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Hlitner

Quick thoughts on CB

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On 9/1/2019 at 1:39 PM, cr8tiv1 said:

 

I totally agree with the transfers (and non replacements) of the Grand Class ships.  It is truly a disappointment and (in my humble opinion) demise of sailing a decent size ship.  Going to really miss my window suites.

 

I was booked on this Greenland voyage.  I canceled when I realized that all three ports would have to be tendered in.  Did some research to find that the villages were very small with limited harbor capabilities.  I would be extremely interested if someone would comment on their time in Greenland (prices, things to do, excursions, money, etc).

Visiting Greenland was a fantastic experience! Beautiful and rugged landscapes and charming and colorful communities. The weather was fantastic! The most interesting spot in each port was its museum. (Admission USD 5, USD accepted.) The Greenlanders are proud of their Inuit heritage. We simply walked around each of the three ports. Nuuk is a small city but large enough that there was a shuttle bus from the pier to the town center (USD 20, tickets purchased onboard as a Princess excursion.). Qaqortoq and Nanortalik are villages. In each port we visited the grocery store (as we do on all our trips) to see what is available to the local people, what they like to buy and the prices. We went into the Lutheran church at Nanortalik where the organist was rehearsing. A bonus! Also met some delightful ladies outside the senior center who were selling their Inuit beadwork.

 

Nuuk, Greenland, is not a tender port. The city is large enough to have a dock that can accommodate Caribbean Princess. Qaqortoq and Nanortalik are tender ports as they are much smaller communities. We received a Greenland Cruise certificate that noted Caribbean Princess is the largest cruise ship to have visited each of these ports.

 

 

Edited by ahl

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21 hours ago, Hlitner said:

Ok here is my follow-up.  We disembarked the ship this morning and witnessed a sad situation at the Red Hook terminal where there were simply not enough CBP staff to handle to crowd (this has nothing to do with Princess).    After talking with many other fellow cruisers (we love to share large tables at Anytime dining) there was universal agreement that none of us had ever experienced the main theater situation we had on this cruise.  Since we did attend some (not all) of the early shows (at 6:30) we were always able to find two seats together if we arrived an hour before showtime.  Apparently the situation was worse for those going to the 8:30 show.  

 

I do want to say that the crew on the CB was excellent (more then we can say for too many rude passengers) at every venue.  Bar tenders were terrific, our cabin steward was perfect, and the different waiters we had in the MDR were superb..   After 16 days we have nothing but praise for every crew member :).  The ship was also in pretty good shape and kudos go to those responsible for the continued maintenance.  

 

The crowding on this ship was strange (other frequent cruisers we met also said the same) and perhaps it had something to do with the passengers who generally stayed inside the ship (even in good weather).  This was the first cruise (out of far more than a hundred) where a passenger berated me for saving DW's seat in the atrium (near the IC) while my wife was in the rest room!  We also had to be very careful not to be run over by a few wild scooter drivers (a problem on too many cruises).

 

Some interesting things happened on this cruise.  The ship started running out of basic items around day 12 of a 16 day cruise.  Tomatoes and bananas disappeared as did potato chips.  By day 13 many wines were out of stock.  On night 15 I tried to order a Pinot Noir and our waiter had to tell us to "hold on" while he went off to find out what was left.  Out of about a dozen wine list items there were only 2 left (neither was one of the better options) at any price.  One of our favorite bar tenders told us she was actually hoarding wines so that she had some for her bar customers.   We also noticed that "custard" donuts disappeared after day 13....perhaps caused by a shortage in cream (to make the custard).  

 

During the cruise we decided to have dinner (one evening) at the Crown Grill.  We have avoided this venue on many Princess cruises because of previous failings.  But on the CB we thought the Crown Grill was quite good in terms of both food and service.  

 

We were very unhappy with the situation in Crooners.  On our cruise we had an excellent piano player/comedian who could only be enjoyed by about 40 souls since none of the speakers were functioning at the far end near the bar.  We did mention this to the pianist (who said he had no clue but would mention it to the  "sound man") but it was never corrected during our 16 day journey.  There were also some issues about the temperature in the Wheelhouse (either freezing or very hot) but this is just one of those things long time cruisers tolerate.  It does seem like every ship has a temperature problem somewhere...and on the CB the Wheelhouse go the prize.

 

As we were disembarking this morning, DW chatted with 2 other couples (who we had never met on the ship) who expressed our sentiment that "they will never cruise on the CB again."  Perhaps we are being a bit harsh and it was just a combination of a few factors (including the passengers) but it is unlikely that I would ever get DW to agree on a return to the CB.  

