bread sticks. Dinner at Trattoria Sabitini ($20 per person) is a must, since the ambiance is lovely and background music included Italian songs by Venditti, the Italian star singer and his guitarist Maurizio Perfetto. The music here was especially welcomed, since the dining room did not have any. The Restaurant Manager is the smiling Loredana and our waiters Florin, Barrio and Roberto served the seemingly endless courses. There is a menu from which to select an entree of Lobster, Jumbo Prawns, Veal Cutlet, Filet Mignon, etc. The rest of the meal is served course by course from platters: antipasti, grilled vegetables, soups, pizza course, salad, pasta course and entree and desserts. A terrific evening --- Ladies you will feel like a queen. The other upscale restaurant located on Deck 7 is the Sterling Steakhouse ($15 per person) which requires reservation and it is renown for prime quality meat. We have not been there, but we'll make it next time. Dining Options are traditional seating in the Islands Dining Room: a fixed time and table each night. Anytime Dining in both the Palm and Coral Dining Rooms. This latter style is based on available seating, just like shore side, or reservations made through a concierge service by telephone in your room. There is also the 24 hour Horizon Court Buffet and room service. We always use room service for Continental Breakfast. Room service was on time and the food was quite good. If you desire American Breakfast then use the dining room or the Horizon Court. CABIN We had Mini Suite #D528 on Dolphin Deck 9. The design is long and narrow and the colors cool and restful beige, white and willow green with nice wood accents. The bar and cabinets have granite tops. When entering the suite there is a long narrow hallway, so narrow that the wheelchair had to be folded to get in. On the left is a bathroom with a single sink, tub/shower and shelves for toiletries. Exiting, there is a long walk-in closet and a cupboard with shelves and a personal safe. On the left wall is the king size bed and two end table with dimmer lamps. Next there is a desk with mirror and drawers, and then a long green hide-a-bed sofa, a coffee table and a leather arm chair. On the opposite wall is a double bar, two TVs, one facing the bed and the other the sofa, and a refrigerator. There are three rather nice prints on the walls reminiscent of Monet (a flower garden, a country home and a small European harbor town). The ceiling has a recessed double wood framed square with rounded edges: Rather interesting and effective. The far wall is all glass with a door leading to a small square balcony, on which are four chairs and a table. Deck 9 balconies are all open to the elements, since there are no covers or tops, cruisers are exposed to the view of others and the elements of wind, rain and direct sun. Deck 10 has partially covered balconies and 11, 12 and 14 are all covered. We were the recipients of strange flotsam, among which a dead rose (we are still pondering the meaning of such "gift"). Our cabin was always neat and well attended by Ernie, and we appreciated it. ENTERTAINMENT This is s huge ship and there are many venues --- simultaneously every night were several shows in the Princess Theater, the Explorer's Lounge, and the Club Fusion. Cruise Director David Cole keeps it all sailing along smoothly. In the theater the "BIG" shows were good, but not spectacular. The most important innovation is "Movies under the Stars", an outdoor cinema on Calypso Deck 15 by the pool, with a giant screen visible during daylight and at night (now installed on other Grand class ships and on Carnival Liberty, etc.). There are also Scavenger Hunts, dance classes, Scholarship at Seas Programs, Trivia, Bingo and Casino games. There is nice music all around the ship, but alas none in the dining rooms--- only on the last night during the parade of the flaming Baked Alaska. Every evening at the Lobby Bar on Plaza Deck 5 there was great piano music. Bravo to the pianist Si Bi. DEBARKATION This was a cinch. We are always amazed that passengers are in such a hurry to end their vacations. They bring hand luggage with them to breakfast; even though, they are informed that debarkation only begins after the ship's clearance by Port Authorities. They are so anxious to be off first that they disobey rules and clog the central exit areas of the ship. We always go to breakfast without luggage. Then we return to the cabin and get our hand bags. PSD Peter Hollinson arranged for wheelchair assistance to meet us in our rooms at 8:45am. We were assisted through passport check, baggage pick up, customs and were outside on the Pier at 9:10am awaiting our car. The system was entirely efficient. PORTS OF CALL Day 1. Ft. Lauderdale, FL Sail Away 6:00pm Day 2. Princess Cay, Bahamas Arrive 9:30am Depart 4:00pm The Island of Eleuthera was discovered by Columbus in 1492. Tender from the ship to the island. A great day at the beaches with swimming, snorkeling, water sports and BBQ. Day 3. At sea We sailed through the "Windward Passage" between the islands of Cuba and Haiti. This is the first "Gala Night". Day 4. Ocho Rios, Jamaica Arrive 7:00am Depart 3:30pm A favorite excursion here is the climbing of the famous Dunn's River Falls. We did that when we were younger and able, now we limit our visit to the nearby shopping area. Day 5. Grand Cayman Arrive 7:00am Depart 3:30pm Interesting tours are Stingray City, Butterfly Farm and Helmet Dive. A few years back we explored the Coral Reef on the SeaMobile Submarine (a personalized dive for two persons); however, we do not know if it is still available. This is the second "Gala Night". Day 6. Cozumel, Mexico Arrive 8:30am Depart 6:00pm We docked at the new Pier, just finished since the devastation of last year's Hurricane Wilma. There is a nice shopping Mall close by the pier where we found excellent values for gift and souvenirs. Here the most interesting tours are the Mayan Ruins at Tulum, the Eco-Archeological Park at X-Caret and some of the best reef snorkeling in the Caribbean. Day 7. At sea. Day 8. Ft. Lauderdale, FL Arrive 7:00am CONCLUSIONS We have enjoyed a great cruise on this enhanced version of the Grand class ships. We are looking forward to cruising on the Crown Princess, launched this year, and the Emerald Princess (2007) to enjoy the newer ships of Princess, which remains one of our favorite Lines. However, we'll make sure not to book a cabin on the Dolphin Deck 9, since on this cruise we were not satisfied with our uncovered balcony. We feel the cuisine is among the best at sea, especially in regard to the Italian dishes, which we found simply delectable. Another suggestion we like to make is in regard to the Princess Patter format which is too wordy and difficult to use. Some other cruise lines offer a summary guide for quick reference to the daily activities, which can be detached from the main paper and carried in the shirt pocket when folded. However, there is a nice handy Quick Reference Dining & Bar Guide. Our schedule of future cruises for the end of this year is the following: Freedom of the Seas on Oct. 15th, Carnival Legend on Nov. 8th, Norwegian Jewel on Nov. 26th and Queen Mary II on Dec. 9th. Happy Cruising!

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Nov 30, -0001

Eastern Caribbean

My husband and I selected the Caribbean Princess 11/26-12/3 sailing for our honeymoon. He has never cruised before, this cruise was my fifth. First I’ll start out with the few negatives we experienced just to get them out of the way: The beds are incredibly uncomfortable. Request the egg crate mattress, you’ll be glad you did. The coffee really is as bad as they claim. Cut it with hot water or decaf coffee. Trying to plan a cruise critic meet

and greet with the Princess onshore staff and purser’s desk is a waste of time. Don’t even bother with them, they don’t follow through with anything. Three negatives. That was it. And they were all pretty minor considering the rest of the cruise, and the amazing time we had. And now for the top 10 reasons why we loved our cruise on the Caribbean Princess: 10. Bert Stratton. Yup, he’s really that good. Really, really strange, but good. 9. The food. My husband seriously gained 10 pounds, and I’m not even admitting how much I ate on board. The first night’s cold seafood buffet is unreal. Lobster claws, shrimp, king crab legs… we ate a plateful as an “appetizer” and never made it to dinner that night. The Café Caribe is always changing themes, and the regular buffet food is decent. Dinners are excellent. The filet on the first formal night was as good if not better than the steak we had at Sterlings, and the second formal night was, of course, lobster. The food really was excellent, we could not have been more impressed. 8. MUTS. No, it’s not that loud. Yes, it is really that cool. Especially watching Monday night football in 80 degree weather while the players on the field are struggling through several inches of snow. That really put it in perspective for us. 7. Balcony Cabin. My husband was amazed at how small our cabin was, I was thrilled that it was the biggest I’ve ever been in. We slept with the door open every night, the sound of the waves crashing against the hull was really soothing. 6. St. Thomas. I have no problem with Princess ships docking at Crown Bay, it was less crowded and the shops though not finished yet are ten times more attractive than the old storage sheds they pass off for shops at Havensight. Here we had planned an excursion on the “Winifred” but because of high seas Captain Sharon decided to cancel. Instead she took us to… I almost don’t want to say this because I don’t want to give away the most secluded beach on the island… Secret Harbor. A hotel complex, the beach here was nearly empty, the snorkeling among the reefs was incredible, and the food at the bar on the ocean wasn’t bad at all. Even though we didn’t get to go sailing, it was a perfect day for us. 5. Embarkation/Disembarkation. The fastest on both ends that I’ve ever seen. DO NOT arrive between 1 and 2pm. If you can just plan your arrival one hour in either direction, you’ll be on the ship within 15 minutes of checking in. The only thing we did not like at embarkation was the way they made you drag all of your bags through the art gallery to the elevators towards the front of the ship instead of just allowing you to use the elevators in the atrium. They were also pretty pushy here about coke cards and wine tasting, but that was the only time they bothered us. 4. St. Maarten. We did a tour with Joyce, saw a ton of the island and did some shopping. For $35 she took us nearly everywhere and was willing to stop when we wanted to spend more time in one location. Spent the afternoon at the Packen-something-or-other guest house on Front Street at the ocean-front tiki bar. Tried the guavaberry colada, guavaberry fizz, guavaberry everything. All that guavaberry liquor certainly made for an interesting walk back to the ship. 3. Princess Cays. The last stop on our itinerary, this was the perfect way to relax and unwind after a busy cruise. We went to the right off the tender, found the beach nearly deserted even at 11am. Parked ourselves under a bamboo umbrella and did nothing all day long. 2. The ship itself. Because of the broken up public areas, you never realize that you’re on a ship with 3,000 other people. Great themed places like Explorer’s Lounge and the Wheelhouse bar, on some nights we found that we were the only couple in one of the bars. Sure, the theater was a bit busy, but just give yourself 20 minutes or so to find a good seat before the show starts. As for the pools, we loved both the aft pool and the calypso pool depending on our moods. The aft bar was quiet, and shaded a lot of the day, the calypso pool was much more active and had some sort of pool game each day in addition to the band playing in the afternoon. Finding a chair was never an issue as long as you’re up by 11am or so. And the number 1 reason we loved the Caribbean Princess…. It was a Princess ship. We were so impressed by everything Princess had to offer. From the excellent service in both our stateroom and in the dining rooms, to the subdued elegance of the décor, we fell in love with the Princess line. We will definitely sail Princess again.

