Laid back Caribbean Island cruising
First thing to remember is that it is your holiday despite the fact that you may be travelling with friends. Do what YOU want to do otherwise you will be disappointed.
Sea Princess had 1900 british passengers and the cruise director and staff cater to this audience. However like many others I took exception to the decision to show football matches on the big screen on the main deck. Those who wanted to see football should have stayed at home or in their cabin or in the sports bar.
Our saving grace was the Sanctuary. I can't speak to highly about it. You need to get up early to get a booking for the day . Once there it is blissful , lovely padded loungers, excellent service and importantly no noise or videos. It is well worth the $20 daily charge
The food on Sea Princess is very good with sufficient choices from the set and daily menus. The wine is overpriced as are the cocktails and spirits. Beer was cheaper !! despite what you may be told you can take a More
bottle of wine on board at each port. However if you abuse the system ( 12 bottles !!) they will confiscate them .
The entertainment was good albeit at times you really had to get in early to ensure getting a seat. The cruise entertainment staff worked very hard to please everyone. The Passenger " Pop Choir " was a great innovation and enjoyed by all.
Port disembarkation worked very well
For once I heard very few passenger " moans " suggests that most people enjoyed the cruise To get the best from your cruise do your homework.
read about the ports , book tours via the Internet if you think they may be limited as you can always cancel once on board. In most ports the local taxi and tour companies will offer you good tours considerably less than Princess.
Take Sea tours to get a different perspective on the islands. Try out the beaches that the Tours don't use .
Don't be afraid to take local buses, easy on Aruba and Antigua
visit local bars to meet and talk with people from different countries. They are safe and people are always friendly.
Pay the $5 for your lounger on the beach, it helps the locals and you will feel much more comfortable than lying on a princess towel
Go onto CruiseCritic.co.uk to get good tips on the ports Less
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Port and Shore Excursions
Antigua is definitely one of the must see islands. It has something for everyone. First time take the big tour , visit the historic forts, Nelsons Dockyard, see the interior of the island. You are spoilt for choice for beaches , Dickenson Bay it the most popular easy trip via local taxi. After a few times on the island take the " around the island " sail . Full 6 hour sail on a big cataraman . You will see the other Antigua where the rich and famous live . Long Island of the West coast has the millionaire's houses . View the famous harbours and mega yachts from the sea. I suggest that you may want to take the ships tour as you are once more at sea for some time
Aruba is very well developed for resort hotels and beaches. The local bus station is just opposite the dock, costs a few dollars and will drop you off at the Beach resort hotels. The shops are worth a visit especially the "pink Palace " You can enjoy an interesting walk around the town and the local market stalls which are always around when the ship docks. An interesting port for first timers.
Bonaire is very limited in terms of interesting tours . After your first visit your options are limited. I suggest that you make more of Klein Bonaire but beware of the lack of shade and facilities. The other beaches are ok but limited for swimming . Good bars to meet other people and shade from the sun. Local taxis are very good, safe and reasonable.
Grand cayman has a reputation as a good shopping port ( for Americans ) . It is also the best place to swim with stingrays and dolphins . The turtle farm is also worth a visit alongside the trip to " Hell " ie the lava fields . It is almost always a tender port for most cruise lines so get to the front of the queue if you want to get off early. The bars at the port are very busy and very expensive
Normally Grenada has great beach " Grand Anse " which you can get to via a taxi or water taxi ( which is an adventure in itself ) . The town is worth a walk around to get a good feel for the local atmosphere. The shops and stalls tend to be very much the same and the vendors are very pushy which can be a bit off putting. Be firm tell then you have been before and they generally leave you alone. First time to the island , then you should take a tour going into the interior and coastal regions. The local taxis will give you a very good value tour much cheaper than Princess. Good snorkeling at " Champagne reef " not far from the port ($20)
This is the place to go to get away from it all. The beaches are uncrowded , the local beach bars are so laid back and inexpensive for drinks and food. You will escape from the rest of the ship who go to "Cane garden Beach I would however recommend taking the Ship tour from Tortola, this way you are covered in case of the cataraman having a problem or being late back to the ship dock. More expensive but removes all worries about timing". One of the best trips . Stop in at " One Love" and "the Soggy dollar " bars
There are several good tours on Ochos rios as long as you are prepared to get wet Dunns Falls, Martha Brae rafting . However the beaches are limited, there is a decent beach within walking distance of the ship ( 5 Mins ) Food and drink are on site but you have to pay for access and a lounger ( $10 ). If you want a very interesting experience then walk past this beach to the fishermen's boats and houses. Lobsterdave.com will cook you a fresh lobster for lunch. Beware however you may also be offered other alternative lifestyle habits especially if you are a smoker.