Overall Rating: Very Good
|Departed From:||Port Everglades (Ft. Lauderdale)|
|# of Nights:||11-14 Nights|
|Overall Value:||Very Good|
|Overall Rating:||Very Good|
Let me start by stating that it has been 10 years since we last sailed with Princess. There is NO doubt in my mind that Princess Cruise Lines excels when it comes to how they treat their passengers and this may be the reason we target Princess in the future when booking our cruises. Here's the breakdown......
Embarkation: An ABSOLUTE disaster! This falls in the lap of the port itself and not Princess. I had requested that my wife have wheelchair embarkation prior to the cruise not only on the Princess website when doing the pre-boarding check-in, but ALSO by confirming it over the phone with them. When we arrived at the port, it was evident that the port uses an "Honor System" for those boarding with wheelchairs. Pre-registering for wheelchair boarding had no impact at all.There is no sign-in sheet or number system. There was limited seating for waiting your turn (only two benches) and the water jug they had when we got there was empty and not refilled. The age group for this T/A was an average of 60 and many waiting to board with wheelchairs were becoming agitated and beginning to feel sick with the long wait. There were only three workers assisting wheelchair passengers for boarding. We were bumped many times by others insisting they were there before us. After an hour, many others waiting came to our aid by telling others we had waited over an hour for our turn. From that point, the port worker pushed us to the front of the line and were then handed off to a ships crew member to bring us onboard. Why have a way to sign up for wheelchair boarding without a plan of HOW the process should go?
The Ship: Although showing her age, the Caribbean Princess is WELL maintained by the crew with constant cleaning around the vessel at all times. This ship sailed the Atlantic with little to no movement at all! I beleive she is slated for drydock in 2016. The penny slots were the loosest I have ever encountered on the 11 cruises we have sailed with me winning over $1500.00 in one day! Smoking is on deck 16 near the Tradewinds bar and deck 17 Aft, portside. There was smoking in the casino (confined to the portside) but the ship had "No Smoking" days in the casino as well.
The Cabin: We had originally booked an OceanView (Obstructed) but 4 weeks prior to the cruise, the prices dropped by 49% for only one day. My agent was able to get us a free upgrade to a balcony for no additional charge. This is an area where Princess also excells! We had a simular situation with Royal Caribbean last year and they refused to do ANYTHING stating that since it was after final payment was made, there was nothing they could do. Princess had no problem with our upgrade. The mattress in the cabin was soft and old. We had to request a foam egg crate to make the bed sleepable. Also, the ship ran out of blankets when it began to get cold East of Bermuda. The cabin steward said their was nothing he could do. I found a bag of sheets and covers under the bed and used them everynight but the steward kept putting them back under the bed when he made up the cabin!
Ports Of Call: Bermuda we had to skip due to bad weather and we went to the Azores instead. The Azores were very nice but since we were not scheduled to go there, there were no excursions available. The port is at the city so it was easy to find things to do. We weren't disappointed in this port. Due to the itenerary change, our schedule was flipped around so most of the ports weren't prepared for us. We docked in Ringaskiddy (as opposed to Cobh) but we had an excursion planned there with eCoach and they stayed aware of the ships changes and accomadated us without issue. The tour went to Blarney Castle which in my eyes, was a waste of time. Only real attraction there was Blarney Rock and if you are willing to wait over an hour to kiss a rock, go for it!! Dublin was a congested, big city port. We did a hop on, hop off. Wasn't impressed. Glasgow Scotland. THIS was our favorite. The locals were nice. We had bagpipes pipe us in and out of port. The feeling itself was just very welcoming. A country we plan to visit again!! There is a FREE tour here (yes FREE) organized by volunteers that is about 2 hours long. It is run by Inverclyde Tourist Group and was absolutely awesome. They do accept donations to pay for the driver of the bus and gas. Our debarkation port was Southampton and since we had a flight that day from Gatwick, we arranged the ships transfer to the airport so we didn't get to tour there.
Debarkation: Too many passengers with the "ME FIRST" attitude. Kudos to the crew for staying calm during debarkation because some of he passengers really needed a slap to bring them back to reality!!
All in all, We WILL sail Princess again. We always wanted to do a T/A and it was nice since we celebrated our 25 Anniversary onboard. If you like happy crew, Princess is for you. Spoke to many crew members and found that some were with Princess for 3 to 31 years. You don't stay with a company (especially a cruise line) that long if your not happy!