The Crown Princess is a beautiful ship that looks majestic in port and glamorously spotless on board. There are always people cleaning and ensuring that standards are upheld, from wiping down the underside of lounge chairs during the day ... Read More
The Crown Princess is a beautiful ship that looks majestic in port and glamorously spotless on board. There are always people cleaning and ensuring that standards are upheld, from wiping down the underside of lounge chairs during the day to polishing the stairs in the Piazza at 5am in the morning, the attention to detail is very impressive. Our cruise was Valentine's week and there was a romance summit onboard so there were several weddings and people renewing their vows onboard. I think this cruise was an excellent mixture of relaxation, delicious food and fun adventures.
Upon arrival at Fort Lauderdale (10.30am) we were issued with a boarding number so boarding could be done as quickly and efficiently as possible which ensured that controlled groups checked- in to avoid a 3000 passenger crush! We were given number 1 (which meant we were in the first 25 to arrive) and when it was time to check-in we headed for the Dolphin desk. We were issued with our cruise cards and our credit card was swiped again ready for our onboard account. Then after a quick photo in front of a Crown backdrop we headed onboard and had a headshot taken for the ship computer which was then checked every time we returned to the ship from a port.
Embarkation started at 11.50am and by midday we in the DeVinci restaurant enjoying our first lunch onboard, having dropped off our hand luggage in our cabin. We were told that the restaurant wasn't open for cruisers unless they were B2B but we ignored that and went down anyway and the restaurant staff were lovely and treated us like VIPs. I got the Head waiter to try and get us on the Chef's table and he then called me across when he got the man with the waiting list on the phone, we were second on the list! Our cases were waiting for us outside our cabin after lunch so the $4 porter tip definitely did the trick!
We had a mini-suite on the Dolphin deck which was mid-ship and we loved it as we were never too far away from anywhere on the ship. There are six lifts mid-ship as opposed to two at the front and two at the back and we never heard any noise in the corridors from our cabin. We had an uncovered balcony with table and four chairs, a bath, a large sofa, two televisions, a safe, a fridge (where we chilled the champagne and wine we had brought on as this is permitted by Princess) and a queen size bed which was extremely comfortable. Our two large cases and flight bag fitted easily under the bed so you don't need to worry about where to put your suitcase in the cabin. The wardrobe had ample hangers and the mini-suite seemed generously spacious. We had good wi-fi connection and did all our postings in our cabin on our laptop rather than in the internet cafe. Avoid busy times as the internet speed varied considerably depending on what time of day it was. We tended to use it early in the morning for quickest speeds and benefitted from free minutes with the pre-paid internet package we purchased the week before.
We asked our steward for bath robes and ice which were promptly delivered by the time we returned after sailaway. The room service was always very efficient and we enjoyed phoning up for tea, coffee, pastries and orange juice to start the day. We also made use of room service if we had been out on a port day and got back too late in the MDR lunch. There is something truly indulgent about tucking into lunch on your balcony in the Caribbean sun! We did a video tour of the cabin which you can see on: http://howarthfamily.smugmug.com/Other/Caribbean-Cruise/10862873_GvoHV#788229302_6fyKw-M-LB
Main Dining Room Restaurants
I fancied egg Benedict for breakfast one morning (we rarely get it in the UK) and it wasn't on the breakfast menu in the MDR so I asked our waiter if it would be possible to have it - yes of course was the reply. As Rob said, no doesn't seem to be part of the ship vocabulary they are so keen to make your holiday absolutely perfect.
Afternoon tea has the best cup of tea you will get on the ship - which was served with finger sandwiches, scones and pastries. The scones are not as good as my Mum can make but the rest was fantastic. We liked the fact that the waiters wore gloves to pour the tea which helped give the afternoon tea a sense of occasion.
