Back ground information: My husband and I travel about 4 times a year (mainly to the Caribbean). This was our third cruise, our past two cruises were on Holland America and Carnival. We had a wonderful time
Day 1 San Juan Departed Boston on Jetblue non-stop to San Juan. With the help of a porter and a taxi we headed over to Hotel Convento. We arrived at the hotel around 1:30 so our room was not ready yet. For lunch we headed over to Barrachina. Both of us had the Mofonogo (one shrimp, one seafood) plus Pina Colada's - Delicious all around
When we went back to the hotel there seemed to be a bit of a problem with room availability. After a few errors we were upgraded to a Junior Suite. Shannon at customer service is very friendly and efficient even in all the chaos of answering phones, people waiting, people yelling and the heat
Our room had a long entrance, living room, separate bedroom, good size bathroom and plenty of storage space with views of the stores and restaurants.
In the evening the hotel hosts a wine and cheese hour on their terrace. Wonderful place to sit for sunsets with views of a lovely church (a wedding was taking place while we were out there).
Day 2 San Juan Got a late start and decided to do a little more shopping around Old San Juan - lots of fun stores We decided to head back to the hotel for lunch in their courtyard. After lunch we checked out of the hotel and headed over to the ship.
We were able to use the priority check in thanks to our Suite. Between check in, the liquor store, security, and pictures we were on the ship in 15 minutes.
Once on the ship we headed to our room R404 The Dominica Suite. The Suite is very spacious and well laid out. We met our room steward - Jose Rene.....very nice and took great care of us all week long. In regards to the noise aspect of the PH suites we heard noise the night of the sail away party, the Caribbean party(were notified with a letter that their could be noise) and only once in the morning when the staff was cleaning. Otherwise hardly any noise at all (sometimes there was more noise coming from our hallway then above us). Initially we did not receive any cards about our obc or bottle of wine. However both were in Princess's system and we did receive them.
The very next thing I did was read today's Patter and what did I see.......THE CHEF'S TABLE I called dining services and made a reservation right away
We then headed to wander around the ship - had a few drinks, did the spa tour, and just poked around. The international cafe food looked terrific. We did eventually try the panini's, tapas, and gelato - yummy
The only problem we experienced was our 4th piece of luggage (my dresses of course) didn't arrive until we left for the muster drill. Leaving me not too many options for dinner that night.
Headed to dinner (Michelangelo Dining Room) at 8:30 and met the Head Waiter Antonio. We were seated at a table for 2 next to the window (Table 292) and were fortunate enough to have Diana and Ronald as our waitstaff. We had such an amazing time with them that we decided to make a standing reservation for that table every night. A special Thank you to Antonio, Ronald, and especially Diana for all of your help. After dinner we stopped by our room and had the bed turned down, chocolates, and the breakfast menu along with the fruit menu, and hors d'oeuvre menu (favorite two were the proscuitto/melon breadsticks and the grand marnier profiteroles).
Day 3 at Sea Headed over to deck 7 and walked 3 laps around the ship. Great way to start the day We had a bit of trouble with our breakfast through room service this morning. For whatever reason we didn't get breakfast until 10:30 asked for it to arrive at 9:00.
For lunch we tried the Buffet - first and last time for that Too many people, too little space plus the choices were just so random. Nothing seemed to flow.
Tonight was a formal night for dinner. We did receive our flowers but opted not to wear them. After dinner we had our photos taken by John - terrific photos both times. We stopped by our room and were welcomed by a towel elephant and a towel puppy. Headed over the bars and popped in to see Princess pop star......some good, some bad, very interesting.
Day 4 Barbados We did the 5 star Tiami Catamaran sail with turtles. I can not say enough about this excursion, the crew, or the island.
After our first stop (the turtles) we had a medical emergency a woman was stung by a jellyfish. The crew remained calm, quickly assessed the situation, gave her oxygen, asked around for help with an epi pen, and called for another boat to take her to the hospital. Later in the day the crew even followed up to see how she was doing and let all of us know that she was okay.
