We began the day before, flying into Ft. Lauderdale from cold, snowy Michigan. The sun and heat felt so good and being near the water wasn't too bad, either. We had dinner at a local seafood restaurant with newly found friends from our Roll Call and, like other cruisers, went to bed anticipating our cruise the next day. We sailed with another couple whom we had sailed with twice before.
We got to the cruiseport at 10:30 Friday morning hoping to board in time to have lunch in the Dining Room. Check-in involved long lines, as usual, but we were on board by noon, in time to head down for lunch in the Da Vinci Dining Room. Unfortunately, our sailaway was rained-out so we went up to the Horizon Court to sail away behind the glass.
We had a mini-suite and love the extra space and especially the bathtub. The bed was very comfortable, unlike the rock hard mattresses we've had in the past with Princess.
Most of the meals were wonderful. We had dinner one More
night in the Crown Grill. The meal was one of the best I've had onboard a cruise, including the dessert, and we were impressed with the food presentation. The Creme Brulee is to die for if you're a fan; the fish and seafood menu choices are also good.
We stayed away from Horizon Court wherever possible, mainly because of the crowds and table-holding. We often ate breakfast there. Burgers, pizza and ice cream topped our lunch menu. We determined that table hogs, like chair hogs, are just plain annoying.
We had cookies and milk every day at the International Cafe and made sure we all had our fill of the delicious gelato.
The staff and crew were very helpful. They all were happy and quick to help however they could. We found out we had the same Room Steward for this cruise as we had on the Island Princess last year. He took good care of us, remembering who liked which soft drinks and keeping our ice bucket filled on a regular basis. When we had a problem with the rented tuxedo, he made sure we had the right size parts when it came time for the two formal nights.
This cruise was very port intensive. We had scheduled non-cruise sanctioned tours on all but two ports and they were all superb. I've recommended two in particular on the forum.
Disembarkation was as usual, disappointing and quick. We had a nice breakfast in the Botticelli Dining Room and took our time. No searching for an empty table to seat four of us, as is common in Horizon Court.
All in all, this cruise tops our list. We met plenty of good friends, ate plenty of good food, had lots of laughs, and decided there's nothing like a good Caribbean sunset! Less
Emerald Princess Cruises to the Southern Caribbean
One of the members on our roll call arranged a tour of Aruba with Sonny Binns which was outstanding. There were only 8 of us on the tour. We stopped at a gift shop, a natural bridge and various local spots. He also took us all over the island and did a narrative which was very informative and answered any questions we had about the island.
At the end Sonny will drop you off at the beach, the shopping area, or take you back to the ship. We opted to do a little shopping. We were very impressed with Sonny and would recommend him to anyone.
We got shopping done. We were supposed to go on a Drift Snorkeling Tour with Woodwind Tours but, again, the sun prevented us from going. We did lots of walking around and had lunch at a great little restaurant on the island. We all enjoyed the island.
Dominica was a pretty island. We stayed close to port and got some shopping done. They offer quite a variety in jewelry, if that's what you're shopping for. We had originally booked a river tubing tour but one of us had gotten too much sun and had to cancel and avoid the sun, so we did some shopping and stuck close to the cruiseport.
We took the Spice Plantation Tour booked independently with Mandoo's Tours. We were taken to a working spice farm on the island and made sure to bring home cocoa, bay and nutmeg. He gave us a thorough, enjoyable tour and enjoyed explaining to us Papiamento, an unofficial Caribbean language throughout Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao.
We took an Island Tour booked independently through Godfrey Tours. He took us in a bus all around the island pointing out various islands and beaches, with places to stop to take photographs. St. Thomas is a very picturesque island with all of the remote islands within boat distance.