We were Anytime Dining which worked really well. If one MDR has a long queue head straight to the other one as you will probably find a shorter queue (we did). We only had to wait for a table for 2, on the formal nights, apart from that we have always walked straight in. If you are prepared to share you will probably be seated earlier and you can book a specific time if you choose through the dine line, but we prefer to go with the flow (it is called Anytime for a reason!) and the little pagers they give you mean you are free to wander around, have more photos or sit and enjoy a drink while you are waiting. The food was delicious and consistently excellent throughout. For lunch on embarkation day I enjoyed prawns with melon, châteaubriand with Bearnaise sauce and chocolate soufflE. Other lunches included a spicy beef pot topped with puff pastry, steak sandwich and spaghetti carbonara.
Whenever we had beef it was cooked exactly as requested even if it was slow roasted beef or Beef Wellington! We always felt spoilt for choice and were never disappointed with what we ordered. Our meals in the main dining room included lobster, scallops, Alaskan Salmon, Fish in a tomato and saffron sauce, filet mignon and pork medallions in a honey and mustard sauce. The menu in the evening consisted of a choice of appetisers (Fettuccini Alfredo was a favourite) then soup or salad, then a main course, then dessert.
Whenever we had a problem it was dealt with so professionally that Princess went up again in our estimation, making everything perfect as they make you feel like you are the only diners in the restaurant - this is certainly service with a smile.
Sabtini's Restaurant - $20 cover charge
We decided to book a table at Sabitini's the Italian speciality restaurant for our final night. We both had a fabulous meal. You choose your soup, main and dessert and everything else is served to you automatically. The hot and cold appertisers are presented with silver service which means that it sometimes doesn't look as good on the plate as it would have done presented by the chef (so if you have seen photos of the hot and cold starter selection they may look as if they lack a bit of finesse). The main problem is trying to fit everything on the plate!
The cold anti-pasti (served together) included proscuttio and melon, bresola, porticini mushrooms with garlic puree, shrimp and artichoke in truffle oil, anchovy, salad and parmesan, sun-dried tomatoes and red peppers. The hot anti-pasti included crab cake, calamari, ricotta cheese flan and courgette in a tomato sauce. We then had our soup (I had tomato and shellfish) followed by two pastas - I really liked the egg noodles in a mushroom veloute, tender asparagus baby spinach and fresh tomato, the other was a homemade potato and ricotta ravioli. For main I had lobster tail with lobster sauce and pumpkin risotto and Rob had Chilean sea bass with a whole grain mustard crust, lemon asparagus and a mustard green salad. For dessert I had an expresso crème brûlEe with star anise biscotti and armagnac foam and Rob had tiramisu. (cappicino / expresso coffees etc where complimentary)
We felt that this meal was the perfect way to end our cruise. The restaurant is much quieter than the MDR and the meal lasts a good two hours from start to finish. As with all venues the drinks stickers are accepted in the restaurant. We have a video which you can see on: http://howarthfamily.smugmug.com/Oth...649_7JDDd-M-LB
The Piazza This was one of my favourite areas on the ship. It is on decks 5, 6 and 7 which are linked by sweeping spiral staircases adding to the magnificence of the venue. It is here that you will find the International cafe, a real gem of the ship. It is open 24/7 for the best coffee and delights of the day. In the morning there is a large selection of croissants, muffins and Danish pastries by lunch there are salads, warm quiches and sandwiches and there is always a fabulous selection of cakes, desserts and patisserie tempting you between meals. I recommend the cookies and tiramisu which were both indulgently delicious. Also in the Piazza on deck 5 is Vines a wine bar serving tapas and sushi. All food served in the Piazza is complimentary apart from the speciality ice cream at the International Cafe. This is also where you will find the internet cafe. The Piazza is the place to meet friends or relax and enjoy the entertainment as there were musicians and artists who performed throughout the day and into the night. Entertainment The Princess Patters (the ship's daily newspaper) are delivered to your cabin each evening and they give you all the information you will need for the following day from what activities and shows are on, to information about tendering and the clocks on the ship changing to keep to local port times. With Princess you can certainly be as active or relaxed as you like. We used to plan our time like a military operation so as not to miss out on anything but it impossible to do everything. Activities during the day that we enjoyed included line-dancing, a make-up demonstration, a sushi, vegetable and fruit demonstation, ice carving, a putt putt competition (I won gold and Rob got silver for Great Britain, which was better than we did at the Olympics). Rob took part in a Valentine cake decorating competition and just missed out on winning but we then enjoyed the cake at dinner as they put it in one of the ship's fridges labelled with our cabin number.
