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Background information My husband and I are in our 80s, and I use a small mobility scooter to help me get around. This was his first cruise on Princess and 16th cruise on commercial cruise ships (he was in the Navy for 20 years so he has been on other cruises) and my third Princess cruise and my 29th cruise overall. I booked this cruise primarily to visit four ports that we had not been to before. Since there were nine ports in a row with no sea days, this was a very strenuous cruise Because we have both had melanomas, we do not visit the beaches. What we generally do in port is our hobby of cemetery documentation (taking photos of gravestones and adding them to a database). Embarkation - We drove down from Maryland to the Florida and stayed with our daughter in Miami before and after the cruise. Embarkation was very quick and we could get to our cabin right away. Our suitcases arrived before the drill (which was held in the dining room.) Ship: The ship was a lovely small ship. We did not miss the climbing wall/water slides or the International cafe or the large casino, or any of the extras that larger ships have and we also did not miss the crowds or waiting for the elevator. There was a lovely quiet library. The internet was quite good for a ship. The bow camera was excellent. The captain gave a briefing each noon and each night but his accent was such that Bob couldn't understand (or even hear) him at all. There were some minor deficiencies - the Princess Patter was not proofread well so it was not always accurate. In particular the first day, there was a list of formal nights, and they left one out. The thresholds, both inside the ship and to the deck were raised enough that it made a wheelchair or scooter ride over them uncomfortable. I would have liked to be able to go completely around the promenade deck, but it was only a short section on each side and much of it was blocked off when we were at a tender port. Neither of the ATMs worked. There is a laundry but it needs tokens and the token machine will take your money and not give you the tokens so you have to come down to the desk to get tokens. Activities: We did trivia and had a good time with that. It was nice that the people running the trivia were also performers at night. They do a scrumptious afternoon tea in the main dining room. New Years Day they had a big brunch buffet in the main dining room. I got to swim in the pool once before they drained it. They announced the draining in the Patter, but not that they had refilled it. The port lecturer was an old man with a heavy accent. He was not only hard to understand but he was confused - he mixed up the port excursions and had them at the wrong ports. We went to the first lecture and never went again. Service was very good everywhere. Our cabin steward did a good job and was able to find me a smaller pillow. The man in the internet cafe was very helpful. There were four tender ports and the personnel helping us were quite experienced and did a very good job. But no one ever offered to help me get my food in the Panorama Buffet. My husband had to help me get something to eat (I can't easily run the scooter and hold a plate) Dining: The Panorama buffet was too small for there to be a good selection of food. We ate there when we were in port, but if you lingered too long, the ice cream section was packed up and disappeared. Sometimes the labels on the food were wrong. My husband went up once at dinner and said the selections were lame, and there wasn't a lot at breakfast either. In the main dining room, we had a nice table at dinner but we were always the last to leave because the service was a bit slow. The food was good as a rule. There were some dishes that I actively disliked (the way Princess does Brunswick stew for instance). But there were some that I really liked - I had the Chicken and leek pot pie a la Curtis Stone twice. We had two huge lobster tails at the second formal night but the next night the lobster tails were tiny. Bob had what was called chilled pea soup, and it was not chilled, it was hot (which he preferred). The clear soups tended to be a bit too salty for me. The cream soups were served in a glass, but now they no longer give you straws to drink them with. The eggs at breakfast were variable - sometimes a poached egg would be almost hard boiled and sometimes they were almost not cooked. Port & shore excursions: I did not take any Princess excursions because they were either too strenuous or they were canceled (in St Barts) or they were full (Virgin Gorda) St Barts: We had been to St Barts before and rented a car, but the roads are so narrow and twisty that we had a hard time actually getting to the places we wanted to see. The excursions in St Barts were all cancelled because it was Christmas day. I thought (correctly) that I might have trouble getting a taxi. So I booked a taxi driver through the internet and we had a very nice tour for 150 euros. Antigua: We had been to Antigua twice and had done the usual tours, so we just went down to the dispatcher and asked to hire a cab for a couple of hours - this cost $200.00 Terre-de-Haut: This was tender port which we had not visited before. Terre de Haut is a very tiny island. It is less than two and a half square miles. It has most of the population of the archipelago, but this population is less than 2000 souls. We took the tender in and spent some time watching the activity here. The place is a magnet for French tourists who want to spend time at the beach. Martinique: None of the excursions would take my scooter, so I booked an excursion for the two of us through Expedia. Very expensive, but very satisfactory. Tobago: We went on a tour of the island booked through another Cruise Critics member. This was a six or seven tour of the island in a small bus, lunch and ice cream for $80 each. It was a nice tour and we got a lot of good information about the island and saw quite a few things, but I booked it without realizing how long it was - we really do not have the energy to do more than about a five hour tour. Bob was in the back of the bus and there were so many hairpin turns that he said he was about to get car sick. Barbados: We spent a week in Barbados in 1996 and also been there four times on a cruise ship. The one thing I really wanted to see there was St. Nicholas Abbey which we visited in 1996 but has been closed on subsequent visits. I wanted to go back there because they showed old home movies taken in the 1930s and I wanted to see them again. The film is listed by the Barbados Tourism Authority as one of the "Seven Wonders of Barbados". St. Nicholas Abbey is not a religious institution. It has always been a sugarcane plantation house. The great house, built in 1658, is one of just three Jacobean style mansions remaining in the Western Hemisphere. (The others are Bacon's Castle in Virginia and Drax Hall Great House in Barbados.) So I went out to the dispatcher and asked her if I could go there and to a church for $100. We got a taxi and not only saw St. Nicholas Abbey and went to St Philip-the-Less Church, but we also got to see the Morgan Mill and some chattel houses. Bequia: This was another new port for us. Bequia is the largest island of the Grenadines (part of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines) at 7 square miles. Another tender port. After the first fiasco, I had stopped listing to the port talks. But I did go to the official Bequia website and I had seen the maps. So I knew that things were compact in Port Elizabeth and I just scootered down the main street to St Mary the Virgin Anglican Church where we got to listen to a man singing and look at the church and cemetery. Then we took the tender back to the ship. Dominica: We have been here twice before so all I had in mind to do was to visit the Catholic cemetery and take some photos. It was close enough to the ship that Bob could walk and I could go by scooter. Virgin Gorda: In 1997, we visited the Bath's in Virgin Gorda, and I would have liked to go again but even in 1997 I had trouble with the steps and could not do the Devil's Bay trail. I really would have liked to go back to the Baths and get some better photos. But since the excursion was full, that was not a possibility. So we took a tender in and got a taxi. The scooter had a problem yesterday and Bob wanted to get some stuff to fix it so we visited three hardware stores and a couple of cemeteries and had a nice morning for $70.00 Disembarkation: The information on disembarkation was a little misleading (the information given us said that it might take four hours. It took 10 minutes. Summary: A strenuous trip on a nice small ship.