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Nov 30, -0001

Eastern Caribbean

Caribbean Princess, sailing 7-nights from Fort Lauderdale to the Eastern Caribbean ports of St. Thomas, St. Marten, and Princess Cays, December 3 – 10, 2006 This was our 13th cruise, but our first on Princess. We are business people in our late 40s, married over 25 years, and traveling as a couple without our children. We thoroughly enjoyed this cruise, this ship, and this itinerary. Flight/Hotel: We flew in the day before our cruise on Delta

without any problem. We stayed at the Holiday Inn Airport/Seaport, because they offered complimentary shuttle rides from the airport to the hotel and from the hotel to the cruise terminal. That worked great, and the hotel was very nice, so it was a great pick. We had a great pre-cruise dinner at a restaurant across the street from the hotel, 84 Thai Food, which we highly recommend. Embarkation: We always arrive at the port early, because we like getting on the ship as soon as we can. Hundreds were in line before we were finally allowed into the terminal shortly after 11:30 a.m. This was the morning the Freedom of the Seas had returned to port with sick passengers and staff, so we were required to fill out a health form declaring we had not been sick in the past two days. They had lines with two agents each for each deck, with another line and two agents for those with preferred check-in. The only delay was caused by those passengers who had arrived without their online information completed. We received our Sea Passes, and we were up the stairs for our embarkation photo, our security photo, and on the ship. Our rooms were ready for us, so we dropped off our carry-ons to begin our cruise vacation. Our room steward, Nazario, did a great job keeping our stateroom in tip top shape. Buffet: Our first meal, all of our breakfasts, and most of our on-board lunches were in the buffet. For most of the week, the staff served guests in the buffet to help us avoid getting sick on the ship. This was a slow process, and some guests still tried to serve themselves, slowing us all down more, as the staff had to intervene. We were thankful for the hand sanitizers placed throughout the ship, but especially in the buffet and dining rooms. The food in the buffet was fairly typical buffet fare. We were assigned to late dining, but we decided we wanted to experience Princess’ Anytime Dining, so we requested and were granted that dining after embarkation. We really liked it! With traditional dining, we always felt bad if we didn’t go to the dining room any evening. With Anytime Dining, we simply went to the dining room of our choice, and requested a table to share, and we were seated each evening with delightful dinner companions. The first evening we enjoyed dinner in the Coral Dining Room with three other couples, including Gail and Rich, who we’d met online before the cruise. The third evening was formal night, and the dining rooms were very busy. We had dinner that evening in the Palms Dining Room with a lovely lady, Anne, who was traveling alone. The other four evenings, we had dinner in the Coral Dining Room with various couples. We usually ate between 7 and 8:15, but we ate at 6:15 on the second formal night, because we had learned from the first formal night that the dining rooms get busier on formal nights, especially as the evening gets later! The dining room food was excellent, but some of the desserts were disappointing. The second evening we had dinner reservations in Sabatini’s ($20 per person charge), and the last evening we had dinner reservations in Sterling’s Steakhouse ($15 per person charge). We made reservations for both upon embarkation. We could smell the wonderful cooking from Sabatini’s as we passed on the Promenade deck or as we enjoyed a drink in the Wheelhouse Bar. We got to taste so many amazing courses, and some of our favorites were ones we would not have ordered normally. There was way too much food, but it was a great evening. I was glad we had booked this early in the week before we were stuffed from all the great food on this ship. We had heard several complaints about Sterling’s, mainly that the food was not prepared properly or that service was slow. Our reservations were for 7 p.m., and the restaurant was only about half full. Our steaks were perfect, and the service was excellent. I had the small filet prepared medium, and my husband had the Tenderloin prepared blue. We had never heard of that term, but the server indicated that was extremely rare, as my husband prefers it, and the steak was absolutely perfect. We had chocolate pecan pie and cheesecake for dessert. The cheesecake on the entire ship was marvelous! Entertainers: We had four comedians. Steve Morris did two really funny shows. We looked forward to seeing Adam Ace, as we had seen him perform on another ship a couple years ago, but we were really disappointed that he was doing the same old show. Time for some new material, Adam! John Ferrentino was funny, but Roger enjoyed him more than I did. We heard that Troy Threadgill was really good, but we missed that show. Kimika was a British husband and wife singing, doing a little comedy, and he was an amazing guitarist. I really enjoyed his playing, but could have lived without the singing and comedy. We enjoyed the Piano Man, but we’d heard such great reviews, it didn’t meet our expectations. The second production show was better. A hypnotist was aboard. I volunteered, and I was surprised when I opened my eyes to see I had made the cut, because I had expected to be sent back to my seat as he eliminated people. It was fun being on stage, but someone else will have to tell you if the show was enjoyable, since I didn’t experience that. We didn’t go to the International Show, but again heard really good things the next day about it. Ray Coussins played amazing piano in the Crooner’s Bar, but, by the third or fourth night of listening, it became evident that he was playing the same songs over and over again. Cruisin’ Steel was a steel drummer who was also amazing. He moved all over the ship, playing in different lounges and different dining rooms at different times of the evening. There were also two bands, two trios, and two different DJs on the ship, but none of these appealed to us personally. Our favorite hangouts were the Crooner’s Bar and the Wheelhouse Bar for before and after dinner drinks. Find Shane in the Crooner’s Bar (or wherever he is on the ship), and you’ll get the best and warmest service guaranteed! Dance Heads: This deserves a category of its own. A blue set that hides your body except your head, then your head sits on a cartoon body that dances to the great tune of your choice, while you bob your head in time to the music and perhaps mouth the words to the song if you know it. This is recorded and makes a great recording to take home with you. We didn’t record one of our own, because we were just too cheap, but it was great fun to just sit and watch folks record their own. Pool Decks: Lots of chairs in the sun and the shade, so we never had a problem finding chairs wherever we wanted to hang out. However, we were pleasantly surprised to find this was the first ship to ever enforce the rule prohibiting chair saving. Deck attendants removed anything left on chairs for over 30 minutes, and a lost and found table was manned on the pool deck where they could then go to find the items that were removed. Great job, Princess! Pool and hot tubs by the Movies Under The Stars was where something loud is almost always playing on this screen, so you must either be interested in what’s on the screen or making your own loud fun in the pool. I found this not to be a good place to relax unless I was interested in what was playing on the screen. Neptune’s pool where there’s always some kind of music playing was more to my liking for relaxing. The Adult Only Pool area was always busy with adults, and, again Princess did a great job of keeping the kids out. The Kids wading pool was just off the kids area, and the parents had to be with the kids when they got in this pool. Movies Under The Stars: Wonderful! Here’s where you have to arrive early to get chairs, because if you wait until show time or after, it’s unlikely you’ll find a seat. The pool bar and the Scoops ice cream bar are open for concessions during the show, but the deck attendants deliver complimentary popcorn and candy to the guests. Lap blankets are on the chairs, but it was still warm enough in the evening that they were unnecessary, although a lovely touch. There was something for everyone all week, i.e. kid’s movies, sports games, concerts, adult movies, and the onboard Survivor competition. Deck Parties: From the Sailaway party to the last deck party, the social hosts did a great job keeping things hopping, with great music, line dances, Congo lines, decorations, streamers. Champagne Waterfall: This was our first, so we really enjoyed seeing the maitre’d pyramid the rounded champagne glasses on a table on the floor of the atrium. The atrium floor was filled with guests, with other guests pressed against the stairways and the overlooks from the floors above. Everyone looked so great in their formal attire, snapping pictures, that it felt like a night at the Emmy’s or something else special. The band played, the guests through their pop-out streamers, and the champagne flowed, as guest after guest stepped up to pour the next bottle of champagne. All the while, servers were moving through the guests distributing glasses of champagne. Of course, lots of dancing, including another congo line. A wonderful wrap up event on our second formal evening. Cruise Director was James Lay. He was visible and accessible all over the ship, and he did a great job keeping the action flowing with great laughs. He says he’ll be the cruise director on the Emerald next Spring. Two wine tastings on this trip. The first wine tasting was early in the trip for $9.50 per person featured reasonably priced wines and basic cheese and fruit. The second wine tasting was late in the trip for $25.00 per person featured higher priced wines and more interesting canapés, including caviar. We enjoyed both! The maitre’ds did an excellent job of providing interesting details with touches of humor. Salute! In Princess Cays, we rented a cabana and snorkeling equipment, and we both enjoyed a restful day on the beach and in the water. At St. Thomas, we shopped and toured with Sunny Liston, ending our day at the beautiful Sapphire Beach. At Sapphire Beach, we had a Grouper sandwich and a burger. At St. Marten, we took Lord Sheffield’s Pirate Ship Excursion. We had a group of a bout 20 sailing peacefully to Mullet Bay, where we swam and snorkeled and floated with noodles. We enjoyed snacks, an open bar, grilled chicken and ribs, a fruit tray, and, oh, yeah, did I mention an open bar. A wonderful day! Disembarkation: This didn’t go very well on our week, but I don’t know if it was caused by the cruise line or customs. The last color, which happened to be ours was called after 10:30. When we got to the floor to leave, a huge crowd was waiting to exit. We stood in line from the ship, looped back and forth three times in a line in the terminal, waiting to show our passports to customs, then another long line to get to our luggage. Once we got to our luggage, we easily found ours and exited the terminal, and jumped right into a taxi. We’ve never stood in lines to exit before. Flight/Hotel: We spent one night post-cruise at the Holiday Inn at 4216 Ocean Drive A1A. This is an older hotel, which has seen better days, with outside doors, but their management works hard to make your stay great. The wind was blowing pretty hard during our stay, shaking our windows and doors, and a guy was outside washing his truck talking to someone else. These noises were disturbing us pretty good, but not enough to complain. Within a couple of hours of checking in, the front desk manager called to ask if we were happy with our room, and my husband mentioned this problem. The maintenance man was up within ten minutes to check the problem. He called the front desk to recommend a change to a room on a higher floor, where they did move us. That room was perfect. I was happy with their attention and response. The higher floor gave us a great ocean view, and we took a quick walk on the beach that evening that was very pleasant, despite the strong winds. We walked about 4 blocks to Commercial Street to eat at Athena’s Grill on the Sea, a great Greek restaurant that we’ve visited once before, and we enjoyed just as much this time. We strongly recommend this restaurant as well, and they have belly dancers on Friday and Saturday nights! Feel free to email me with question at judyjbest at hotmail dot com. And, in a few days, my pictures from this cruise will be posted at http://community.webshots.com/user/judyjbest.

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Nov 30, -0001

Eastern Caribbean

Embarkation from Ft. Lauderdale went very well. We got right through the line and were on the ship by about 12:30 PM. Relaxed and had lunch before going to our staterooms. We were traveling with our son, daughter, and her husband. We didn't get our bags delivered until about 6:00 PM which was unusual from our past cruise experiences, but this was our first cruise with Princess. Room: Our room steward seemed nice and we were looking forward to

