Whenever I think of Princess Cruises, I think of being a little kid and watching The Love Boat at my grandmothers on weekends. Actually, if you have MeTV, you can still watch it! I will tell you though, that the cabins, although very pleasant, are not nearly as big as they look on the show (of course).
There are lots of pools on the Caribbean Princess but, unfortunately, they are open to the elements. Whereas on Holland America, they can close the roof so you can swim even surrounded by the iciest of icebergs, on Princess, if it’s cold outside, you don’t swim! So although we left from Fort Lauderdale and the weather was divine, it didn’t stay that way for long. Alas, the pools remained empty for the entirety of the cruise.
The food was lovely, though not as many choices by far as Holland and far less organised. They have what they call the Marketplace which is the buffet area. The problem with it is, everyone is walking back and forth to the different stations and swerving around each other. This did not make it easy, trying to walk around with children who are trying to balance their plates while you try to balance yours and serve them at the same time. I would like to have seen more choices even though the food was good. I ended up eating alfredo pasta most evenings, the kids lived from the pizza bar and were tiring of it by the end. Anyone with kids knows that when they tire of pizza, there’s a problem. So again, choices were fairly limiting. I also overheard one passenger say, while walking through the Marketplace, that she hoped the vegetarian option would be more than just salad again.
There is a kids club area on the ship and they had just been redone. I only have one photo of the 9-12 area because they don’t allow photography when kids are there, for obvious reasons. Not that I would ever photograph other peoples kids and blog them!
There were only a few kids on board, so they were able to be more flexible and choose what they wanted to do. This would be harder if there were 20 kids running around and would have required a more structured environment. For the most part, they did a craft or two everyday and then chose whether they wanted to play Minecraft or Wii or just play with the toys that were available like duplos, etc. Sky and Sparrow LOVED playing Just Dance and pretty much spent the whole of their free time dancing.
They really enjoyed their time in “The Lodge” and I’m glad it was so much fun for them. Really, it doesn’t matter how bad things are on any ship, you can deal with it. But if the kids club is going badly, it ruins everyone’s good time.
So I would have to say, I would give Princess 3.5 stars. It wasn’t bad by any means, but the food choices were scarce, the rooms, although neat, could have been cleaner (hair in the shower! No thank you.), not having a covered pool was a bummer and a minuscule library were a bit of a let down.
Did I show you the library? No? Here is the entirely of the library, with no labels as to what category the books belong in and many shelves practically empty. One whole unit here is games and another full unit is travel guides, this didn’t leave much.
On a more positive note, because it was a very nice cruise in the end, they had a balloon drop the night before Easter and the kids LOVED it. It took some coaxing to get them onto the dance floor so they could be under it, but once there, they were thrilled. It really was something to see.
Even though the balloon drop didn’t happen until close to 11pm, the Easter Bunny still managed to hop onboard and deliver some goodies, using the kids pirate hats as baskets!
As we inched closer to Ireland, we also spotted a pod of dolphins, which were far to quick for me to catch on camera, and what we think must be the fins of basking sharks. We saw them several times slowly rise out of the water, trail through for a few seconds, then dip back below the surface. Sometimes, another smaller fin would surface behind, like a tail fin, so that’s my guess. I don’t know what else they could be.