Nine Ports in Nine Days

Pacific Princess Cruise Review by grandmaR

2 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: December 2018
  • Destination: Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Oceanview
Background information

My husband and I are in our 80s, and I use a small mobility scooter to help me get around. This was his first cruise on Princess and 16th cruise on commercial cruise ships (he was in the Navy for 20 years so he has been on other cruises) and my third Princess cruise and my 29th cruise overall. I booked this cruise primarily to visit four ports that we had not been to before. Since there were nine ports in a row with no sea days, this was a very strenuous cruise Because we have both had melanomas, we do not visit the beaches. What we generally do in port is our hobby of cemetery documentation (taking photos of gravestones and adding them to a database).

Embarkation - We drove down from Maryland to the Florida and stayed with our daughter in Miami before and after the cruise. Embarkation was very quick and we could get to our cabin right away. Our suitcases arrived before the drill (which was held in the dining room.)

Ship: The ship was a lovely small ship. We did not miss the climbing wall/water slides or the International cafe or the large casino, or any of the extras that larger ships have and we also did not miss the crowds or waiting for the elevator. There was a lovely quiet library. The internet was quite good for a ship. The bow camera was excellent. The captain gave a briefing each noon and each night but his accent was such that Bob couldn't understand (or even hear) him at all.

There were some minor deficiencies - the Princess Patter was not proofread well so it was not always accurate. In particular the first day, there was a list of formal nights, and they left one out. The thresholds, both inside the ship and to the deck were raised enough that it made a wheelchair or scooter ride over them uncomfortable. I would have liked to be able to go completely around the promenade deck, but it was only a short section on each side and much of it was blocked off when we were at a tender port.

Neither of the ATMs worked. There is a laundry but it needs tokens and the token machine will take your money and not give you the tokens so you have to come down to the desk to get tokens.

Activities: We did trivia and had a good time with that. It was nice that the people running the trivia were also performers at night. They do a scrumptious afternoon tea in the main dining room. New Years Day they had a big brunch buffet in the main dining room. I got to swim in the pool once before they drained it. They announced the draining in the Patter, but not that they had refilled it. The port lecturer was an old man with a heavy accent. He was not only hard to understand but he was confused - he mixed up the port excursions and had them at the wrong ports. We went to the first lecture and never went again.

