Caribbean Princess Cruise Review by litlvxn: Caribbean Princess 1-30-11, Southern Caribbean Explorer
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Caribbean Princess 1-30-11, Southern Caribbean Explorer
Great overall cruise. From the time I walked through the doors of the terminal and baggage check, I was on the ship in less than 15 minutes. Disembarkation was a breeze as well, getting off the ship literally in 20 minutes from the time I arrived at my designated staging area. Customs took very little time as well. I have very unique luggage so I found mine in 1 minute inside the terminal. Others took a little longer :)
Service in dining room and cabin was top-notch. Menu was quite diverse, with seafood, veal, lamb, beef, chicken, etc. being offered regularly. Since it was a Caribbean cruise, the menu had some "spice" to it, with recipes tailored to the Caribbean theme. Standard items were offered nightly too on the menu. Desserts were darn tasty. Extensive wine list, marked up of course, but is to be expected. Ate sushi at Vines while doing a wine flight tasting. Sushi was mediocre at best. I did not eat at the specialty restaurants since I have previously tried them on More other Princess cruises. Buffet was surprisingly good. I did not eat breakfast or lunch in the dining room.
I personally did not attend any shows or activities, other than the Princess Pop Star (karaoke contest) which was extremely popular. The finale was a packed house and is not to be missed. There were a lot of very talented cruisers on board.
Very nice casino with lots of options for tables and slot machines. Very professional casino hosts. The casino now runs like most other ships, using your cruise card and a PIN number system. Very easy to use once you set it up, though it can get scary if you don't keep yourself in check since you can just keep charging slots to your cabin :)
The ship itself is expansive but really never felt crowded to me. The adults-only "Sanctuary" area looked beautiful and inviting, but I did not go there since we had only one day at sea and I had massage planned mid-day. The deep-tissue massage with Dolores was fantastic, effective and relaxing, but not cheap. They do try and sell you Elemis products, but a polite "no" went over just fine. The products felt great though during the massage!!
Had a problem with my in-cabin wake-up call service. Front desk promised to call me in the morning since I could not use the self-serve method. Front desk personnel forgot and I nearly missed an excursion I was really looking forward to. They offered to just comp me the cost of the excursion. Instead I persuaded them to hold the tour and allow me 5 minutes to run to the elevator. They sent me a letter of apology and some canapes to my cabin as a way of making up for their error. Handled very well in the end.
Used the ship's transfer to airport in San Juan which was efficient and inexpensive. Got me there with plenty of time to spare for my flight at 11:45am.
I would definitely sail on this ship again, and I loved the itinerary. Less
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Cabin review: Caribbean Princess Mini-Suite with Balcony Dolphin D201
D201, mini-suite on deck of only mini-suites, but far forward. Quiet location. Long interior hallways allowed access to entire length of ship and elevators to dining and other important central areas. On this specific itinerary, very rarely got any view of port while docked, due to it being on starboard side. Large bathtub and balcony. Lots of storage space and closet space, though the closet is exposed. Very nice bathroom!!
Port and Shore Excursions
Grand Anse Beach is a very nice beach, with bar service and chair attendants everywhere. The chairs are $15 to rent, with an extra $2 for a padded cushion. You can also just plop yourself down on the beach. Shaded areas are also available, as are restrooms, a restaurant, and bar. The water was great. Some vendors do wander up and down the beach, offering hair braiding, etc.
I was disappointed in this port overall, but mostly for the way it ended on the water taxi. I chose a nice beach however.
You can see both the Old San Juan piers and the further-distanced Pan American piers from the doorstep of the Sheraton Old San Juan. That is comforting to some, knowing they can see their ship on the day of embarkation.
I haven't been to San Juan in several years and it has improved in its appearance. They seem to be upgrading many areas, while keeping its historical areas as they should be. El Morro is still a highlight for me, especially near sunset when families are out walking, enjoying kite-flying.
I also went zip-lining with the Original Canopy Tour and had a great time. They are very safety-conscious and the area where you zip-line is very pretty. I have used the same company before in Costa Rica and therefore felt more comfortable using them again. You must pay in cash. They arranged to pick me up from the Sheraton, keep my luggage in their van while I zip-lined, and then dropped me off at the ship for embarkation. Transportation is included in the price. This was an excursion I arranged privately before the cruise since none were offered by the cruise line. I did not have any excursions in San Juan on the day of departure, as I had an early flight.
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