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colloctopus

Caribbean Princess - compared to NCL/ RC ships?

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Hi all,

hoping you can assist our family with deciding on our April 2020 cruise. We have sailed primarily NCL ships (most recently Escape and Breakaway) and have done one on RC’s Majesty of the Seas. We’re trying to get a sense of activities and general vibe of Caribbean Princess in relation to those ships we’ve been on before. We will be traveling with our 1 year old, and our parents who are in their 70s. From our research so far, it seems like the ship is nicely appointed but perhaps a little more sedate and than what we are accustomed to on NCL. One of our parents really prefers casual dress, dining and activities, and I’m concerned that they might feel this ship/ line is too “buttoned-up”. Any insights greatly appreciated! 

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One of our favorite parts of the princess ships with little kiddos is the closet area is a great place to put them in a pack n play in.  Its dark and with some magnetic hooks and an extra sheet you can block out most of the light making the rest of the cabin useable for you.  See a photo in this post https://cruisingrobsblog.blogspot.com/2018/03/.

 

I think you all will enjoy it, there will be plenty to do provided you arent expecting waterslides, ice rinks, etc.  Princess cruise staff do a really excellent job of having a lot of activities all day long.  Granted you may not be interested in them, but we never have had a problem finding a few things to do each day whether it be watching a movie on the large screen, going to a lecture, participating in some games (elevator roulette is surprisingly fun), or just relaxing.  Although princess doesnt have the number of specialty restaurants that NCL has, I feel like the food is consistently better and more complex than what I would get in the NCL "included" dining rooms.  The international cafe is awesome for small bites and there are a variety of other food times on board.

 

The Caribbean is pretty casual - if you want the dining room I think a collared shirt (or nice non-collared) shirt for guys and jeans without holes is all you need on the casual nights.  On the other nights, just go to the buffet.

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We cruised on Caribbean Princess 3 times and Platinum with NCL/Diamond with Royal.

Princess is a premium massmarket line so included food and service is better better than on Royal ot NCL.

Caribbean Princess is a beautiful. It has 4 pools (2 for adults and 2 for families). All in different areas.

Entertainment will be more subdued, but we thought it was adequate.

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I have sailed on  the Caribbean Princess five times and the Breakaway once. In addition to what has already been posted this is my opinion.

 

What was extremely disappointing with the Breakaway were her outdoor spaces.  I felt I was cruising with 4000 other people when we were on the pool deck and sun deck.  Everyone around the one main pool. And you could not sit around the family pool due to its' design. Then the white wall dividing the passengers on the next deck..(regular passengers and Haven passengers) it cut the air flow and made it unbearable to sit upstairs. I also felt like the stepchild that did something wrong..Lol

 

The Caribbean Princess has five pools spread around the ship and except for games at the main pool, there is never an overcrowded feeling. This is the main reason I will never cruise the Breakaway again but keep returning to the Caribbean Princess and many of her sister "Grand" style ships.  Unfortunately, Princess' newer ships are just like the Breakaway with limited outdoor pools and lounging spaces. (The Royal Princess and Regal Princess are better cold weather itinerary ships..more inside and less outside.)

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I’m still nursing a grudge against NCL for ruining my 80 year-old mother’s birthday about 10 years ago by confiscating a very special bottle of champagne during initial boarding we had intended to have corked at her birthday dinner that night. They treated us like we had tried to defraud them out of $1,000s and probably spent that much on satellite  charges for me to argue via phone with the beverage manager in Miami from the comfort of the ships security office. 

 

By contrast, always had great times on RCL, X, and even CCL. First sailing on Princess in 5 days. Fingers crossed. 

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Mikado

 

On Princess, you can bring one bottle of wine per person for free...After that $15 per bottle corkage.

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Thank you everyone, for the incredibly helpful feedback. Here's a few more things:   We are not huge pool people - some of us are photosensitive so really need to stick to shade. While we like a *little* time in the pools, we don't typically spend much time on the pool/sun decks. So, those amenities are not as important to us. That said, it is really nice to hear that the pools on this shop are plentiful and not as cramped.  I definitely hear you @BRANDEE - The Breakaway pool deck was incredibly crowded. Lucky for us to not be pool-people!

 

For entertainment, we typically would spend more time at lounges with live music... also love bingo and games.... none of us are dance party folks :) I think we would all enjoy the enrichment talks that Princess offers.  We are used to spending a full day going from activity to activity... would that be possible on Caribbean Princess, or would we find ourselves with a lot of down-time?

 

Can guests get away with pretty casual dress, outside of dinner time?  How's the casino? 

 

Thanks again, all - you have been SUPER helpful!

 

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We have been on CP twice and are about to board again.  One thing I will say is, it is very crowded.  A few years ago they added several cabins and no more public space, so it is crowded everywhere you go.  Elevators take along time, seating in all areas, especially the theater are very crowded.  We had to go to the theater 45 minutes early sometimes, and the very least 1/2 hr before the show to get seats..........any seats.  So, just a warning.

 

On NCL, we are platinum, we have never had that issue with the theater.

 

Casino is good, like all cruise ships, at taking your money, haha.

