Brad and I got back on the 14th from the last Caribbean cruise of the season on the Regal before she made her way across the Atlantic for the Summer. We booked super last minute and literally did ZERO planning. In fact, we were packing up until midnight the night before we left (I’m a virgo and a planner… this is out of the norm for me!) I’ve been struggling to put into words what I want to write. So instead of overthinking this, I’m just going to brain dump…
This cruise marked many “firsts” for us…
Our first time in a mini suite
Our first time staying mid ship
Our first time never attending a show
Our first time going to Churchill’s to have a cigar
Our first time being the first passengers to get off the first tender at Princess Cays
The first time I’ve accepted a job promotion in the middle of the Caribbean Sea
The first time writing a resignation letter in the middle of the Caribbean Sea
The first time someone stopped me as I was walking to the pool to say he recognized me from CC and loved my reviews
The first time winning in the casino
The first time actually coming home with cash to put back in the bank
The first time catching Norovirus
I guess I’ll start with all the good things. The martini glass is always half full, right?
The staff - We saw so many wonderful and familiar faces. Jovee and Panji and Emil in Crooners. Dewa in Bellinis. JoJo our cabin steward. Rinaldi in the piazza. Gabriel in the Crown Grill. Trevor, Dirk and Scott. And of course, our all-star #1 MVP, Josy. We’ve known him for years and he truly is one of a kind. This cruise he was working in the casino and Churchill’s so we made a point to see him almost every night. I talked to him on FB before the cruise and told him Brad was turning 40 on the cruise. On the night of Brad’s birthday, Josy found us and presented Brad with a very expensive bottle of wine as a gift. He said, and I quote… “Mr. Bradley, this is for you because you’ve also been so nice and respectful to me.” Like I said, one of a kind!
The Crown Grill - Happy to say the service was quick and the food (specifically meat temps) was all correct. They seem to have gotten their act together since our December cruise. Unfortunately the portion of the sides seems to have shrunk again. See the photo below. We received a bowl of 16 fries to split. Fosina and Lachazar aren’t on the ship anymore but Head Waiter Nelson and our waiter Gabriel from Mexico were great.
Alfredos - Much better service this cruise compared to last. Alfredos is everything Sabatinis should be (but isn’t). Given the changes with Princess, I strongly feel it’s only a matter of time before Jan decides to start charging a small nominal fee to eat here (and we would gladly pay it over Sabatinis).
Our cabin - It was our first time in a mini suite. We booked a balcony guarantee at a ridiculous low price. And then received an upsell offer for $150pp for a mini. Decided to try it. Minus the joke of a balcony, it was nice. I’m a firm believer that the key to a happy relationship is separate bathrooms. While this wasn’t exactly that, the extra space certainly helped keep the peace. Would I pay full price to stay in a mini? Hell to the no. Would I take an upsell? Yep.
The adults only areas - Blessed be the Retreat Pool during Spring Break cruises. A handful of families with small kids tried to sit out there and I saw the deck attendants asking them to relocate. Not all heroes wear capes!
MedallionNet - Princess is about 3 years behind the times when it comes to technology. But, having FAST and UNLIMITED internet is a godsend in an increasingly connected world. Listening to my Spotify playlists in the middle of the Caribbean is a perk I’m not sure I could live without at this point. Hoping the powers that be change the Platinum/Elite internet perk to be a bit more generous. It was an act of god to get connected (Serge was zero help). But once I got on, I never got disconnected.
Disembarkation - Our disembarkation time was 7:50. We decided to get off the ship at 7:25. We were off, with our luggage, through customs and back at Park n Fly by 8:00am. That is pretty much a record. Also, I was driving this trip and my lead foot means we got back home to Tampa in record time too. Without any speeding tickets… Jesus take the wheel!!
The not so good things… My martini glass now needs a refill
That stupid @$$ medallion - I love technology. Love love LOVE technology. I’m a millennial. You know… I’m super lazy, have no goals and aspirations, live at home with my parents, hate chain restaurants and fabric softener and shopping malls. All those fun talking points. But besides that, us young people love technology that works. Emphasis on “...THAT WORKS.” The Medallion didn’t. It was a glorified key card. I couldn’t order anything from the app because the medallion didn’t recognize my location. Brad couldn’t find me because the medallion didn’t recognize my location. My medallion didn’t open the cabin door with the stupid thing in my pocket. I had to take it out AND tap it on the screen for it to register. Does this technology have potential? Absolutely. Is it 100% operational yet? Certainly not for me…
Vines Wine Bar - Ohhhhh a new wine list. Very exciting. But once again, their inventory was low or nonexistent. 5 wines we tried to order they were out of. A white I ordered the first night was out of stock the second night through the end of the cruise. My suggestion, only have a “wine” bar if you’re going to have the wine to serve. But what do I know? I’m a stupid millennial who hugs trees for a living!
New drink menus - They killed a TON of martinis on the Crooners menu. And the new drink menus were more focused on super sweet fruit juice type drinks with rum. I suppose this is subjective, but sweet sugary drinks aren’t up my alley most days.
Bar service - Once again the only thing slower than tortoise giving birth is the speed of the Princess bartenders. We ascertained from observations that Princess is more concerned with overstaffing with bar servers to get and serve drinks, and less concerned with properly staffing the actual bartenders to make those drinks. At one point (on a port day, not sea day) we waited 30 minutes for a drink at the Retreat Bar. Unacceptable in my book, but at this point we're used to the speeds.
Norovirus - Brad “caught” it. I didn’t. Certainly no fault of Princess, but it wasn’t fun for him. In our 13+ years together, I’ve never heard the kind of sounds he was making in the bathroom hahahahah. But there is no better way to slim down after vacation than a good ole fashion stomach bug!
Overall, I’d say this was an ok cruise. Nothing awful. Nothing spectacular (with the exception of sweet Josy). Maybe we are getting too comfortable with Princess and need to try another line. Or maybe that familiarity is a good thing? I don’t really know anymore, but this was the first cruise where we were both excited to get off the ship and get home. Looking forward to it actually!
Any questions, feel free to ask! A link to all my photos can be found here —> https://flic.kr/s/aHsmzW8Lvn
A few of my favorite photos can be found below.