 

Hank

The provisioning was not a surprise. We attended the interesting lecture by the senior officers of each department who described the year-long logistical planning for this cruise, Princess' first to Greenland. Between Sydney, NS and the return to St. John's, Newfoundland, there was no place to provision or fuel the ship. That was a least nine days with no possibility to reprovision. I imagine some foodstuffs had to be held in reserve for planned menus or for emergencies.

Edited by ahl

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Thank you for your commentaries.  It was a difficult decision not to take this cruise.  Glad I am still "along" for the descriptive ride.

 

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On 9/1/2019 at 2:35 PM, MissP22 said:

What did you think about the WFM? Not the layout but the food.

I thought the Lido food was very comparable to our last Caribbean Princess cruise (British Isles in 2017). A new feature was the bowl of potato chips alongside the prepared sandwiches. The PB&J (peanut butter & jelly sandwich) station has been removed since 2017. (I didn't partake of it, but I'm sure there were those who did.) On the Coral Princess in March, a different type of sausage was offered at breakfast each day. On the Caribbean Princess, only link sausage was offered. (Not complaining. May have to do with the food manager's preference or availability of provisions.) We rarely have dinner on the Lido, preferring the MDR, but on the last night out the individual glasses of gazpacho and the pork vindaloo with basmati rice were irresistible! Delicious!

Edited by ahl

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Regarding the Lido food, we thought it was pretty typical of Princess Lido food.   The new layout is a slight improvement but they still ended up with two tight buffet areas (one on each side) for the main hot dishes....similar to the old layout.  At breakfast they had a single location (in the aft of the Lido near Steamers) where they had made to order omelets.   The cruiser would take a plastic cup, fill it from the offerings on the omelet buffet line, and then turn it in at a station (there were two stations although many times there was only 1 location operating).  The staff then gave the cruiser a beeper.  Once the omelet was ready the beeper summoned the cruiser to pick up their omelet.  I thought the system was pretty efficient although we never used this option during the busiest breakfast times.   On several days they had a lunch Mongolian Buffet option at this same station and it drew very long lines.  But like the omelet station, they did give out a beeper once you turned in your Mongolian buffet dish (which you filled from the special buffet line).  

 

The problem with the Lido is the lack of adequate seating on busy sea days.  This is made much worse by numerous cruisers who use the Lido as their all-day hangout.  Princess does not make any attempt to dissuade cruisers from using the Lido for other activities such as card playing, scrabble, etc.  

 

The pizza at Slices (which is located outdoors near one of the pools) was up to Princess standards :).  The daily offerings were a plain cheese pizza, pepperoni, and a rotating daily special.  This was our first experience with the new Salty Dog menu/concept and we were not overly impressed.   The burgers were generally pre cooked and kept in a warming pan until used.  While adequate they were no better then the burgers made under the previous format.  The fries were pretty decent and we also enjoyed the all-beef hotdog.  There were some other offerings but everyone we saw either got a burger or hot dog.  Since both these venues (pizza and burgers) are outdoors on deck, it is not a convenient option on chilly, windy or rainy days. 

 

Hank

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On 9/1/2019 at 2:13 PM, Hlitner said:

Ok, let’s add to the info.  Yes, the capacity is about 3100 when only counting lower berths but can swell to over 3500 with 3 and 4 in some cabins.  We have just over 3000 on this voyage because of so few children.

 

Show times are 6:30 and 8:30 and one must usually arrive about 45 min early to get a seat at either show.  We have been on many Princess Cruises and never experienced this kind of early crowding.  One senior crew member agreed and thought it had something to do with the passenger demographics on this voyage.  Bottom line is you have over 3000 souls trying to fit into about 1500 seats (2 Shows).

 

As to Greenland we did dock at Nuuk with no problems.  We tendered at Quaquatok in perfect conditions with some passengers complaining they waited over 1 1/2 hours to board a tender.  But Nanatorik turned out to be a tender nightmare because the port could only handle 1 tender at a time.  We met folks who gave up going ashore after wAiting over 2 1/2 hours for a tender.  The crew did their best but could not overcome the single tender pier.  No ship of this size should ever call at Nanatorik!   The blame for the tender fiasco goes to the home office for poor planning.  Under perfect conditions it would take 5  to 6 hours to tender 3000 ashore in that port.

 

Hank

 

 

And it took at lest an hour+ to get back to the ship in Nanatorik.

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22 hours ago, Hlitner said:

Ok here is my follow-up.  We disembarked the ship this morning and witnessed a sad situation at the Red Hook terminal where there were simply not enough CBP staff to handle to crowd (this has nothing to do with Princess).    After talking with many other fellow cruisers (we love to share large tables at Anytime dining) there was universal agreement that none of us had ever experienced the main theater situation we had on this cruise.  Since we did attend some (not all) of the early shows (at 6:30) we were always able to find two seats together if we arrived an hour before showtime.  Apparently the situation was worse for those going to the 8:30 show.  

