We were married the Friday night before we left and took a red-eye to Port Everglades. We arrived at 9:15 in the morning and expected to get onto a transfer purchased through Princess and head off to the port. Well, we waited in the airport until the first transfer was leaving at 11:15am. Once at the port after a 10 minute ride we were through the check in lines in about 30 minutes and on our way to our cabin by 12:30. We had lunch and took a nap before going to the muster drill. The rest of the day we explored the ship and went to our late seating dinner.
We opted for a balcony cabin, mid ship and were very pleased with the location and overall cabin. The cabin was B437 which is on the Baja deck 11 and is mid ship right by the elevators. We did not notice any noise from the elevators and were happy to have a short walk to go anywhere. The bed was not the most comfortable bed we ever slept in, but the ship and the shore excursions were enough to wear us out that it did not matter.
During our first couple of days we found there to be lots to do on the ship. Our first day at sea was very nice. We relaxed by the pool and watched some of the fun games they had going on. There were LOTS of open deck chairs, but they were not the chairs right by the pool. Yes, there were LOTS of saved chairs everywhere, but nowhere near the amount of “chair hogging” I expected. After a few drinks, and a lot of sun and fun it was back to the room to find more to do.
Our first stop was Grand Cayman and the waters were so clear. We did an excursion through Fatfish Adventures and it was AMAZING! We rode a jet ski through some mangroves, out to stingray city, and to a snorkeling area. The water was pretty rough for our ride, but it made it more fun for us to be able to jump the waves. Feeding the stingrays scared my wife a little, but she eventually held one.
Our next stop, the beautiful island of Roatan. It was interesting to see this massive ship inch through this narrow channel backwards to get to the dock. Here we booked a zipline and beach excursion through Island Marketing, who we later found out is basically a travel agency who books excursions through South Shore Zipline. Ziplining through the jungle canopy and 100-200 feet above ravines is so much fun. After ziplining it was off to West Bay beach. They took us to Fosters Resort where, thanks to cruise critic, we applied our bug spray to avoid the sand fleas. As we were spraying it on a gentleman walking by said “Very smart”, then turned around to show us about 100 bites on his back. He said that they are only near Fosters and the other resorts actually spray every night. Thankfully we continued our day at one of the most beautiful beaches in the world bite free!
Next stop was Cozumel where we did the Royal Dolphin Swim. Having a dolphin give you a dorsal fin ride is a once in a lifetime experience that was worth it. We booked the excursion through Princess even though it was about $130 cheaper to book it through Chankanaab. Chankanaab will ask you what cruise line you are on if you try to book through them because they are not allowed to privately book anyone from Princess or Carnival. I suppose you could lie and get away with it, but it was not worth the risk to us because we really wanted to do this. After the dolphin swim we stayed at the beach here for a couple hours. The beach is very nice with snorkeling and even a fresh water pool.
Our next day at sea was mostly the same as the last, cocktails, sun, only this time we had chairs right by the pool. We watched an ice carving demonstration, some guys racing boats made of various items found around the ship, ate, ate, drank, drank, and then played miniature golf.
Princess cays was a nice beach to just relax on a day before going home. They have a barbeque for all the passengers from 11:30-1:30 and they mean 1:30. They were closing up the line as about 10-15 people walked up including us and said we could not go in because according to the Princess employee, and I quote, “It is exactly 1:30 and we have to go back on the ship”. Shame on me for not bringing a watch to the beach, but really, exactly 1:30 and we couldn’t go in? Anyway, we didn’t care as much as some others did as they started to argue with the guy. We just went back to our beach chairs and caught some more sun.
After a light breakfast and coffee at the International Café disembarkation was a breeze. They had us meet at 8:15 and we were at our gate at the airport by 9:15.
The food on Princess was as advertised, very good, and everywhere. We ate at the Crown Grill one night, and Sabatini’s another. Both were very good-bring your appetite for Sabatinis! The food at the International Café was good. It is mostly small things for breakfast and desserts, but all were very good. The pizza is amazing and we tried to eat it as often as possible, but there is only so much food one can eat.
Our cabin steward Ferdinand was great and our room was always taken care of. Our wait staff in the main dining room, Catalina and Donja were excellent, and gave above and beyond service. One area I thought lacked good service was the staff at some of the bars and international café. For example, while we were sitting watching a comedy show, a lady came up and said her martini did not taste right. The guy looked at her, and said “Whats wrong with it”? She said it tasted like sour milk-yuck. He took it, made a new one and handed it to her and turned around. I would repeatedly see bar staff serve people without saying a word and heaven forbid someone should put in a special request. At the international café, we would order blended coffee drinks with the liquid sugar. Out of our 13 coffees we got the sugar 7 times, and two or three of those times we had to remind them to put it in. The other four times, we just weren’t paying attention. Anyway, before we booked our cruise, we were sold by friends that Princess had the best food and service. I would agree that Princess had great food, and some great service, but overall I give the service a 6 of 10.
As I said before, we found plenty of things to do. We saw comedian Cary Long who was very funny, in fact much funnier than the other comedian on board. Movies under the stars was a very nice way to end some nights. The wife and I played bingo and won! The Princess dancers and singers were just average to us, but we are not really into musicals. Another disappointment to us was the music. Out by the pool, we expected the Caribbean band to sing Caribbean music, not Diana Ross and Lionel Richie. Even when the band wasn’t playing(they only played an hour a day) the music was boring. We really enjoyed the culinary show with Chef Giuseppe and Maitre D Neville. They were actually really funny and the galley tour was very interesting.
Overall, we really enjoyed the cruise(impossible not to) and plan to cruise again sometime.