a good week. The cabin was a decent size, but the beds were very uncomfortable. The mattresses must have come off an older ship and been placed on the Caribbean Princess. There's no way that mattress was any less than 10 years old! We had an ocean-view cabin with a slightly obstructed view. We were please with the size of the window and what we could see. We hate to feel as though we're in a small box, so we always get ocean-view rooms. Our room steward wasn't as good as what we have had in the past. Sometimes our room wasn't made up for hours. We're used to things being taken care of in less than 15 minutes after our leaving. We were also disappointed in the fact that there were no 'towel animals'. I know it seems like a small thing, but we had been talking up this experience to our son, who had never been before. Food: We went to the Cafe' Caribe for the seafood bon voyage party. That was something my daughter wanted. We were shocked. I read in a previous review that the staff was serving people and slowing down the line. Definitely not! There was an elderly gentleman (and I use that term very loosely) who was standing behind the buffet line sticking his hands into the crab legs and shrimp and placing them on his plate. It was definitely not appetizing. The staff observed him, but did nothing to stop the behavior. We had dinner in the main dining room. Not anything exceptional, but not bad. We felt that we got better food and service on the other cruise lines that we had sailed with before: Carnival and Celebrity. I was disappointed in the 'New York' cheesecake. I get cheesecake from Carnegie Deli and this was absolutely not in the same ball park. It wasn't 'New York style'. I'm not sure it was even cheesecake. The entire family left it uneaten. There was a great chocolate dessert one night which my son-in-law said made up for it though. He ordered two :) My daughter and I went to tea twice while on the ship. Not what we were expecting. The food was served on large trays carried by waiters, not on small plates placed on the table. We determined that they must do this so that they can 'recycle' it the next day. The only 'tea' in the dining room was Lipton, even though they had Twinings upstairs in the buffet. Odd! When we asked for other tea, you would have thought that we wanted them to go to a tea plantation and pick it. They finally brought some out in a tea chest that was quite acceptable: Earl Gray, Twinings, etc., but we were made to feel that this was most decidedly above and beyond what we should expect for service. The food got scarier after that. Things that were on the buffet were sometimes there for three days in a row. I know that we saw the baked apples from the Bavarian themed night for at least three other meals. The last formal night, my husband ordered prime rib for dinner. It came with an ear of corn on the cob that had definitely been prepared on Princess Cay at the cook-out earlier that day. This was not what I would expect from anyone used to serving food. Having catered before, I have always made sure that once food goes out, it should never be brought back and re-served to any guest. Kitchen help, staff is ok, but never guests. The final straw for the food was when they served baked beans on the breakfast buffet the final morning of the cruise. Again, definitely left over from the cook-out on Princess Cay. Ports: We thoroughly enjoyed St. Thomas. Magan's Bay was beautiful and relaxing. The tour guides were knowledgeable and helpful. We were not as impressed with St. Martin. Perhaps it was just the shore excursion that we took. Will probably try again on another cruise. Entertainment: We were not impressed with most of the entertainment. We were looking forward to some great singing and dancing. Not! The comedian was terrible. There was a husband/wife couple who sang jazz in one of the clubs that were outstanding, but because of the limited smoking areas on the ship, the club was full of people who had no interest in listening to the music. They would come in, state they just wanted to smoke and proceed to be so loud that you couldn't hear the lady sing. And she had a great voice and style! Too bad. They really missed a treat. M.U.T.S. was awesome. Probably the best thing on the ship. Service: We were greatly disappointed with the service we received. Our cabin wasn't kept clean. The main dining room staff was adequate, but I have received better service in mid-priced chain restaurants. The staff in the buffet area was more interested in flirting with other staff members, than with meeting guests' needs. If you wanted a drink, you basically had to trip someone to get their attention. We counted one day at lunch. Six employees made 30 minutes worth of circuit around the dining area without speaking to a guest. And these were the people selling the drinks. Wouldn't you think they would at least ask if you wanted to buy something? Our conclusion was that the lack of concern about the ship's cleanliness and staff's service must come from the top. The only other explanation for such poor service is the automatic gratuity. Perhaps if staff felt that they needed to connect with passengers to get a tip, we might have gotten better service. I have always tipped above the recommended amount. This trip, I was tempted to reduce my gratuity. Disembarkation went very well. We opted to carry our own luggage off. This went pretty smooth, except for people who had their luggage carried off and then tried to get off with the people carrying off their own. I give credit to the ship's staff for telling them that they had to wait, but they should have made them return upstairs. They were definitely in the way. My son has stated that he will never go on a cruise again. That we had made it seem better than it actually was. My daughter, son-in-law, husband and myself will never cruise on Princess again. My husband and I are taking another cruise in April 2007 on Carnival. We're treating ourselves to another vacation because the last one was so terrible. In all good conscience, I can't recommend Princess cruise line to anyone. In fact, I will do my best to discourage it.

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Nov 30, -0001

Eastern/Western Caribbean

My wife booked this cruise as a celebration of my finishing the bar exam. I had never been on a cruise before and was a little leery of spending two weeks on a ship. My wife has done an Alaskan cruise and assured me I would enjoy it. She was right. I loved cruising and am looking forward to our next cruise. SHIP The Caribbean Princess was great. We were booked on the Caribe Deck, room 752 on the very back of the ship. Our cabin was great and actually

bigger than I had imagined it. We loved having a cabin on the back of the ship as we always had a good view of the port no matter which side of the ship was docked. However, the back of the ship does move A LOT more than the other areas of the ship, so if you are prone to sea sickness, you might want to avoid this area. All of the public areas were very nicely decorated, very classy and more traditional, not a lot of bright flashy colors. The pools were all very good. The pool by the Movies Under the Stars screen is very noisy with movies playing all day and children playing. We used the Lotus Spa pool most days. It is adults only which made it perfect for taking a quick dip to cool off and enjoy the water without being splashed and jostled by kids. The pool on the rear of the ship was also very nice, but if you want to lay in the sun much of this area is shaded by Skywalker’s Lounge. The casino was a good size and I had a lot of fun giving my money away at the blackjack tables. My wife enjoyed the variety of slot machines, especially the penny ones. The overall layout of the ship is very nice and is fairly easy to navigate. We felt comfortable going anywhere and not getting lost within the first day or so. FOOD I thought the food on the ship was great, but my wife thought that the food on her Carnival cruise was better. Part of this is probably that she likes more classic dishes, whereas I enjoy trying new “weird” dishes. The buffets were a little disappointing. For lunch we often wanted a deli sandwich, but they didn’t put this out until after 3:00 most days. Breakfast buffets were very good with a wide selection, but dinner buffets often seemed to offer only limited choices. Also, there was no midnight buffet, which my wife had raved about from her Carnival cruise. Dinner in the dining room was great. Each night offered a wide variety appetizers, entrees, and desserts. I often tried multiple things each night. The pizza and grill place next to the pools was also a great place to pick up lunch or a snack, but they did not stay open into the evening, so there was no late-night pizza available. We were also disappointed that the ice cream was not free whenever you wanted it. It was included at dinner, but the ice cream place next to the pools was never free. Also, I don’t know if this is standard with all cruise lines, but I was disappointed that I had to pay for pop. You could buy a Coke card for $35, but I opted to just drink water and tea. ENTERTAINMENT The entertainment on board was great. We really enjoyed Bert with a B in the Crooner’s lounge. Because we were onboard for two weeks we got to see almost everything we wanted to see. We did the shows in the Princess Theater most nights and enjoyed almost everything. The different comedians were really good. We also went to the Explorer’s Lounge most nights for their shows. We also attended an art auction while on board and enjoyed it a lot. Make sure you go to the first one for the free champagne. Tim, the cruise director, was awesome. It seems he’s everywhere. The pool games were a lot of fun as well. I participated in the drink mixing contest and had a blast! SERVICE The service on the ship was very good. Our cabin steward, Angelito, was great! We never had to ask for a thing and our room was always made up while we were away. Our waiters were also very good. We opted for the traditional dining, which was nice. We heard others complain that the Anytime Dining wasn’t as great as Princess makes it out to be, because it could often be difficult to get a table, even with a reservation. We did the late dining each week and had a lot of fun with everyone seated at our table. PORTS/SHORE EXCURSIONS Princess Cays - Princess’ private island was great. The snorkeling here was very good and the beach was very nice for relaxing. The BBQ buffet that is provided was also very good, but be sure to get there during the posted times, because they do close it at the exact time stated and will not let you into the line after that time. Ocho Rios - we booked the catamaran cruise to Dunn's River Falls through Princess. This excursion was a blast. We took the catamaran to the falls and climbed as a group. If you have never climbed the falls here, it is an absolute must. After our climb, we hopped back on the catamaran and sailed back to the ship. The crew provided lots of free rum drinks and we had great time dancing to the reggae music. Grand Cayman - we booked a trip to Stingray City with Moby Dick tours. This is by far the way to do Stingray City. There were only about 20 people on our boat as compared to 100 or so on the other groups that were out there. Our guides were great and had as kissing and holding the stingrays by the end of the trip. Overall, I was disappointed with Cayman. The shopping is great, but only if you are looking for high end merchandise. If you want normal souvenir type things, you’ll be disappointed. Also, much of the island was still in pretty bad shape from a previous hurricane. Cozumel - We booked a trip to swim with the dolphins through Princess. We went to Chankanaab National Park by taxi, where we had a chance to swim with Madonna (our dolphin). Our package included a hug, kiss, and a fin pull. Also, we had snorkel gear and got to interact with her under water. This was our favorite excursion by far and well worth the more expensive price. St. Thomas - We booked a snorkel trip to Buck Island through Princess and it was very good. We sailed on a pirate ship out to Buck Island and got to snorkel with sea turtles. The trip back was also a lot of fun with the crew of the Dubloon filling us with rum drinks and entertaining us. Also, they have a shop on shore where you can go all day for free drinks. Definitely a great excursion. St. Thomas was beautiful and one of our favorite stops. St. Maarten - This was the only port where we did not have an organized excursion booked. We did some shopping on the Dutch side and then took a cab to Orient Beach on the French side. As a tip, make sure you get the cost of the taxi up front and be sure to haggle to get the best deal. Orient Beach was breathtaking. The water was the most beautiful we saw in the Caribbean. We did walk down to the nude area. We didn’t join in going au naturel, but we did enjoy sunbathing on this section of the beach because merchants aren’t allowed to sell their goods here. Just don’t be rude and gawk. OVERALL We thoroughly enjoyed Princess and the Caribbean Princess and I would recommend it to anyone.

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Nov 30, -0001

Eastern Caribbean

Due to scheduling issues, last year’s Christmas Cruise with the extended family fell through, leaving us with a full year to plan our vacation. Only knowing about a dozen people who have cruised (ten hadn’t cruised in more than five years), we took the time to read as many reviews as possible. I’ve heard nothing but good things about St. Maarten, so spending the day there was a must. This quickly narrowed down our choices, as we wanted a