 

I do want to say that the crew on the CB was excellent (more then we can say for too many rude passengers) at every venue.  Bar tenders were terrific, our cabin steward was perfect, and the different waiters we had in the MDR were superb..   After 16 days we have nothing but praise for every crew member :).  The ship was also in pretty good shape and kudos go to those responsible for the continued maintenance.  

 

The crowding on this ship was strange (other frequent cruisers we met also said the same) and perhaps it had something to do with the passengers who generally stayed inside the ship (even in good weather).  This was the first cruise (out of far more than a hundred) where a passenger berated me for saving DW's seat in the atrium (near the IC) while my wife was in the rest room!  We also had to be very careful not to be run over by a few wild scooter drivers (a problem on too many cruises).

 

Some interesting things happened on this cruise.  The ship started running out of basic items around day 12 of a 16 day cruise.  Tomatoes and bananas disappeared as did potato chips.  By day 13 many wines were out of stock.  On night 15 I tried to order a Pinot Noir and our waiter had to tell us to "hold on" while he went off to find out what was left.  Out of about a dozen wine list items there were only 2 left (neither was one of the better options) at any price.  One of our favorite bar tenders told us she was actually hoarding wines so that she had some for her bar customers.   We also noticed that "custard" donuts disappeared after day 13....perhaps caused by a shortage in cream (to make the custard).  

 

During the cruise we decided to have dinner (one evening) at the Crown Grill.  We have avoided this venue on many Princess cruises because of previous failings.  But on the CB we thought the Crown Grill was quite good in terms of both food and service.  

 

We were very unhappy with the situation in Crooners.  On our cruise we had an excellent piano player/comedian who could only be enjoyed by about 40 souls since none of the speakers were functioning at the far end near the bar.  We did mention this to the pianist (who said he had no clue but would mention it to the  "sound man") but it was never corrected during our 16 day journey.  There were also some issues about the temperature in the Wheelhouse (either freezing or very hot) but this is just one of those things long time cruisers tolerate.  It does seem like every ship has a temperature problem somewhere...and on the CB the Wheelhouse go the prize.

 

As we were disembarking this morning, DW chatted with 2 other couples (who we had never met on the ship) who expressed our sentiment that "they will never cruise on the CB again."  Perhaps we are being a bit harsh and it was just a combination of a few factors (including the passengers) but it is unlikely that I would ever get DW to agree on a return to the CB.  

 

Hank

On this cruise also, 4th on CB, may not do it again, although several of our favorite crew on board. They ran out of a lot of stuff, even the crew could not believe it. And the Horizon court was a joke, lack of food around 1230 every day, and usually not a person to clean a table or get a drink in sight.

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8 minutes ago, weedpindle said:

And it took at lest an hour+ to get back to the ship in Nanatorik.

DW and I "lucked out" because we happened to time our tendering when lines were reasonable.  But we heard quite a few horror stories including folks who simply gave-up on tendering ashore (some after waiting 2 1/2 hours).  As we mentioned in our earlier post the tender situation in Nanatorik  was the result of an extremely stupid, idiotic decision by Princess management to send a huge ship to a port that had a single tender dock capable of handling one tender at a time.  And this situation was made worse because that same single dock was also used for some Princess boat excursions.  When an excursion was loading or unloading (in Zodiac-like boats) all the ship tenders were further delayed in loading/unloading.   The CB crew was very professional and did their best, but being able to only tender 500-600 folks per hour does not work with over 3000 passengers.

 

Perhaps folks need to understand that Nanatorik is a tiny town (fewer than 1700 residents) that does not benefit from a cruise ship visit.   Most of the locals either stayed inside their homes or found other ways to avoid curious cruisers.  The tiny tourist office did their best but were quickly overwhelmed by the number of cruisers.  Perhaps the happiest locals were the owners of the small open open-air museum which raked in the money at $5 per person (those on Princess tours paid a lot more than $5 :)).  Imagine living in a small village that is overrun with thousands of cruisers.  We noticed that they locked up their church (they did the same thing on our previous visit) and  the local bar appeared closed.   Some of the local children were quite happy with our visit since the crew generously provided them with hot chocolate.

 

Hank

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On 9/5/2019 at 6:38 PM, Hlitner said:

DW and I "lucked out" because we happened to time our tendering when lines were reasonable.  But we heard quite a few horror stories including folks who simply gave-up on tendering ashore (some after waiting 2 1/2 hours).  As we mentioned in our earlier post the tender situation in Nanatorik  was the result of an extremely stupid, idiotic decision by Princess management to send a huge ship to a port that had a single tender dock capable of handling one tender at a time.  And this situation was made worse because that same single dock was also used for some Princess boat excursions.  When an excursion was loading or unloading (in Zodiac-like boats) all the ship tenders were further delayed in loading/unloading.   The CB crew was very professional and did their best, but being able to only tender 500-600 folks per hour does not work with over 3000 passengers.

