Embarkation More a dream than a nightmare- long lines that moved very quickly - left hotel a little after 12:00 and we were on board, in our cabin by 1:00. Cabin much bigger than I expected, with a nice flow...we paid a little extra for this, but worth it. The cabin TV is a 21 inch viewsonic LCD with hdmi inputs. Have a webcam with classical music which helps put us to sleep. Made it to the coral MDR for lunch - fantastic. Had the beef tenderloins, DW had the salmon. Both were excellent! No stress, no fighting crowds to find a place to sit. Cruised rough the horizon court after we finished and re-affirmed our decision. Dinner first night - I got the Hawaiian luau pork - was ok, but not spectacular. DW got the prime rib and it looked great. We both ordered the porcini mushroom soup and both thought it was disgusting. Spring rolls were very good. DW had the flour-less chocolate cake for dessert and though it we ok - not as good as the night before at Bistro Mezzaluna. I had the cheese More
plate with a dessert wine - very nice.
Tried the pizza many times - very good.
Minuses - no real good walking track - did find on deck 7 you can walk from the front on one side to the front on the other, then turn around and retrace your steps, or you can walk up a flight of stairs, cross the bow of the ship, then down a set and continue on your walk/run. 2.7 laps = 1 mile.
Overall ship appears in very good shape. Seems like princess is doing it right. But it's early yet. Today we go to princess cay where we're renting a clamshell.
Day 1 - princess cay
Much nicer than I expected. Tendering was a breeze and after a short 5 - 7 minute ride, we were ashore. We rented a clamshell and we with sat under it or we're out swimming. Beach is great, water has water worn coral before you get to 4 foot deep sandy bottom play area...lifeguards are everywhere and seem to take their job seriously. You can rent kayaks, hobie cats, water trikes, and paddle boards...was kinda windy so about a dozen times the staff on a jet ski needed to race after someone who couldn't make it back under their own power...I called it the tow of shame.
Day 2 at sea
Had breakfast in the Coral dining room and had the eggs Florentine. Would absolutely recommend it! DW had an egg white omelet and wished she got what I had. Laid out at the aft pool and read a lot. Got into the hot tub...no bubbles , but lots of hot water. Aft pool is adults only and deep - 5'3" and fresh water. Didn't see any kids, but they could be heard.
Tried the English pub fare in the crown grill - not terrible. Crispy on the top, but a little soggy on the bottom...seemed like there was more batter than fish - not nearly as good as the fish we had at Ft Lauderdale. Nice lunch - desert was pretty good - bread and butter pudding - more like an egg custard with golden raisins.
Paid $25 for the wine tasting - worth the money. The wines they serve are very good and we found a Merlot that we loved. Bought a bottle for dinner that night. Renewed our vows at 5:30 which was wonderful. It was a formal ceremony with just my wife and I, the Captain, and Leigh-Ann Davis, the Guest Services representative that coordinated the event. We re-exchanged our rings, took pictures with the Captain, and made a memory we'll carry with us forever. They videotaped the ceremony, but the cost for the video was prohibitive for us. We did buy the montage of pictures they took.
Curacao - our first visit to this island. Not disappointed, but not really overwhelmed either. We booked the Irie tour and thought they did a great job. For $20 per person , you got an up close view of the island complete with all the beer, water, and soda you can drink. They finish the day with over an hour at Sea Aquarium Beach - bring a bathing suit and towel - beautiful beach! We loved the colorful buildings and the walking bridge that swings out of the way for boats/ships that wish to head out to sea. I've never seen anything like that! They start blowing a horn to let people know to hurry to the other side before they swing it out. If they raise an orange flag, it means the bridge will be 'open' for about 5 - 10 minutes. If it's a blue flag, it could be up to an hour. If it's that long, they do have a free water ferry to take you to the other side. All the people we met were very nice!
Aruba - booked the Sonny Binn tour. Highly recommend this! $30 per person and no drinks, however Sonny is an absolute delight! He knows his island and loves showing it off. Laughed and had a great time. He has a modern air conditioned bus and it's needed in Aruba! Hot!
Back at sea for the trip home. Had dinner at the crown grill - not bad, but not really on par with Ruth's Chris, Morton's, or Capitol Grille...was it worth the $25 per person? Yes. However the meals in the dining room were always very well prepared.
Things we liked:
1. The ship - she's in great shape!
2. The staff - very friendly and professional.
3. Our room - R508 - largest interior room we've enjoyed!
4. Pizza - yes, it's true - very good.
5. The adults only pool at the very forward area of the ship, near the Sanctuary. We actually thought it was part of the Sanctuary, but it's not.
6. Food was very good everywhere - didn't have a bad meal.
7. Nice to have someone help you find a place to sit, but we never had to look very far or long in the Horizon court.
8. Loved not hearing the cruise director making announcements every 15 minutes, ala Carnival.
9. Loved being left alone by the poolside waitstaff in the adults only area - I'm on vacation - I loved being left alone.
10. Caribe cafe - nice alternative to the Horizon court and took the pressure off the Horizon Court.
11. The International cafe - open 24 hours!
Things that we thought need some help:
1. Need a better outdoor walking/running track
2. Horizon court is nice, but the feng shui needs a little help.
I think we'll definitely sail with Princess again. The overall 'adult' vibe suited us...and it felt more elegant than Carnival, although we still think
Carnival deserts are better. Less
Caribbean Princess Cruises to the Southern Caribbean
We booked R508, which is category II. We paid a little more for this cabin, but it was well worth it. Great flow, lots of room...never had to worry about neighbors on either side. The shower stall was smaller than what we've had before, but really, how long do you stay in the shower? I would sail in this cabin cabin again. My only observation was this cabin was on deck 14...I believe if we had sailed one on a lower deck, we'd been much happier.
Sonny did a wonderful job of showing us his island. From the rock formations to the Indian carvings, Sonny showed us things I'm not sure we would have otherwise seen. We finished the day at the Lighthouse where Sonny joined in with other locals to help cut up some fresh coconuts and let us sample this surprisingly fleshly fruit. Hats off to Sonny!
For only $20 per person, we had a 3.5 hour tour that included all the beer, water, and soda we could drink. Sylvian was our driver/guide and he did a wonderful job. Learned a lot about the island and finished the day with more than an hour at Sea Aquarium Beach.
After reading a lot of reviews, wasn't really expecting much here. We were delightfully surprised. Princess is doing a great job keeping the grounds in pristine shape. The buffet lunch isn't great, but it ain't bad either. They had burgers cooked over an open flame (probably a little closer to medium rare than USDA would like, but still tasty), hot dogs, brats, chicken legs, fish, and ribs as well as deserts. We had a wonderful time laying under a clamshell and jumping the water when we wanted. We really enjoyed our time here.