mega-ship that was only a couple of years old. Adventure of the Seas from RCI and the Caribbean Princess were our final choices. Everyone that I know of having sailed with Princess, we chose the latter. While not on ship, our intention was to avoid the crowds as much as possible, so we decided to plan everything on our own. Our cruise and airfare were booked through Travelocity.com. I am a loyal customer, so no research was needed here. However, our search for excursions ended up with http://www.Shoretrips.com. We drove to Bangor on the 16th, and stayed at the EconoLodge. Free parking and shuttle service actually saved us $15 for parking at the airport for the week. The next morning, we were at the airport by 5:00am. Our USAir flight was delayed due to rest requirements, which would have missed our connection in PHL. I advised the ticket agent that we were catching a cruise in FLL, and she got us switched over to American Eagle. Our connecting flight was now out of LaGuardia, so Laura got to see New York for the first time. While waiting in the terminal, we ran into Paul Guilfoyle, CSI’s Capt. Brass. That was pretty cool, even though we didn’t get a shot of it. We arrived at FLL at 1:00pm, twenty five minutes later we had our luggage. Having not eaten all day (nothing was open in Bangor, nothing served on flight), we were much inclined to eat before having to go through the dreaded Embarkation. There was a 1 hour wait at Chili’s…the only place to get food outside of security. We asked the Princess greeting crew if there was a place at pier where we could get food, and she told us to go on the ship and eat, that there was no lineup. Perfect. A quick cab ride and we were at pier, ten minutes later we were in our mini-suite. Dolphin 416 is mid-ship, right next to the main bank of elevators. I was a little worried of hearing the ‘ding’ all night long, but there is a wall between the rooms and the bank, which does a good job of blocking the sound. My only other concern was the much reported lack of privacy on the balcony, however my opinions differ here. The entire deck has a completely unobstructed view, making the added visibility from above a small price to pay. Actually, I can count the amount of times on one hand that I even saw someone while on my balcony. A surprise from Travelocity when we arrived in our stateroom…deluxe canapé’s waiting on our table, with a nice Thank You note with free photo coupon and $50 ship credit. Although the hors d’ouvres were horrible, the sentiment was lovely. My beautiful sister had called ahead and placed a chilled bottle of Möet and some petit fours (these were delicious) on the bedside. We opted for the queen bed setup, and we like to sleep close together. This is really hard when there is a split going down the middle of the bed (they just slide two regular beds together, and throw a sheet over them. You must request an actual queen sized bed prior to sailing). I asked our steward for an egg crate mattress; however he advised that they only have single ones and did not have the resources to provide two. This was resolved by a quick visit to the Purser’s desk, and the beds were properly converted an hour later. Hearing nothing but bad things about the coffee on the ship, we opted to bring a can of Tim Horton’s :Þ. Having called Princess in July to request a coffee percolator, I was shocked to find out that it was impossible after arriving on ship. Had I known, I wouldn’t have had a problem buying a travel sized one beforehand. Cirilo, our steward, came in to check on things once we had our minor issues taken care of, and offered to bring us fresh fruit in the morning. He also provided us with a complimentary glass of champagne. A wonderful man from the Philippians, words cannot describe his hospitality and kindness. We like to keep our own schedule as much as possible, so opted for Anytime Dining. Once getting straightened away in the room, we headed for the Horizon Court for lunch. The food is absolutely amazing in both Buffets…Café Caribe being the more formal. The seafood was mostly not cultivated, so my main course consisted of fish most of the time. Laura, being a vegetarian, stuck to pasta and veggies. Over the course of the week we tried every restaurant that did not charge. We dined with 2 other couples the first night, and on our own the rest. It was nice to be able to choose your seating arrangements to fit the mood, and dining with a small group was a great way to kick it off. Twice we had to leave the dining room to go to the buffet, as there was nothing of interest on the limited vegetarian menu. Asking the waiter to have “any kind of pasta” prepared was returned with a No, despite what I have read in some reviews. Only items listed on the menu was being served in the dining room. Our days at sea were wonderful, despite gale force winds and rain on the first. There is plenty to do on the ship, for all types of people. We leisurely spent the time watching "M.U.T.S. (Movies Under The Stars) from the hot tub, enjoying the various Matinées and shows in the Princess Theatre, playing Blackjack in the Casino ($50 provided us with a week’s worth of entertainment), or simply relaxing on the balcony. They don’t seem to want you to do anything for yourself, save getting your own food at the buffet. I could only think of two cons: Lack of garbage cans and no Pepsi. We bought a dozen in St. Maarten…some folks brought liquor back onboard as well, and had no problems carrying it back to their room. The ship was at capacity, including 800 children. The only time you could tell was the last night, when they had a sleepover…added a lovely Christmas air to the end. The remaining passengers were divided up as follows: 25% seniors, 50% middle aged, 25% young adults We had booked the Rhino Riders excursion from http://www.Shoretrips.com, and they provided us with complete directions, included with the receipt. This was definitely the highlight of the trip. The group departing as we arrived, from Princess, contained a party of around sixteen. Ours consisted of four…we were joined by a young couple staying on the island for their honeymoon. The waters around Creole Rock are crystal clear, and we used some underwater cameras to capture some beautiful marine life (we bought a box of 10x800 exposure cameras from eBay for $22.00). Due to such a small group, we were able to spend some time on one of the French beaches, as well. The rest of the day in St. Maarten was spent shopping. The next morning we arrived in St. Thomas. The first couple off the boat, we headed straight for the Red Hook ferry, and awaiting St. John. Our original plan was to do the SNUBA tour, but they were closed for the Holidays; Shoretrips.com having advised us of such 60 days prior to sailing. So we opted for a 14’ Zodiac half day rental from Noah’s Little Arks. The island is absolutely beautiful from the shore, but the person working at the rental shop was the rudest person we came across during the entire cruise, putting a very bitter end to the trip. After a zip around the island, we had a stiff drink at the bar next door (free pouring…perfect timing again!), and headed back to St. Thomas for an afternoon of shopping. Princess Cays is absolutely beautiful. I was not impressed with the snorkeling here, as the beach is open to the sea and the water is quite cloudy unless it’s calm. It’s a wonderful place to spend a relaxing day on the sand and get some souvenirs. Lots of people wanting to braid Laura’s hair...Four people in a row, not ten feet apart! I wonder if anyone actually changes their mind if they ask you four times in a row, lol. We arrived back in Fort Lauderdale on Sunday morning, and welcomed our two day post cruise package at the Renaissance Ft. Lauderdale. Thinking that it would be nice to have the last few details taken care of for us, we decided to book it through Princess. After the lengthy disembarkation procedure, we spent an additional 25 minutes outside waiting for our shuttle. Failing its return, the Princess rep finally decided to write a voucher for the cab, which we would share with another couple. Totaling twelve pieces of luggage and 4 passengers, there was no way we would all fit in the car. They sandwiched us in and off to the hotel…Needless to say, I regretted not booking the last leg on my own. Our plan was to spend the last days on South Beach basking in the sun, but we changed our minds shortly after checking in. Budget Rent-A-Car was in the next building, and we lucked in to a Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder for $45/day…with only 15 miles on the odometer. We decided to drive to Disney World in Orlando for Christmas Day. The scenic route north was absolutely breathtaking, and well worth the extra time. Not expecting the separate costs for each area of Disney World, we only went to Epcot. A wonderful experience, but never will we visit again. The service was terrible, food abysmal, and costs were high. Choosing Princess was a good decision for our first cruise, and we are looking forward to sailing with them again. The overall experience was unforgettable, and I will be impressed if they can top it in the future. Travelocity has always been my choice for personal travel, their service is second to none in the travel industry. http://www.Shoretrips.com I will strongly recommend, as well. There were no issues on location, and the directions and travel tips were spectacular. We’ve posted some pictures at http://nfld2nr.spaces.live.com. Feel free to stop by and share our memories.

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Nov 30, -0001

Eastern Caribbean

Pros- Quality of public areas, quality of excursions, quality of dining room service Cons- Comfort level of beds, smoky casino, smelly toilet, lack-luster entertainment Let me start off by saying that we really enjoyed the cruise. It came at a time where we both needed the time off. Especially with a bun in the oven that’s due in about 3 months. I’m going to break down each aspect of the cruise for simplicity. Embarkation: Nothing bad

to say here except the heat, and that’s not entirely the fault of Princess Cruises. I say not entirely because the building is large enough to have the line inside the air conditioned building instead of making people wait outside. Luckily the line moved pretty quickly. The muster training was pretty painless as well. Shoving off: Great time with locals hooting and hollering. Just wish that Princess had more of a party than they did. Stateroom: We had a balcony stateroom on the Caribe deck (10th floor). The Caribe deck balconies are the largest on the boat (except for suites at least). However, they are still open to balconies above. Both the Caribe deck and the Dolphin deck had exposed balconies. We didn’t get a chance to really enjoy the balcony though because every time we went out there, there was someone smoking upwind of us. Princess needs to put the smokers near the back of the boat and figure out a way to enforce a no-smoking rule on balconies in the front of the boat. The stateroom itself was acceptable if not a little small, but that’s to be expected and no less than any other standard stateroom on any other ship. The beds were the most uncomfortable I have ever slept on, cruise or otherwise. Definitely ask for the egg-crate foam as it does help a little. T.V. viewing could improve a lot also. I know most people don’t go on a cruise to watch T.V., but it would be nice to keep up on current events such as news and sports at times when you are in your stateroom. Most channels were for kids or were in Spanish. All I’d ask for is an American news channel and ESPN. Suggestion: bring a can of air freshener for the bathroom. It doesn’t only stink after you use it but the water itself stinks as well. Food: Great food options. Between buffets and dining rooms, there was always an opportunity to have food. And, the food was good too. My only complaint here was the small selection of food available for room service. Why can’t I get a morning breakfast with eggs and pancakes? We had chosen to eat at the 6pm sitting in the Island Dining Room. Our waiters were Istvan and Gary. I highly recommend them if you get a chance to select where to sit. They gave us the best service I’ve ever had on a cruise boat. I don’t suggest that you even try the Palm Dining Room. It must be right over the engines because the whole dining room shakes and vibrates not to mention the noise itself. Also, don’t waste your money with the “additional fee” restaurants. Their food and service is not better than what you get in the formal dining room and the dining room is already paid for. Definitely get the soda pass, it’s well worth it. Entertainment: In a word, boring. All but one show bored both of us. They had an Elton John impersonator that was marginal at best, dancers that were not in sync with each other, and some comedians that weren’t very funny. And Kimika? They were the worst of the entertainers. They dragged out jokes entirely too long and all of the impersonations they tried weren’t that good. The one bright spot was Troy Thirdgill. He was a comedian that had everyone in the place rolling. Very funny man. I know everyone has there own opinions about what is funny but I think I’m on par with what a lot of people thought. Most of the people walking out were saying the same things that I was thinking. Excursions: Pricey but most of them are worth it. We did the America’s Cup Regatta in St Martin (highly recommend it), Turtle Cove snorkel in St Thomas (highly recommend it, lots of Rum punch), San Gervasio ruins (don’t recommend) and scavenger hunt in Cozumel (highly recommend), Stingray City and turtle farm in Grand Cayman (highly recommend), and Dunn’s River Falls in Ochos Rios (highly recommend). As for Princess Cays, I echo everyone’s previous comments about going to the right side of the island for peace and quiet. However the snorkeling there is beginner level at best. It’s only marginally more exciting than snorkeling in your pool. Don’t waste your time on cabanas though. If you get there early enough, you can get lounge chairs for free under a tree. Lotus Spa: Massage is expensive, but well worth it. One of the best I’ve ever had. If you wait until the end of the cruise though, they give some discounts. My wife got a pedicure on the first day and it lasted through all of the snorkeling and beach time and is still holding up well now (nearly 3 weeks later). Activities onboard: There weren’t enough “free” and interesting activities to do onboard when at sea. These days were spent relaxing, napping and reading for us. That’s not a bad thing but if you are looking to stay busy, it might be tough. Monday Night Football under the stars is terrific though. All in all, I think it was worth the money. As for comparing to other cruise lines, I would say it’s on par with my experiences with Norwegian. Each cruise line has pros and cons but overall, I would recommend this line, ship, and itinerary to anyone.

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Nov 30, -0001

Eastern Caribbean

We sailed on the Caribbean Princess on September 16, 2006 on the Eastern Caribbean itinerary. We stayed the previous night in Fort Lauderdale at the Embassy Suites hotel a very short distance from the port. When I called and asked the hotel if they provided a shuttle service to the port I was told no. However, when we arrived I asked the front desk clerk again and was told sure but to check to see if there was space available. There was and we took

the 1:30 shuttle to the pier. No charge. We arrived at the check in about 2:00 PM but if I had to do it again would probably go a little later. There were a lot of people in line and although the entire check-in process only took about 30 minutes it was a little stressful Not the cruise lines fault, simply a function of a few thousand people all trying to do the same thing at once. Once checked in we went up the gang plank to the ship. It was my first time on a “mega ship” and I was impressed. A beautiful ship. Previous people had commented about the lack of an escort to your stateroom. I have taken multiple cruises in the past and this always happened. On the Princess they just kind of “steer” you in the right direction to your room. Ok it’s not as personal but after all there are over 3,000 passengers. When we checked out the room we were very pleased. We had a balcony stateroom with a pull down third bed for our 29 year old daughter. Everything was very nice and actually a little larger than I had expected. Our bags were delivered timely and efficiently and once unpacked the bags were stowed so we had more room. We opted for anytime dining but on our first night went to the dining room (Coral?) and spoke with one of the head waiters. We politely asked for a table by ourselves by a window. He asked if we wanted it for the entire cruise. We said if that was possible it would be great. I tipped him a modest amount of money and our table was set for the entire week. Great table, great service and of course, great food. We found all the food to be excellent and enough of a selection to allow you to eat healthy if you wanted to. We tried but sometimes just failed miserably. The buffet was always stocked and had a very nice variety of things to choose from. Although there were so many passengers for the most part the ship didn’t seem too crowded. Some passengers, as usual, were a little bit of a nuisance but no more than you would find at any other spot. Overall, we found the ship to be clean, fun and the staff friendly and generally happy. I enjoyed the fact that the waiters & waitresses didn’t “push” you for cocktails. On other cruise lines I have been on that was not the case. On Princess they are available and will walk by but only occasionally will ask if you would like something. The on board entertainment was fair. Some of the comedians were funny and some made you wonder why we weren’t comics. But the entertainment was not a big issue for us. We did find Bert the piano player to be very good and played a range of music to please all. He is a little odd but actually pretty talented. The casino staff seemed distant and very impersonal. I think if you are losing your money the dealers should at least be friendly. But that’s just my opinion. We did find the casino to be very smoky and uncomfortable to be in for long periods of time. As we lost pretty quickly this wasn’t a big problem for us. Some tips for future travelers. 1) Deck 15 pool by the spa is very nice and adult only. Hard to get a chair right by the pool but plenty available up a small flight of steps. 2) The thermal room pass for the spa ($109 for 2 for the entire cruise) is well worth the money. Hope this helps and hope you have a great trip.