 

Perhaps folks need to understand that Nanatorik is a tiny town (fewer than 1700 residents) that does not benefit from a cruise ship visit.   Most of the locals either stayed inside their homes or found other ways to avoid curious cruisers.  The tiny tourist office did their best but were quickly overwhelmed by the number of cruisers.  Perhaps the happiest locals were the owners of the small open open-air museum which raked in the money at $5 per person (those on Princess tours paid a lot more than $5 :)).  Imagine living in a small village that is overrun with thousands of cruisers.  We noticed that they locked up their church (they did the same thing on our previous visit) and  the local bar appeared closed.   Some of the local children were quite happy with our visit since the crew generously provided them with hot chocolate.

 

Hank

Hank, we were also on this cruise.  We really enjoyed every port in Greenland.  We had tender issues in Qaqortoq after lunch, but when we went ashore in the morning there was no lines, no numbers.  We just hopped on the tender and off we went.  We came back to the ship for lunch and took a tender number at 12:10.  We did not reach the shore until 2:20...that was exactly when our tour was meeting, so we were lucky to make the tour.  We only waited 20 minutes in the morning for the tender to Nanortalik.  We did not have long waits for the return tenders in either port, but we were late in the day returning from Qaqortoq and closer to noon in Nanortalik.  We thoroughly enjoyed it.  It may have been my favorite port.  We walked around, toured the museums, fishmarket and took pictures INSIDE the church.  It was open.  The tourist office was most definitely understaffed  and the help that was there looked dazed by the never ending line of people making a purchase.  The trip from the dock to the road most definitely needs a boardwalk.  If this was a rainy day, the muddy path would be trecherous.

Princess does need to improve the theater situation.  People camping out in the theater for an hour or more for the shows is a loss of revenue for them, too.  We tried 6:30, 8:30, Explorers overflow, Club Fusion and just skipping a show or two.  None were the perfect solution.  

I've sailed on the CB before and when we booked, I was not anxious to do it again.  However, I was pleasantly surprised at how nicely refreshed it was, how the staff tried really, really hard to please us and even thought the food was better than previous cruises.  That said, we ate the majority of our meals in the dining room, avoided the WFM except for three lunches, a pub lunch and also had burgers and pizza.  I think the crowded feeling was that everyone was inside the ship especially after we left Sydney and the cold temps took hold.  We planned for that by booking a mini, and when the crowds appeared, we disappeared and caught up on some movies in our cabin.  I saw the line for the craft signup and skipped those activities.   We too were disappointed about the absence of port lectures but imagine the theater crowds if there were!  As for seat saving, there really wasn't much as I've seen in the past, but dare one of us go to the restroom, the pouncers were there saying No Saving!  Good grief!!

 

I am delighted that we had three Greenland ports, each different in size to really get a sense of the different communities.  Also, understanding how the Inuits were forced into these towns by a misguided Danish government made it meaningful and somewhat sad.  

 

Overall, we would do this cruise again next year, if we could, and being the wiser just enjoy the ride and don't waste time camping out in the theater.

 

Oh, and to the woman on the scooter in Nuuk (from the ship) who was ready to plow through a group of us crossing the road to our tour...Really?!?  She yelled get out of my way never slowing or stopping for a break in the road!!!  Honey, pedestrians have the right of way.

 

Just my 2 cents.

 

Andrea (& Tom)

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Add us to the list of never again on CB and even never again on Princess.  Greenland was on our bucket list and even though we were able to avoid taking Princess after 25 cruises we had to give in and book it.  Our major issue is the clientele.  It has the oldest cruisers hands down than any other cruiseline.  It has also the most loyal cruisers (almost 2000 Elite and Platinum),  many of whom feel entitled.  We can add one more "Elite snob" story.  There was a lecturer who did not start on time.  Turned out one of the Elites came up to the front and complained about no seat.  So he made an announcement he is waiting for some chairs to be brought in.  Well the people said just start anyway so he did.  Problem was they did not bring in more seats for people standing, just two for the complainers.  The ship goes out of its way to cater to the elites which is fine but not when it comes at the expense of a 'newbie".  For a 16 night cruise we wanted to have our clothes cleaned.  Most ships offer deals for filling up a bag for a 24 hour turnaround.  Not on this ship.  They do not even offer laundry service.  It seems Elites get unlimited free laundry.  They were complaining it takes four days to have your laundry done.  So what does Princess do?  They eliminate laundry service to everyone else.  Use the laundry machines I was told.  The crowding was everywhere  art sales, jewelry sales, everywhere!!!  There was standing room only for the showing of the ship video review which was just a sales pitch and was shown on the room TV!!  They finally added another showing as did the Production shows have to add matinee shows due to over crowding.  other the selling something there were very few real activities.  Where was the sail a way party they advertise? Tendering was a nightmare and the cruiseline blamed it on the ports and that no tenders could be rented so they could only use four lifeboats.  That may be true but allowing people who could not walk and had to be carried on to the tender (which is even stated that you must be able to walk on your own) and then put the wheelchairs on board slowed things even more.  And to make matters worse why would you allow staff to compete with quests for a tender.  People waited three hours for a tender when staff was just going down to catch the next tender.  It makes no sense.  Greenland was great and worth the effort but sorry Elites, Princess is not for us.