 

Dress is casual, although Princess does dress up more for formal nights than NCL, but it is not required.

 

Princess is better, IMO, at sea day activities and you can stay busy all day long.  

 

I think they are very similar really.  Have fun!

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On 8/9/2019 at 9:06 PM, The Mikado said:

I’m still nursing a grudge against NCL for ruining my 80 year-old mother’s birthday about 10 years ago by confiscating a very special bottle of champagne during initial boarding we had intended to have corked at her birthday dinner that night. They treated us like we had tried to defraud them out of $1,000s and probably spent that much on satellite  charges for me to argue via phone with the beverage manager in Miami from the comfort of the ships security office. 

 

By contrast, always had great times on RCL, X, and even CCL. First sailing on Princess in 5 days. Fingers crossed. 

 

It sounds like that would be easily straightened out. Either you are allowed to bring a bottle on board and they are wrong, or it’s not allowed and you were wrong.

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6 minutes ago, bemis12 said:

 

It sounds like that would be easily straightened out. Either you are allowed to bring a bottle on board and they are wrong, or it’s not allowed and you were wrong.

Yes, you would think such a trivial issue would be easily dealt with but NCL chose not to take that path and chose to make it as difficult as possible to resolve. My mother’s special birthday was ruined as a result. Thus, never again on NCL. 

 

 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, colloctopus said:

Thank you everyone, for the incredibly helpful feedback. Here's a few more things:   We are not huge pool people - some of us are photosensitive so really need to stick to shade. While we like a *little* time in the pools, we don't typically spend much time on the pool/sun decks. So, those amenities are not as important to us. That said, it is really nice to hear that the pools on this shop are plentiful and not as cramped.  I definitely hear you @BRANDEE - The Breakaway pool deck was incredibly crowded. Lucky for us to not be pool-people!

 

For entertainment, we typically would spend more time at lounges with live music... also love bingo and games.... none of us are dance party folks 🙂I think we would all enjoy the enrichment talks that Princess offers.  We are used to spending a full day going from activity to activity... would that be possible on Caribbean Princess, or would we find ourselves with a lot of down-time?

 

Can guests get away with pretty casual dress, outside of dinner time?  How's the casino? 

 

Thanks again, all - you have been SUPER helpful!

 

 Princess does offer a lot of activity and how much you like to do is up to you.  Some..but not all..are..Trivia (2/3 times a day), Bingo (2x's), Zumba, Ballroom Dancing lessons, Line Dancing (so much fun on a rocking ship), Movies..indoor or outdoor..various participation games by the pool and indoor lounges, Wine tasting, daily Spa Seminars (love the one on how to lose 5 pounds  by end of cruise...stop eating at the buffet), passenger talent show auditions (The Voice), art auctions and at night...shows and many lounges for music and drinking.  Every night the next days "Patter" is delivered to your stateroom and you can ..map out..your next days activities.  Of course less is done on port days.  The Caribbean Princess is now Medallion Ready which means you can use your cell phone to help  keep up with everything and also large touch screens are available near all elevators that give a moment to moment update on where something is going on. Even on port days, there is plenty going on..

Edited by BRANDEE

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We love the Caribbean Princess.. Having sailed on it three times. Not sure how it is like compared to NCL but we really enjoyed it.

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We were on Caribbean Princess last month and it was the first time cruising I think I wasn't able to go to every activity/event I wanted because there was so much going on. We stopped eating dinner in the MDR in large part because there was so much we wanted to see/do in the evening before the main show.

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We are both light complected and have problems with being in the sun too much.  On the CB lido deck along the sides under the sun deck above are tables and 4 chairs in both pool areas plus at the forward area of the main pool where the pizzeria and grill there are tables under the sun deck.  We have always been able to find a table to sit at.  There are several tables in the aft by the pool and bar also under the above deck.

 

For nightly entertainment CB has the Wheelhouse bar with usually a two person group singing soft rock to jazz, the piano bar, Explorer's Lounge with a rock band, Club Fusion with various music and the piazza with different entertainment during the day and at night.  Later at night (10 PM on) is the disco at Skywalkers which is a venue on the upper deck aft with an excellent 180 degree view of the sea with plenty of comfortable seating both near the disco and away where one could carry on a conversation.  I love to go there and just watch the sea and ship wake. 

 

The theater at night can be crowded (most of the time) for the first show requiring one to be there one half hour early.  The second show is generally not that crowded but later usually 10 PM or so.  One popular show in explorer lounge is the marriage show fashioned somewhat over the TV series. 

 

Dress on the ship is casual.  Swim suits are not allowed in the buffet (HC) or MDR.  Shorts, pants, dresses etc are all allowed all over the ship.  MDR at night requires pants/jeans and a shirt for men and something similar for women.  On a 7 day cruise there are two "formal" nights where men have to at least wear pants (not jeans but dockers will work) and a button shirt with collar.  Women can wear dark pants and a top.  Pax will be wearing suits with/without a tie, sport coats or simply a tie without the coat.  Women will be wearing longer dresses, cocktail dresses or pant suites.  Don't avoid the MDR on "formal" night just because you do not want to wear formal.  

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