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Nov 30, -0001

14 Day back/back East & West Caribbean

This was our first cruise experience. It will also probably be our last. I am not a fan of public pools and the pools on this ship were basically used as big wading areas. There was really no room to swim or even to get a stroke in. Each bar had a set menu of drinks. unfortunately, as the week went on my wife and I discovered that the prices listed on the menu were not always the prices charged for the drink. For example, we both ordered a large

Mai Tai on the same day. Different bartenders, same bar. Her drink with tip was 10.80, mine was 6.80. Prices varied by which bar you went to too. The music on the boat was so bad that we could not sit through the show. I am a fan of neighborhood bar bands but really not sure if either band could play the neighborhood circuit. Also, the volume was incredibly too loud in every venue. Again, I like loud music, but to sit on the isle seats and not hear the person next to you is kind of ridiculous. We ate at the formal dining room twice. Not impressed. Felt like we were being stalked by the wait staff and rushed through dinner. Speaking of dinner, we chose anytime dining and many times when we chose to eat at the buffet our room attendant would question us over and over when we were leaving the room again, this is after we put out the do not disturb sign. When we first arrived he must have knocked on our door or entered the room unannounced at least ten times. Always felt like we had to check in with him when we were leaving. The cruise line decided that this trip was a good time to varnish the rails so 4 of the seven days our balcony was all but unusable because the rails were wet and tacky. Do not mail anything on the ship. We followed the posted rules on times when to mail from which port. We still have not received much of the mail and postcards that were mailed from the ship. The ones mailed from the ports did arrive. On good notes, the buffet always had some appealing food, never did we starve or could not find food we liked. It is a little confusing which buffet is open at what time but they are all in the same place so it is not really a problem. There was always seating in the buffet areas (the ship was sailing at capacity) and the servers (a lot of them) were on top of cleaning off the tables. The Luau party was cheesy as was most of the deck games. Too much like camp. Guess my wife summed the whole cruise experience up the best as the typical wedding reception, so-so food, forced fun and laughter, over priced drinks, and bad cheesy music. Club Fusion was sparsely attended whenever we went to it as was the sky walker lounge. the art auction was questionable as we attended on Monday and were told by Billy that any artwork that went up for auction and did not sell would not be seen again this cruise. Much of this artwork was again available by the end of the cruise. It would also have helped to get a full week's listing of events instead of the day by day tactic of the Princess Patter. We missed two comedians that we would have liked to seen because I was under the impression that they would be there all week. Wrong impression. Tendering to shore was not a problem. shore excursions were lacking especially private beach after Dunn's River Falls in Ochoa Rios, (felt like we were captured) and the airboat ride in Ft. Lauderdale. Princess Cays is really just like any other beach (did we really leave the states?) And all of the tours seemed very rushed. Final note, everyone talked about the over the top food, the fun sculptures with towels the porters do in your room, the stars at night (too much light from the ship) and the relaxation. We felt none of that. It was either crowded and loud outside our room or if we chose to stay in the room the steward was constantly knocking on the door. Next vacation we will definitely choose another mode of transportation

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Nov 30, -0001

Eastern Caribbean

As first time cruisers we really didn't know what to expect and so we were a bit more timid than I think we would be in future. For example, we booked transfers with the cruise line to and from the airport - we ended up having to wait quite a while at the airport in both directions. The port is not far from the airport in Ft. Lauderdale and you could easily manage it on your own via cab. Embarkation was far easier and faster than I ever thought, save

for the people who can't follow instructions (have your passport out and fill-in the forms Princess sends you in advance!!!). Our Room We had an interior stateroom but have absolutely no complaints about the size of the room or its amenities (the shower is a bit snug but, after all, it is a cruise ship!). There was a large closet, a free safe and enough room under the bed to store our suitcases. We were on the Baja Deck (11) in room B203 at the very front of the ship. It was a little rocky but the worst part was that the crew quarters were immediately in front of us and we could hear them at night. We heard the middle of the boat is much better. Check the deck plan when booking your room - don't end up above Club Fusion (it is noisy all night) and the Lido deck between the elevator and the deck doors is a high-traffic/high noise area as well. Also: watch out a lot of the balconies are tiered and are visible from the ones above - no privacy. The Food Princess is renowned for its food and with good reason. The buffet is a bit repetitive but don't go on a cruise to eat at the buffet! We had anytime dining - which we loved b/c we could have our own schedule. The Coral dining room staff was top notch (better than the Palm)so ask for Alice from Romania if you can. Also we finally figured out that Cafe Caribe serves leftovers from the formal dining room (including the crab legs and lobster tails, don't miss the sushi buffet too!)Room service menu is slightly limited but it is free 24/7. My husband liked the hot dogs from the grill - I also liked the grilled chicken and pizza they had. My husband bought a coke card and for $31 he got unlimited pop for the week. I packed a large water bottle and a bunch of crystal light singles and made my own drinks. The only free beverages are iced tea (not sweet), tea, coffee and water. At breakfast you can also get milk and juice but the cranberry "juice" is just sugar water. If you are buying alcohol - tell them you don't want the souvenier glass and you can save a few bucks. Also, cocktails are cheapest when purchased in the casino. There will be daily freebies near the main pool area in the afternoon - watch because these aren't mentioned anywhere (some afternoons is free ice cream, free rum punch during sailaway party). The Ship This is a big ship. We were on a full sailing - yet we never had problems finding a quiet corner or lounge chair but we did have to wait quite a while for the elevator. We started going to the Lotus pool at about 8:30pm each night - no one there at all! We heard from others that the atrium on this ship does not compare to much more impressive architecture on other ships but we had nothing to compare it to and no complaints. There are some really neat parts to this ship: don't miss the skywalker's night club or mini golf at the back of the ship! The Entertainment Here I must say we were disappointed. The ensemble production shows have great costumes and stage sets but the singing was horribly off-key and the writing was very cheesy. We saw two comedians on our ship the second one, a guy from BET, was hilarious and worth seeing. The first comedian, Chris something, was very racist. I mean the show starts off with the cruise director talking about how international the crew is and then this comedian comes on and has the same old stereotype jokes - no wit required (ie. chinese can't say R, Mexicans can only sell chicklets, etc.) we, along with all the guests belonging to a visible minority, walked out early. The Princess theatre is not sufficiently sized for the number of people on this ship - its a good thing the shows are so bad most people don't bother to go to the ones later in the week. If you are a theater goer then go early. The movies under the stars is a great idea and we enjoyed several films while onboard. Lotus Spa I had 2 massages ($109/each + tip) and bought the thermal sanctuary pass ($70/week). My massage therapist Anne was fabulous. I had the full-body swedish massage and loved it! I had the first one the first night on the ship - the spa was basically empty and it was a wonderful start to our trip. The next massage was in the morning on my birthday. The massage was still great but the massage room was immediately below the jogging track - the banging on the ceiling from other people's footfalls was distracting and not relaxing at all - book your massages at night when no one is jogging. The thermal sanctuary was worth every penny but stay on the staff - if the aroma room doesnt smell then they've forgotten to change the scent, if the hot stone loungers look like they need wiping down then tell the staff and they will. Don't miss the fruit-infused spa water it is free and very refreshing. Don't worry the sauna is not supposed to have hot air -the seats are hot - a very neat idea. If you are at all interested in the spa then don't be afraid to ask for a tour - I asked about the mud room before booking and was VERY glad I had as I otherwise would have been disappointed. Ship board personalities Our cruise director was annoying but by not staying near the main pool you can avoid the silly games (Survivor, King of the Caribbean etc) if you want. They have this shopping guru who has her own show on the ship's TV. She is a little scary but don't worry, once you've passed the shopping "Mecca" (no lie, that's how they describe it - never mind the religious insensitivity) of Saint Maarten she disappears. Our cabin steward Steilan was polite, efficient and helpful. Ports We absolutely loved St. Thomas. We got up early and walked into town (40 min) where everything was just opening up - we had a nice look around and returned to the ship by lunch. In the afternoon my husband went on the discover scuba excursion to Coki Beach. ($89). I went along for the ride ($25). The beach was beautiful and my husband loved the SCUBA so much he intends to get his certification this winter. Well worth every penny. Remember to bring cash on excursions for tips as they cannot be added to your ship account! Traffic on this island can get pretty backed up so be sure to leave lots of time for return to the ship. St. Maarten was a huge disappointment. The port area is dirty and under construction and the walk to the shopping area is dirty and difficult. We were taken in by an unscrupulous timeshare scam (watch out for the green 'scratch' tickets) first thing. There were a lot of buskers on the street who were accosting people trying to get them to buy things. I found this port to be too busy and with too many people trying to sell stuff. If you are not a super-interested shopper then you are better off hopping on a cab and going to a beach on this island. We did go to the Yoda Guy gallery on Front St and bought a lithograph - a must-see for any Star Wars fan! Princess Cays was a wonderful day. We hung out at South beach. We had water socks (waterproof shoes with a sole) which made the day - the beach is mostly sharp coral and bare feet = pain. We rented a float which was worth the $8. We couldn't get a cabana but it turns out it wasn't needed as there is plenty of other shade. You can charge most stuff to the ship board account here but the coke cards don't work. I thought this was a major gouge by Princess and was unacceptable. They own the island and they sold my husband an unlimited coke pass for $31 - why can't they honour that on Princess Cays? I went snorkeling here and saw some HUGE fish. Disembarkation WOW. Princess really exceeded my expectations here. We waited in the Princess theatre in total comfort watching CNN. We were paged to proceed to the gangway at about 9:30 and were on the coach on the other side of customs with our luggage by 10:00. We were at the airport by 10:30. All of our luggage was where it was supposed to be, it was easy to find and there was plenty of help on hand if needed. Even the customs folks were pleasant! Overall My parents have cruised extensively with Princess and insisted we go with them. While I enjoyed the trip I did not feel like the service was 'over the top'. Some people on the ship told us that the service used to be better before Carnival bought the line. Again - it wasn't bad, it just wasn't what we had been told to expect. I would not be opposed to trying Princess again in future but they haven't captured my undying loyalty.

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Nov 30, -0001

Eastern Caribbean

What a beautiful ship! Food was better than average with very good service. Don't miss the welcome buffet on the first night. Tons of lobster, king crab, shrimp. The best I've ever seen on a ship and this was before dinner. One very big mistake we made was we booked a penthouse suite. DO NOT waste your money. Beautiful room but they are under the pool deck. Caribbean music all day and much of the night. Pool chairs dragging all the time. HORRIBLE.

Hotel management couldn't or wouldn't provide another room. Other than the fact that our room was awful, we had a very nice time and we loved the ship.