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Just a word about Elites (we are in that group) and Platinum being "entitled."  Yes, there are always a few of those souls and we see them on nearly every cruise line.  The reality is that other then free laundry and priority tendering there are few decent perks for Elites.  The laundry situation has certainly deteriorated on Princess with Elite's often finding a note in their cabin (on embarkation day) that it will take at least 3 days to get laundry returned.  On the CB we did get this usual note and it did take 3 days.  What is interesting is that HAL, who also has free laundry for 4 and 5 Star Marinerrs, will generally have laundry returned by the following day...no matter how many 4-5*s are on the ship.

 

On the CB cruise there were all kinds of rumors about Elite's getting special privilege's.  We normally hid our Medallions so folks were not aware we were Elite (for many years) and we did not mention this fact.  Folks would tell us how the Elites were taking all the seats in the theater and we finally had to explain to one very upset person that Elites do not have any preference in the theater or any other lounge on the ship.  It is simply first come first seated.

 

DW and I are still talking about the cruise and trying to understand why we truly disliked the CB.  Having cruised on more then 75 different vessels this was the first ship we ever "disliked" and vowed to never cruise again.  We have been on some of her sister ships and always been relatively happy.  But the CB just rubbed us wrong (in many ways) and actually felt more crowded then ships on lower rated lines.  Although we have stayed away from this particular topic, we also thought the quality of the food in the MDR left much to be desired.  At best it was just OK.  At worst some of the stuff was hardly worth eating.  On the last formal night I was served a portion of Beef Wellington not fit for my enemy's dog (and I love dogs).  Our waiter saw me quietly trying to deal with the dish, shook his head, walked over and said "it must be an end cut,"  took my plate and dumped the contents into the garbage.  He soon returned with a more normal cut of beef which was just barely OK.  I am not a food snob (although I do enjoy good cuisine) but food has gone downhill on Princess...or at least the CB.  We will be on the Emerald next month and it will be interesting to  compare.   And by the way, I am sick and tired of Princess touting Curtis Stone.  There are actually very few Curtis Stone entrees on Princess and they tend to repeat the 4 dishes again and again.  I would assume that Mr. Stone has been well paid and could certainly contribute more then 4 rotating dishes.   We have previously found his port belly dish to be inedible and got to watch one of our tablemates trying to eat that same dish on the CB (he finally gave up and asked for something else).  I do enjoy his chicken/leek pot pie (which could use more chicken) and the Seafood Stew, but those dishes have been around for years!  Has Princess given up on innovating their menu.  Oh sure, they did replace steak with a hamburger :(.

 

The dinner desserts in the MDR were also quite sad and boring.  Yes, we did have a few of the usual Princess soufflés which were OK, but otherwise, the offerings were quite sad.  Desserts up in the Lido or at the IC were better.  In the Crown Grill I did enjoy the Lava Cake....but that has not changed in over 20 years!   Come to think of it neither has the Crown Grill.  Enough with the salt!  It is time to pay attention to the menu and do some innovating. 

 

Hank 

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Well, I just completed my post cruise survey.........for what it is worth.  I just don't think Princess cares as long as their ships are full.

 

Who cares if even it they had 4 nightly shows it still could not accommodate all passengers on board?

 

Who cares if there are no seats to eat a meal, all the while at least a dozen tables taken for playing cards?

 

Who cares if most of your day is spent wondering how early you need to get to an event to find a seat.......any event.

 

Princess doesn't.......so much for coming back new.  I came back sick and stressed out.  Greenland was the ONLY saving grace of this overcrowded, maddening cruise.  

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I am not a fan of the Grand class ships with the extra 500 passengers. I have found them incredibly crowded. The sad thing is that most new cruisers in the last 10 years are used to this so they don't find it crowded. They don't know what the original Grand (and Sun Class) ships felt like.

