My husband and I are in our 80s, and I use a small mobility scooter to help me get around. This was his first cruise on Princess and 16th cruise on commercial cruise ships (he was in the Navy for 20 years so he has been on other cruises) and my third Princess cruise and my 29th cruise overall. I booked this cruise primarily to visit four ports that we had not been to before. Since there were nine ports in a row with no sea days, this was a very strenuous cruise Because we have both had melanomas, we do not visit the beaches. What we generally do in port is our hobby of cemetery documentation (taking photos of gravestones and adding them to a database).
Embarkation - We drove down from Maryland to the Florida and stayed with our daughter in Miami before and after the cruise. Embarkation was very quick and we could get to our cabin right away. Our suitcases arrived before the drill (which was held in the dining room.)
The cabin was a handicapped cabin and it was slightly larger than the other cabins. There was plenty of room for me to manuever and charge the scooter and also several panic buttons in various locations. The window was washed periodically so we had a good view of harbor activities. There was a small fridge and a safe and a TV. But the TV was so small that I could not read things on it like sports scores or the upcoming program listing. The closets were quite narrow and small. The hanging racks were out of my reach unless I stood up.
My bed was saggy in the middle so I spent the night clinging to the high side so that I would not roll out on the floor. The night stand next to the bed had a lamp fixed in the middle of it which meant that there was no room for the phone to sit straight on the table. We eventually moved the small table by the chair over to put the phone on. The cabin was under the promenade deck so it was a bit noisy sometimes when they were moving chairs there and there were also some ship noises.
The door to the bathroom was very big and heavy- not an automatic door - I needed to use some muscle on it to get into the bathroom. There was no place to put anything on the sink. We had to hang a bag on the bars by the toilet to have wipes to use and my husband had to charge his razor out in the cabin. There was no clothesline to hang wet bathing suits or clothes unless one used the grab bars in the shower. There was a nice seat in th shower which I appreciated, and I could use the hand-held shower head. But the soap and shampoo bottles were difficult to reach from the shower seat.
We had been to St Barts before and rented a car, but the roads are so narrow and twisty that we had a hard time actually getting to the places we wanted to see. The excursions in St Barts were all cancelled because it was Christmas day. I thought (correctly) that I might have trouble getting a taxi. So I booked a taxi driver through the internet and we had a very nice tour for 150 euros.
We had been to Antigua twice and had done the usual tours, so we just went down to the dispatcher and asked to hire a cab for a couple of hours - this cost $200.00
Terre-de-Haut: This was tender port which we had not visited before. Terre de Haut is a very tiny island. It is less than two and a half square miles. It has most of the population of the archipelago, but this population is less than 2000 souls. We took the tender in and spent some time watching the activity here. The place is a magnet for French tourists who want to spend time at the beach.
We spent a week in Barbados in 1996 and also been there four times on a cruise ship. The one thing I really wanted to see there was St. Nicholas Abbey which we visited in 1996 but has been closed on subsequent visits. I wanted to go back there because they showed old home movies taken in the 1930s and I wanted to see them again. The film is listed by the Barbados Tourism Authority as one of the "Seven Wonders of Barbados". St. Nicholas Abbey is not a religious institution. It has always been a sugarcane plantation house. The great house, built in 1658, is one of just three Jacobean style mansions remaining in the Western Hemisphere. (The others are Bacon's Castle in Virginia and Drax Hall Great House in Barbados.) So I went out to the dispatcher and asked her if I could go there and to a church for $100. We got a taxi and not only saw St. Nicholas Abbey and went to St Philip-the-Less Church, but we also got to see the Morgan Mill and some chattel houses.
Bequia is the largest island of the Grenadines (part of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines) at 7 square miles. Another tender port. After the first fiasco, I had stopped listing to the port talks. But I did go to the official Bequia website and I had seen the maps. So I knew that things were compact in Port Elizabeth and I just scootered down the main street to St Mary the Virgin Anglican Church where we got to listen to a man singing and look at the church and cemetery. Then we took the tender back to the ship.
We have been here twice before so all I had in mind to do was to visit the Catholic cemetery and take some photos. It was close enough to the ship that Bob could walk and I could go by scooter.
In 1997, we visited the Bath's in Virgin Gorda, and I would have liked to go again but even in 1997 I had trouble with the steps and could not do the Devil's Bay trail. I really would have liked to go back to the Baths and get some better photos. But since the excursion was full, that was not a possibility. So we took a tender in and got a taxi. The scooter had a problem yesterday and Bob wanted to get some stuff to fix it so we visited three hardware stores, a couple of cemeteries and the airport and had a nice morning for $70.00