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Caribbean PrincessCaribbean Princess Review
July 19, 2007

by Amanda Graczyk

On Sunday, July 15, we woke up at about 3:00am to catch a 6:00am flight at O'Hare Airport. Our flight was wonderful with no problems, and we really enjoyed the MD-80 we flew on. We arrived at Fort Lauderdale right on time, and met with the Princess airport transfer person. While waiting just a short time to get on the bus for Port Everglades, we overheard a couple talking to the Princess transfer person. All 3 of their checked bags were lost by the airlines! We felt so bad for them! Unfortunately, we don't know what happened to them or their bags. That is always a terrible fear for all of us!

We arrived at Port Everglades around noon. Waited in a quick line, and embarked the ship within an hour. We walked passed the first photo opportunity on the gangway. I didn't feel like it because I was hot and had been through it before. (That wouldn't be a pic I would want to purchase. By then, all makeup was worn off anyway.) 

We dropped off our carry-on luggage in our room on the Dolphin Deck. Our room number was D218. It was nice, just as we expected. We had the same room last year. We were greeted by our room steward, Restituto, or Rusty, as he liked to be called. I don't think he ever slept. He was great and welcomed us back on board after checking our cruise card and noticing it was gold. (I felt so special!) He gave us our champagne and we checked out the room. I noticed that our itinerary had COMPLETELY changed. It really was not a big deal, but I was only expecting one port change. Had to make some adjustments to my own schedule that I brought with. Like to write down the ports, places to shop, things to see, etc. I am an organizational freak. Mike, my hubby, has learned to ignore my OCD. After a few changes to the schedule, we went off to eat lunch. We had our lunch at the buffet. Not totally impressive, but I love their soups!

After lunch, we stopped back at the room, to check our luggage. It was all there! We unpacked some items, and got ready for the muster drill. Our muster station was in the Caribbean Princess Theatre. It was a lot of fun watching the entire theatre turn orange while trying on our lifejackets. After the drill, we partied on the deck and enjoyed the sail away party. We went to dinner at our traditional dining time, 6:00pm in the Palm dining room. If you have never been on the ship before, you could have been confused about how to get to this dining room. You have to walk to the end of the ship and take ONLY the far left or right elevator. After this navigation, the dining room is right off of the elevator.

Dinner was great. Our waiter Alex was very professional, and we hoped to loosen him up by the end of the week. We sat next to a great couple the whole cruise! Nate and Angie were on their honeymoon and booked the 14 day itinerary. This was their 8th day on the ship, and we really enjoyed their company. Coincidentally, they are from Illinois as well! But it gets better! We hung out together every night. They ended up taking the same flight home with us! We couldn't have planned better coincidences. Anyway, we went back to our room after dinner, and went to bed.  We were beat!

Monday, July 16th. We woke up early for a 7am breakfast. One of our only breakfasts in the dining room during the whole cruise. We couldn't wake up in time and had to eat at the morning buffet. I had an 8:00am pedicure appointment at the Lotus Spa. I love how I am treated there. I felt like a queen after my foot massage, and bought some oil for my feet. I guess I got sucked into it, but it was the only thing I bought at the Spa. We took care of odds and ends this day. We booked our next cruise through the future cruise booking center. We will sail July 19, 2008 on the Caribbean Princess out of New York, and enjoy the Caribbean. It is a 9 day cruise, and we would like to stay a few days to enjoy New York. We are so excited, and can't wait to spend our shipboard credits! We also visited the Captain's Circle Membership desk, and didn't find the woman to be that friendly. There was a long line behind us and she seemed preoccupied by it. I took my new Caribbean stamp to put in my Princess Passport book, and we were off. Sorry to have bothered her during a busy time.