The comedy on the Crown was excellent. Kevin Hughes and Troy Thirdgill both did two different shows which we thoroughly enjoyed. We went to the 7pm show "Destination Anywhere" and it was absolutely superb. There are always at least two separate times for the main shows so it doesn't matter whether you are first or second sitting in Traditional Dining you will not miss out. "Destination Anywhere" had great dancing, costumes and singing. We really felt like we had been to a professional show.
The Crown has seven different venues for entertainment in addition to the Princess Theatre, not to mention places such as the Adagio bar with a pianist, which works well at distributing the passengers so we never ever had a sense of just how many people were on the ship. We braved the Movies under the Stars once (it is fun snuggling up under a blanket on the sun loungers equipped with extra thick padded cushions at night) but the film was not to our taste and the popcorn was chewy and salted so we didn't stay for long! Chef's Table
If I had to give one piece of advice from the entire cruise it would be to try and get on the chef's table if you love and appreciate food. I guarantee you won't be disappointed. It was $75 each and definitely worth every penny. Second piece of advice make sure you follow the advice of not eating much at all in the day.
We all gathered at the International cafe at 7pm, and as we had already met for the health and safety briefing we already felt like we knew each other a bit. The Maitre D'hotel Francesco Ciorfido then escorted us up to Da Vinci dining room where we were given our white coats and led into the galley.
In the galley you get an extensive explanation of how the food is organised and a complete tour. It was Italian night in the MDRs so all the waiters were dressed in Italian stripy t-shirts rather than the formal suits that they normally wear. Everyone was so friendly in the galley and seemed genuinely pleased that we were interested in seeing behind the scenes.
We were then led through the galley to one area where the gastronomie began. We were each given a glass of champagne (constantly refilled) while we enjoyed the canapEs. Our first was Tuna tartar served on an oriental spoon which had been marinating in soy and ginger, delicious, next we had bistro mini quiche with fortini cheese and truffle which just melted in your mouth. Our third canapE was bistro vol-au-vent forestière with truffle oil, which was so light and our fourth canapE was a buckwheat blini with caviar and crème fraiche.
The chef then left us in the safe hands of the Maitre D' so he could make our dinner. We gave back our white coats and were led back through the restaurant and down to the Michelangelo restaurant were a special table was waiting for us. The wine waiter then introduced the wine he had selected for the meal. The red was a robust 2004 vintage Cabernet Sauvignon (from Califorinia I think, called something Jackson) the white was a Pinot Grigio (I think) but I can't remember the details - just that it was light and delicious.
We were given an appetiser (not listed on the menu) of beef carpaccio which was delicious. The executive chef Manlio Cuzzolin came to our table and introduced the risotto with lobster tail and claws which was divine.
We were then served a bloody mary sorbet complete with a celery decoration and Manlio came round with a bottle of vodka which he then poured over the top.
The waiters then removed the table decorations and bread baskets from the table ready for the theatre to begin! Manlio and his team then reappeared once more carrying huge medieval spiked flambE roasters which they laid down on the table behind us. They then poured over ladles and ladles of flames that looked truly spectacular. Another waiter carried out a huge paella shaped pan filled with lobsters - and that wasn't even on the menu! Our main course was Trio of beef, veal and pork tenderloin with jus, salsa verde, bEarnaise sauce and cafe de Paris butter (they were each in little sauce pots so you helped yourself to what you fancied) served with lobster on the side. This was accompanied with mashed potatoes (infused with the flambEed meat juices) with baby sweetcorn, cherry tomatoes, char grilled asparagus and charred premium vegetables.
