Caribbean Princess - Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships 2017 (Berlitz Cruise Guide) (2016)

Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships 2017 (Berlitz Cruise Guide) (2016)

Caribbean Princess


Berlitz’s Ratings

Ship: 370 out of 500

Accommodation: 145 out of 200

Food: 254 out of 400

Service: 290 out of 400

Entertainment: 78 out of 100

Cruise: 293 out of 400

Overall Score: 1430 out of 2000

Caribbean Princess Statistics

Size: Large Resort Ship

Tonnage: 112,894

Lifestyle: Standard

Cruise Line: Princess Cruises

Former Names: None

IMO Number: 9215490

Builder: Fincantieri (Italy)

Original Cost: $500 million

Entered Service: Apr 2004

Registry: Bermuda

Length (ft/m): 951.4/290.0

Beam (ft/m): 118.1/36.0

Draft (ft/m): 28.3/8.6

Propulsion/Propellers: diesel-electric (42,000kW)/2

Passenger Decks: 15

Total Crew: 1,163

Passengers (lower beds): 3,114

Passenger Space Ratio (lower beds): 36.2

Passenger/Crew Ratio (lower beds): 2.6

Cabins (total): 1,557

Size Range (sq ft/m): 163-1,279/15.1-118.8

Cabins (for one person): 0

Cabins (with private balcony): 881

Cabins (wheelchair accessible): 25

Wheelchair accessibility: Good

Cabin Current: 110 volts

Elevators: 14

Casino (gaming tables): Yes

Slot Machines: Yes

Swimming Pools: 3

Hot Tubs (on deck): 9

Self-Service Launderette: Yes

Dedicated Cinema/Seats: No

Library: Yes

Onboard currency: US$


A multi-choice large ship for informal family cruising

Overview. The ship is a grand resort. Princess Cruises delivers a consistent, well-packaged vacation at an attractive price. If you’re not used to large ships, it’ll take you some time to find your way around this one, despite the company’s claim that it offers a ‘small ship feel, big ship choice.’

The Ship. Caribbean Princess has the same profile as its half-sisters Golden Princess, Grand Princess, and Star Princess. However, it carries 500 more passengers, thanks to an extra accommodation deck (Riviera Deck). Despite its greater capacity, the outdoor deck space remains the same, as do the number of elevators - so there’s a longer wait during peak usage.

There is a good sheltered faux teak promenade deck - it’s actually painted steel - which almost wraps around the ship (three times around equals one mile). The outdoor pools have various beach-like surroundings. ‘Movies Under the Skies’ and major sporting events are shown on a 300-sq-ft (28-sq-m) poolside movie screen.

Unlike the outside decks, there is plenty of space inside, and a wide array of public rooms, with many intimate spaces. The passenger flow is good, and there is little congestion, except the wait for elevators at peak times.

High atop the stern is a ship-wide glass-walled disco pod with spectacular views from the extreme port and starboard side windows.

The interior decor is attractive, with mainly earth tones. An extensive collection of artworks complements the interior design and colors well. Caribbean Princess also has a Wedding Chapel. The captain can legally marry American couples, thanks to the ship’s Bermuda registry. The ‘Hearts & Minds’ chapel is also useful for renewal of vows ceremonies.

The ship has a large casino (Grand Casino), with more than 260 slot machines, and blackjack, craps, and roulette tables, plus games such as Let It Ride Bonus, Spanish 21, and Caribbean Draw Progressive. But the highlight could be the specially linked slot machines that provide a combined payout.

Other facilities include a small library and Internet-connect room. A wood-paneled Wheelhouse Bar is finely decorated with memorabilia and ship models tracing part of parent company P&O’s history. Churchill’s cigar/sports bar has several TV screens. A high-tech hospital has SeaMed tele-medicine link-ups to specialists at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

Families. Children’s facilities include a large playroom, a teens-only room, and a host of youth counselors. Children have their own pools, hot tubs, and open deck area at the stern of the ship. There are good netted-in areas; one section has a dip pool, while another has a mini-basketball court. Two family suites consist of two suites with an interconnecting door, plus a large balcony.

Accommodation. There are six principal types of cabins and configurations: (a) grand suite, (b) suite, (c) mini-suite, (d) outside-view double cabins with balcony, (e) outside-view double cabins, and (f) interior double cabins. These come in 35 different brochure price categories. The choice is quite bewildering for both travel agents and passengers; pricing depends on two things, size and location.

