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Copyright © 1995-2004
Linda Coffman

Sun Princess
April 19, 2004
Eastern Caribbean (10 Nights) from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
Ports of Call: Princess Cay, St. Thomas, St. Martin, St. Vincent, Barbados, and Antigua

by Ed Wynn

This was our 16th cruise with Princess; our 41st cruise overall and our second time aboard the Sun Princess. Our first sailing was on October 19, 1996. The Sun Princess is a large ship at 77,000 tons, but not huge when compared to today's mega-ships. Although it had been almost seven years since we were last sailing the ship is overall in very good shape. Here are our impressions:

Check in was the best we have EVER experienced. We arrived via taxi from our hotel (The Sheraton Yankee Clipper) at 12:30PM. There were plenty of porters on hand to handle luggage Walked right through Security and had no one at either the Platinum Desk or the Caribe Desk, so we could have used either one. We used the Platinum Desk; found that we are now Elite Members of the Captain’s Club, more about that later. Waited for one couple ahead of us at the Boarding Photo spot, had our picture snapped and walked right on board. Total time, less than 10 minutes.

Disembarking seemed to move much better than past experiences. Because of any early flight out of Ft. Lauderdale, we were in Red Group #2, which was called while we were still enjoying breakfast in the Regency Dining Room. When we finished eating we returned to our stateroom for a few minutes, picked up our hand luggage and proceeded ashore. When we arrived in the baggage area, our bags were the only ones remaining the Red area. That, coupled with the fact that they are red and had straps around them with our names as part of the design of the strap, made finding our stuff kind of easy. Customs lines were sort of long both for passport check and exiting with baggage, but we were in our cab to the airport by 9:30 AM with no rush at all. We had plenty of time to make our 11:20 AM flight on Southwest. Ft. Lauderdale airport was less hectic since we arrived back mid-week rather than during the weekend rush.

We had an ocean view stateroom #304 on deck 9 (Caribe Deck). The room was clean and well kept. The stateroom stewardess did a fine job. It almost seemed as if she had ESP and knew when we came and went. We never ran out of towels and always had ample ice & water. The staterooms are nice size (about 160 sq ft) and have more than enough storage space for clothes for 10 days. All of our suitcases fit under the bed for storage. We actually had a couple unused drawers!

The Regency Restaurant is the main dining room for traditional dining. We were seated at Table #166 which IMHO was in a perfect location for conversation and no through traffic passing by. There is also the Horizon Court & The Grill. We ate all evening meals in the Regency. The quality and variety of food was excellent. The beef dishes were all superb. The lobster was excellent. Overall, the food was the some of best we can recall on recent cruises. To me, desserts and breads were great. We ate most breakfasts & lunches in either the Horizon Court or Grill. Breakfast was very good, especially the omelet bar. Lunch was generally quite nice with prepared to order hot sandwiches, as well as a fine selection of other buffet items, the hot dogs and burgers from the Grill were also very good. My only negative comment is that the multiple serving lines which Princess uses on most of their ships seem to cause congestion. 

There were the usual mix of musical revues and guest entertainers. We enjoy musical production shows and the three presented during the trip were excellent. The guest entertainers were all quite good. They also had the usual audience participation shows (newlywed game, karaoke, etc). The main show lounge had good sight lines and the seats were comfortable. Seats tended to fill up early.

The Cruise Director, Janet Evans, and her staff worked really hard and were very friendly & pleasant. The party band was very good. Their music was very good, and they could play anything from country to rock to Caribbean. The casino was not as big as on some ships, but it never appeared too crowded. As Las Vegas residents this area had little appeal for us.

The pool areas were great. I enjoy the fresh water in Princess pools. The exercise room was more than adequate for the amount of use it got. Even though there were only a handful of stations for internet access, they did not seem to be overused especially late at night. This probably had something to do with the .50 per minute charge! The gift shops were well stocked and stayed open generally past 10 pm. The photographers were around the ship but never intrusive. Announcements over the ships intercom were kept at a minimum. 

We enjoyed Brunch with the Captain on the last day at sea. This was a very special event for Elite Members of the Captain’s Club. There were 44 of us on this sailing. Each couple received an autographed picture take with the Captain at the conclusion of this event and were escorted on a personal tour of the Kitchen by the Chief Chef

Ports of Call
Since we have visited most of these ports of call we took excursions on Barbados and Antigua. We did Harrison’s Cave on Barbados and The Best of Antigua including Nelson’s Dockyard on Antigua. 

Captain’s Club
The Elite Member perks for those who have cruised at least 15 times with Princess are the best in the industry. Along with all the “normal” perks they include robes and slippers, a free stocked refrigerator in your stateroom (stocked free only once), free laundry and dry cleaning, free shoe shines, priority tender boarding, and specials event that are truly special! They were outstanding enough that we will have to consider Princess any time we consider future cruises.

We feel that The Sun Princess was an excellent cruise experience and we give it a 9.8 on a scale of 10.

Copyright © Ed Wynn

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