This was our first Princess cruise. We are 50 years old, and we enjoy cruising to relax in the warm climate in the middle of winter.
We arrived in Fort Lauderdale the day before we sailed. Coming from the northeast, you never know about the weather and how travel will go. We booked the Gallery One by Doubletree through Hotwire. The taxi from the airport to the hotel was $30 plus tip. It is about 2 blocks to the beach, so we enjoyed a stroll on the beach. We picked up a few items from Publix and used Starbucks' free wifi, both across the street from the hotel.
It was raining hard in the morning, so we decided to leave for the port around 1:00, instead of our usual early arrival at port. It took about 15 minutes to hail a taxi, and then another 30 minutes to get to the port, so we arrived at 1:45. There was a long line to check in, winding around the building. We were in our room by 2:15. We had our first balcony. Nice. We were on the Caribe deck, all the way More
forward, a great location, assigned by a stateroom guarantee booking.
Muster drill was a 3:15 in the Princess Theater. We really liked the muster location, having stood in lines, wearing a life jacket, outside on the deck in previous Carnival drills. Sail away was at 4:15, which we enjoyed from the Skywalkers Lounge in the aft.
We chose Anytime Dining, which really worked well for us. We appreciated the flexibility of going to dinner whenever we wished. We had to wait 15-20 minutes a couple of times, but we were given a pager and waited in the Piazza until we were paged. We always chose to sit at large tables with other couples. We met interesting people from all over, with a variety of lifestyles and life stories. The quality of the food was mostly mediocre, with one or two stand-outs.
After dinner each night, we enjoyed wandering from lounge to lounge to listen to bands, participate in trivia games, and people-watch. We found the comedian to be very funny. We watched a football game and a movie on the Movies Under the Stars.
I found the bed to be extremely hard and uncomfortable. The pillows and bedding were not impressive, either.
Several mornings, we enjoyed room service breakfast on the balcony. We did try the buffet one or two mornings and found the food to be good for buffet food. We really disliked the coffee. We did not spend the extra money for a coffee card, so that may have tasted better. I switched to tea for the week.
We spent sea days at the Spa Pool, just below the Sanctuary. We found the area to be calm, quiet, child-free, with comfortable loungers. Lunch was from the buffet or pizza. That is absolutely the best pizza on the seas! I also participated in a wine tasting--for $9.50, we tasted 5 wines and received a souvenir glass. I enjoyed learning about the wines.
On disembarkation day, we woke at 6:30 and went to breakfast in the dining room. We finished packing and were out of the room by 8:30. We were instructed to be in one of the dining rooms by 10:00. We were called to leave at 10:15 and easily walked through customs and off the ship. Very organized.
All in all, it was a wonderful week.
We really enjoyed our trip, and we will sail on Princess again. Less
Caribbean Princess Cruises to the Southern Caribbean
We walked off the ship, through the pier, and across the street to the public bus terminal. We took the public bus for $2.30 per person (one-way), passed Eagle Beach, and got off at Palm Beach. We got off just past the RIU resort. The beach is free, but the chairs and umbrella were $35. The sand is nice, and the water is calm and turquoise. It did get crowded as the day went on. We got lunch from one of the restaurants, nothing special. We took the public bus back to port around 1:00.
We docked in Curacao around 12:30 and were in the first group off the ship. We shared a taxi with another couple to Blue Bay Resort for $10 per person plus tip. It has a fairly nice beach, a family resort, with nice palapas and great snorkeling from shore. When we returned to the port, we stopped at a nearby Starbucks to use the free wifi.
We spent a wonderful, hot, sunny day on the beach. We walked to the left after disembarking, almost all the way to the end of the walk. We sat on 2 lovely chairs under a palm tree. I snorkeled from the shore and saw a nice variety of fish. I was pleasantly surprised by the good grilled fish and delicious fresh fruit on the lunch buffet.