This was my family's 18th cruise, 1st with Princess. Other cruises have been with RCCL, HAL, NCL, CCL, DCL, and Commodore. In a word, this one was -spectacular!! It began with our flight on Southwest to Ft. Lauderdale the day before our cruise. I had accumulated lots of free drink vouchers which put the 10 out of 19 in our group on that flight all into a cruise vacation frame of mind. The hour and a half flight was good, as was the shuttle to the Hyatt Place, Airport North. We had arrived before check-in time, which put us coming in while the crowds of Saturday cruisers were coming out. So the hotel staff secured our luggage and we set out to explore the Harbor Shops just around the corner. We found, to our delight, a great little place called Joe's Cafe and were made to feel right at home. The food and service were great and the prices were very reasonable. Later, back at the hotel we found our accommodations, well, very accommodating. Clean, well appointed, and comfortable. They have great beds!! So it was off to the pool to relax and digest the great lunch and anticipate tomorrow. Another visit to Joe's for banana splits was a nice way to end the day. After a good night's sleep, we came down to the lobby to find it overwhelmed with anxious guests. So we opted to walk over to Joe's Cafe for breakfast. Great choice- Again! We chose to pass on the free shuttle to the port because of the crowd, and spend the ten dollars for a cab ride to the port which proved to be a wise choice. The wait and the ride took less than ten minutes. We arrived at the terminal around 11 am. Crowded!! We were too early. But at about 12:15 our number was called and we were on the ship in about 15 minutes. Our inside cabin, D511, which was already prepared for us was just as advertised. Small, but comfortable, with exceptional closet and storage space. So we dropped off our things and headed up to the Lido to eat our first of many excellent meals. We found the food and service to be good to excellent in all of the dining venues, with the meal at Sabatini's topping the list. (More later) We had chosen traditional early seating with our group of 19 and were seated at three separate tables being served by the same waiter. Jose and Laura were great as servers. No problems. Since escargot did not appear on the menu all week, he even arranged for us to have some at our second formal dinner- yummy! It was my parents 50th anniversary, so they brought out a little cake and sang for us too. It was very nice. The shows and entertainment were the weak spot on this cruise, with most being OK at best. But a couple of the comedians redeemed the week's schedule with a few of their performances. Just a few words on the 4 ports we called on. Princess Cays- The tendering operation was the negative about this port. Too many people for too few tenders. It took an hour and a half to get off! Once you were on the island it was great. But this was now overshadowed by the tendering process back to the ship. Not good!! St. Maarten- We docked and enjoyed the water taxi ride to downtown. $6 round trip. The bracelet they provided allowed you back on the taxi as many times as you wished to ride. Be ready for some vendors on the beach but it wasn't bad. St. Thomas- We took the $9 per person cab ride over to the $4 per person beach day at Maagen's Bay. WOW!! The water was beautiful and the scenery was great! The food at the little counter service restaurant was overpriced but sufficient for the day. We had arranged for our cab driver to come back and get us in the afternoon and he arrived 10 minutes early to get us. After a little shopping, it was back to the ship. Grand Turk- Margaritaville is the main attraction here. If that's not your thing you do better to stay on board. Its a very small island with little to offer without the Jimmy Buffett MegaPlex. Giant, winding pool, plenty drinks and loud music and partying. Sea days on board were very relaxing with an array of activities. Bingo, pool games, trivia, wine tasting, lectures, etc. The MUTS (Movies Under the Stars) was a nice feature. Comfortable lounge chairs, cookies and milk, popcorn, pizza, a nice variety in movies. What's not to like? Sabatini's- This meal was the best of the trip. The meal was presented with your choice of entree, but everything else was brought out automatically. Antipasti, Fried calamari, 2 pastas, about 12 things in all, then entrees, Lobster, scallops, veal, giant prawns. Then dessert. Fabulous!! Disembarkation was typical. Colored luggage tags provided the night before allowed for some organization. No real problems getting off except for the sadness that comes at the end of every cruise. Overall impression was- A beautiful ship, Very good service by a great crew, Great food, One of the better cruises we have taken.
Great closet space, good location. Some background noise from crew area.