The rest of the excursion was great, saw more colorful fish at a second snorkeling site and then headed over to Sandy Lane beach.
After dinner went to Explorers to watch Wavelength - good band
Day 5 St. Lucia Chose the Jungle Reef excursion. Our transfer was a small ferry like boat for about a ½ hour ride down the coast. The excursion stated that you can go biking, snorkeling, or relaxing on a beach....all technically true however the beach is very small and very rocky. It was nice to see a black sand beach though. Lunch was provided and it was very good however I was hoping for some more local dishes. Boarded the boat again and basically just around the corner were the Pitons. Stopped for a minute or two for pictures and then headed back to the pier. Overall we had a good time but wouldn't choose this excursion again. Day 6 Antigua Chose the Antigua Beach Break, boarded a bus for a short ride. Received a lounge chair, rum drink and got to relax on a powder soft sand beach. The waves were a bit strong I must admit to being one of the people knocked down and dragged back to the beach by a wave (probably looked goofy but was able to laugh at myself).
We received a letter about the Chef's Table and it stated we needed to have closed toe shoes. So while in Antigua I asked around and was sent to the IT store. I was able to find a pair of closed toe shoes as well as a new dress. Headed over to Hemingway's for lunch - delicious especially the dipping sauce for conch fritters
Tonight was the Chef's table. We were to meet the Maitre'D at the international cafe. We were then brought into the galley to meet the Executive Chef for Champagne and hors d'oeuvres. Next we sat down at a special table in the Michelangelo dining room. The menu does change depending on the what the Chef wants to make and there are lots of surprises along the way. The Chef's table is something that you shouldn't miss
After dinner we went to the Explorers lounge for the hypnotist show - hilarious
Day 7 Tortola Chose the Tortola Beach Break - had a bit of trouble with passengers not showing up and therefore causing the rest of us to have to wait around. If you book an excursion and decide not to attend please let someone on the ship know. Boarded an open air bus for the lovely and scary ride up ridge road (I have been on this road several times and I never truly get used to it). Headed over to Cane Garden Bay - lovely beach. Had breakfast down at Rhymers - so yummy Eventually this beach became way too crowded. So we opted to get another taxi and head into town.
We visited our favorite stores for some spices, and jewelry, and shirts, etc. Of course we had to stop in at Pussers and get our yearly Painkillers in mugs (little upset the mugs didn't have the year printed on them this time). Enjoyed some more conch fritters and chicken roti.
Tonight was our 2nd formal night with the Champagne waterfall. Came back to our room to a towel monkey hanging from the ceiling and two swans on the bed.
Day 8 St Thomas Oh boy - the Customs line was very long. Thankfully when they opened the doors and accepted people the line moved quickly.
Went shopping for different items and had to visit our friends at Liberty Jewelers. Liberty Jewelers is family owned and operated with great people, terrific prices and lovely pieces of jewelry. We were actually in there for about 3 hours and they were so nice that when they found out we loved Indian food they offered to have us try some of their home cooking - sooooo good Plus I got a great tip about vegetarian chicken
Used the internet cafe and I never had a real problem with it but there were several people in there complaining about the computers being slow.
Dinner was great again and we will truly miss joining Diana and Ronald every night
Day 9 Back to San Juan Left our room round 8:00 am and headed over to the Crown Grill thanks to our Suite. I've heard people say that it's not a big deal for Suite holders to stay in the Crown Grill because you are their with elite and platinum members. Let me tell you - it was a big deal from where we were the Club Fusion and the Explorers lounge was a mess. People and luggage everywhere We were so happy to be in the Crown Grill with our drinks and pastries. Plus we got to play a few rounds of Checkers before heading off the ship (I sadly only won once).
Headed off the ship around 10:30 again with a help of a porter and taxi headed over to Jetblue and waited to head home to Boston. Arrived home to the cold, plus ice and snow - not too happy about that one