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Nov 30, -0001

Western Caribbean

Well, having just returned from our first ever cruise taken to celebrate our silver wedding, I must admit to already searching to go back next year. The whole experience was magnificent apart from a couple of things that were not directly the responsibility of the cruise line but more of that later. Having read the most recent review for this ship I must admit wondering whether we were actually on the same ship? The ship was operating to capacity

but it never felt crowded although we did spend most of our time ashore or at the adult only pools - merely because we did not want noise and pool games - this was our choice as all the entertainment you could ever need was there all day and for most of the night. Our steward, Toon, was faultless - he was never intrusive and our stateroom was always clean and tidy even with all our belongings strewn everywhere! We did have folded towels but you need to request this service - do attend the towel and napkin folding display it is really interesting the shapes they make out of a few towels! The food and service was gold star - cannot really discuss alcohol prices etc as we tended to have a bottle of wine at dinner and maybe the "bucket" of beer if we were thirsty during the day. Formal evenings were lovely - it was so nice to see everyone make the effort to dress up - I never thought I would see my husband in a tux! One warning - the official photographs are good but very expensive - we only bought 3 but would have loved to buy more but not possible on a limited budget. The crew come from all over the world and were all friendly and enjoyed spending time chatting to us - especially Belinda who was part of the entertainment team - say Hi from the Brits who won the trivia quiz if you see her! Beware of the shopping "discount" book the Savvy Traveler - the shopping talk in the theatre on your 1st day at sea mainly concentrates on Cozumel - if you are booked to go on any trip to the mainland in Mexico you will not go to Cozumel - do not buy the book it is a con to get you to spend $20 although the seminar is good fun and Carrie knows her stuff. If you are thinking of taking an excursion whilst in Mexico avoid the tulum and xel-ha lagoon trip. you have a mile long hike to reach your coach when you leave the ship, you then are taken for a "rest" stop to a large Mexican souvenir shop for about 20-25 minutes - no need for this stop!. When you reach Tulum you then have another 20 min. walk from the coach park to the ruins unless you take the land train for $2 dollars return - take it!!! Our guide disappeared on us as we were walking a bit slower than everyone else due to my legs and feet having swollen to tree trunk size!! We have some lovely photos of the ruins but not a clue what they are!! Lunch is also inedible - buy some snacks if you can! The lagoon is lovely when you have been walking around ruins in the heat of the midday sun but disappointing that you don't get snorkeling equipment included in cost of the trip. You will then have another hike from the coach to the ship on your return. British Airways was also a disappointment - the service was not brilliant and the food was inedible also - we have written to Princess because they are obviously buying in these services and they are spoiling the service we received directly from Princess cruises and all their staff which were excellent and we could not fault them in any way at all. All in all a once in a lifetime trip that I hope we will be able to repeat one day. Thank You Caribbean Princess!

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Nov 30, -0001

Western Caribbean

This cruise was planned for 12 girls who graduated from high school 2 weeks earlier, 11 of their parents (all 40ish-50ish), and 2 older siblings (ages 20 and 21) (see picture of the kids). We had a total of 25 in our group (see group picture). Getting There: The Caribbean Princess sails from Ft. Lauderdale. We live outside of Atlanta, so we chartered a bus to drive us all down. That was great because we didn’t have to worry about luggage weight

restrictions, nor did we have to worry about our flight getting cancelled, etc. As we learned from another family on the ship, they will not wait for you if your flight has problems, unless you book an air/cruise package through Princess. When you read recommendations to fly to the city of departure the day before you sail, it’s very good advice! If the ship sails without you, you will have to pay for a hotel room in Ft Lauderdale, a flight to the first port, and a hotel room there. VERY expensive on top of what you already paid for the cruise! We left Atlanta at 11:00 pm Friday night, drove over night, stopped for breakfast, and arrived at the port at about 10:30 am. Embarkation: We gave all our luggage to several porters and proceeded into the terminal to wait. They began the boarding process at about 12 noon and we were in the third group. It went fairly quickly, although there was some confusion because the girls were 4 to a room and needed their charges billed to 4 separate credit cards. We also discovered that it wasn’t enough to just register the card you wanted everything charged to online, in advance, like some of the girls did who didn’t have parents traveling with them. You actually had to physically have the credit card with you when you checked in. We worked it all out with minimal difficulty and were on the ship fairly quickly (considering we were “herding” 25 people!). Upon entering the ship, we were all amazed by its beauty. It is very elegant and is kept very clean. Food: The food was generally good, but not great. My husband and daughter (age 18) both thought the food on Carnival was better. The soups (especially the mushroom and minestrone soups) were the best thing on the menu! We chose late traditional seating (8:15 pm) since we had so many people to coordinate and it’s impossible to get 12 teenaged girls ready for dinner much earlier than that, especially when they are 4 to a bathroom! We absolutely LOVED our waiters and their assistants (Jsus, Olsen, and Adrien). The problem with late traditional seating was that, by the time we got done with a leisurely 5 course meal, we couldn’t get seats in the theater, lounges, or Movies Under the Stars. It made taking advantage of the evening activities VERY difficult. One night, we decided to do “anytime dining” in the Coral Dining room to try and solve the problem, at least for one night. We couldn’t make a reservation because it would nullify our standing traditional late seating reservation (a definite flaw in the system), so we had to just go and wait. The girls/siblings didn’t go with us, so there were 11 of us. They said it would be about a 30 minute wait and we would have to sit at 2 tables. A large table actually opened up right away and we all got to sit together and only waited about 10 minutes. We did get done with dinner earlier, but really missed our regular waiter and the special service we had become accustomed to. In the future, it might be better to take advantage of anytime dining, but make a standing reservation for the same table, just a little earlier than 8:15. We all really enjoyed getting to know our wait staff and establishing a relationship with them. Keep in mind that the chefs on this ship are very accommodating. If you want something you don’t see, ask for it. Many times, they can comply. There were nights when some of the girls didn’t see anything they liked on the menu, so they ordered spaghetti and meatballs. On Italian night, there wasn’t any cannoli on the menu. My friend mentioned this to the Pastry Chef on the tour of the galley and he said they would have made it for her if she had asked. We didn’t know!! The sail away seafood buffet in the Horizon Court was fantastic -- all you can eat lobster claws, boiled shrimp, and Alaskan king crab legs. The crab legs were the best. If you drink soft drinks, I definitely recommend you buy a “Coke Card.” There are plenty of tables set up to sell them when you get on the ship (you can’t miss them!). The card costs $31.80 for the week and gets you unlimited soft drinks (except can’t be used on Princess Cays – another flaw in the system). This is a bargain for most when you add up soft drinks at $1.50 + 15% gratuity per soft drink. Gratuity is included in the $31.80. We never had any trouble getting a soft drink from the waiters who are constantly checking with you at the pool to see if you need a drink. The only free drinks on the ship are unsweetened ice tea, coffee, and water (not bottled). At breakfast, you can also get milk and juice free. I recommend that you bring a big insulated mug. You can get water with lemon or lime from the bars/waiters to sip on all day at the pool. Many of us had the pizza throughout the week and it is quite good, as others have stated. It made a great quick lunch at the pool or a snack between lunch and late dinner. The room service menu is limited but is free and available 24 hours/day. My son ordered a club sandwich one day and it came within 15-20 minutes and was good, not great. Surprisingly, the fries that came with it were hot and tasty. I never did find the free ice cream that is supposedly available in the Horizon Court in the late afternoons. Ice cream is available every night on the dessert menu in the dining room and several of our group purchased ice cream from Scoops (very reasonably priced) and said it was good. You can also purchase an “ice cream card” (similar to the Coke card) for $17.50 (I think) for unlimited ice cream from Scoops for the week. None of us purchased it, so I don’t really know how it worked. For breakfast, we always had the Horizon Court buffet and it was more than sufficient. Scrambled eggs – either plain or with stuff in them, omelets cooked to order, fried eggs – perfectly cooked over easy, smoked salmon and other meats, bacon/sausage, cantaloupe, honey dew, watermelon, papaya, oatmeal, grits, cold cereal, Danish, bagels, English muffins, etc., etc. Coffee lovers beware - the coffee is terrible!!! I went to Afternoon Tea one day and it was wonderful! Tea was great and scones were to die for!!! Definitely try it if you like tea. We did not try Sabitinis or the Sterling Steakhouse. Navigating the Ship: It’s true that all the elevators don’t go to all the floors, but we learned quickly how to navigate to the areas we went most frequently and didn’t have any trouble getting around the ship (I was a little worried about this from all the reviews I read before we went). There are little maps at each of the elevators that are pretty self-explanatory. Ports: St Thomas – Shopping was good. We bought our daughter a pink sapphire ring for her 18th birthday at Nita’s Jewelry (recommended in another review). I haven’t had the ring appraised here yet, but did feel like we got a good deal and the service was excellent. It’s a small, family owned shop and isn’t on the cruise ship’s “recommended list” (which I don’t really trust since I believe the ship gets kickbacks from those stores). We also took a cab over to Magen’s Bay, supposedly one of the top 10 beaches in the world. We were not impressed at all. It looked like a state park and wasn’t what I would consider one of the best beaches in the world. We did get a deal from the cab driver at the port. We arranged, up front, to be taken to the shopping area and then be picked up and taken to Magen’s Bay, and then be taken back to the ship. He didn’t charge us for taking us into town. Also, the vehicle was big enough for all 25 of us to go together, so that was a plus. St Maarten – We loved St Maarten! Shopping here was also good. We stayed on the Dutch side since it was a little pricey for us all to go over to the French side (which I would have like to have seen). We loved the fact that we could lay on the beach and shop all in the same place (they are right next to each other). The main shopping street is so quaint! We took the water taxi to the downtown area (second stop), which was a bargain at $5 per person round trip. When we got off the water taxi, we went to the left to find chairs on the beach together. As we walked, many locals came up to us trying to “give us a deal” on beach chairs/umbrellas. We found that friendly competition worked in our favor. We needed 25 beach chairs and managed to get them for $3 each for the day (saying, “Well that guy over there will give them to us for $3.50 each. If you will give them to us for $3, we’ll take them from you.”). They also made water trampolines, jet skis, and parasailing available to us, each for a fee. Drinks were also available right behind where we were sitting, at a number of beach bars. Princess Cays – You have to go to the Princess Theater and wait to catch a ship’s tender over to Princess Cays. We went around 10:00 a.m. and only waited about 15 minutes for our row to be called. We loved Princess Cays! It is an absolutely beautiful island – great beach, gorgeous blue-green water. They had plenty of beach chairs and we loved just having a relaxing day on the beach. I also liked the little shops for straw bags and local jewelry. HINT: If you walk outside the Princess Cays area (straight ahead to the “Exit” as you get off the tender), there are a bunch of little local stands, almost like a flea market. They have great prices and a wonderful steel drum band is playing while you walk around and shop. It’s called the “Craft Centre.” You must have your cruise card to get in and out of this area. NOTE: Some places on Princess Cays only take your cruise card and some only take cash, so do make sure you take some cash with you, although don’t leave it in your beach bag when you go to lunch. We made the mistake of doing that and had some money taken from our bag while we were eating. The buffet is OK and plentiful – grilled chicken breasts, salad, hot dogs, bratwurst, hamburgers, ribs, corn on the cob, desserts, tea/water, etc. It closes at 1:00 p.m., so watch your time. The lines got long around 12:00, but there are 4 of them (at least), so they moved quickly. There are plenty of covered picnic tables to eat at. We rented the floats for $8/day and that was great – floating in the beautiful, Caribbean water all day – heaven! The girls did the Banana Boat ride but said it was boring. The boat pulling it seemed small and I don’t think it could go very fast to give a fun ride (like teenagers like!). Several in our group rented snorkel equipment and snorkeled right off the beach. They said the fish were plentiful and beautiful. This is a great option if you don’t like snorkeling in deep water. We went back to the ship on one of the last tenders, anxious to make the most of a beautiful day. Dress Codes: On the two formal nights, we did dress in formals/tuxes, but any nice dress and a suit/tie are also fine. The other nights, casual dresses or skirts for the women and casual slacks and an open neck, collared shirt for the men were pretty much the norm. They do enforce the dress code of no shorts in the dining room for men. If you prefer to dress more casually for dinner, you can always go to the buffet. It’s great that there are options for everyone. During the day, all you really need is a bathing suit and cover up, both on the ship and in port. Entertainment: In general, we thought the entertainment was mediocre. The Princess singers and dancers were not very good. I didn’t see the magician, but some of our friends did and said he was excellent. We all went to the comedy hypnosis show. My husband, son, daughter, and several of the girls in our group were hypnotized and it was hysterical! We went back for the second show and several more of our group were in the show. It was great!! Bert Stratton was as good as everyone says. He reminded me of Jim Carey in terms of his animation, facial expressions, etc. He is VERY talented! The only problem is that his show lends itself to a small lounge and there are not enough seats for all who want to take in the show. We never did get seats to see a whole show – just stood in the back for parts of a couple of shows. He is worth the effort to get seats, if you can!!! Stateroom: Most of us had inside cabins. The girls had 3 cabins, 4 girls to a cabin. Needless to say, it was tight and they blew fuses all trying to get ready at the same time, but they managed. My son, husband, and I shared a triple inside cabin – R712. It was small but adequate. The shower is very small, as others have mentioned (only a problem if you drop the soap!). Storage is fairly plentiful for the size of the room. We were near the back of the ship and did feel quite a bit of the ship’s movement, but it didn’t cause us any problems. Beds were much more comfortable once we got the egg crate mattress cover we requested. You can also ask for feather pillows which were much more comfortable than the foam ones that are in the room when you arrive. We used the free in-room safe for all our cash which we definitely recommend. The kids talked to a man who had $1100 taken from his room which he didn’t have in the safe. We registered our preferences on-line before we sailed and I requested a robe in my room (and in my daughter’s room). Neither of us had a robe when we checked in and had to request one. That was rather annoying. Our biggest complaint is what sounded like roller skating elephants over our head off and on 24 hours a day. We think it was one of the kitchens that serve the restaurants on the Lido Deck above us and it kept us awake every night – VERY annoying! Our friends who had rooms on lower decks said it was very quiet. Our steward was the biggest disappointment of the trip. From all the reviews I had read before we went, I was expecting excellent service from our room steward. He left wet, used towels in the room the first night when he serviced the room while we were at dinner. Frequently, he forgot to leave beach towels in the room (which you need to take off the boat when you’re in port). I had asked for some extra pillows and although he did bring them, one night, one of them disappeared (very strange!). One night, I tried to page him, according to the instructions on a card in our room and he never responded. Everyone else in our party seemed very happy with their stateroom steward. We did not reduce his tip, but not leave him any extra as we did for the wait staff in the dining room. Recommendations: (1) Take an extension cord and power strip. You can only plug a razor in in the bathroom and there are only two outlets in the room, so a power strip and extension cord came in very handy; (2) Take a little plastic basket (approx. 5” x 6”) to put on the desk for each person in the room to throw miscellaneous things in (e.g., cruise card, sunglasses, change, jewelry, etc.); (3) Take a shoe organizer that hangs on the back of a door (the kind with clear plastic pockets) to hang on the inside of the bathroom door. This can be used to store all kinds of bathroom stuff and other items in very little space; (4) Take a narrow organizer that hangs in the closet that can be used to store purses and shoes; (5) TAKE A TRAVEL ALARM. There are no clocks in the rooms; (6) Request an egg crate mattress cover and feather pillows as soon as you see your steward the first time (the earlier the better – they run out of these!). The Ship and Miscellaneous Stuff: There were two formal nights on which the photographers were set up to take pictures. They had 10 different photography stations set up, each with a different background. Go around and look at the different backgrounds to decide which you prefer before standing in line. Because there are 10 stations, none of the lines were very long. Many of the formal pictures our group took were wonderful. There are some nice deck chairs on Deck 7 that are shaded and are great for a quiet place to read or nap on days at sea. Deck 7 is also the walking track (2.7 laps=1 mile). There is also a jogging track on Deck 16. We did not go to the casino, except to walk through it to get elsewhere. I found it WAY too smoky for comfort. They really need a stronger ventilation system in there. We always wanted to sit together up on the deck around the Neptune Pool on days at sea. By 9:00 a.m., several of us would go put towels and beach bags on 12 chairs together and the girls would do the same. Usually someone in our group was actually sitting in one of the chairs by around 9:15. We found it easier to get chairs together on the sun deck above and around the Neptune Pool area. We had a great breeze up there and could still access the pool easily and watch any activities that interested us during the day. We really enjoyed the ship’s band Oasis that played at the Neptune Pool periodically during the day. We loved the Movies Under the Stars (MUTS) concept, but because of our late dinner seating, could only take in one movie and that was at midnight. It is a GREAT concept for entertainment on the ship, if you like movies. Something is always playing, from early in the morning until usually after midnight. Some of the movies shown throughout the week were Calendar Girls, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, War of the Worlds, Rumor Has It, Splash, Finding Nemo, Spider Man 2, Jurassic Park, Titanic (a HUGE surprise! I can’t imagine what they were thinking!!), Monsters Inc., Old School, The Princess Bride, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Memoirs of a Geisha, When a Stranger Calls, Ice Age, Phantom of the Opera, The Greatest Game Ever Played, E.T., Eight Below, Ray, Herbie Fully Loaded, Back to the Future, Finding Neverland, National Treasure, and Failure to Launch. They also showed the NBA Finals on the MUTS screen several nights. I only had one cocktail, but my husband had some during the week and said they were more reasonably priced than he expected. They serve cocktails in 3 sizes and the large is definitely the best bargain. He loved the Ultimate Mai Tai and said the Strawberry Daiquiri tasted like cardboard. To get a better deal, tell them you don’t want the souvenir glass. We brought some Atlanta Braves and Falcons hats with us and gave them to our daughter’s steward and the waiters who served our three tables and they were SO appreciative! If you can bring hats, t-shirts, trinkets, etc. from home, the staff really appreciate these small tokens of personal appreciation!!! I highly recommend bringing a lanyard with you (or you can buy them in the gift shop) and having the Passenger Services desk punch a hole in your cruise card to wear around your neck. This DEFINITELY helped us keep track of our cards. Disembarkation: Disembarking is by colored tag, based on where your cabin is. Since we had a large group with staterooms on different floors, we couldn’t all disembark together. We had white which was called first after the groups who had early flights, so we got off pretty quickly. Getting through customs was quick and easy and we found our luggage easily. It probably took an hour for all our different colors to be called. We were pulling out of the parking lot to head home on our chartered bus by 10:30 a.m. Overall Impression: We loved this cruise. In general, the Caribbean Princess is a beautiful ship with great staff, good food, and plenty to do (or nothing to do!). We loved our days at sea, just lying by the pool, relaxing. A lot of people prefer a smaller ship but we love the mega ships – I don’t think you feel the ship’s motion as much and there are usually more amenities/activities. We really enjoyed being together, as a group, both the girls and the parents. I really think cruising as a group is more fun than without a group. We will definitely try to organize a group again! Feel free to contact me at ctd3@cdc.gov with questions.

