Caribbean Princess 1-30-11, Southern Caribbean Explorer: Caribbean Princess Cruise Review by litlvxn

Caribbean Princess 5
Member Since 2007
105 Forum Posts

Overall Member Rating

Caribbean Princess 1-30-11, Southern Caribbean Explorer

Sail Date: January 2011
Destination: Southern Caribbean
Embarkation: San Juan
Great overall cruise. From the time I walked through the doors of the terminal and baggage check, I was on the ship in less than 15 minutes. Disembarkation was a breeze as well, getting off the ship literally in 20 minutes from the time I arrived at my designated staging area. Customs took very little time as well. I have very unique luggage so I found mine in 1 minute inside the terminal. Others took a little longer :)

Service in dining room and cabin was top-notch. Menu was quite diverse, with seafood, veal, lamb, beef, chicken, etc. being offered regularly. Since it was a Caribbean cruise, the menu had some "spice" to it, with recipes tailored to the Caribbean theme. Standard items were offered nightly too on the menu. Desserts were darn tasty. Extensive wine list, marked up of course, but is to be expected. Ate sushi at Vines while doing a wine flight tasting. Sushi was mediocre at best. I did not eat at the specialty restaurants since I have previously tried them on More other Princess cruises. Buffet was surprisingly good. I did not eat breakfast or lunch in the dining room.

I personally did not attend any shows or activities, other than the Princess Pop Star (karaoke contest) which was extremely popular. The finale was a packed house and is not to be missed. There were a lot of very talented cruisers on board.

Very nice casino with lots of options for tables and slot machines. Very professional casino hosts. The casino now runs like most other ships, using your cruise card and a PIN number system. Very easy to use once you set it up, though it can get scary if you don't keep yourself in check since you can just keep charging slots to your cabin :)

The ship itself is expansive but really never felt crowded to me. The adults-only "Sanctuary" area looked beautiful and inviting, but I did not go there since we had only one day at sea and I had massage planned mid-day. The deep-tissue massage with Dolores was fantastic, effective and relaxing, but not cheap. They do try and sell you Elemis products, but a polite "no" went over just fine. The products felt great though during the massage!!

Had a problem with my in-cabin wake-up call service. Front desk promised to call me in the morning since I could not use the self-serve method. Front desk personnel forgot and I nearly missed an excursion I was really looking forward to. They offered to just comp me the cost of the excursion. Instead I persuaded them to hold the tour and allow me 5 minutes to run to the elevator. They sent me a letter of apology and some canapes to my cabin as a way of making up for their error. Handled very well in the end.

Used the ship's transfer to airport in San Juan which was efficient and inexpensive. Got me there with plenty of time to spare for my flight at 11:45am.

I would definitely sail on this ship again, and I loved the itinerary. Less

Published 02/09/11

Cabin review: ACD201

D201, mini-suite on deck of only mini-suites, but far forward. Quiet location. Long interior hallways allowed access to entire length of ship and elevators to dining and other important central areas. On this specific itinerary, very rarely got any view of port while docked, due to it being on starboard side. Large bathtub and balcony. Lots of storage space and closet space, though the closet is exposed. Very nice bathroom!!

Port and Shore Excursions

Went on the Mi Dushi Sail and Snorkel with Lunch. We sailed with a very professional and friendly crew and went to three snorkel spots. Snorkeled at the "Antilla" shipwreck, a second shallower spot with great fish, and a third spot where we snorkeled, swam around the boat or to an adjacent beach, ate lunch and used the rope swing to fly into the water. The lunch was very good, chicken, tilapia, rice and salad, with open bar the entire excursion. The crew made sure everyone had a good time. I did not venture elsewhere around Aruba, having been there before. The ride to and from the Mi Dushi was by way of a very colorful/loud/fun/crazy open-air bus, guaranteed to get the attention of everyone in Aruba :)

Read 1289 Aruba Reviews

I thought Bonaire was a very nice port. I booked a private excursion with that took me snorkeling to the Marine Park and Klein Bonaire. Although the visibility was not as great as I had hoped (it was very, very windy that day), I saw turtles and some phenomenal fish. Woodwind is a very professional company that can accommodate all levels of snorkeling experience. Safety and helpfulness are their main concerns. They also had a professional photographer on-board who took underwater photos the entire excursion, both of sea life and of the guests themselves. Spectacular photo DVD was for sale (which she shows on board if you're interested) and I was in awe of her talent. Yes I bought it for $25.00. Worth every cent in my opinion since she was free-diving and got better shots than I did and she includes some of her stock photos as well. Was neat to get photos of the guests as well, some with turtles or beautiful sea life in the background. Nice souvenir. It is a family-run company.

