My best girlfriend and I arrived in Ft. Lauderdale on April 20 to have a Princess rep waiting at the airport for us. We were transferred to The Sheraton on the Beach hotel for a one night stay. The hotel was right on the beach (very, very crowded) and had plenty of restaurants inside and nearby to choose from. We loved the restaurant on the deck and the waiters were first class. We loved when they brought our lunch to the beach. Prices were fantastic.
Sunday morning we were transported to the cruise ship with embarkation being extra fast as I am Platinum. We were in our room by l p.m. inside cabin A253 (Aloha). Our room was satisfactory but we were pleasantly surprised to have a dozen chocolate covered strawberries waiting for us. A couple weeks prior to cruising I received a packet from Princess informing me that I had been chosen to be a VIP Casino guest. It was a fabulous surprise with casino cash, complimentary drinks while playing, champagne in our stateroom, plus cocktail More
receptions, tournaments and raffles. It was especially nice to be able to bring my friend who was a first time Princess cruiser.
Our ports were Princess Cay, St. Thomas, St. Maarten, and Nassau. Grand Turk was on the itinerary but it was changed prior to arrival to our disappointment. We didn't book any Princess excursions. Weather was wonderful in the 80's.
Our dining was early in the Boticelli dining room. Our wait staff was Hong and Remus. Hong was the absolute best waiter I have ever had on Princess. Every night she suggested appetizers, entrees and desserts. Service was quick and with plenty of smiles. Food was excellent, but sometimes I wished it was a bit plainer. I'm a vegetarian and vegetables aren't plentiful in the dining room. Hong ordered us steamed spinach each night. The breakfast buffet had numerous options for everyone's pallet. This cruise my girlfriend loved the International Cafe for their sandwiches and desserts for late night.
This cruise we tried to do so much that we were exhausted. I laughed and enjoyed myself so much. Everyone treated me like a Princess. We were invited to so many parties and receptions that we felt like royalty. The shows were fantastic. A new twist was added with "Once Upon a Dream". The comedian Troy was so funny that he packed the whole theater for all the shows.
We had a pleasant surprise with the meeting of over 50 Santa Clauses from all over the US and Canada.
They put on a small reception in full dress and the response was tremendous. There was also a meeting of Breast Cancer Survivors and we got to meet some wonderful ladies.
I can't say enough about this cruise. The Captain and Head Chef were so accessible. I got to meet and talk to them a few times.
I only had one complaint: The shopping expert. She convinced us to purchase a $25 book (which I had purchased on other cruises) so we could get this $125 necklace for free. It was pictured gold with a tiny diamond chip in the middle. When we got the necklace you absolutely couldn't see the stone. When I questioned the rep at Diamonds International she said "A picture is worth a thousand words, need I say more". I got tired of the expert saying she was an expert. Less
We chose an inside stateroom for the value. The room had two twin beds which were very comfortable. We had plenty of closet space and plenty of hangers for two ladies. We were rarely in our room and certainly cared more about the sun. Our steward was Ricardo and he kept our room spotless. The shower was nice and plenty of hot water. On longer cruises I chose a balcony. I wish they would put lighted digital clocks in the room.
We booked through the water sports office in the port bldg. The two of us were taken by boat with others to a private island and dropped off by ourselves. There were 3 gentlemen on the island and we proceeded to wait over an hour for our parasailing boat. We questioned him many times and he had to call over 3 times to get the person to cone get us. It was a making us a little nervous. When he did arrive he took us parasailing for at least a half hour. It was very nice, but I have never experienced that before. Our ship was suppose to go to Grand Turk but was changed about 2 months prior to sailing. I have been to Nassau many times and it would be nice if they would have a little tram to take the passengers to town,.
I'm not crazy about this stop. The entrance to the beach is very rocky and with the waves it is hard to enter and exit. We rented inflatable chairs for $9 each and mine hit the rock and ripped. They were hard to control but did not tip over. Princess offers many water activities but basically it's just a bare island. Princess puts on a barbecue with few choices for vegetarians. There is a large choice of fruit. You have to be tendered to the island which is not a favorable event for me
I love St. Maarten. The beach is beautiful with chairs and umbrellas being offered for $l0 total. Drinks were $l0 a bucket for your choice of 5 beverages. There is plenty of activities on the French side with Orient beach being topless. There are casinos, shops and cafes all through the island.
St. Thomas is always a pleasant stop. You can choose to go to the beach (Magen's Bay) or tour the island. I don't think anyone gets tired of the beautiful views. There are endless shops filled with jewelry and clothes. Carnival was going on so traffic was backed up. Magen's Bay has a wonderful outdoor restaurant with delicious pizza and amazing bushwacker drinks. The beach is smooth with no rocks.
If you have time, you can take the ferry to St. John and snorkel.