We visited Princess Cays today, and enjoyed one of our only sunny days. I laid in the sun, and Mike played a ton of beach volleyball. If you have never visited Princess Cays there are many tips I could give:

  • If you plan on swimming, bring water shoes. The rocks/coral could cut up your feet in a second. 
  • You can NOT use your Coke card on the island. You must pay for all drinks except water and iced tea.
  • If you rented a beach cabana, DO NOT wait in the rental line. You could wait up to 20 minutes and they will just tell you what I'm about to say: Walk around the beach, and simply choose a cabana that hasn't been put together yet. Find a staff member to assemble it for you. They wear Princess Cays shirts. I believe they are yellow. You simply hand him your beach cabana ticket, and they are off to help others.
  • f you are interested in playing basketball on the island, you will be disappointed. When we visited the island last year, the basketball and the net were stolen by the locals. This year, they had a net! My husband got really excited. However, the ball was deflated and no one had a pump. He was stuck playing sand volleyball.
  • By the end of the day, there's no more water in the coolers around the island. Solution: Flip the top of the cooler open, and take a cup full of ice. It melts in no time, and is just as refreshing.
  • If you want to be a cheap skate, take this advice: Bring your camera on the island. You will not be sorry you did. When you pass over the bridge for the rental station, stop and have someone take a picture with you and the ship in the background. You are being a cheap skate, because early in the day, Princess photographers offer to take the same picture that you would pay big bucks for on the ship. Take this picture at the end of the day when the Princess photographer is gone. This way, you will not be wasting their time. This picture is one of my favorites from our trip!

Tuesday, July 17. Today begins our first few days of rain, rain, and more rain. Today was not a good day for me. The storms, 8 foot waves, and choppiness contributed to my terrible bout of sea sickness. I visited the doctor today to get medicine. I didn't eat all day, and slept almost all day and night. I was dead to the world.

Wednesday, July 18. St. Thomas, USVI--I was so excited today because I felt much better when I woke up. After going through customs, and watching someone get grilled about their credentials, we decided to check out St. Thomas. I thought I would enjoy this island more, but I didn't. The shopping deals were not as great as everyone boasted about. I tossed around buying either a Coach purse, a Tiffany bracelet, or a Cache dress. I picked the Coach purse and did not regret it. After pushy salespersons, and observing poverty stricken people and buildings, I was ready to get back on the ship. However, all I was looking forward to was Magens Bay Beach. We really enjoyed the softness of the sand. This beach is now on National Registry. I thought it was gorgeous and will return to it when our ship stops in St. Thomas next year. However, I have many cons about this beach. These are:

  • You pay for admission into the beach. Where does this money go towards?  The bathrooms are atrocious. I was disgusted, but when you have to go...
  • Also, the line for food was approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes long. I am not exaggerating! 

We waited in line for food for about 15 minutes when a family in front of us started talking to us. We laughed and discussed what we would change if we worked there. They were so nice. You won't believe what they did! They gave us their food! They told us that a couple who had to catch a bus to their cruise ship didn't have time to eat their food, so they gave their gyros to this family. The kids had never eaten gyros before, and would rather wait in the long line then eat food they'd never tried before. Voila! FREE FOOD! We were so thankful! On the way back to the ship, we took some really great pictures.

Thursday, July 19. St. Maarten--Rain, rain, and more rain! It rained, so we slept in late hoping it would pass. It didn't, so we ventured out. We loved this island. The people were friendly, and it was beautiful. Wish it wasn't raining. We were hoping to go to the beach. We went back to the ship for a late lunch. We were nervous about eating out and after our food experience yesterday, we didn't want to take any chances. After dinner and shows, we ventured up to Skywalkers Nightclub. This is the place that gets me through hard days at work. I think about the entrance to the club. This includes a moving walkway with  amazing views of the ocean and ship on each side. Once you are up there, the dance floor is always hopping, and the views of the ocean are amazing. While sitting at a table, you look straight down into the wake the ship is leaving behind. Truly amazing. Anyway, we met a lot of great friends that we saw and partied with each night.