 

Grand Class had 2600 passengers - sorry they are going away

Caribbean Princess, and ships after this have 3100 extra passengers with the extra deck

Edited by Coral

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I have been following this thread with some interest since my spouse and I were on the Ft. Lauderdale to Quebec City repositioning cruise over the summer.  I'm not surprised by many of the comments. We were once loyal Princess-only cruisers.  However, we have drifted away from Princess to other cruise lines including those with higher cruise fares.  This year we will be on 7 cruises but only 2 of these will be on Princess ships. In addition to more interesting and different itineraries, we are looking for a more comfortable shipboard experience, and better food.  We still sail Princess but only for specific itineraries - e.g., Hawaii, transatlantic, etc.  And, we adjust our expectations.  Everyone has different priorities but, if you are unhappy with Princess, it may be time to look elsewhere.

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18 minutes ago, Coral said:

I am not a fan of the Grand class ships with the extra 500 passengers. I have found them incredibly crowded. The sad thing is that most new cruisers in the last 10 years are used to this so they don't find it crowded. They don't know what the original Grand (and Sun Class) ships felt like.

 

Grand Class had 2600 passengers - sorry they are going away

Caribbean Princess, and ships after this have 3100 extra passengers with the extra deck

The Coral Princess was my favorite because it felt so uncrowded.  Don’t know how it feels today.  The Diamond Princess is another I enjoyed for a 15 day cruise. I think the enclosed pool helped spread people around.  That feature was really needed for the Greenland cruise.  There was a laundry delay on the Pacific Princess...too many Elites.  We are not at that level yet, but I think we’ll continue to do our own laundry if we get there.  Other ships encounter similar issues based on weather, demographics and ports.  I guess I’m saying that while there are things about the ship that need improvement, overall it was a great cruise, great service, and wonderful, hard working staff.  I went aboard anticipating many of these “issues” and chose alternatives rather than stew about stuff.

 

I think the demographic was a key factor on this cruise, both age and status.  I also found it inspiring to observe those with mobility issues keep on going.  I know I was huffing and puffing in ports and while not in great shape, I know how difficult it was for many of them, BUT they did it!  Kudos to them!

 

Andrea (& Tom)

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On 9/1/2019 at 8:35 AM, Colo Cruiser said:

We have sailed the CB many times.

Love her!

Nothing has changed........

Get to the theater early! Never had a problem getting a choice seat.

I was on the Aug 9/19 Canada New England cruise.  If you didn't get to the early show at least 30 minutes before and the late show 25 minutes before you would not get a seat.  The cruise director told everyone on the first night to get there 30 minutes before.   The singers and dancers shows were standing room only...  The other shows, people just left.

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8 hours ago, Desert Cruisers said:

I have been following this thread with some interest since my spouse and I were on the Ft. Lauderdale to Quebec City repositioning cruise over the summer.  I'm not surprised by many of the comments. We were once loyal Princess-only cruisers.  However, we have drifted away from Princess to other cruise lines including those with higher cruise fares.  This year we will be on 7 cruises but only 2 of these will be on Princess ships. In addition to more interesting and different itineraries, we are looking for a more comfortable shipboard experience, and better food.  We still sail Princess but only for specific itineraries - e.g., Hawaii, transatlantic, etc.  And, we adjust our expectations.  Everyone has different priorities but, if you are unhappy with Princess, it may be time to look elsewhere.

 

 

It happens with all mass-market cruise lines. We started venturing out from X after experiencing overcrowding and a lack-lustre sailing on Reflection in the Med (we saw things on that cruise we’d never seen before on an X ship).

 

In hindsight, it’s done us a favour as we’re now considering different options and casting our nets further afield (with regards to cruise lines) . Itinerary is our main concern as we like to experience a range of cultures and sights. Princess do appear to offer a varied list of itineraries, whereas some lines continue to visit the same ‘ole ports, year after year.

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My thanks to everyone posting comments about this cruise. We will be booking it for 2020. The comments have been a real eye opener. We have not been on Princess for many years and are nowhere near elite. In fact our last time was on the CB and we enjoyed it very much and are excited to be trying Princess again.  We have never sent out laundry on a cruise, we just do it ourselves or pack enough. We don’t do production shows,  but do enjoy comedians, magicians etc. So I think we will be ok. We will just try to deal with the tendering problems and not being priority.  Thanks to reading this we have the information to know how to adjust our expectations and that is what Cruise Critic is all about. It sounds like there were many difficult situations for both passengers and crew due to the nature of the itinerary. But that itinerary is what is getting us on that ship. It sounds like  for the most part that the crew did a wonderful job. Any specific tips for this cruise for non elites would be greatly appreciated. 

