Caribbean Princess Cruise Review by KittyMeowit: Caribbean Princess March 2011
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Caribbean Princess March 2011
Embarkation: Completely seamless. Took a taxi from the San Juan airport to the Pan American pier for $19.50 plus $1 for each piece of luggage. Arrived around 5PM and there was no line for security. Stopped off at the duty free liquor shop and picked up wine and soda to bring on the ship. Wine selection is limited and ranges from $9-$40 a bottle and eight packs of soda were $2.99 each. No line at all to check in and got onto the ship immediately.
Ship: Very understated compared to the other cruises that we had been on but elegant at the same time. There was some visible wear in a couple of areas, like carpeting in the hallways and common areas. This was definitely the most confusing layout however. The bottom deck starts with deck 4, the piazza is on deck 5 and to figure out where your cabin is, you need to go by the preceding letter of the cabin number instead of the starting number (for example ours was B532 which means that we are on the Baja deck which is deck More 11).
Food: We were very impressed by the buffet on embarkation day. It had both prime rib and crab claws (although there were no utensils available for cracking them open). We enjoyed the buffet on most days with the exception of German Day which had some disgusting meatloaf that looked like bologna. We only dined in the main dining room on a couple of occasions but were very satisfied with the food that we had ordered with the exception of the beef wellington. It was our first time with anytime dining and we found that it did not compel us to return each night to catch up with our tablemates. We enjoyed the pizza and the grill always had hot fresh food. The soft serve from the ice cream stand was not good at all though.
Entertainment: We enjoyed the comedians a lot but did not care for the production shows by the cruise lines singers and dancers. They were cheesy and the singing was not enjoyable to listen to. We also attended the hypnotists shows and weren't very much impressed. Overall not the best entertainment for the cruise lines that we have been with.
Service: Our cabin steward Resty was always kind and provided top notch service. Every member of the Princess staff that we encountered was friendly and professional. We were a little annoyed with how often we got approached to buy wine or coffee packages on the first night and bottles of water on port days. One key note: pack your own water bottle from home and fill it with the ice and water from the buffet and bring that with you to port.
We did not use the spa services.
Debarkation: Again, super easy. We went to the lounge at the specified time and were able to get off the ship immediately. Long line at customs, waited about 45 minutes and taxis were available at the port. Less
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Cabin review: Caribbean Princess B532
Quiet location, small closet, beds were hard.
Port and Shore Excursions
We were harassed constantly by taxi drivers and people trying to pull us into their scary little casinos.
We went to the taxi stand and asked how much to be dropped off at Brandon's Beach which is the one that we saw offered through the ship. We were told $3/person but that he wouldn't recommend the beach because it was unsafe and mostly just used by locals. When I said that the cruise ship takes people there he said that he was sure that wasn't the case and that he recommends Carlisle Beach and could take us there for the same price. We agreed and he pointed to one of the taxi drivers that he works with to take us there. Big surprise.....we were then told that no it wasn't the same price, it was $5/person.
We sat there and waited while they tried to find more people to fill the taxi. After a while a large Hispanic ground boarded the taxi and sat down. Shortly after, another taxi driver approaches us and tells us all to get out and that we should have been riding with him. We got fed up and decided that we would just walk into town.
We got approached by MANY taxi drivers wanting to drive us into town, trying to exaggerate how far it was and we waved them off. When we got out of the port area we were approached by yet another taxi driver but this time we had a good feeling about him. He seemed friendly and honest and happened to have a brother living in Minnesota, where we are from. Of course, we didn't believe that at first but when he told us a local town that his brother lived in we knew he had to be telling the truth. We actually decided to pay him $40 to drive us around for an hour and give us a tour of the island. We stopped at a couple of beaches and saw some other sites. He got us back on time and safely to town.
The shopping was not impressive in town so we decided to walk back to the port which was only about a mile and easy if you followed the water.
We decided to try their bistro style restaurant to kill some time.....my advice would be: don't bother. When we went in we were told that we should come back in 10 minutes because they needed time to clean up from breakfast and prepare for lunch (there were two customers in the restaurant). When we came back we were given a lunch menu and then later told that they were not serving lunch and that we had to order from the brunch menu. The prices were all extremely high and we ended up ordering two cheese sandwiches for $10 each. The waiter could not tell us what kind of cheese was in the sandwich and when it arrived the fries were a bright orange (no they weren't sweet potato fries). When the bill arrived they had charged us $12 for each sandwich which I had them correct.
We took a taxi into old San Juan for $12 and did some shopping and found a store called The Dollhouse that had a lot of nice Panama Hats. We stayed for dinner at Cafe San Juan where we had some good food. We caught a taxi back to the hotel which was $14 for some reason from a rude taxi driver that had his young son sitting in the front seat, unbuckled while he drove like a maniac.
When we did get into the room it was quite comfortable.
We stopped off at a local restaurant for lunch which was served buffet style and we were told was traditional creole. There was chicken or fish, salad, cole slaw, beans and what looked like potato salad but we later found out was green banana salad. The restaurant had a beautiful view of the Twin Pitons.
Next stop was the botanical gardens where we saw many beautiful flowers and a waterfall so we got lots of pictures. The gift shop there was severely overpriced.
Last stop on the way back was Sulphur Springs, the worlds only drive in volcano. The stench was almost too much for me to bear. I didn't quite understand why they called it a drive though volcano and then they told us that we were in the volcano but that it was very large and flat.....huh.
The drive back to the ship was pretty long but our guide Jean told us jokes and facts about the island. We had a nice time and would recommend the tour.
We then walked over to Devil's Beach which was just beautiful as well but one word of caution: The current is very strong! It pulled me into the ocean and drug me back on my butt. My whole swim suit was full of sand. We decided to take the other path back to the parking lot, bypassing the caves which we figured would be easier. It was an easier walk but much longer through what looked like a dessert complete with cactus and multicolored lizards. We made a couple of stops at some shops in town when we returned to Tortola and then walked back to the ship.
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