This is our 3rd Princess cruise having sailed on the Caribbean Princess twice before. We were given the Caribe deck Balcony room 318 on the starboard side. The ship berths in Ft. Lauderdale terminal #2 when the Ruby Princess is not in port. Some have asked why the ship is facing north one week then south the next.This is so they can paint & service the CP either port or starboard side in port. We Live in Vero Beach, Fl. so it is 112 mile drive to the port. We choose to park directly across from the ship terminal #2. I know the cost is $15 per 24 hours, but my vehicle is right where I left it and easy to get when we disembark. I do not have to contend with Auto Vandal issues after we return. Valet Parking in Ft. Lauderdale is very risky if you have a very nice vehicle. We arrived at the port at 10:30 am and dropped off our luggage to the porter with a $10 thank you. I asked that our bags be placed in the cart all on one side since my belongings were fragile. When the bags get offloaded they arrived to the room about muster drill time or sooner. We were asked to wait for the ship to be cleared for new passengers and that the new Captain was Captain Nick Nash. The check in was painless after the 45 minute wait. The local Princess staff were very helpful but we did have card group # 1. The Sailaway Photograph up the stairs & show your ID & cruise card one more time, across the ramp & onto the ship. The atrium welcome is warm & friendly. The staff escort took us up to Caribe Deck #10 where we entered our CABIN 318. Our steward named Amornsak happily greeted us & explained the room amenities to us in great detail. The standard queen configuration with the partial covered balcony was simply perfect. The room was very clean and thankfully did not smell of smoke. We ate on deck 5 @ the International Cafe for lunch. The usual salad faire was simply delicious and tasted fresh. We dined 2nd seating @ table 22 in the Botticelli Dining Room with waiters Manuel & Hugo. The great waiter service was much better than the presented food. We opted for the Sabatini & Crown Grill Experiences during the week. The Sabatini experience is just that, a deluge of mini Italian food items presented in courses. I would rate this good to excellent. The Crown Grill was simply off the chain & over the top in food presentation & quality. The red wine demi glace for the fillet Mignon was wonderful. The 2nd Chef is in charge & in the show kitchen during the dining hours. Our waiter Nuresh & assistant Milan treated us to every conceivable nuance in this fine dining experience. We enjoyed the full array of the menu during both of our dining visits here including the lobsters. ENTERTAINMENT: The ship’s entertainment is simply a personal opinion. We love Bert Stratton and the new production show Destination Anywhere. The variety made something for everyone easy to find during the week. The SPA & SPA POOL AREA: We ulitize the Lotus Spa pool area and the free steam & sauna in the Lotus Spa restrooms. The swimming pool is very nice with the water pump lap machine creating a soothing current in the pool. We found that only 50 or so cruisers ever used this area which is located just below the Sanctuary Sundeck.
In GRAND CAYMAN: We did a walkup excursion purchase at the Cruise Dock with Soto Cruises to Stingray City for $40 each. They were very professional and they treated us like family friends. This was really all the excursion we could have possibly wanted. The Soto Family simply pioneered the water sport- diving here in 1956 and we enjoyed our conversations with the son. The CD of our experience was a wonderful souvenir for us to bring home. We shopped in the mini mall behind “Margaritaville” and again found Maxine at the Blackbeard Rum Cake stand. Maxine remembered us from our last meeting in GC . Her store gives you a free large Blackbeard Rum Cake with every 2 liter rum purchase. These made great gifts back home for my wife's our employees. We found that the commercial pricing is simply the same from store to store. We shopped in 19 stores running into Princess Guru “Freddie” several times making her PR rounds. We were amazed that the Princess ship prices with the 10% discount was less than the GC stores asking prices.
In ROATAN: The weather was cloudy,Humid, and misting rain most of the day. We opted to relax, enjoy Mahogany Bay and simply “chillout” on the beautiful scenic views. The new Mahogany Bay Resort Area is spectacular in appearance and very clean. The stores have the same fair as the other islands but in a new setting. The beach was simply perfect with food, drinks, clean bathrooms. Free lounge chairs, roaming security and spectacular ocean views. The ship backs Into the pier using GPS sending units on the narrow channel buoys. The island itself is beautiful but the economic issues of the locals makes the cruise ship tourist wearing the wrist band a begging target. We were relaxed and truly enjoyed the non begging inside Mahogany Bay.
In COZUMEL: Puerta Maya Pier was a perfect backdrop for the arrival to Cozumel. They have a live web cam infront of the fountain & you can be seen by the internet friends as you wave hello at this point. We went to the Cozumel Tourist kiosk out at the Taxi entrance to get our free T shirt voucher for Chankanaab Park. We split the $10 Taxicab fare to Chankanaab with the Princess Oriental Medicine Dr. Scott R. Chankaaab cost $19 each for entrance but we get the 2 free T-shirts from the gift shop. The gardens, the beach, the dolphin swim encounter and the courteous service made this a truly wonderful experience. Imagine sitting under a beachside thatched hut, lounging out... eating nachos & fresh grouper fish tacos enjoying a no salt margarita with this $ million view. Well that is what we were doing between snorkeling the statues & reef rocks (gear rental cost @ San Miguel Dive Hut is $8). The Goodmark Jewelry store is family owned and we have purchased items at great prices here the last 4 times in Cozumel. Surprising to find that Dufrey liquor was less expensive in Roatan than Cozumel. The manager stated that the extra cost involved is from theby boat shipping to Cozumel.
In PRINCESS CAYS: We simply did the beach side BBQ and swim. The rental prices here are very expensive ($24 for snorkel stuff). It appeared that a great time was had by all. The lifeguard named Jimmie under the red roof dock feeds the fish and there were literally hundreds waiting to eat. The Snorkeling at this dock yielded much attention. Overall the Crown Princess is a great venue for the best 7 days of your cruising vacation life. Like any other venue there will always be voids and under talented employees trying their best to bring about that “Cruise Experience”. Our main goal was to simply relax & enjoy a wonderful 7 Days.