We arrived in San juan late on Sunday evening after flights from Manchester via JFK. The airport is close to the Port and the princess arranged transfers were reliable and quick as normal. Boarding was very quick as it was nearly 10pm by the time we got to the ship so majority of people were already on. I did hear some horror stories from people who Arrived earlier in the day as customs delayed boarding and the queues were very long as a result.
We had a mini-suite on Dolphin Deck and it was a good size and very comfortable with the extra TV, sofa and bath being the main difference from the normal balcony room. We only had 15minutes in the room before we were mustered for our safety drill which had to be done then as we sailed at 11pm.
The ship overall was in very good condition and all our favourite haunts such as sky walkers, international cafe and crooners were present and correct. We opted for anytime dining and ate in the island dining room most nights. Food was More
the usual high standard - I particularly like the variety of fish dishes. Service In the dining rooms was friendly and efficient and not to heavy handed in pushing extras such as wine, bottled water etc. we ate in horizon court (self service) a couple of evenings and the odd morning and found the food to be much hotter than previous ( on previous princess cruises I've often found it lukewarm).
Service on the ship was excellent. One day we had a problem with the toilet not flushing, we reported to the front desk and was assured it would be fixed. When we returned to our room later in the morning there was a message saying the problem had been fixed, however on checking it still didn't work- we reported it again, they apologised and 10minutes later it was fixed. When we returned to our room that evening there was a bottle of wine waiting and a letter apologising for the inconvenience ! I think this was excellent customer service.
We are platinum captains circle members so we took advantage of the pre dinner nibbles and cocktails each evening in sky walkers - which was a lovely way to watch the days port disappear into the distance, we didnt catch any shows preferring to spend our evenings in crooners listening to the singer/pianist Tommy McPhee - he was pretty good although his style was a little ott for what is meant to be a relaxing cocktail bar - but most people enjoyed him.
As for the Ports - before going I guessed that 1 island would be much the same as the next and whilst to an extent that was true, each had its own unique style that made each one a pleasure to visit. We didn't bother with the ships tours as they are expensive opting to make each day up as we went along.
Overall we had a blast and would recommend Princess and Caribbean cruising Less
Caribbean Princess Cruises to the Eastern Caribbean
We did a tour to the Flamimgo lakes where the brochure on board said there would be clouds of flamingos, if 15 counts as a cloud then yes we saw them :D that aside its a very different feel to the other islands we visited. Very flat and harsh, but with some beautiful scenery none the less.
Aruba - we had been here previously and wandered to our favourite spot in the marina about 20minute walk from the ship. A great place to watch the lizards, birds and crabs come out to play. We then headed back and had a couple of beers port side before heading back to San juan and journeys end
Again not a huge amount to keep you occupied in port so we took a taxi tour for a couple of hours to the edge of the rain forest, passed the waterfalls and some sulphur vents before heading back to the botanical gardens. Driver was very knowledgeable and took great pride in pointing out the varied flora and fauna.
Did another taxi tour for a couple of hours - plenty of stops to take in the sights. Found the vendors to be a little more pushy here, but I guess being the last ship of the season had an influence on that.
Favourite port - beautiful beach 15minutes walk from the ship with turquoise sea. We hired 2beds, umbrella and got 4 bottles of corona for 20dollars. We spent a very pleasant day swimming and enjoying the sun. Plenty of shops as with most ports for those who like that sort of thing. One tip, don't bother with the water taxi from the ship. Its easier to walk to town.
5 dollar taxi gets you into town. The town is very pretty with lots of shop lined alley ways for the bargain hunters. The old fort makes a good photo stop as does the hill to the rear for a panoramic view of the bay.
Not a great deal to distract you in road town so we opted for a 15dollar taxi tour which took us over the highest point on the island to a beautiful beach on the far side. The driver (kitty) was superb stopping often so we could get photos of the wonderful views as well as singing to us throughout :D