I have recently returned from a short break on board Caribbean Princess. This was my first time sailing with Princess and I have to say I was very surprised! The ship itself is almost identical in layout to the P&O Ventura. That is where the similarities end though! Most of you will know I am not a great fan of P&O having had a few disappointing sailings with them on my own holidays. As soon as I got on board though all my worries disappeared. Although the ship is older she has just come out of a multi million $ refurb. Although some parts look as though they could do with a lick of paint most areas are looking fab. You can really see where the money was spent.
We had an inside cabin which was fine for the 3 nights. We flew into Amsterdam and took the train from the airport to Rotterdam where we joined the ship. Check in was smooth as we were the only ones getting on board. We headed straight to the bar to sort out the All Inclusive drinks package at $59 per person per day I thought this was great value. We had no plans to get off the ship and for this one price we could have wines, cocktails, spirits, beers, soft drinks, bottled water and specialty teas & coffees. This is normally available to purchase on most Princess cruises however the rules are changing. You will not be able to purchase the drinks package if you are on a Medallion sailing (more about this on my next blog)
We didn’t have anyone hosting this trip so we were free to enjoy the ship as customers. There were lots of Americans on board, most had completed the Transatlantic crossing then the first British Isles cruise. I do prefer a more American ship, I find the Americans more willing to have a little chin wag at the bar! Today I will mostly be talking about the fantastic dining options on board.
After we sorted our drinks package we headed to deck 14 to grab a bite to eat. We went into the newly refreshed Market Place Buffet. You could tell this is one of the areas that had a massive overhaul. Everything looked fresh and new. There was a great choice for lunch with hot and cold options and a mixed choice of deli sandwiches, salads, fresh fruits and deserts. We then took a stroll to the Lido pool where we found Salty Dog grill and Slice Pizzeria. the food here looked great and I headed back the following day to test them out and they didn’t disappoint, best burgers at sea, better than Jonny Rockets on Anthem of the Seas! Our first evening meal was in the main dining room, I was surprised after our meal with a birthday cake from Princess my colleagues had ordered!
The following day the weather wasnt too good and we had a day at sea but there were plenty of lounges to chill out and read a book. I popped along to Slice for some pizza and then to Coffee and Cones where I had a lovely ice cream! Later in the day we popped into Vines – The wine bar for tapas and wine just to keep us going until dinner!
Dinner tonight was fantastic, we went to Crown Grill the steak house on board. The cover charge was only $29 and well worth it. I think this was great value for money compared to some of the charges other cruise lines have in place. You could literally have whatever you wanted from the menu! My colleague Ben did just that, I think he ordered everything. The meal was far superior to that of the main dining room and we could still have drinks from our inclusive package in here too.
For breakfast we had the choice of the marketplace buffet and the main dining room.
Our last night on board we went to Planks BBQ – Another new restaurant, located to the back of the Market place with a different decor this is a classic American style dinner. The cover charge here was only $12 per person and again fantastic value. We got all this for 3 to share! I had the Sweet & Smoky Rita to drink, certainly had a kick! We were all so full after our dinner in here we skipped desert although the waiter said we could come back later in the evening if we wanted!
Opposite Planks BBQ you will find Steamers seafood – A family style restaurant, one for seafood lovers with options such as clam chowder, mussels or clams steamer pots with your choice of sauce, maybe a platter full of crab, scallops and shrimps. The cover charge here is only $12 per person so again excellent value for money.
Before getting on board I didn’t really think of the Caribbean Princess as a foodie ship but she really surprised me with so many dining options. There was no need to go to the specialty restaurants but for me its part of the experience to try out different places. Like I mentioned before the cover charges are also so reasonable I’ve paid $45 before in a steak restaurant on board and it was no better than what I was served in Crown Grill.
Well done Princess, You have another convert in me!