 

 

Mary Ann

 

 

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10 minutes ago, UFMOM said:

My thanks to everyone posting comments about this cruise. We will be booking it for 2020. The comments have been a real eye opener. We have not been on Princess for many years and are nowhere near elite. In fact our last time was on the CB and we enjoyed it very much and are excited to be trying Princess again.  We have never sent out laundry on a cruise, we just do it ourselves or pack enough. We don’t do production shows,  but do enjoy comedians, magicians etc. So I think we will be ok. We will just try to deal with the tendering problems and not being priority.  Thanks to reading this we have the information to know how to adjust our expectations and that is what Cruise Critic is all about. It sounds like there were many difficult situations for both passengers and crew due to the nature of the itinerary. But that itinerary is what is getting us on that ship. It sounds like  for the most part that the crew did a wonderful job. Any specific tips for this cruise for non elites would be greatly appreciated. 

 

 

Mary Ann

 

 

Mary Ann-

 

Many of the complaints I have read in this thread are very, very similar to the complaints DW & I had when we took Norwegian Pearl to Alaska.  It was in June and the outside temperatures made it impossible to hang out on the open decks or use the pool.  All of the venues around the pool were closed and all of the lounge chairs were stacked and secured.  Thanks to our friends who booked the cruise we had balcony cabins.  A large number of inside cabin Pax occupied seating in every public area for hours on end.  There was no place to sit while couches and window seats were occupied by Pax who brought blankets and pillows into the inside public areas and slept.  It looked like a ship full of homeless people.  In the buffet, we had our breakfast trays and walked around futilely looking for a table at which to eat.  The lounge hogs had taken over the buffet, reserving whole large tables by leaving one person there and putting sweaters and jackets on the remaining chairs at the table.  We would finally just sit at one of those tables and eat challenging the table hog reserving the table.  We spent most of our time sitting on our balcony.  Although we did notice that the rudest Pax appeared to come from one ethnic group we do believe to this day that it was a mistake booking a cold weather cruise on a ship that didn't have an enclosure for the pool deck.

 

Summing up, be careful when picking the vessel for any cold weather itinerary.  The missing use of the open upper decks will cause crowding on any ship.  Rude people are everywhere so there's no escaping that issue.  Good luck and enjoy your upcoming voyage!

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1 hour ago, UFMOM said:

My thanks to everyone posting comments about this cruise. We will be booking it for 2020. The comments have been a real eye opener. We have not been on Princess for many years and are nowhere near elite. In fact our last time was on the CB and we enjoyed it very much and are excited to be trying Princess again.  We have never sent out laundry on a cruise, we just do it ourselves or pack enough. We don’t do production shows,  but do enjoy comedians, magicians etc. So I think we will be ok. We will just try to deal with the tendering problems and not being priority.  Thanks to reading this we have the information to know how to adjust our expectations and that is what Cruise Critic is all about. It sounds like there were many difficult situations for both passengers and crew due to the nature of the itinerary. But that itinerary is what is getting us on that ship. It sounds like  for the most part that the crew did a wonderful job. Any specific tips for this cruise for non elites would be greatly appreciated. 

 

 

Mary Ann

 

 

We are 3 days away from elite, haha, so just platinum.  

 

But we only booked this cruise for Greenland and even with the negative things stated above by myself and others, it was worth it, so go and have fun.

 

My advice: 

Just FYI, EVERY show in the theater was at least an hour long wait, not just production shows.  EVERY venue was packed for every single event, be it trivia, lectures, magicians, comedians,  zumba, the marketplace cafe, atrium.  EVERY place was packed full, and usually standing room only.  People figured this out and would actually go to a previous event just to have a seat for a future event.  When I say it was crazy, it was crazy.  So, plan the things you absolutely want to do and get there early...you will be fine, just a long long wait. 

 

We were really, really lucky with the weather.  There was really only one day where we could not sit outside for short periods of time.  But, even on good sea days(weather wise) there was still crowding every where. So, those that say if the ship had covered outside seating it would solve the problem.........not sure about that.  It might be better, but it does not solve the problems CB has with crowding, IMO.

 

Also, we were able to get on the first tender at each stop.  We were up at 5am, saw sail in, ate breakfast, got a tender ticket by maybe 6:30am(so go early, even if they say they start at 7am, they start a bit early).  We always got the very first tender and it was actually so much better to be in the town before anyone else.  But, the downside is, none of the stores or museums will be open.  So, if you decide to do what we did, hike out of town, then it was awesome.  We are in our 50's, and able to do that and that was the best part for us........first, getting away from all the people and second, really experiencing all of Greenland's beauty.  When we hiked back into town, the town was packed, but all the businesses were open, so we could visit  then if we wanted. 

 

We do our own laundry too, so that was not an issue for us.  When I visited the laundry onboard and did a few loads, I did so at 9pm and got a machine right away.  I only had time to wash, so I hung up the stuff to dry in room.  It worked fine.

