Barbados & Islands Cruise
November 15 - 29, 2010
Rob & Liz Holloway
Our 5th cruise is now completed.
We finished all our packing, clothes, monies, electronic gadgets,
including sanity ready to see family in Barbados and then get on the
wonderful 14 day cruise of the Islands around Barbados (Grand
Caribbean Adventurer Round-trip Barbados). We live in Victoria,
Vancouver Island, Canada so ahead of us were two main flights,
Victoria to Toronto than Toronto to Barbados but we would have 10
days in Barbados to relax before boarding the Sea Princess. We did an overnighter at the Airport Hotel in Toronto at Terminal 3.
Beware of Airlines these days who change aircraft on you. Air Canada
changed their aircraft from Boeing 763/767 to an Airbus 321/319.
We had booked Executive Class and were looking forward to those new
'Stretch and Lie Down' seats. Well at least we still had more leg
and seat pitch room plus were able to relax in the lounges.
The Cruise (14 days)
Left on a Monday, November 15, 2010 Bridgetown, Barbados with
being, Grenada, Bonaire, Aruba, Curacao,
Grand Turk (became an extra sea day), Tortola, BVI, St. Maarten, Antigua, St. Lucia, St. Vincent,
Trinidad, Barbados. Arrived back on November 29, then spent another 10 days with
family in Barbados before the return trip. In all our years visiting
family in Barbados I had not seen any of the Islands around
I did a couple of things prior to the trip.
Bought Trip and Medical Insurance, ordered Rum and Coke and Ginger
for the cabin, new summer clothes bought, as I discovered I had no
short sleeve shirts and found four pairs of pants bought last year
hidden away. My Bajan wife was right, you need more clothes in the
tropics and wear shorts.
In our case we traveled with an extra suitcase which came in handy
for all the gifts we bought on the islands for grandchildren and
dirty clothes. For dirty clothes we had a plastic bag that
As we were walk on passengers, not Air/Cruise, when we were driven to
the terminal you get a porter to take your bags to the
ship ($1 each bag minimal) as you have to walk through the actual
terminal which is full of great shops, phones. A person is at a
table to ensure you sign the health form questions, then checks your
name off a list. In our case we confused them as the list was really
only Air/Cruise passengers so I just said look we have our
tickets, where do we board.
You have to walk outside the terminal, across a road and into the
shed near the ship. The shed is where most of the Brits on the
Air/Cruise arrive by bus around mid-afternoon. In our case we came
about 2pm and were able to miss all the hordes arriving by bus that
As we walked in the shed from the ship side we had to navigate
the ropes to control the mob, just us two to see about 15 check-in
folks wondering who we were. In two minute we were checked in, CC
verified, and then stopped by the photographer as were his first
On to the ship, sea card into security unit and SMILE. Nobody takes
you to your cabin but they do ask what deck and point to elevator.
We were on Aloha (deck 10) A327 Balcony which at first we found
small because we had been on Golden Princess a few years back, which
is a newer ship. Not to worry, once we had our bags and unpacked,
lots of room for two adults and the balcony does help for privacy
The service by our room steward was great in that he respected our times
in the room and we told him when we would be out, it also helps to
place the card that says clean or leave us alone please in the lock.
One day our toilet overflowed by not stopping when filling during
the ships emergency practice day and our steward responded to my cry
for help as he was out in the hall, five minutes later our safe
would not open as I had accidentally pressed a reset button. The
Pursers Office sent some one up to reset the combination. Course
leading zeros are not recommended.
A few days later our shower control knob parts flew off onto the
shower floor. I had a small set of tools and fixed it then called
our steward to let him know.
The ship is about 2,200 passengers of which we had 1,915 Brits on
board, 25 USA, 26 Canadians, and a mix of others, which means when
the sun is out then you better get a lounge chair early as all the
Brits will be SUNNING themselves.
Our table mates were great as we had a table of 10, all with
different accents including us and our servers were great, but over
worked as they had three other tables of 4-6 each plus they get your
wine and rum for you. We closed the room most nights as we were on
2nd seating and because of that missed some of the shows. The main
theatre is not that large and has only one aisle is in the middle which
makes moving through the seats ugly at times so you normally have to
arrive 15-30 minutes prior to a show, not my style.
Shows were not bad but I found the bar and movie better, the shows
tend to repeat including the daily events each day.
It is a nice ship and had been adjusted for British tastes in food,
beer, etc; however, the only Caribbean food offered was Jamaican Jerk Chicken.
They could offer more variety of Island food, but I understand
majority of food, is shipped in frozen out of the States.
The food was good and meals were hot. Wine testing event was not
expensive ($15) for five samples and a free glass.
We had an extra sea day when we could not dock at Grand Turk due to
waves and wind and as this is a port intensive cruise, my thought
would be to introduce a 4th sea day in the last five days.
All the Islands offer different variety and experiences, but when it
comes to shopping it is better to space your purchases out per island otherwise you might
buy everything in the first few
The ship offers specials on the first sea day and Internet specials
as in coupons with "X" free minutes are offered the first day and then
some others. The only add-on expense is when they charge you $4 for
an admin fee to setup your Internet. The speed can be very slow,
stick to emails or use Internet cafés in port, most Islands will
not give you free access unless you buy something.
St Lucia was one of our best islands including its rum and tour. The
ships excursions were fine as we normally take half-day type ones and
take other days to tour by walking around the dock area ourselves.
St Maarten is wild when six cruise ships are in, like 20,000 folks.
What seems to be new is that every island wants to see your sea card
for security and you must have your passport on your person, no
exception. Some of the docks are large to walk to the ship, so
ensure you are on board before the appointed time.
If it rains on the way back the crew offer towels and coffee on the
dock, nice gesture.
The only thing that bothered me was when having lunch or an
afternoon snack at the buffet as most times a section was closed off
to allow setup for supper. The food and choices were fine and they
come to your table offering drinks, coffee, tea.
Most of the crew go out of their way to help you and it is a nice
ship. The cruise itself is busy, but that is me as I like to have
some do-nothing days.
We had a wonderful time and will do it again.
Princess Cruises -
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