The wine and conversation just kept on flowing. We were lucky that everyone was so friendly and we all got on really well. Our cheese course was potted stilton with port wine reduction and walnuts and rosemary biscotti - I couldn't believe just how tasty it was and even Rob who is normally not keen on stilton cheese loved it.
Our dessert was orange mousse with raspberry mango glaze which was served with a delicious dessert wine. The head pastry chef came out with Manlio for this and I asked him how long the dessert took him to make....five hours!!! The dessert was served on an edible sugar crafted plate which was so attractive.
To complete the meal, we had coffee (or tea) with Manlio's homemade biscotti and amoretti. Manlio gave all the ladies a red rose and all the men a signed Princess cookbook (worth $49.95). We then had our photographs taken with Manlio and Francesco and another one with the entire group. These were delivered to our cabin the following day.
We were the envy of the entire restaurant with the food and extra attention we were given - and several diners got up and took pictures of the medieval spiked flambE roaster. I thanked Manlio again while we were having our group picture taken and he said it was an absolute pleasure to cook for people who really appreciate his craft - we definitely got the impression that they really enjoyed the evening as well. This is truly an experience of a lifetime not to be missed! Rob has done a great job at capturing the evening in just over a minute on video which you can see on:
Our first formal night was on Valentine's day and ship was decorated with red and white balloons and an amazing selection of Valentine's cakes made by the pastry chefs for a display in the Piazza.
There was a champagne waterfall in the Piazza and all the ladies were invited to help the Maitre D' pour wine into the top by standing on a small platform. The champagne waterfall was accompanied with complimentary glasses (yes in the plural) of champagne and canapEs. At the International cafe a waitress came and asked us what we wanted to drink and we said we wouldn't mind a complimentary glass of champagne so she tracked down one of the waiters with trays of glasses of champagne and got him to come over to us - we were very impressed. The canapEs just kept on coming too so it was a very pleasant experience waiting for our table. The champagne came round again and the waiter automatically put another glass down on the table for us both even though mine was still half full!!
There are several photographers on formal nights so there are lots of opportunities to capture the evening. However, we tended to offer to take photos of others and then they returned the favour. 95% of the passengers were suitably dressed for a formal night and we loved dressing up in our finery for the evening. The second formal night was lobster night and another opportunity to have formal shots taken by the ship's photographers. At 11pm there was a balloon drop in the Piazza and earlier in the afternoon we had signed our balloons in the hope of winning a bottle of champagne.
The organisation was superb and it was clear the whole operation is a well oiled machine. We enjoyed watching the tenders being lowered into the sea for the day, and after breakfast we headed down to the Michelangelo restaurant where we were issued with a ticket for our tender. We didn't wait more than 5 minutes either time which is incredible when you consider there were 3000 passengers potentially wanting to disembark for their island excursions.
There are four pools on the Crown. The one at the front is adult only next to the Lotus Fitness and Spa near the Sanctuary. It is extremely quiet perhaps because many wrongly believe that it is part of Sanctuary with a charge. The pool at the back of the ship (aft) is also adult only and near the Calypso cafe and Horizon Court. I tried both adult pools and they were pleasant although cold when first getting in. The two pools on the Lido are family pools, one by the Trident Grill, pizzeria and ice cream parlour and the other has the Movies Under the Stars (MUTS) which start showing films at lunchtime, although we found it too loud.
The port stops in the Western Caribbean all seemed very different which definitely added to the wonderful experience. There are four ports of call: Grand Cayman in the Cayman Islands, Roatan Honduras, Cozumel Mexico and Princess Cays in the Bahamas and I have done a report for each.
As with everything on the Crown the organisation was superb and disembarkation was easy. Towards the end of your cruise you are asked what time your flight is, whether you have an excursion or whether you wish to self disembark. From this information you are then given coloured labels for your cases and a disembarkation time and meeting point. The night before disembarkation you are asked to put your packed suitcases outside your cabin. Having a flight bay (carry on) was really useful for bringing wine onboard and for putting our evening wear and shoes in from the last night (don't forget to you lay out the clothes you intend to travel in, so you don't pack them in your suitcase by mistake!)
