David Short | December 13, 2019 | Princess Cruises | Caribbean Princess
On Saturday 5th September 2015 we set sail from Southampton on the Caribbean Princess for 16 days calling at ports in Norway, Shetland Islands, Iceland, Newfoundland, Canada and New York to celebrate our 55th Wedding Anniversary.
Extremely popular itinerary with the more mature and we were told that it had been heavily advertised in Australia and America with tempting pre and post cruise extensions. The Brits,Japanese and Canadians were in the minority and no wonder cabins were at a premium when I booked in August 2014 through Bolsover. It was a very friendly international mix on board, helped considerably by the excellent league of nations crew particularly the dining room and bar staff. Smiling faces always abounded.
Luckily throughout the trip the weather was kind with plenty of sunshine even in Iceland where the anticipated winter gear proved unnecessary. One exception was the inability to dock at St John??s, Newfoundland due to a storm and heavy winds. So four days at sea extended to just over five until we struck land again in Halifax, Nova Scotia. A bonus evening in the port.
The Caribbean Princess is one of the older and larger Princess ships from 2004 and with the odd refurbishment in 2011 carrying just over 3000 fee paying passengers. It was tired in places and another refit is overdue. That said most public areas were reasonably pristine with plenty of wood and marble. It was the occasional carpet and some outdoor places with rust spots which showed its age. Unfortunately a few passengers experienced burst water pipes, which flooded their cabins and several others had toilets which refused to flush. None of these incidents affected us fortunately and there was a overall prevailing comfortable and welcoming atmosphere at all times.
Anytime dining worked well with the need to make reservations if you did not wish to share. Food was plentiful and good quality particularly the beef dishes. We tried Sabatini’s and the Crown Grill and both were excellent. Crab Shack on one night at the Caribe Cafe was exceptional value at an extra $20 each with an abundance of seafood. No complaints but our clothes shrunk rapidly. Platinum and above cruisers were treated to free canap??s and reduced price drinks in the Skywalkers each evening between 5pm and 7pm. A great meeting place and obviously we took full advantage.
Entertainment was patchy with comedians and juggler geared mainly for Americans. Otherwise average cruise shows and singers nothing exceptional although individual groups and instrumentalists around the ship were professional and pleasing.
Port lecturer and Stargazing lectures were excellent. The latter holding court on deck at night in Iceland when on a couple of occasions we saw the Aurora Borealis, an amazing bonus.
We took a mix of tours and individual sightseeing trips. All ports in Iceland were exceptional with the Golden Circle tour from the capital the highlight for me as a former geology university student. Expensive but worth it. Peggy??s Cove outside Halifax was delightful as was Halifax itself particularly around the broadwalk area near the ship??s berth. Sailing into New York at dawn was also stunning.
Cabin with large balcony on the Caribe deck was average but comfortable enough. Bed was harder than normally experienced on Celebrity, Royal Caribbean and Cunard but our excellent steward, Steven from India, earned his extra bonus by adding a foam top and duvet to save our ailing backs.
We ended our holiday with four days sightseeing in New York and a Broadway show (Tony award winner ??American in Paris? which was brilliant). Accommodation was arranged through Bolsover and Princess at the Intercontinental Hotel, West 44th Street near Times Square, a great central location. British Airways World Traveller Plus saw us home safe and sound from Kennedy Airport after a very enjoyable three week anniversary trip with all arrangements working admirably. Thank you Princess and Bolsover, a great combination.
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