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Nov 30, -0001

Western Caribbean

Please go online and do express check-in and express check-out. First day was normal, everyone walking around trying to find their cabin on this massive vessel. You should make reservations early if you plan on experiencing the 2 restaurants on board; Sterling's Steakhouse- I recommend the filet mignon princess cut...one word, fabulous or Sabinitini's ...one word superb. You should at least try one of them, but book as soon as you settle in your

cabin. Our steward, Weerapun was nothing short of fantastic, he was at our beck and call. The bartenders gave everyone that walked up to counter friendly, courtesy service; if you get a chance visit the lobby bar and speak with Samir or Shaun --- fabulous gentleman. The passenger's desk was ok. I guess standing on your feet for approx. 10-12hrs a day you tend to get snappy and short but hey, everyone has a bad day. The boutiques and casino are a must see. The pools were crowded and chairs were at a premium especially on sea days, get there early. The entertainment was so-so. The 2 shows we saw were phenominal, Bert Stratton and Steve Morris. If you get a chance to see either -- do it, you will enjoy it. In closing, Caribbean Princess is a beautiful ship, massive but beautiful.

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Nov 30, -0001

Western Caribbean

My college-bound 18 year-old daughter and I just returned from our second cruise, the first being two years ago on a Celebrity ship. We had a good time, but definitely not the caliber of service we received on Celebrity. Embarkation (at least for Aloha deck) was chaos; they must have suggested everyone “arrive after 2:00 to avoid long lines.” There was no formal “welcome to the ship” once on board and people were bumping into one another trying

to find their cabins. Only one of the three main dining rooms caters to designated seating hours, which we requested pre-cruise but did not receive. That necessitated making dinner reservations each evening, and missing out on the experience of sharing the day’s stories with our table-mates. This was not a big deal, but we were disappointed nonetheless. We had a good experience in the Sterling Steakhouse, but the couple sitting across from us declared it one of the worst meals they’d had. We made spa reservations in advance of the trip; when we got there, most of our appointments were cancelled, rescheduled or no longer offered. Go figure. The treatments we did receive were very nice, if a little pricey. We hardly ever saw our cabin steward, which in our case was okay, unlike other guests, we never got an origami towel creation in our room. Ice machines usually weren’t working, and iced tea was nothing more than weakly flavored water. Empty plates and glasses were routinely spotted sitting on the floor or tables around the ship waiting to be picked up, the servers seemed more attentive in the buffet area. Pool chairs were at a premium when the ship was at sea, this was to be expected, especially around the movie screen. We thoroughly enjoyed our shore excursions, we did the zip line adventure in Ocho Rios, I highly recommend it (too many stories for us of people falling at Dunns River Falls (and too crowded); in Grand Cayman, we spent more time on an overcrowded pontoon boat to and from the stingray area than in the water with the stingray, but oh well. In Cozumel, we did the climbing wall/snorkeling trip. One family bowed out of the climbing trip before we even left, saying the description of the tour was misleading, since the brochure listed it as “rock” climbing. Personally, scaling a 60-foot climbing tower was fine with me. Guides were a little rough around the edges, but amusing and tried hard. My daughter declared it the best day of the trip. Since there were only 5 of us, snorkeling was relaxed and we were the only ones at this particular stretch of beach. I was sitting by the rear window on the tender back to ship from dock in Grand Cayman, when our boat (due to pilot error) ran into another tender still parked at the dock. The fiberglass hull of our boat cracked and the entire window shattered and popped out. While I immediately acknowledged to my fellow passengers that I was not hurt, no one from the boat’s tender inquired whether we were okay, and in fact were laughing about it. The tender was kept in service for the rest of the trip. When I approached two different Princess employees (one at the Passenger Service desk) about this incident when back on the ship, I was treated with disinterest and lack of concern. I wasn’t expecting anything from them (although a free glass of wine for having the daylights scared out of me might have been nice), so thought their treatment (or lack thereof) of this incident was “interesting.” All in all, we had a good time. If you want a bit more personalized service, however, my limited cruising experience would point me back to Celebrity.

