We enjoy cruising out of NY since we can drive to the port. This is the first time cruising to the Eastern Caribbean and Bermuda for all of us.
Booking: We booked this cruise directly with Princess and there were many cabins still available in March of this year when we booked. We stayed in 2 Obstructed View cabins that were next to each other.
Embarkation: We drove to the port and parked the car there. We arrived at about noon, unpacked the car, parked and registered. We were on board within a half hour from arriving. Our cabins were ready. Although we requested a queen bed, we found twins upon going to the cabin. This was corrected by evening, no problem. We were eating lunch just after checking our cabins. Also, most luggage was received by early afternoon. No problems with luggage which we had quite a bit of! We spent that evening on the Lido deck with sailaway parties and we also just ate in the buffet, food very good.
Day 1-at sea. The seas were very calm with no wind. Smooth sailing! We ate lunch in the dining room which was very good! I don't write all of what I ate so no help with that! Some of us went swimming on the Lido deck and had fun. I was a sunny afternoon. The Champagne Waterfall was this evening, which we watched for a short time then ate in the dining room. I thought it odd that it was the first full day but fun none the less!!
Day 2- at sea. Another sunny, calm sea day. We woke early and some ran the Promade deck while some of us walked. A warmer day, but of course since we are much further south! I guess some of the travel was in the Bermuda Triangle-no problems. We ate in the buffet and played trivia.
Day 3- Grand Turk. We woke early since we were arriving early morning and leaving by 3pm. It was a sunny day and did the port on our own. We basically stayed in the 'cruise ship' area but walked down the beach and had a few local beers and jerk chicken at a small local stand/bar on the beach. Upon returning to the ship, qw had a snack at the buffet and played trivia. We at dinner in the dining room, but late night had some Pizza on the Lido deck. Movies under the stars was fun with popcorn and cookies and milk. It was another sunny but hot day!
Day 4- San Juan, Puerto Rico. We had breakfast in the buffet and arrived early afternoon to San Juan. Actually this was a port I was looking forward to. I was VERY disappointed. There were long lines getting off the ship which I kind of expected since we did arrive later in the day and everyone was ready to leave the ship at once. We had a ship tour to El Yungie National Forest. I had previously visited temprate rain forests in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska and they were beautiful! Well, the ride to the National Forest was basically through very run down areas - all houses/buildings had bars everywhere from windows to doors to entire porches. The 'town' just before entering the forest was very rundown and somewhat frightening to even drive through. The tour was basically an EXPENSIVE bus ride. We were dropped off at a visitor center, and a few stops along the road in the forest. It was ok in my view. We also had a frightening encounter at one of the stops inside the forest. A strange man started filming and asking personnel questions of my toddler grandchild! Asking while filming who he was there with. I went over and got between the child and creepy stranger. He did leave but it was an experience I felt (along with the rest of us) very unconfortable with. We ate in old San Juan- just ok in my mind. Expensive for what we ate. After that once past security to go into the port area, there were a few stores. I hadn't purchased a shot glass and deck of cards yet so I did go into one of these 'junk stores' Well, my total was $6.15. I gave a $10.00 bill. I was given $2.85 in change, which I stated I received the incorrect change. I was told it was 'tax'!!! Well, my daughter was still in the store and I went back asking her if she received the correct change, she paid with exact change she said. With that the cashier cam over to me with 2 dimes saying he made a mistake. I said that wasn't his mistake and that it was a dollar he owed. He went over nad got it. Well, my impression was that he knew all along it was wrong and did this as an ongoing thing hoping some may not question or be familar with what change they were supposed to receive. I did report this as well as the filming issue to the Purser's desk ( I know nothing directly with Princess) since I wanted them to be aware of the behavior of a storekeeper in the secure area plus the weirdo on a tour. I did also write in my review Princess sent. Waters, although still 1 to 4 feet were somewhat rougher, most likely due to the cross winds, I guess we were spoiled by the cruise down!!
Day 5- St. Thomas. It was raining upon our early arrival, making everyone trying to get to a tour huddled under an overhang. All things considered, Princess did a good job getting all to where they had to be! We did take another Princess tour and had a WONDERFUL experience!!!!! We did the Pirate Scooner to Turtle Cove. The 3 'pirates' were the BEST!! We were greeted by a pirate and he brought us over to the boat! It just stopped raining in time to board. The ride over to Turtle Cove was fun and they really were a lively crew! They had drinks and snacks and plenty of them! Quite a few did go snorkling and had about an hour of guided or on your own snorkling! They did see turtles, stingray and many tropical fish including Dorrie from Finding Nemo!! A GREAT tour and reasonably priced!!! Bonesusvi was the name. We all got a tattoo too!! We had to be back on board by 3 so we really didn't do much else on St. Thomas. Had dinner in the dining room-all food great as well as service.
Day 6- at Sea. Another calm sunny sea day!!! We ate a late breakfast/early lunch at the buffet. We spent a quite day looking at the waters. I did see 41 flying fish!!! We ate in the dining room and it was very good again!
Day 7-Bermuda. We arrived to a sunny day!! Bermuda is very beautiful. We did the port on our own and did not go far from West End port. We visited the shops, ate lunch at The Frog and the Onion Pub. Food was fine. We walked around the old 'fort type' buildings and just looked over the beautiful views. We also visited the Bermuda National Museum and found it very interesting as well as having beautiful views! We played trivia again and ate in the dining room with a window seat!! In the evening there was a guess the meaning of the word game that the cruise director and his team did. A LOT of fun!!!!
Day 8- Sea day. The waters (or most likely wind again) were a little rougher today but a fine day at sea! Some of us played bingo again and we watched the Crew show. THIS WAS a GREAT show and NOT to be missed. The cruise director and the 'deputy' cruise directors were wonderful throughout the cruse!!
Day 9- NYC and home! Disembarkation was a little delayed due to clearence but we were off by about 11. The porter service at NY upon return was slow and lacking and order when we arrived to pick up luggage. You had to wait for one of the porters, couldn't just get a luggage carrier yourself and some rude people there. But once we had a porter (had lots of stuff and couldn't carry ourselves) it was ok. We got the car and left in a long line of traffic. Home by about 1:45!! Good thing about driving and leaving the car!
I guess I didn't mention that we did visit the International Cafe almost daily. I did find one particular person Felix to be VERY rude and seeming not to want to wait on us. We had a coffee card. No one else was like this but I assumed he didn't want to be bothered with no tip people! We did get the brewed regular coffee quite often. He even told my daughter that tea was not available after she had had it at least once daily all through the cruise!!! Very rude. EVERYONE else there was great! The Captain's hangout as well!!
We did not use the soda card. We did bring aboard 2 boxes of wine and 2 cases of water no problem.
The water on board was fine with the exception of the day and day after St. Thomas. It tasted like chlorine very much. We were told by a waiter that water was taken on board at each port so I don't know if that had to do with this.
We found all food fine and had no problems in the dining room/buffet or room service.
Room steward did their job, nothing exceptional. We keep a very neat room, so not much for them to do!
The ship was clean and well kept.
We love Princess and will sail again!