Read 444 Bonaire Reviews

I went on Dominica's Ultimate Adventure Tour. It was a whirlwind day that involved snorkeling at Champagne Reef (pretty neat), seeing the rainforest at Morne Trois Pitons National Park (including a dip in the Emerald Pool), seeing the twin Trafalgar Falls, and Titou Gorge where we swam in a natural cave area (open at top) which was quite the adventure. Lunch was good as well, with all items produced on the island being presented for tasting. The day was a lot of get dry, get wet, get dry, get wet and I enjoyed it all. Bring an underwater camera for the Champagne Reef so you can capture the bubble effects, as well as water shoes and your ship towel. Dominica is a beautifully lush island and this excursion was a great way to see a lot of the island, both at sea and on land.

Read 669 Dominica Reviews

Chose to do Grenada on my own since every other port had an excursion planned. I chose to use a water taxi (cheaper than regular taxi) to go to Grand Anse Beach. The water taxis are a set price but in hindsight I would have rather paid more for a regular taxi and got to and returned from my destination on my own schedule. Their system is bizarre and frustrating. On the way back from Grand Anse there were two empty boats at the dock. About 12 of us got onto one boat and waited nearly 30 minutes, being told that our taxi needed to be full being sailing. In the meantime, as people walked down the dock, the attendants were sending them to the second empty boat instead of filling ours. As their boat filled to capacity, some of our passengers begged to get their tickets back and boarded the second boat instead, which worked. The second boat then sailed before ours. What???? I'm easy-going, but the attendants were very rude to anyone who asked about their "system" or asked when we would be leaving. So I missed seeing the fort even though I had left the beach with plenty of time to spare.

Grand Anse Beach is a very nice beach, with bar service and chair attendants everywhere. The chairs are $15 to rent, with an extra $2 for a padded cushion. You can also just plop yourself down on the beach. Shaded areas are also available, as are restrooms, a restaurant, and bar. The water was great. Some vendors do wander up and down the beach, offering hair braiding, etc.

I was disappointed in this port overall, but mostly for the way it ended on the water taxi. I chose a nice beach however.

Read 531 Grenada Reviews

I stayed at the Sheraton Old San Juan based on its central location, having stayed there before. The rooms are adequate, though like most hotels in that area is overpriced. I will say the hotel's Italian restaurant was very, very good and I would definitely eat there again. The hotel has a casino and is adjacent to Senior Frog's so there is a lot of activity there.

You can see both the Old San Juan piers and the further-distanced Pan American piers from the doorstep of the Sheraton Old San Juan. That is comforting to some, knowing they can see their ship on the day of embarkation.

I haven't been to San Juan in several years and it has improved in its appearance. They seem to be upgrading many areas, while keeping its historical areas as they should be. El Morro is still a highlight for me, especially near sunset when families are out walking, enjoying kite-flying.

I also went zip-lining with the Original Canopy Tour and had a great time. They are very safety-conscious and the area where you zip-line is very pretty. I have used the same company before in Costa Rica and therefore felt more comfortable using them again. You must pay in cash. They arranged to pick me up from the Sheraton, keep my luggage in their van while I zip-lined, and then dropped me off at the ship for embarkation. Transportation is included in the price. This was an excursion I arranged privately before the cruise since none were offered by the cruise line. I did not have any excursions in San Juan on the day of departure, as I had an early flight.

Read 2979 San Juan Reviews

Went on the Full-Day Sail and Snorkel with lunch. It was an excursion to Turtle Cove and Honeymoon Beach, with tasty lunch included. It was a great day. Saw turtles, lots of tropical fish, and a stingray. The beach was phenomenal, with shaded areas and open sandy areas to lay around. The water was perfect too, with a sandy bottom and minimal rocks. The crew was great and their special "punch" was very good too, if you decide to partake. Very nice catamaran, with the crew using both the sails and engine to get around.

Read 4002 St. Thomas Reviews

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