Pretty Perfect Aboard The CB: Caribbean Princess Cruise Review by gsmith

Caribbean Princess 5
Member Since 2004
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Pretty Perfect Aboard The CB

Sail Date: March 2009
Destination: Southern Caribbean
Embarkation: San Juan
Six of us left rainy Oregon and one flew out from Bangor, Maine sometime between late Friday night and early Saturday morning, arriving in San Juan on Saturday. We had reservations at the Hampton Inn, about 10 minutes from the airport and the taxi fare was about $6/pp each way. The hotel was very nice, with a great pool and swim up bar. But the price of $180 was fairly high and a friend stayed at a nearby property - Coral By The Sea- for less than half our cost. She said it was "okay" but not nearly as nice as ours. By 12 PM in Sunday we were on our way to the Pan American pier by taxi. Easy, short trip. Embarkation was a breeze compared to Fort Lauderdale- less than 45 minutes including a quick stop at the duty free liquor store right there at check in. Put a few items in our carry questions asked. We were on ship by 1 PM and our rooms were ready. My sister and I had an aft balcony on Caribe deck, C753, and it was all we hoped it'd be...HUGE balcony(10x10)with a great view to More both aft and starboard. There were 2 suites next door but we hardly ever heard our neighbors. Our cabin steward, Eugene, was attentive and fun to chat with. I'd book this room again in a heartbeat. Some nights we gave up the show just to relax in our "space", and being able to see the islands each morning as we came into port was incredible.

The first day at sea we spent touring the ship and just relaxing by the aft pool. Having sailed on the Grand class previously, we knew what to expect and headed right to the terrace pool area to meet friends and enjoy the view. The Cafe Caribe and Horizon Court buffet lines are right there, so it's very convenient to use as a rendezvous point.

Now, when I cruise, it's all about the itinerary and I really focus on the ports, But I will say that the CB made it hard not to want to stay on the ship. She's beautiful...very much like the Crown. The Piazza is definitely the hub of the ship and I was often drawn there by various entertainers that were performing or just to watch all the pretty people at night. The International Cafe had some of the best food on the ship (free until evening)and each morning we headed straight to the coffee station there for our AM fix of Jamaican Blue Mountain. I highly recommend the coffee card (about $25) for a limited number (15?)of specialty coffees, but more than you'll probably use.

Other things we discovered about the CB and found worth noting...on Monday night there was a seafood buffet in Cafe Caribe from 5 until 11 PM, but some crew members appeared unaware of that when we asked. Fantastic selection of lobster, shrimp and crab. We had traditional early seating in the DR and the food was pretty good, but I found the choices in this venue to be more varied and interesting than the dining room, so I always ate light early on and checked the offerings here around 10 PM or so. Oh - the pizza and the hamburgers by the main pool were also GREAT! Entertainment on this ship was better than any other ship I've experienced, except for the Crown. You can't possibly see all that's being offered, so it's best to check the "Patter" before heading out of your cabin. We really liked the comedians. Get a seat early in the Explorer's Lounge if that's where your show is, because it's nearly always full well before curtain.

Ports of call...I planned our days around what I'd learned on these boards. Less

Published 04/05/09

Cabin review: BBC753 Balcony

Disembarkation on Sunday was as easy as any I'd ever experienced. We were off the ship by 8:45 and at SJU by 9:20. Security wasn't bad at that hour but the line got bad by 11 or so. Our flight at 12:30 went as planned and amazingly we were back in Oregon before midnight. I'll be cruising Princess again in July when we sail to Alaska aboard the Golden. Can't wait!

Read All Balcony (BB) Reviews >>

Port and Shore Excursions

We took a taxi to the Radisson Palm Beach and bought day passes for $16 pp. It's not far from the ship and they set up chairs for us under a palupa right at the water's edge. We got to use the 2 big pools and the hot tubs, as well. Food at the outside bar was expensive but we split a huge $12 burger and that was ample.

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On Bonaire we booked an excursion through the ship because it was a short stay. I'm so glad we did. We sailed aboard the Samur - a replicated Thai fishing junk- over to Klein Bonaire for a drift snorkel. You do have to climb down into a zodiac and then back up a ladder to get onto the main vessel, but even those who were initially worried did just fine and there were several elderly passengers on board. Not everyone snorkeled, some stayed on the beach, but most of our group agreed that this excursion was one of the highlights of our trip. Chris and Yvonne,the operators/owners of the Samur, were very welcoming and the snorkeling in the clear waters of the reef was spectacular. I got to swim with a sea turtle for almost half an hour and the tour was not crowded at all. Awesome!
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Levi's Bumping Tours was our choice on Dominica. We booked online months ago, after following some recommendations on the CC boards, and we were not disappointed. Our driver,Gary,provided an informative and fun tour of the island. He also somehow managed to get us to all the "good spots" just ahead of the crowds! We swam into the caves at Titou Gorge, basked in thermal pools at Trafalgar Falls and snorkeled at Champagne Reef. The roads on this island are SCARY but Gary was a pro and even found time to stop for tastes of sugarcane, cinnamon bark and grapefruit fresh from the rainforest. FUN, fun, fun.

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In Grenada, we initially took a taxi over to the Aquarium Restaurant at Magazine Beach. Another couple joined us so the cab fare totaled $24 RT. But when we got there, we discovered that the surf was really rough and swimming required a strenuous workout and some nerves, due to a strong current. The beach itself was quite private and beautiful, and the property looked inviting, but we wanted to swim! So we all left money for our first driver (who was set to return later in the day)and took a cab back to the ship. One hour and an interesting $4 water taxi ride later, we were basking on Grand Anse, fending off the peddlers but thoroughly enjoying the calm water and a cheap rum punch.

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After such a busy, port intensive week, our choice on St, Thomas (where we had been many time before)was just to head for Magen's Bay for a beach day. We took a taxi from the ship soon after docking ($13 with admission) and we may have been the first ones there! The beach is gorgeous...just what you'd expect in the Caribbean and the crowds that came later didn't detract from our enjoyment at all. We swam and swam and were delighted when we unexpectedly saw a sea turtle...again!

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