Princess cruise b2b 02/26-03/11
First we are multiple princess cruisers, 60+ from chicago and we booked a back to back southern cruise out of San Juan leaving on 2/26. The flight from Chicago had mechanical difficulties and was 2 hours late, (thank you AA) No problem we arrived at about 5pm and being elite passengers quickly checked in. We made to our cabin B601 on deck 11 a great cabin. We met our steward Jeffrey and I gave him $20 immediately. Service was great, gave him a 20 every few days. I find tips to the cabin steward are the best money spent on the cruise. For the ship and cabin, it was fine though the Caribbean Princess was showing some wear. Name on the back was rusted etc. No real mechanical problems except that some of the bathrooms on decks 6 and 7 occasionally backed up. The food was fine, we liked the pizza on our balcony, burgers by the pool, or lunch in the horizon court. One thing that has changed is that the dining room is only open for lunch on days at sea. Bummer. We used to spend the morning at the beach or in town, get a nice lunch and then go back ashore. Another cost cut. Dining room breakfast was open every day but we were happy with room service or horizon court so made it only once for breakfast.
The entertainment on the ship was ok. I was never impressed with ship entertainment and in many ways I think it is upgraded. The production shows were better and they had some comedians on board and a hypnotist. Shows were only in the princess theater. The explorers lounge had some ship game show, newlywed game or something. This was a change, in the past the explorers lounge had some comedians etc. The game shows were entertaining so this was not a big deal. Food was fine but we are easy to please. Princess did bring back the baked Alaska parade. I am an elite passenger so we usually went to the elite lounge for cocktails and appetizers. Enjoyed this. The elite free laundry was great. Turn around in 2 days and professionally done. Shirts were ironed, sox folded it was great. I used the internet some but it was an ordeal slow as it was. I also went to the international cafe for cookies about 3 every day. Food was good but on past cruises they had a piano player or something. Not this time. We watched the academy awards on deck to start the cruise but never could find a movie worth watching so we did not go to any movies at night. All In all I had no complaints. As for the ship, it was mostly retirees ( I would say 60%), a lot of Canadians. Hardly any kids to be seen. That is not untypical for feb/march cruises. Weather was not horrible but not great. Temps in the 70s and overcast mostly. Barely fit for swimming.
Following is what we did ashore
We taxied it to orient beach. Actually string beach(in the center of orient beach), 8$ pp taxi ride and 7 pp for chair and umbrella. Competition was rife all around and many bars had chair and drink specials. The umbrella price included a free drink. Good drink too, I had a rum punch and it was really strong. I watched the French bartender make it, several different rums. The beach was fantastic very pretty, shopped in town some too.
We went to grand anise beach in the am via a water taxi, nothing special there. 6 pp water taxi and 20 for 2 chairs and umbrella. 3 beers. Nice beach but not great.
Never really liked this island. We were docked far from town. Just walked around the town area a little. We have been to st. lucia many times so we have seen the sights.
I went snorkeling on the mushi mushi tour. That was a disappointment. The ship and the staff were great and very entertaining. There was plenty of rum punch, beer, and soda, but the snorkeling was very bad, I saw maybe one fish. The mushi mushi docked in the marine park but no one was around us. Maybe because the snorkeling was bad. This was the 3rd snorkeling tour I have taken in Bonaire and I found the beach snorkeling to have the best fish.
We took an island and cave tour. It was ok, nothing special
We usually go to magens bay but this time we decided to go to st. johns since we were never there. Took a taxi to the ferry(11pp) then the ferry (6pp) then a taxi to turtle beach (8 pp) then paid admittance(5pp) then rented a beach chair (7pp) It was expensive. They have a nice snorkel ing trail set up and have a life guard on the trail. He asked me how I was doing (I am not a strong swimmer) It was ok but it was a long swim. I had my own snorkel and mask but no fins so it was a difficult swim. Saw some fish but nothing spectacular. We stay at magens bay from now on. Travel was well over an hour to the beach in the am. Much longer due to traffic in the pm
We taxied to cane garden bay (6pp) and 7 pp for a chair. Very beautiful beach, great bar with good drinks. We had conch fritters for lunch, they were very good. No snorkeling but minnows
We went to harbor lights beach, I forget the name of the beach. It is right down from the boatyard. 5pp taxi and 8pp for chair and umbrella, Nice beach for swimming no snorkeling
We were going to go to the beach but it was very cool and overcast so we just walked around
Just walked around town a little and then went back to the ship and hung around the pool.
All in all a nice cruise. Nice people on board and the service were very good. Money well spent.