 

We only take carry on, so we were first off the ship and it was fast and easy.  The same with checkin.  We didn't want to do the medallion ahead of time(I just don't like the medallion at all and was not wanting to have all that information on an app that does not even carry the Princess name.  We also had several problems with the medallion on the cruise......check you statements!!) and were on without it faster than any ship.  But, there was a big back up at luggage(which we didn't have, only carry on), so maybe that is why we had absolutely no line to check in without medallion.  

 

We only had an interior, as we have done with over 300 days at sea, so staying in the cabin was not as attractive as if we had a balcony.  But, when we needed to get away from the people (as we do on ALL cruises, but usually around day 20+, not day 3!!!) we just watch movies in our room. 

 

I was not complaining about Princess in particular, but about the Caribbean Princess and this particular cruise and fellow cruisers.   Hopefully it will be better for you. 

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1 hour ago, Level six said:

 So, those that say if the ship had covered outside seating it would solve the problem.........not sure about that.  It might be better, but it does not solve the problems CB has with crowding, IMO.

I don't recall seeing a lot of posts about overcrowding on CB during Caribbean itineraries.  We certainly have had no problem on CB.  I think having all those loungers available on the upper decks and having MUTS available makes a difference.

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After we got back from the Greenland cruise we did search CB and found out crowding is a common problem even in the warm climate cruises. Although most complaints were about having to arrive at the theater 30 minutes before a show, this cruise was 45-60 minutes, so it may have been a little worse for this cruise.  There were complaints for long tender lines but again this was worse for this cruise with reports of waiting three hours.  In Nanortalik, we waited 90 minutes but then had to wait 30 minutes more as only one lifeboat could dock at a time.  But we still had plenty of time to hike and see the town so it presented no problem.  For future Greenland cruises Princess should switch to a smaller ship, or else be honest and state upfront, the ship venues will be overcrowded, tender waits could be up to thee hours and there will not be enough room on Princess excursions and limited non cruiseline excursion options in ports

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On 9/4/2019 at 9:25 PM, Mackenzie1 said:

I agree that the lack of port lectures about Greenland was a huge disappointment. What a loss of opportunities!  I was also disappointed in the wine selections in the Lobby Bar and Vines. Princess needs to add a decent champagne by the glass to the Lobby and Vines menus other than Prosecco. Champagne and cruises go together, but Prosecco?  That suggestion is probably more for the comment cards, though. 

Oh My!  You are talking about a cruise line that replaced a steak with a hamburger on their everyday MDR menu!  And you expect real Champagne?   Surely you just.  And even if they did have it on the menu, what makes you think it would be I stock?  When I order wine on Princess or HAL I feel like I am playing the lottery...in that there is a good chance they will not have the menu item! Printing a wine list costs the same whether you list 10 wines or 1000 wines...but the list is worthless unless you actually have what is on the list and can deliver it before dessert!  On the last night of our recent cruise there were only two mediocre Pinot Noir's in stock, despite a full page of listings in the wine list.  And before others try to defend the cruise line, this is not something that happens infrequently.  When I order wine on Princess I will usually give the waiter (or wine steward) at least 2 choices..hoping that they have at least one!  But on the CB my first 3 choices were quickly rejected as not being available.

 

Hank

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29 minutes ago, Hlitner said:

When I order wine on Princess I will usually give the waiter (or wine steward) at least 2 choices

We bring our own wine on for many reasons, including, better pricing and not having to worry if it's in stock or not.

Total Wine next to Port Everglades has a great selection in all price points. https://www.totalwine.com/

You can even pre-order online, and pick it up on your way to the port.

Carry the wine through security, pay your corkage (if any), and you're all set.

Vines, or any other venue will happily serve you your own wine.

Even the buffet has champagne buckets on hand in case you feel like popping your cork at the omelette station.

IMG_3938-web.jpg

IMG_4265-web.jpg

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1 hour ago, Hlitner said:

Oh My!  You are talking about a cruise line that replaced a steak with a hamburger on their everyday MDR menu!  And you expect real Champagne?   Surely you just.  And even if they did have it on the menu, what makes you think it would be I stock?  When I order wine on Princess or HAL I feel like I am playing the lottery...in that there is a good chance they will not have the menu item! Printing a wine list costs the same whether you list 10 wines or 1000 wines...but the list is worthless unless you actually have what is on the list and can deliver it before dessert!  On the last night of our recent cruise there were only two mediocre Pinot Noir's in stock, despite a full page of listings in the wine list.  And before others try to defend the cruise line, this is not something that happens infrequently.  When I order wine on Princess I will usually give the waiter (or wine steward) at least 2 choices..hoping that they have at least one!  But on the CB my first 3 choices were quickly rejected as not being available.

 

Hank

Unacceptable!!!   ☹️

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