This was our 3rd cruise with Princess and 9th over all. We are a family of 4...in our mid 40's and kids (d 14 & s16). It was our Canadian spring break and we wanted to avoid departing out of Florida as I had read the ships are crowed with many kids. (Been there done that and wanted a change) We had a great mix a total of 170 teens on board. One thing to keep in mind this is a busy itinerary and no rest for the wicked. Bring lots of lotion and sleep when you get home.
We flew into San J 3 days early as the flights where much cheaper out of Detroit. Also another opportunity to spend a few down days in the sun prior to boarding the ship. We stayed at the Marriott Stellaris Casino..Booked price line (resort) paid 120.00 all in per night.. Perfect location directly on the beach and walk to great reasonably priced food. Fudruckers down the street, Starbucks etc. Cab fare from the Air Port 16 and 1.00 per bag. Cab fare to the port was I believe 18 and 1.00 per bag. Felt extreemly safe walking around San J and also spent and afternoon in Old town. A must and the kids loved the shopping.
Entered the Port at 12:30, through customs etc and on board at 1pm. Rooms were ready and we unloaded and spend the afternoon eating, and sitting by the pool. Bags were all delivered to the room by about 2:30. Drill was at 6, painless and quick. We were in the dining room by 7. Had any time dining and that was perfect. Another family of 3 had joined us for the week so never waited more than 5 mins for a table. We enjoy the anytime dining and had done that last yr on the Crown. We find one less thing to worry about having to rush for. Allows for a casual drink (or 2) on the balcony and not holding anyone up.
St. Thomas..have done this port 4 xs before and wanted to hit St. John's as we had done this last yr. The kids were dragging and I really wanted something simple as the couple we were with this was their first visit. We opted for Emerald Beach..Close to the pier. Spend the morning on the beach, back to the ship for lunch and into Charlett A for shopping in the afternoon.
Dominica..Did the RENO's tour that I had found through cruise critic. He was there as promised covered a ton of ground and the county is lush a must see and a final stop at a beach with black sand. 50pp...Dominica is very different from the other stops makes you appreciate the things of home. People are friendly..Those that did not take in a tour would have not had much to do close to the ship and likely have been disappointed with Dominica. The first impression was not the best.
Grenada...Had plans but hit the wall with being up late and 2 busy days prior. Enjoyed a leisurely breaki on the balcony and walked around the town and took some great photos from the Old Fort. Had to be back on the ship by 2pm. Would like to go back and explore a little more next time.
Bonnaire...a real gem. Started walking along the pier..No real agenda other than snorkel..Kids packed the gear. A gentleman with an extended golf cart gave us a ride to Eden Beach and it was a perfect spot for the day. Great spot for drinks and lounging and the snorkeling was amazing. Bonnaire I am told was what Aruba looked like 20+ yrs ago. This Was a quaint spot, sad to leave.
Aruba..Took bus #10 to the Palm Beach Area..got off at the Hyatt Hotel and stayed for the day. Great sandy beach for a walk. No much for snorkeling but perfect for just a nice hot beach day. Tons of activity at this beach, para sailing, jet skiing..you name it, open your wallet it is there for the taking. Drinks are expensive I did see folks arriving with beer and vodka from local stores and ordering pop..(smart.) we paid 27.00 USA for 3 beers and a rum. Ouch.
Day of sailing...Did not see much of our crew until 11:am as it was a well deserved day of R&R with the down side being we had to pack up..Already the week was over ....WHAT?? So we enjoyed the sea day of listening to the pool band and checking out the dining room for breaki...was good.
Food was excellent. Not one complaint what so ever. Not sure why others have found fault in the past with the selection on board. Both formal nights were amazing and we enjoyed one dinner in the "Crown Grill" this is a must.... the steaks melt in your mouth and a lobster tail on the side?? Why not. Service excellent through out the ship the entire time. Our room steward "Marco" was very attentive and every day a warm greeting. He could not do enough for us.
Would I sail with Princess again...Most definitely. Would I change anything....This cruise was so busy, I knew that going into it and was envious of those staying on board for the second btb week. Could have used one more sea day at the end or in the middle..Will book a 10 day next time.
We were off the ship at 9am and back at the Marriott Stellarious for Sunday night..We were thankful to have a day vegging on the beach as we had been going non stop all week and enjoyed the resort Sunday and flew out Monday am. Kids loved sailing and a good time had by all.
Happy Sailing. Counting down the dayz to my next booking. Disappointed when I opened the fridge once I arrived home. You mean I have to cook ???? UGH! cheers.