Friday, July 20. At sea--More and more and more RAIN! UGH! We made the best of these rain days, but it did not bode well for my fading, beautiful tan. Mike played in the basketball shootout, but did not place for a medal. He had fun anyway. It was nerve racking up there, though. The court is at the very top of the ship. It was getting more and more windy as the shootout was still going on. I thought I was going to get blown off the ship by the gusty winds and occasional rain. By the end of the shootout, I was ready to go back to the room to hold onto something sturdy. Tonight was formal night, and we enjoyed the Princess Circle Captain's cocktail party. We really enjoyed ourselves. They announced the most traveled person on Princess Cruise lines. The winner actually surpassed the captain by 8 days at sea. He didn't want to admit it because of his pride. However, we knew we were in good hands with Captain Giuseppe Romano. We made our 6:00 dinner seating with our favorite couple and saw some great shows together. We saw Carl Strong, a funny comedian who made up some of his acts as he went along. But, you couldn't tell. He had us rolling on the floor! We also enjoyed the hypnotist act. It definitely didn't look like it was staged. We really laughed our butts off with him. We also saw Bert Stratton. He's entertaining, but I can only sit through one full show. The Elvis impersonation is annoying, since I'm not a huge fan. We partied the night away at the nightclub this night as well.

Saturday, July 21. At sea--A partly sunny day? We were feeling pretty excited when we woke up this day. Finally, good weather! We got up mid morning to search for deck loungers. After a terrible argument with an entire family, we finally settled into our stolen deck chairs. Oh, come on! Their family told us they were eating lunch. How dare we steal their chairs? Oh well, we were just at the buffet, and it took us 45 minutes to get through the line and sit down to eat. Did I do the wrong thing? Who knows. Saving a deck lounger for someone who doesn't come back is a little weird. After making this family mad for 1 hour, we got up and left. They were glad to see us go. Today was also the final Survivor challenge. Mike seemed to have made his way into this competition. I was hoping for some awesome prizes in the end. After beating out a bunch of people, he finished number 5 out of six final people. He won a Princess reversible bag, a bracelet, a hat, a lanyard, and a bottle of champagne! I love my husband! He knows how to make me happy. Free stuff! We split the bottle of champagne with Angie and Nate at dinner that night. We saw the final show in the Princess Theatre. The juggler was a disappointment, and Ms. Fox, the singer, seemed a little too full of herself to perform to an audience. The ending act was Carl Strong, and he was worth waiting for. He was a knee-slapper all night. He went out in the audience and made jokes about/with the people. It was great! Our awesome cruise was coming to an end, but we were looking forward to spending time with Angie and Nate at t he airport. I really dislike packing my luggage before dinner the last night of the cruise. How sad.

Sunday, July 22. Disembarkation at Port Everglades, Florida was a breeze and we were at the airport around 11:30. Our flight was at 5:25pm. We sat at the airport all day, and had lunch with Angie and Nate at Chili's. If they weren't there, I think Mike and I would have been so bored! Could you believe while we were waiting for our flight, a terrible thunder/lightning storm came through and delayed some flights? This weather was following us! Our flight was only 20 minutes late even after the storm. 

We really love the Caribbean Princess and will be taking our 3rd cruise on this same ship next year. We are counting down the days until the next cruise. There are some changes that could be done on the ship. A few things I would like to see change on the Caribbean Princess:

  • The bathroom tiles in our room show a lot of wear. I think the clothesline above the tub causes this to happen. Perhaps they could move this line directly over the shower.
  • Offer other free drinks besides water and iced tea. Perhaps lemonade, or even sodas. I don't think they would go bankrupt if they gave away soda at meal times. They made a pretty penny off our bar bill, and it didn't even include soda.
  • Extend the buffet time on Princess Cays Island. I know they bring everything off the ship, but they should extend this time. Also, they should refill the water containers on the island as well. The bars close at an early time, so you can't even get a water if you wanted. 
  • Perhaps they could fix the basketball situation on Princess Cays as well. 

They were doing some work 2 decks below us at 8:00 one morning. They were hammering and drilling, and no one warned us of this situation. The front desk was VERY apologetic. They were pretty embarrassed by the maintenance crew and assured us it wouldn't happen again. I told them a simple warning would have been just fine with me. If I was expecting the ruckus, I would have been more accepting of the situation. I do like seeing the upkeep of the ship. They were constantly fixing and cleaning things.  I like seeing that.

All in all, we had an absolutely wonderful time.


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