A Very Relaxing Getaway: Caribbean Princess Cruise Review by WizBang

Caribbean Princess 5
Member Since 2013
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A Very Relaxing Getaway

Sail Date: April 2013
Destination: Southern Caribbean
Embarkation: Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades)
This was our 5th cruise (4th with Princess, 2nd on the Caribbean Princess.) We were looking forward to visiting some ports we have not yet been to, so the Southern Caribbean itinerary to Aruba and Curacao seemed perfect. Having the Princess Cays visit as our first port was a great way to put us into a "tropical mood" quickly!

Embarkation - pretty well organized
Our flight landed at 10:30, grabbed our luggage and took a cab from the FLL airport. About $20 before tip because we were backed up in traffic entering the port (there were 8 ships in port that day). We arrived around 11:30 and were in boarding group 11. We were in our cabin at 12:15!

Cabin - great, huge partially covered balcony
We booked just a few weeks ahead of the cruise, so we took advantage of the low guarantee balcony prices and within a week we were assigned a BA balcony room, mid-ship on the Caribe Deck. This was our first Caribe deck balcony and we loved taking advantage of the half-covered More extended sized balcony. We are now spoiled!
Our cabin was across from the crew laundry facility and it was surprisingly quiet. Disembarkation day was the only morning we heard some noises from crew members coming in and out of the door. Our cabin stewardess "Rona" was the best we ever had. She was extra friendly, patient and accommodating.
We had requested an egg crate mattress pad by fax weeks prior to the cruise, but the request never made it to our Cabin Steward. She was resourceful and added an extra comforter beneath the fitted sheet which helped.
The shower is notoriously tiny, with the extra friendly shower curtain. Taking advice from Cruise Critic postings, we brought plastic clips to weigh down the bottom of the curtain which helped prevent water from getting onto the bathroom floor and the dreaded "curtain cling."

Dining - good
We chose Anytime Dining and ate in the Island Dining Room most nights. The Coral Dining Room is open to Anytime Dining after the first seating, so we tried it and were very disappointed by the service. It was chaotic, with our waiter serving us without an assistant.
The food was good overall. The pizza is always excellent at the Prego Pizzeria by the pool!

Entertainment - slightly hit or miss
The musicals were as I had expected, not very special, but decent entertainment.
I did not care for the Hawley Magic show. It was repetitive and awkward. Burt Stratton (piano and singing) was not our cup of tea, so we only stayed for a little while.
The comedian was hilarious, I wish we had seen more of him.
Hosted game shows were fun to watch. I thought Assistant Cruise Director Chris did a good job of hosting the game shows, his sarcasm was actually refreshing. The Cruise Director was only seen making introductions on stage and on the Morning Wake TV show. Would've been nice to see him participate in some of the entertainment.
Casino - I played the slot machines a little bit, and did not notice a change in payouts from the beginning of the cruise to the end. In fact, I actually won a small bit of money on the last day of the cruise.

Ports - gorgeous
Princess Cays - After leaving the tender dock, we took a right (over the bridge) and staked out a couple of chairs near the volleyball court. It is much less crowded in this area! We had a bar, restrooms, and an auxiliary BBQ buffet within 30 feet of our chairs, perfect! Lots of fish to be seen snorkeling around the life guard station, we brought our goggles from home to use. We waited a bit too long to get lunch, so the burgers were quite dry, but the incredible view makes up for it! Tendering ship to shore takes some of the relaxation out of the day, but they are prepared for the wait in the sun with water and cool towels.
Curacao - We docked about a half hour before our scheduled 2pm arrival. Around 30 minutes after the first passengers disembarked, we headed down and walked off the ship. Walked across the bridge and did some shopping. Even though there was a breeze, it was very hot walking around on the pavement. Wish we remembered to bring some water with us, but there were many places selling bottled drinks along the way.
Aruba - Really is "One Happy Island!" Very safe, no harassment by vendors, all public beaches where you can have a taxi drop you off and have a beach day without having to purchase an excursion.

Disembarkation - speedy and easy

Very efficient and quick. Many crew members around to make sure you were headed where you needed to be. We used EZ check to have our luggage picked up the last night of the cruise and we wouldn't see it until we arrived at the airport baggage claim at home. Everything worked without a hitch! Less

Published 04/20/13

Cabin review: BA Balcony

Huge balcony - looks to be 9x9 square. Fits tall round table, two chairs and foot stools. Half covered by the deck above, so there was almost always some shade to sit under. Adequate bathroom, tiny shower with extra friendly shower curtain (bring clips to weigh it down and prevent water from spilling onto the floor). The water from the faucet is never really cold. It is decent flavored for drinking, just put some in the refrigerator overnight to chill. One outlet in bathroom for shaver, one by the desk and a hidden one behind the TV. Across from the crew laundry, but it wasn't noisy at all until the morning of disembarkation when we heard people coming in and out of the door.

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Port and Shore Excursions

Aruba - It really is "One Happy Island" as in their motto. As you leave the ship, there is a taxi stand with prices listed for the popular destinations around the island. We took a taxi to Eagle Beach for $13, before tip. The beaches are all public, and there were about a dozen palapas for shade. No chairs to rent, nobody selling us trinkets, in fact it wasn't until about noontime that two other groups of people came to the beach near us. Plenty of hotels within walking distance for refreshment. It was quick and easy getting back on the ship to take a quick shower and change before heading out to do some shopping. I felt very safe there and not harassed at all by vendors. The larger casinos were clean and the payouts were good enough to keep us playing for quite a while. Walked down to the shore to the Renaissance Hotel and Casino. Lots of huge iguanas to be seen sunning themselves on the rocks by the shore! Great photo ops of the ship in the background there too!
Read 1289 Aruba Reviews

Our port time was 2pm-10pm, so we decided to explore on our own. The ship docked so we got off the ship pretty quickly. The heat of the day was in full force by 2 but the sea breeze helped a bit. We walked over the bridge into town and did a little shopping and stepped into the casino to cool off and try the slot machines. There were plenty of restaurants and bars to enjoy outside, but we did not venture out after dinner.
Read 917 Curacao Reviews

Princess Cays was a beautiful and relaxing stop. It is nice to just head to the beach with your towel and cruise card. It did not seem crowded at all. While most people headed to the left after getting off of the tender dock, we headed to the right, over the bridge where it is less crowded. We brought our water shoes to make it easier to walk through the sand and over the rocky beach entrance by the volleyball court. We also brought our goggles from home and enjoyed snorkeling around the rocky area by the lifeguard post. There were lots of colorful fish to see! There were plenty of chairs and shade to be had. More than one BBQ buffets also helped to disperse any crowds. I would've given it 5 stars if not for the crowded tender boats.

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Member Since 2013
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