Service was very good everywhere. Our cabin steward did a good job and was able to find me a smaller pillow. The man in the internet cafe was very helpful. There were four tender ports and the personnel helping us were quite experienced and did a very good job. But no one ever offered to help me get my food in the Panorama Buffet. My husband had to help me get something to eat (I can't easily run the scooter and hold a plate)

Dining: The Panorama buffet was too small for there to be a good selection of food. We ate there when we were in port, but if you lingered too long, the ice cream section was packed up and disappeared. Sometimes the labels on the food were wrong. My husband went up once at dinner and said the selections were lame, and there wasn't a lot at breakfast either.

In the main dining room, we had a nice table at dinner but we were always the last to leave because the service was a bit slow. The food was good as a rule. There were some dishes that I actively disliked (the way Princess does Brunswick stew for instance). But there were some that I really liked - I had the Chicken and leek pot pie a la Curtis Stone twice. We had two huge lobster tails at the second formal night but the next night the lobster tails were tiny. Bob had what was called chilled pea soup, and it was not chilled, it was hot (which he preferred). The clear soups tended to be a bit too salty for me. The cream soups were served in a glass, but now they no longer give you straws to drink them with. The eggs at breakfast were variable - sometimes a poached egg would be almost hard boiled and sometimes they were almost not cooked.

Port & shore excursions: I did not take any Princess excursions because they were either too strenuous or they were canceled (in St Barts) or they were full (Virgin Gorda)

St Barts: We had been to St Barts before and rented a car, but the roads are so narrow and twisty that we had a hard time actually getting to the places we wanted to see. The excursions in St Barts were all cancelled because it was Christmas day. I thought (correctly) that I might have trouble getting a taxi. So I booked a taxi driver through the internet and we had a very nice tour for 150 euros.

Antigua: We had been to Antigua twice and had done the usual tours, so we just went down to the dispatcher and asked to hire a cab for a couple of hours - this cost $200.00

Terre-de-Haut: This was tender port which we had not visited before. Terre de Haut is a very tiny island. It is less than two and a half square miles. It has most of the population of the archipelago, but this population is less than 2000 souls. We took the tender in and spent some time watching the activity here. The place is a magnet for French tourists who want to spend time at the beach.

Martinique: None of the excursions would take my scooter, so I booked an excursion for the two of us through Expedia. Very expensive, but very satisfactory.

Tobago: We went on a tour of the island booked through another Cruise Critics member. This was a six or seven tour of the island in a small bus, lunch and ice cream for $80 each. It was a nice tour and we got a lot of good information about the island and saw quite a few things, but I booked it without realizing how long it was - we really do not have the energy to do more than about a five hour tour. Bob was in the back of the bus and there were so many hairpin turns that he said he was about to get car sick.

Barbados: We spent a week in Barbados in 1996 and also been there four times on a cruise ship. The one thing I really wanted to see there was St. Nicholas Abbey which we visited in 1996 but has been closed on subsequent visits. I wanted to go back there because they showed old home movies taken in the 1930s and I wanted to see them again. The film is listed by the Barbados Tourism Authority as one of the "Seven Wonders of Barbados". St. Nicholas Abbey is not a religious institution. It has always been a sugarcane plantation house. The great house, built in 1658, is one of just three Jacobean style mansions remaining in the Western Hemisphere. (The others are Bacon's Castle in Virginia and Drax Hall Great House in Barbados.) So I went out to the dispatcher and asked her if I could go there and to a church for $100. We got a taxi and not only saw St. Nicholas Abbey and went to St Philip-the-Less Church, but we also got to see the Morgan Mill and some chattel houses.

Bequia: This was another new port for us. Bequia is the largest island of the Grenadines (part of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines) at 7 square miles. Another tender port. After the first fiasco, I had stopped listing to the port talks. But I did go to the official Bequia website and I had seen the maps. So I knew that things were compact in Port Elizabeth and I just scootered down the main street to St Mary the Virgin Anglican Church where we got to listen to a man singing and look at the church and cemetery. Then we took the tender back to the ship.

Dominica: We have been here twice before so all I had in mind to do was to visit the Catholic cemetery and take some photos. It was close enough to the ship that Bob could walk and I could go by scooter.

Virgin Gorda: In 1997, we visited the Bath's in Virgin Gorda, and I would have liked to go again but even in 1997 I had trouble with the steps and could not do the Devil's Bay trail. I really would have liked to go back to the Baths and get some better photos. But since the excursion was full, that was not a possibility. So we took a tender in and got a taxi. The scooter had a problem yesterday and Bob wanted to get some stuff to fix it so we visited three hardware stores and a couple of cemeteries and had a nice morning for $70.00

Disembarkation: The information on disembarkation was a little misleading (the information given us said that it might take four hours. It took 10 minutes.