Water, tea and coffee are provided at the meeting points so again you feel you are valued right up to the last minute you are on the ship. You are then disembarked according to the number and colour of your luggage labels. All the suitcases at Fort Lauderdale were lined up in the different number and colour labels so it was really easy to find our suitcases at the port. I think we were really lucky to sail on such a fine ship for our first cruise and would love to take another cruise next year - we have our free onboard credit letter (obtained from the future cruise sails desk) tucked away in a safe place!
Grand Cayman The ship arrived about 6.50am (due in at 7am). We watched some of the lifeboats being lowered into to the water ready to be tenders for the day. We grabbed a quick breakfast at Horizon Court (main dining room doesn't open until 7.30am) which was convenient but not half as nice as the MDR.??From there we went down to Michelangelo MDR where they give you a tender ticket number. This is a great location as you can get something tasty at the International Cafe and munch it in while you are waiting. We didn't have to wait more than 5 mins before we were escorted down to the tender. It has to be said that the organisation by Princess is superb and we really couldn't fault the tendering. You need your cruise card (and passport although we didn't have to show it) to get on and off the boat.??Upon arrival at Grand Cayman there are iced water dispensers and paper cups for you if you want. We hadn't pre-booked a tour but as soon as you get off the tender in George Town you are greeted by tour operators all offering the same highlights tour offered by Princess. We took a highlights tour for $20 per person, this included the Cayman Governor's residence, Hell, rum and rum cake tasting and the Dolphin Park (where one person on our tour got in the water to pet and kiss the dolphins for $20 including a lovely professional photograph) We went back via 7 mile beach where we all opted to get dropped off at Sea Grape Beach for some sea and sun (if you do this you have to get back independently)??We headed down the beach a bit and found a lovely quiet spot (on Mondays there are only two cruise ships in port us and the Carnival - tomorrow there will be six ships in port!!) It is no problem getting transport back, a taxi would be $5 each but we just crossed the road and immediately got picked up at the bus stop and that only cost $5 for both of us! (A taxi will want to hang around to try and get more passengers (they like at least four) unless you are prepared to pay $20, so the bus was not only cheaper but a lot quicker)??We had a quick look at George Town (a tax free haven but we are not shoppers) and then got the tender back. Before you get on the tender you are given a fresh cold flannel to cool yourself down and again there is water on tap if you wish.??Once back onboard we ordered room service and enjoyed a club sandwich on the balcony in the sunshine looking across to Grand Cayman (we are the starboard side) with a glass of wine from our box in the fridge. Is was so hot on the balcony I had to come in after lunch!!! I didn't think I'd be saying that in Miami, and yes to answer a previous question the dolphin balconies are completely uncovered. ??There were about 15 suitcases at the tender boat coming back which belonged to passengers who missed the Crown at Fort Lauderdale and therefore caught up with it in Grand Cayman. The Carnival ship arrived after us and left before us so we felt that Princess gave us as much time possible on the island. There was a call for one passenger at 3.30pm and then they said he was on his way (I wouldn't want to risk missing the ship, I think he only just made it) http://howarthfamily.smugmug.com/Other/Caribbean-Cruise/10862873_GvoHV#789147795_fEo5A-M-LB
Roatan We both really loved Roatan Honduras!??When we got up rain was lashing against the window which was quite a surprise after the blue skies of Grand Cayman. Fortunately the rain had stopped by the time we docked as Captain Andy gently reversed the Crown into Mahogany Bay and we admired the ship wrecks from our balcony. Last week it was so windy that the ship was unable to dock at Roatan or Princess Cays so we felt very lucky to just have cloud.??After breakfast we headed down to the Princess Theatre for our organised excursion meet point. As there are several trips organised by Princess they assign you a sticker, then your sticker colour all sit together and when your trip is ready to go you are led out orderly one row at a time. Again Princess have this down to a fine art, as with everything you know you are in safe hands. ?Once through the duty free shop (the only way to exit the port) we met our guide (remember your tour number we were 110) and were led to an air conditioned mini-bus. Unlike Grand