We were pleasantly surprised at Princess' level of organization at the Boston pier. We were scheduled to embark from NYC, but due to the Sept. 11th tragedy our itinerary was changed.
Embarkation was smooth. We heard that about 1/3 of the passengers on this sailing had cancelled. The heavy police presence was notable. We noticed armed Coast Guard boats patrolling around our ship. They did not allow curbside luggage check in. We parked in the adjacent parking garage for $70.00 for the week and took the free shuttle bus to our pier. There were ample cruise staff to greet us as we boarded.
Our cabin located on the Aloha deck #253 was..ahh...cozy! I was impressed at the overall cleanliness of the ship. It was nice to wander around the ship. I can't say enough about the service. Staff called us by name and were quick to anticipate our needs. The staff really seemed to enjoy their work and their enthusiasm was contagious! Chris Nicols, the Cruise Director, was everywhere! I've never seen a more versatile cruise staff. Our captain masterfully steered us around hurricane Humberto on our way down to Bermuda.
We enjoyed warm, sunny weather in Bermuda. We docked at 3 locations...St. George, Hamilton and Dockyard. I enjoyed Hamilton for its proximity to the south shore beaches. The weather was unusually warm in the mid 80s. At each port stop, Princess operated a security boat that constantly patrolled around the ship. We noticed that the NCL Majesty did not have this. We were on Level 3 security and all our bags were searched before boarding the ship. We opted not to do any of the ship's shore excursions. Instead we purchased the 3-day bus/ferry pass and toured around on our own. We spent time snorkeling at Church Bay Beach. They have rental equipment and a bathroom. Beware there is no shade there and the water can be a bit rough. Snorkeling was good. Shopping was disappointing. Basically, the same shops at each port. We did find some t-shirt bargains at Making Waves on Front St..($6.95). We attended the last Heritage and Harbour nights of the season. Not very many vendors out. The streets seemed rather empty too. One Elbow Beach staff mentioned their occupancy was down 10%.
We ate our meals aboard ship. The food was consistently excellent. Our waiter Joey and his assistant Constantin were outstanding! Always professional and accommodating. We had a rough sail on the return trip due to a nor'ester off the east coast.
Disembarkation was smooth, but there was some confusion on shore about the Massport shuttle back to the parking garage. We opted to walk back and not wait for the shuttle. Overall, we really enjoyed the Pacific Princess. We will watch the old Love Boat re-runs with new interest now. We were told she will be put in wet dock until next Bermuda season and then sold to another company and that Princess cancelled her Africa cruises for safety/security reasons.