Note that the cabin bath towels are small, and drawer space is limited. Even the top-grade suites are not really large in comparison to similar suites aboard some other ships. Cabin attendants have too many cabins to look after (typically 20), which does not translate to fine personal service.

Occupants of suite-grade accommodation receive more attention, including priority embarkation, disembarkation, and shore tender ticket privileges.

(a) The largest, most lavish suite is the Grand Suite, at the stern. It has a large bedroom with queen-size bed, large walk-in (illuminated) closets, two bathrooms, a lounge with fireplace and sofa bed with wet bar and refrigerator, and a large private balcony on the port side - with a hot tub that can be accessed from both balcony and bedroom.

(b/c) Suites (with a semi-private balcony) have a separate living room (with sofa bed) and bedroom, both with a TV set. The bathroom is quite large and has both a tub and shower stall. Mini-suites also have a private balcony, and separate living and sleeping area, with a TV set in each.

(d/e/f) Both interior and outside-view cabins - 80 percent of the latter have a private balcony - are functional, although almost no drawers are provided. They are quite attractive, with warm, pleasing decor and fine soft furnishing fabrics. Interior cabins measure 163 sq ft (15.1 sq m).

The 28 wheelchair-accessible cabins, surprisingly, have no mirror for dressing, and no full-length hanging space for long dresses - yes, many passengers in wheelchairs like to have mirrors and the females often wear long dresses.

All cabins receive turndown service and chocolates on pillows each night, bathrobes (on request), and toiletry kits. A hairdryer is provided in all cabins. All bathrooms have tiled floors, and there is a decent amount of open shelf storage space for toiletries, although the plain beige decor is very basic and unappealing.

Most outside-view cabins on Emerald Deck have views obstructed by lifeboats. There are no cabins for singles.

Some cabins can accommodate a third and fourth person in upper berths. However, in such cabins, the lower beds cannot then be pushed together to make a queen-size bed.

Almost all balcony suites and cabins can be overlooked both from the navigation bridge wing and from sections of the discotheque. Passengers in some the most expensive suites with balconies at the stern may experience some vibration during certain ship manoeuvers.

Dining. The three principal dining rooms for formal dining are Coral, Island, and Palm. The Palm Dining Room has traditional two seating dining, while Coral and Island have ‘anytime dining’. All are split into multi-tier sections in a non-symmetrical design that breaks what are quite large spaces into smaller sections for better ambience. Each dining room has its own galley. While four elevators go to Fiesta Deck, where the Coral and Island restaurants are located, only two go to Plaza Deck 5, where the Palm Restaurant is located. Note that 15 percent is added to all beverage bills, including wines.

Other dining options. Sabatini’s Trattoria serves Italian-style pizzas and pastas, with a variety of sauces, as well as Italian entrées including tiger prawns and lobster tail (reservation only; cover charge).

Sterling Steakhouse is located in a somewhat open area, to tempt you as you pass by, with people walking through as you eat - not a particularly comfortable arrangement. There is a cover charge.

Casual eateries include a poolside hamburger grill and pizza bar (no additional charge), while extra charges do apply if you order items to eat at the coffee bar/patisserie, or the caviar/Champagne bar. Other casual meals can be taken in the Horizon Court, open 24 hours a day.

For something different, you could try an ‘Ultimate Balcony Dinner’ - an all-inclusive evening, featuring cocktails, fresh flowers, Champagne, and a deluxe four-course meal including Caribbean lobster tail - or an ‘Ultimate Balcony Breakfast.’ There’s 24-hour room service - but some room service menu items are unavailable during early morning hours.

Entertainment. The Princess Theater, the main entertainment venue, spans two decks and has comfortable seating on both main and balcony levels. It has $3 million worth of sound and light equipment, plus a nine-piece orchestra, and a scenery loading bay that connects directly from stage to a hull door for direct transfer to the dockside. The ship carries a resident troupe of singers and dancers.

Club Fusion, located aft, has cabaret spots at night, and lectures, bingo, and horse racing during the day. Explorers can also host cabaret acts and dance bands. Other lounges and bars have live music, and Princess Cruises employs dance hosts.

Spa/Fitness. The Lotus Spa is located forward on Sun Deck - one of the uppermost decks. Facilities include a sauna, steam room, and changing rooms; common facilities include a relaxation/waiting zone, body-pampering treatment rooms, and a gymnasium with packed with high-tech muscle-pumping, cardio-vascular equipment, and great ocean views.