Cayman we didn't see lots of private tour companies offering tours at the port although there were plenty of taxis. This could be because they are not allowed in as security in Roatan is very high (not sure about this).??First we were led to a view point to look down on the old port (an NCL was berthed there) and given 15 mins for shopping (there was a tourist gift shop and a supermarket)...oh dear we thought we don't want a tour of the gift shops!!! We didn't need to worry at all. We were then driven through the main street in the town, this area was extremely poor with wooden shacks for houses, lots of litter, broken down cars, and banks guarded at the door by burley men with guns and rifles! We passed the Ambulance and Fire station (the Fire engine didn't have any wheels!! fortunately there were two and the other one did) Our guide said crime on the island is not high only about 10% - that seems extremely high, but the mainland is apparently really bad. ??Our tour was island highlights and from this point we were driven to richer, well kept areas but we both felt that the town drive through was an important part of the tour as it showed how many people on the island live, rather than glossing over it. The iguana sanctuary was great. They provide you with banana leaves to feed them and they are so tame - and enormous - that you get lots of picture and petting opportunities. I nearly got hit on the head by one falling out of a tree! There were also monkeys and parrots in cages plus the fish and lobster in the sea.??We then went to a private house which had a superb view and a fantastic garden with lots of beautiful plants and flowers. Next was Parrot Tree Plantation an exclusive residential area where we had a complimentary drink and a swim. The island highlights tour was a great tour and highly recommended.??We popped back to the Crown for a spot of lunch at the International cafe then headed to Mahogany beach on the Magical chair lift (this went up to $8 three weeks ago and you can pre-book tickets on the Crown to be delivered to your cabin at no extra charge)??Mahogany Bay is a beautiful new port and you can have a perfect day for free on this island if you wish! There is a path leading across to white sands and sea with hundreds of lounge chairs that are complementary! It is actually quicker to walk to the beach than take the chair lift but we fancied the chair lift experience of an aerial view! There is a bar for snacks and refreshments if you wish. It is not until you get on the beach you realise just how enormous the Crown actually is - but she maintains a look of class and beauty. We didn't experience any problems with sand fleas or mosquitoes at Roatan - although I did use insect repellent based on other postings I am not aware that any one else had a problem either. Interestingly, even though we had good weather with some cloud on Roatan the people who visited the West side of the island had quite a lot of rain!?What a great day, enjoy the video! ?http://howarthfamily.smugmug.com/Oth...720_Y58Ju-M-LB
Cozumel ?At breakfast there was an announcement that several shore excursions had been cancelled due to the windy weather. These were mainly snorkling and scuba diving excursions plus the speedboat to Passion Island. ?We hadn't pre-booked any excursions for Cozumel and that didn't matter as there are lots of tour operators in booths at the port who are very accommodating and gave us directions for the tour we were looking for. We were keen to do an x-rails trip in the jungle and just had to cross the road at the port where there was a tour operator there offering a lot of additional tours. ??We paid a deposit with the chap $10 then got a cab into town $7 for the pick up. Unfortunately we didn't have enough cash on us so we paid by credit card ($155) which normally wouldn't be a problem but we had to pay in pesos so we were subject to a less than favourable exchange rate of 13 rather than 12.5 to the dollar. The cost included taxi there and back to the ship which considering the distance was good.??The x-rails is an off road drive through the jungle. It is very dusty and dirty so if you do it make sure you wear old clothes (and bring a change of clothes to get back on the ship!). Helmets and goggles are provided. You drive to Jade Caverns where you can swim in the jade green water under the bats. You also swim into a cave which is pitch black and that is quite an experience. We then stopped off on the way back to see some natural coral shelters used in hurricanes. You can see that the coral used to be under water as there are shells embedded into the wall. The x-rails trip is really exhilarating but not for faint hearted (or anyone with a back problem) You are really thrown about on the rough road which is great fun.??We popped back to the ship for a bite to eat in the International cafe and then headed out again. At the port as well as shops there is an area with sun loungers and hammocks so we chilled out there in the sun and then I got a massage in the massage tent (full body massage for $25 - better than the Lotus spa prices!!!)