Booked this cruise because I liked the itinerary. Caribbean Princess was docked in San Juan. I highly recommend sailing out of San Juan; because you are already within the Caribbean, you are able to hit more ports and have less days at sea as opposed to sailings out of the continental 48 states. In the future, I would go one day early so I can check out San Juan, which is really a beautiful island and has a rainforest that is quite pretty. I've checked out some of the forts and old San Juan on a previous cruise and those are nice areas to see as well.
The ports included St. Thomas/Tortola (BVI)/Antigua/Dominca/Barbados/San Juan. I'd never been to Tortola/Dominica/Antigua before nor had I sailed with Princess before, which is why I chose this cruise. The ports are all pretty laid back. In that past, I've cruised with Carnival and Royal Caribbean, and it seems like passengers are more festive on those cruises, which in turn makes the excursions more fun. I still enjoyed all the ports though and the weather in January is really good. T
In St. Thomas, Magens Bay Beach is sure bet. Awesome beach with a nice bar. In Tortola, went to Cane Gardens Bay Beach. Another cool bar, but a little more crowded than Magens seemed and there was less cruise ships in port than on St. Thomas. Perhaps excursions can offer choices to other beaches in the future. Brewers Bay was listed as another choice on the summary, but no buses went to that beach. I highly recommend the Pirate Ship in Antigua. Great tour guides and a lot of fun even though the group on our ship were a bunch of duds. Don't go to the beach when you dock; stay on the pirate ship and swing off the rope swing or jump off the plank. The Emerald Pool tour in Dominica is also very good. Make sure to take a dip in the pool and refresh under the falls. The water is very nice; not cold. I wish we had more time on Mero Beach, the blackest black sand beach I've ever been on. The excursion described a 2 hour stay, but we only had about an hour. We did receive 33% off due to this, which was nice. I'd still recommend that excursion.
You can't go wrong with a cruise vacation, but I must say I was rather disappointed with Princess. My expectation was that Princess was a little higher end than Carnival or Royal Caribbean and it turned out not to be. The food at lunch was very good with a lot of selections and was probably slightly better than the other two lines. However the dinner menus often did not have great selections. One night I actually received fries with my meal when on the menu it read that I was to receive a potatoe dish. The waiter just basically ignored me when I brought it up and honestly I am not one to complain, I'd prefer to enjoy myself.
With Princess, I was expecting a lot of little things to really add to my experience. Instead, it seemed there were nagging little issues. For instance, practically all the beach chairs on the lido deck were broken. When you tried adjusting them to various inclines, they would never stay locked down. Many of them were broken altogether. For a cruise ship, you just gotta get good beach chairs. It was rather pathetic.
I enjoy a good cocktail or two or three, but I must say on this ship I recommend you bring your own booze. The bartenders do not make good drinks. I watched one bartender put only one shot of tequila in the mix when making two margaritas and he added a shot each of cuantro and grand marnier; needless to say it was the nastiest margarita I've ever had. The same bartender, the one on the back of the ship I think was drunk. He acted pretty crazy throughout the cruise saying and doing weird things.
My wife had a small dispute with an internet charge of $3.50. At the help desk, the woman said she had to call the internet manager to see if she could take the charge off. I mean, we didn't care so much about a measly $3.50, we simply did not use the internet at all; I work in customer service too and I suggested to the agent to simply put in a miscellaneous credit for such a small amount just to make us happy and get us going so she could help the next person in line. It was rather ridiculous.
My stateroom was a balcony on the carib deck. Great location with a nice big balcony. I only wish that Princess wouldn't allow smoking on the ship because I often could not enjoy my balcony due to a smoker below us. I realize that the smoker was the one causing the problem, but still I view this as another negative.
I hate to complain and do not like writing bad reviews. I love writing good reviews telling people to definitely go do something that I experienced. I would say go on a Carnival or a Royal Caribbean cruise. Princess really needs to tighten up it's ship so to speak. Too bad, because the itinerary was different than you see on other 7-day cruises.