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Nov 30, -0001

Western Caribbean

We've just returned from 7/22 - 7/29 Eastern Caribbean sailing on CP. I won't write a long review, just wanted to point out that out of 5 lines we sailed with so far this one will probably be our favorite. Our family consists of two 34 year old adults and 14 year old son. Our previous best cruises were with Celebrity (Century and Mercury) and I was sure nobody could top them. At first when we saw so many passengers in the buffets we thought

"Oh, no!!! Not another Carnival!!!” but very soon we were surprised by how well the ship was designed that it never felt crowded! Number of pools is amazing. 4 full sized 1 smaller and several kids pools. Aft pool (under Sky walkers club) is adult only, and staff is there during the peak time to enforce it. Pools are very clean and open till very late. Food. We are seafood lovers, and I've never seen so much seafood offered during a single cruise. Not just clams and shrimp but the Alaskan crab legs were amazing (they split them in halves for convenience) I always pick seafood (in restaurant or buffet) over meat, but my husband ate a number of meat dishes and was very satisfied. We had anytime dining and mostly used the Palm room. Usually our son ate with his friends in buffets so we were interested in a table for 2. They have plenty of tables for 2 and we never waited, even though several times we showed up in the dining room between 7 and 8. I noticed though there were many more tables for 2 in the Palm room than in the Coral dining room. Entertainment. Before we went on CP I didn't understand the meaning of the phrase "There were so many options we couldn't pick one". Well there WERE so many options sometimes we had arguments about where to go! So much live music. Loved the Wheelhouse bar and always went there when Jackie Harrison sang. I don't remember all the bands and entertainers, but if you like live music CP is the best with its number of choices. Also don't miss Movie under the Stars at night (during the day it's a bit crowded and noisy). I loved how personal the service felt... Our stateroom steward always called us by our name. (I only read about it before and never witnessed it, even on Celebrity!). Even though we had anytime dining and our waiters never repeated each of them did their best to serve us. For the whole week we saw one mistake, and that was by assistant waiter who brought coffee for me even though I haven't ordered it. I usually don't pay attention to CD, but out of six cruises I do remember two names: Dru Pavlov from Celebrity Mercury and Tim Donovan from Caribbean Princess. He was funny and entertaining. We seriously thought he should get into acting. I loved the passenger mix: many people from Europe, many couples in their 20's - 30's. Dress code was usually supported and made our experience very pleasant. I have no idea how many kids were on board, but we've rarely seen them at all. No playing in elevators or on the stairs at all. Our son was in teenagers group, but we took a pick in kids' facilities and were really impressed. There were so many computers and play-stations We also liked the zone for the youngest members of the families with little three wheelers, basketball nets and their own pools. Also there are full basketball and tennis courts, a ping pong place and mini-golf course. In the mini-golf course there are even sounds of singing birds... I spent a lot of time there. Crew is cheerful and seems to be very happy. Originally we are from the Ukraine, so we had the opportunity to talk to many Russian and Ukrainian waiters and other staff, many of them indicated that Princess pays very competitive salaries. In conclusion ... We thought very hard to find things that should be improved by Princess. I really can't think of anything that affected our cruise in a negative way.

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Nov 30, -0001

Eastern Caribbean

This was our first cruise, and our overall experience far exceeded our expectations. This cruise was the closest we could ever get to the perfect vacation. The ship was exquisite, our inside stateroom was equally elegant, the service was superb, food equivalent to eating in a fine restaurant, and most of the entertainment and activities were first-rate. We are both business and health care professionals, ages 57 and 60. While Annette is the more

easy-going spouse, I tend to be more particular in my travel preferences. My positive reactions to this cruise speaks volumes for its high quality and good value. Flights and embarkation: We were unable to book our own flights to arrive a day earlier, due to heavy bookings for the Super Bowl which was taking place on our day of departure. Princess came through with a good schedule, although the transfers at Newark (inbound on Continental) and Chicago (outbound on American Airlines), made each trip much longer than a direct flight. The heavy Super Bowl air traffic caused an arrival delay of just over an hour, and the Princess airport-to-pier transfer was handled very efficiently, bringing us on board at about 3pm, an excellent time to avoid line ups (there were none) inside the cruise terminal. Pre-registering our passenger information on-line helped speed things up, and the entire embarkation procedure took less than 5 minutes. The ship and staterooms: The Caribbean Princess can only be described as an elegant ship. It’s less than three years old, and still looks brand new. We saw little evidence of wear and tear from the constant flow of 3,100 different passengers every week. The ship is finished throughout in beautiful wood paneling with gold trims and a liberal use of marble; the bars, lounges, dining rooms and buffet areas are very tastefully decorated, and even the elevators and vast carpeted staircases provide the feeling of a luxury hotel. What also really impressed us about the ship was its sheer cleanliness. Every area, including its many washrooms and all public areas, were always spotless. We took an inside stateroom, having heard that it’s the best value on the ship, since you have the same food, same facilities and same entertainment as people paying much higher fares. (For example, about $600 more for a balcony room). We weren’t disappointed. Our mid-ship room was finished in rich wood veneers and wood trims, along with a wall-to-wall mirror behind the bed, and was better lit than any hotel room we have ever stayed in. I counted 7 recessed lights in the ceiling alone. There was ample room, and we never felt that we were getting in each other’s way, especially since we spent very little time in the room. (We heard that passengers with balcony rooms tend to spend much more time on their balconies, and eating in their rooms, and less time using the ship’s facilities.) The bedroom itself was about 10 ft. x 11 ft., with the hallway, closet area and bathroom accounting for roughly another 50 sq. ft. There was a very well designed closet area, at least 6 feet wide with lots of room to hang clothes and store luggage. The bathroom, although compact, was well-finished, well-ventilated and functional. The shower (with a great showerhead) posed no problem, although a large passenger may have a problem with its dimensions. Our friendly stateroom steward serviced the room twice a day, and it was always left in immaculate condition. We really enjoyed finding the towels changed and the bathroom cleaned for a second time each day, and the little chocolates left on the pillows of the turned-down bed. The stateroom has its own air conditioning thermostat, which was very practical, and we never found that any area of the ship was either too cold or too hot. One of the best features is that the staterooms seem to be very soundproof. We never heard a sound from any adjacent rooms, and seasoned cruisers told us that the soundproofing was much better than on other ships they have traveled on. The acoustics elsewhere on the ship were also very good, for example in the large dining rooms, where noise was never a problem. We also found that the ship never felt crowded, and line-ups or long waits were almost never encountered, which is really amazing on a ship with 3,100 passengers. Perhaps half of the passengers were always on their balconies! Facilities and entertainment: There were always many things to do on the ship. We started each day with a walk on the promenade deck or visit to the fitness centre. The fitness room is huge and well-equipped, with a large selection of Cybex weight training equipment, free weights, at least 20 treadmills, elliptical trainers, stationary bikes, etc. This room is located in the best location on the ship: top deck, right at the front, with large panoramic windows for a super “Captain’s view” of the ocean. It’s worth a visit even if you don’t plan to work out there. In fact, it’s one of the most under-utilized areas on the ship. The pools are very attractive, and the Neptune pool at mid-ship seems to attract the largest number of users. While fairly busy in the mornings, it’s easy to find a lounge chair during the afternoons. Shaded areas are at a premium, but we always found some area to sit in, and moved closer to the pool as the day progressed. At first I thought the pools were “wave pools,” but it seems that the water moves around due to the movements of the ships. While I was never seasick during the cruise, the only time I felt a bit queasy was in the pool, possible due to the water’s sometimes intense movements. The “Movies Under The Stars” outdoor screen at the Calypso Pool is an interesting concept, however we never actually sat through an entire movie for a couple of reasons: during the day, most movies seemed to be geared towards children, and in the evenings there was great entertainment indoors. The Princess Theatre offered one or two different shows every night. We saw two “Broadway style” musical shows, one of which (Piano Man) was really great, plus a show with a comedy hypnotist (Fernandez) which was hilarious and excellent. Another evening, a magnificent singer was on stage, and comedian Scott Wyler kept us in stitches at another show. Each show seems to run a standard 60 minutes, and if you want a good seat, get there at least 20 minutes in advance. A superb jazz singer entertained on various nights in the Wheelhouse Bar. An excellent Caribbean band, Onlyne, played and sang every day at the Neptune pool, and often appeared in certain lounges at night. Same for Cruisin’ Steel, a one-man steel drum singer and musician. A couple of the comedians weren’t fantastic, but we always found something else interesting to do. Food, food and more food: We ate only two meals at the buffets: on our day of arrival, for a late lunch, and on the afternoon after visiting the beach at Princess Cays, only because the dining room had already closed. While word has it that the same food in the dining rooms is available at the buffets, we didn’t find the quality to be the same, and nowhere as relaxing as having table service. Since there is so much choice, buffet plates tend to be a mélange of many different foods that don’t really belong together. Making individual choices in the dining room seems to make the food taste better, and in the rare instance where we didn’t like something, the waiters were always happy to replace it with something else. This very accommodating aspect of eating in the dining room was a big plus. If you prefer buffet-style food, one very positive aspect is that the view from the window tables in the buffet area is spectacular. We ate in “anytime dining” during dinner, and never had a problem getting a table or the waiters we wanted. One suggestion: find a waiter, assistant waiter and head waiter that you really like, and build a relationship with them during the week. The waiters enjoy chatting with the passengers, and you may find that the service improves as the week progresses. We were fortunate to be able to do this for breakfast and lunch in the Coral Dining Room, and dinner in the Palm Dining Room. A large proportion of the waiters and stewards tend to be primarily from the Philippines and Mexico, and have a strong work ethic combined with what seemed to be excellent customer service training. The top notch service we received from the hard-working staff really added to our overall experience on the ship. Each of these two art-deco style dining rooms (for Anytime Dining) hold about 600 persons, although only the Coral Dining Room serves lunch. The food was usually delicious, and very plentiful. A 3-course lunch was sometimes much more than we could handle, and how about 5 courses for supper? Highlights of our dinners: roasted rack of lamb, lobster tails (I ate four!), delicious grilled jumbo shrimp, a variety of fresh fish dishes, excellent low-cal salad dressings, cheesecake and other great desserts. We never ate in the specialty restaurants, since the food in the dining rooms was much better than we ever expected. Other passengers said they immensely enjoyed the specialty restaurants, where they were served huge meals with many courses. Wine prices were very reasonable, such as a Caliterra Chardonnay from Chile ($26), Rosemount Estates Chardonnay from Australia ($28), and the best of the lot: Pouilly-fuissé Gerald Duboeuf 2005 from France for $32. Liquor prices in general are not too high: a very good Mexican Beer, Dos Equis, $3.95; flavored martinis, $6.50. One of the best values on the ship is the large glass of fresh-squeezed orange juice, that seemed to be only available from the waiters at poolside: $2.75 The pizza available at poolside is not too great, and the hamburger/hot dog/ fries stand didn’t look much better. But who needs it after all the great food in the dining room? And forget about paying for ice cream at poolside. There are always different flavors of ice cream available as a dessert choice in the dining rooms, at lunch and supper. One last note: the buffet lunch at Princess Cays was not very good, so get to the beach early, and head back to the ship for lunch! Areas for improvement: If this review sounds a bit too positive, we should mention that Princess could make improvements in some areas which would enhance their passengers’ overall experience and safety: Smoking is still permitted in various areas of the ship, which is strange, considering that 75% of the population in most industrialized countries no longer smoke. It’s also a great hazard, judging by the serous fire caused by a cigarette onboard the Star Princess in March, 2006. While the Princess Answer Book says that smoking is not permitted in the show lounges, at least two of the show lounges reeked of smoke so badly that we never set foot in them. And in the Wheelhouse Lounge (great jazz singer), although there is a separate smoking section, the bar is also a smoking area, and it’s right next to the non-smokers! Passengers, and sometimes staff, smoked on the promenade deck, on the upper decks, and adjacent to the pool area. The casino was a smokers’ den. And of course, passengers are still free to smoke in their rooms, in their beds and on their balconies (where that fire had started). The only solution is to restrict smoking to enclosed “safe areas” only for smokers, and let’s hope the cruise lines finally see the light of this growing trend, very soon. We noticed that the two lifeguards at Princess Cays, who are both employed by Princess, were napping at mid-day, and faced the sand, not the water, when they were awake. Prices for casual internet use is excessive: it cost us close to $12 to send a very short e-mail ($6 for 8 minutes, plus $4 registration fee, plus 15% service charge). If you type very slowly, wait until you get to St. Thomas: 10 cents a min., with a $1 minimum. We were able to block out most of the incessant sales and photo programs on the ship, however we feel the ship is going a bit too far by setting up tables in the atrium filled with watches and jewellery. The elegant atmosphere of the ship is compromised with this daily "bazaar atmosphere", since the atrium is the jewel of the ship, and provides much of its class. In summary: We had picked the Caribbean Princess because this was one of the only ships where most of the reviews that we read on the Internet were very positive. It’s a great ship, with much to offer, so don’t hesitate to book a cruise. Bon Voyage!

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