??Cozumel is a lovely island with very friendly helpful people who are keen to make sure you have a good holiday. Having been to Roatan which is still quite primitive it was all the more apparent who advanced this Mexican island is. We thoroughly enjoyed Cozumel and think that this cruise has an excellent balance of fun and relaxation.??You are always requested to be back on board 30 mins before we are due to set sail, today 4.30pm for a 5pm sailaway. However it was 4.55pm and the gangways were still out. A call was put out for the missing passengers. 30 mins later they arrived in a taxi right up the pier next to the ship and gangway. Four passengers got out and everyone on the balconies gave a huge cheer... how embarrassing, they were lucky as I don't think we would have waited much longer. Needless to say captain Andy then announced we were now all on board, that they had been stuck in traffic and we were about to set sail.?Enjoy the video? http://howarthfamily.smugmug.com/Oth...083_H577u-M-LB
Princess Cays, Bahamas Princess Cays, Bahamas.??We knew that this was the stop that the Crown often fails to tender due to the weather so we had fingers crossed that we would be lucky and we certainly were. The weather forecast said we would have highs of 19 degress (66F) not a good sign. However, the forecast was completely wrong, after a cold start we had glorious weather in the Bahamas and lots of people caught the sun.??The sun came out as soon as our tender landed and as we were the only ship using the island today there were loads of free sun loungers so we were really spoilt for choice. Once on the island you can either turn right or left. Right of the tender pier is quieter and is where you will find clam shells if you have rented them. Left of the pier is busier although this is also the side where you can hire private cabanas (bright coloured beach huts). I would definitely say don't waste your money on a cabana as we spoke to one chap with a cabana who had been led to believe it would be secluded but it was actually on the main path and he had paid $200 for the privilege! Needless to say we used the free sun loungers (available in the sun and the shade) and were very happy.??Your soda card won't work on Princess Cays however we had a UKP sticker and were able to get mocktails and juice all day (one waiter said we couldn't use it but everyone else served us no problem).??I was keen to snorkel so hired the gear for $24 (flippers, vest, mask and snorkel) Having headed to the right handside as it would be a quieter beach we were advised that the snorkelling is better on the left had side so we crossed the little wooden bridge once more. Unfortunately my first snorkel was plagued by jelly fish which were absolutely everywhere and I spent as much time looking out for jelly fish as the colourful fish I'd gone in to see! ??The lifeguard said it was the direction of the wind that had brought them in from the sea so it is good to know they are not normally a problem. He said they will sting you so swim around them and then pointed out that they were not such a problem in his area so I went in again and I was really pleased I did. The coral although mainly grey had parts that were bright purple and yellow and the fish were so beautiful and swimming all around.??There is a BBQ for lunch which is okay, I personally thought the fresh fruit salads and cookies were better than the main BBQ. We had reservations for Sabitini's so were not wanting to eat a lot anyway. We had sun, sea and sand today and it was perfect. As on board ship the food and beverage staff are constantly circulating in case you would like a drink so you never have to stand at the bar waiting to be served. There is iced water provided for free and several waterfountains dotted along the main path.??The last tender was 3.30pm but we didn't fancy standing in a long line at the end of the day so we headed back about 2pm and then enjoyed a glass of fizz on the balcony still enjoying the sunshine. ?http://howarthfamily.smugmug.com/Oth...208_RBquh-M-LB
One thing I would like to add is how lovely and friendly everyone is on a cruise (both passengers and staff).The staff work so hard and are really professional throughout. Anyone new to cruising and questioning the autotip let me reassure you that the staff earn every single penny of it and thoroughly deserve it. By doing the autotip you ensure that everyone is rewarded for your good service and not just those on the "front line".??The one thing that really impressed us about Princess was the superb organisation throughout. Read Less