We took advantage of previous cruiser discount promotion and booked in January for March 3 departure to Eastern Caribbean. Previous Alaska cruise on Princess which we enjoyed very much. Previous trip to Caribbean, but not in many years so interested to relax and revisit.
We booked with room guarantee and were happy with the nice upgrade to Riviera deck and the cabin location, mid-ship. Never heard any noise from Lido Deck.
Embarkation was very easy, very quick. Boarded ship and took a walk around to get our bearings. Had a quick lunch at the Horizon court. DH met a former colleague that he had not seen in several years.
We had anytime dining, so on this ship two options-both rooms looked identical. We preferred the set-up on the Diamond Princess with four smaller rooms, each one having one specialty dish. We did not like that the main dining room closed at 9 AM for breakfast,even on sea days, forcing us to use the buffet, which DH hates.
Food was fine, nothing especially memorable, nothing especially terrible.
Went to second cruiser get-together and I won raffle drawing with upgrade to Elite status. That was great because I got free internet service of 185 minutes which would have been too expensive to buy. Also got a free mini-bar set-up, invitation to wine tasting and elite passenger status get-together, could have had shoes shined and laundry done, also had 10% discount in shops.
Ship could not make first port stop in Princess Cays because of rough weather, but was not a problem. Relaxed on our balcony or at the small pool on Riviera Deck. Enjoyed many movies this cruise as they were showing all Academy Award movies throughout the week, saw Life Of Pi at MUTS, re-saw Lincoln, Flight and Silver Linings either mid-day or one night 10:30 show.
We did the Wheelhouse Pub fish & chips lunch one day, enjoyed that. Shows on ship were not great, comedian was fine, missed the illusionist but enjoyed the ventriloquist.. not really a big deal with us. Used the gym generally at 6 PM pre-dinner when it was empty, never used the spa.
Had looked forward to revisiting St. Maarten but found it quite disappointing after 30 years. Much pollution, overdevelopment and was dirty. All we did was walk around in Marigot and somewhat in Phillipsburg.
St. Thomas was fine. Just visited Charlotte Amalie and the historic synagogue.
Enjoyed Grand Turk with the beach right off the ship. Nice way to end cruise.
We did enjoy the chef's demo and kitchen tour as well as the wine tasting.
Sadly our cruise did not end well as both DH and I came down with norovirus late Saturday night which was not enjoyable and made disembarkation difficult, along with locating luggage in terminal, cab to airport and flight home. Husband did go to ship doctor and report our illness where he was given some medication... but I thought there should have been better effort to not have sick passengers like us sitting in public lounge for two hours after we had to vacate our room at 8 AM before disembarking. Very poor communication and no follow-up at all from Princess which has been disappointing as well.
It will be quite some time before even thinking about another cruise.