This was my second Princess cruise and husband's first. The cruise was from April 3-10, however, we flew in a day early and stayed a day later. This option is highly recommended if you can do it; isn't so rushed on either side. We stayed at the Doubletree and Embassy Suites. Both, I would highly recommend! On the day of embarkation, we arrived at the pier around 11:30 and a line was forming but not too long. They opened the doors around 12:10 and were on the ship within 20 minutes. No complaints there! We went to a grocery store that was right across from the Doubletree the night before and bought an 8 pack of Diet Coke and Coke to take on board and we paid $2.99 for each! Never bought the soda card while onboard! Just kept sodas in fridge in room. Worked out great. Once on board, we were sent directly to our cabin which was a mini-suite on deck 8. Loved the room as well as the space. We didn't ever trip over each other nor did we need extra storage like we would More
normally need. The balcony was a really nice size however, having four chairs was just too much. Wished for only 2 or 3. One drawback was the fact that there was absolutely no cover over our balcony. I believe this was the only deck that had this problem. Every other deck had at least a partial cover. Didn't like the fact that everyone looks down on you from above. Not sure what Princess was thinking when they designed this. I would have preferred a cover to the larger size myself. Our room steward's name was Olympio and he was great! Always had a smile on his face and ALWAYS greeted us when we passed him. We gave him an extra $20 when we met him and asked him to just keep up in ice, give us robes, and always give us extra towels both pool and bath. He was pretty good about everything.
We chose the traditional dining at 5:30 in the Coral dining room. Our waitstaff was great. They were Larry and Enrico. Larry was very attentive and gave us extras of anything we wanted as well as helped make sure tha I could get creme brulee after every meal! He had to go through the head waiter but it all worked out. Only disappointment was the time slot. We missed almost every sail away because we were dining at the time.
The entertainment really was only so-so. The comedian was probably the best. Still unsure as to the validity of the hypnotist. LOVED the movies under the stars!
As on all cruises, the worst thing I can say is that the chair hogging around the pool is still in full force. I really wished that the pool attendants would move towels that have been sitting for hours with no one in them after an hour. It shouldn't be left up to the guests to have to do it. I did notice empty chairs on the higher decks that were away from the pool though. This is something that bugs me about all cruiselines though. On another note, I didn't appreciate all the cutting in line by some of the spanish speaking people. This happened to us on the ship as well as off the ship when we were waiting for taxi's, etc. What's up with that???
Debarkation was a breeze. We were off the ship and through customs in minutes but I think it was because we waited so long to turn in our sheet of paper asking what our plans were for returning home. I would have hated to be stuck sitting in a lounge waiting to get off the ship for a few hours as some had to do. Less
Caribbean Princess Cruises to the Southern Caribbean
This was probably my favorite island. We went to the beach here - Dickenson Bay - and it was stunning. Can't even describe the beautiful water. We were given two chairs as part of the excursion cost and paid an extra $5 for an umbrella, which was definitely needed as it was extremely warm and sunny! We walked down the beach a hundred yards or so and found an open air restaurant/bar and each got a delicious burger and coke. We sat on stools and watched the water/people. I was a little shocked to see a topless woman and her husband right in front of us. Guess they were European and didn't care. It was right next to the Sandals resort so maybe they were guests there. Apparently people from England can get a direct flight to both Antigua and Barbados from the U.K. After being driven back to the pier we decided to shop. The shopping was pretty good right at the pier.
This island I would like to return to as it seemed really nice. We opted for an excursion through Calabaza and were extremely happy! We were picked up by a taxi and driven to a small marina where we boarded their catamaran with only 10 other poeple. (They never take more than 12 people.) The 3 crew members were awesome and the homemade food was delicious. They sailed us to a spot where we swam with turtles in the open ocean! It was unbelievable! So much better than any stingray excursion! The turtles came right up to our guide to be fed and we petted them and took pictures with our underwater camera. After that we sailed to a reef and sunken ship where we swam with hundreds of fish of all types! When it was time for our return trip, another boat radioed us that there were whales ahead and we bolted for them. They were swimming right in front of our catamaran. It was so incredible! I would highly recommend this excursion. Or you can go with the ships catamaran excursion with about 40 other people. On the ride home we wished we had time to shop in town but we didn't. So we looked around at the pier shops and headed to the ship. Nice!
The only reason I am giving a rating of 3 was because we didn't see much of this island. We did our own thing which was to get off the boat and shop. We walked to the open air markets where we picked up some great deals. Then we took the water-taxi for $3 pp. round trip over to the other pier which had a Carnival ship docked there. There was cute shops there as well. We really wanted to see the Pitons here but heard that unless you see them from the water, it is a very long drive to get to them. Maybe next time.
Having been to St. Thomas before, we decided to take the excursion to St. John for some beach time instead. We enjoyed the beach - which was Trunk Bay however, we wished we would have had some time to shop in town either before or after the beach. Didn't get to see any of the town. In St. Thomas we were docked at Crown Bay which was a bit of a disappointment. Just not enough shopping right there like there is at the Havensight pier. Loved all the iguanas in the rocks though at the pier. We didn't even notice them as we walked by them in the morning because they blend into the rocks so well. On our way back to the ship though, we spotted them everywhere.
We opted for the beach day here and were taken to Cane Garden. It was a nice beach along with a nice restaurant and bar right on the beach called Myetts. I was shocked at how cold the water was here as well as in St. John though. I don't remember it being like this last time we were here and that was even in March. The drive to the beach was nail biting though. Steep inclines and declines in an open air taxi with 5 benches holding 4 people each. Our driver went the scenic route and gave us quite a nice spiel about his island. We also got a couple of good photo ops. On the ride home we asked if we could be dropped off in town to do some shopping and he obliged willingly. Another couple got off as well. We all just walked back to the pier.