For a cruise writer, living near Southampton has its perks – such as frequent opportunities to tour ships. I’ve recently returned from a whistle-stop tour of the latest changes to Princess Cruises’ Caribbean Princess.
Caribbean Princess debuted in 2004 as the fourth Grand Class ship for the line. The vessel can accommodate 3,140 guests, with a plethora of bars, plus many complimentary and for-fee dining venues. Caribbean Princess was also the first cruise ship to have an outside poolside screen.
Earlier this year, the ship underwent an $8.2M refit which introduced new and refreshed venues. Other upgrades to the ship include: new carpet, new dining options, over 3,200 Princess Luxury Beds and preparations for the Ocean Medallion system. The Ocean Medallion will be rolled out to the ship in 2018, after launching on Regal Princess in November 2017.
I’ve been on board Caribbean Princess a couple of times, and despite being an older ship, she is warm and inviting, with rich tones across the various public areas. The staff are very friendly, and even just being on board for the day they were very keen to look after us and see to our needs.
Drinking and Dining
Many of the venues on board remain the same, with minor cosmetic and carpet changes. Several others have been totally refreshed or reinvented, including Sabatinis Italian Trattoria. Sabatinis’ has always been a firm favourite of Princess passengers, and you can see why with a range of freshly prepared food for only $25 for adults ($12.50 for kids). On Caribbean Princess, the venue has received a total refresh, gaining a more contemporary look and feel.
The top decks of the ship received the lion’s share of the recent updates. Several new poolside venues have been added, including:
- Coffee & Cones, a new venue offering specialty coffee and soft-serve ice cream;
- The Salty Dog replaces the Trident Grill, serving gourmet burgers, tacos and hot dogs. Most items are complimentary;
- Slice replaces the old pizzeria, boasting a new menu of Neapolitan-style pizzas, focaccia, salads and Stromboli; and
- The Mix Bar, another newcomer to the pool deck, serves fun poolside
The complimentary World Fresh Marketplace, a quirky and fresh-looking venue, has replaced the old Horizon Court Buffet. New food options have been added to the buffet including a pancake station, speciality hand-crafted sandwiches and a carvery with a selection of roast meats.
At the aft of the buffet, you’ll find another two new casual dining options for Princess. During the day, these venues serve complimentary buffet-style breakfasts and lunch options. At night, they transform into two separate for-fee venues with a cover charge of $12. Planks BBQ serves family-style ‘planks’ of loaded ribs, beef, sausages and chicken plus sides. Of all the new venues on board, this looked not only tasty but fun, a good place to socialize with friends over hearty fare accompanied by cold drinks. The other new venue, Steamers Seafood, has a menu that will entice seafood lovers with a range of choices including mussels, scallops, clams, prawns and crab-stuffed flounder.
The ship is now Ocean Medallion ready. As part of the refurbishment, Princess took the opportunity to install the infrastructure underpinning the Ocean system. This includes sensors all around the ship and 1,000 new digital interactive signs. Final preparations for the system will be made in 2018 ahead of its launch on board.
A full video tour of the ship can be found here:
Marcus Adams is a UK-based travel writer and cruise blogger. He has had a passion for cruising since he was very young and in his spare time you can find him blogging about the travel industry for a number of years. His blog, sparkx.org aims to be a quick, simple and easy go-to place for information. He’s also very active on social media and can be found on twitter @sparkx and Instagram sparkx_a.
Photos courtesy of Princess Cruises. Video by Marcus Adams