Summary: A strenuous trip on a nice small ship.
grandmaR’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Cabin
Service
Onboard Experience

Cabin Review

Oceanview
Cabin OB 4052
The cabin was a handicapped cabin and it was slightly larger than the other cabins. There was plenty of room for me to manuever and charge the scooter and also several panic buttons in various locations. The window was washed periodically so we had a good view of harbor activities. There was a small fridge and a safe and a TV. But the TV was so small that I could not read things on it like sports scores or the upcoming program listing. The closets were quite narrow and small. The hanging racks were out of my reach unless I stood up.

My bed was saggy in the middle so I spent the night clinging to the high side so that I would not roll out on the floor. The night stand next to the bed had a lamp fixed in the middle of it which meant that there was no room for the phone to sit straight on the table. We eventually moved the small table by the chair over to put the phone on. The cabin was under the promenade deck so it was a bit noisy sometimes when they were moving chairs there and there were also some ship noises.

The door to the bathroom was very big and heavy- not an automatic door - I needed to use some muscle on it to get into the bathroom. There was no place to put anything on the sink. We had to hang a bag on the bars by the toilet to have wipes to use and my husband had to charge his razor out in the cabin. There was no clothesline to hang wet bathing suits or clothes unless one used the grab bars in the shower. There was a nice seat in th shower which I appreciated, and I could use the hand-held shower head. But the soap and shampoo bottles were difficult to reach from the shower seat.
Deck 4 Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Antigua
    We had been to Antigua twice and had done the usual tours, so we just went down to the dispatcher and asked to hire a cab for a couple of hours - this cost $200.00
    View All 1,518 Antigua Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Antigua Cruise Port Review
  • Barbados
    We spent a week in Barbados in 1996 and also been there four times on a cruise ship. The one thing I really wanted to see there was St. Nicholas Abbey which we visited in 1996 but has been closed on subsequent visits. I wanted to go back there because they showed old home movies taken in the 1930s and I wanted to see them again. The film is listed by the Barbados Tourism Authority as one of the "Seven Wonders of Barbados". St. Nicholas Abbey is not a religious institution. It has always been a sugarcane plantation house. The great house, built in 1658, is one of just three Jacobean style mansions remaining in the Western Hemisphere. (The others are Bacon's Castle in Virginia and Drax Hall Great House in Barbados.) So I went out to the dispatcher and asked her if I could go there and to a church for $100. We got a taxi and not only saw St. Nicholas Abbey and went to St Philip-the-Less Church, but we also got to see the Morgan Mill and some chattel houses.
    View All 1,484 Barbados Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Barbados Cruise Port Review
  • Bequia
    Bequia is the largest island of the Grenadines (part of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines) at 7 square miles. Another tender port. After the first fiasco, I had stopped listing to the port talks. But I did go to the official Bequia website and I had seen the maps. So I knew that things were compact in Port Elizabeth and I just scootered down the main street to St Mary the Virgin Anglican Church where we got to listen to a man singing and look at the church and cemetery. Then we took the tender back to the ship.
    View All 31 Bequia Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Bequia Cruise Port Review
  • Dominica
    We have been here twice before so all I had in mind to do was to visit the Catholic cemetery and take some photos. It was close enough to the ship that Bob could walk and I could go by scooter.
    View All 693 Dominica Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Dominica Cruise Port Review
  • Guadeloupe
    Terre-de-Haut: This was tender port which we had not visited before. Terre de Haut is a very tiny island. It is less than two and a half square miles. It has most of the population of the archipelago, but this population is less than 2000 souls. We took the tender in and spent some time watching the activity here. The place is a magnet for French tourists who want to spend time at the beach.
    View All 99 Guadeloupe Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Guadeloupe Cruise Port Review
  • St. Barts
    We had been to St Barts before and rented a car, but the roads are so narrow and twisty that we had a hard time actually getting to the places we wanted to see. The excursions in St Barts were all cancelled because it was Christmas day. I thought (correctly) that I might have trouble getting a taxi. So I booked a taxi driver through the internet and we had a very nice tour for 150 euros.
    View All 165 St. Barts Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's St. Barts Cruise Port Review
  • Virgin Gorda
    In 1997, we visited the Bath's in Virgin Gorda, and I would have liked to go again but even in 1997 I had trouble with the steps and could not do the Devil's Bay trail. I really would have liked to go back to the Baths and get some better photos. But since the excursion was full, that was not a possibility. So we took a tender in and got a taxi. The scooter had a problem yesterday and Bob wanted to get some stuff to fix it so we visited three hardware stores, a couple of cemeteries and the airport and had a nice morning for $70.00
    View All 68 Virgin Gorda Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Virgin Gorda Cruise Port Review