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Posts tagged Southern Caribbean Cruise 2011

Southern Caribbean Cruise – Day 8

Sunday, May 1, 2011
Disembarkation – San Juan PR

We did express walk-off and had to meet at the Island Dining Room at 6:45am. I like how they had us waiting in the dining room where we can sit and let us disembark in groups. However, some cruisers didn’t listen to the cruise staff. Instead of going further into the dining room where there were seats, they stayed in the pathway and blocked it.

We reached the gangway around 7:20pm and waited for about half an hour to retrieve the dive knife they took from us. The cruise security had trouble finding our knife. You would think they would have it by the gangway. That was a big hassle for us the whole trip. The dive knife was 4 inches and had a blunt tip. Their steak knives were sharper, not to mention had pointed tips. A couple of times, they let us take it inside the ship, the rest of the cruise, they took it from us and we had to retrieve it every time we leave the ship for our dive trip.

By the way, the International Cafe was open early on disembarkation day. So grab something to eat while waiting to disembark.

Sunday, May 1, 2011
Puerto Rico

It was a rainy day today. We went straight to our hotel (Intercontinental in Isla Verde) from the ship. We took a taxi and paid $19 (taxi rate) + $4 ($1 each luggage) + tip.

We got there around 8am and our room wasn’t ready. So we just left our bags with the bellboy and got picked up by our tour guide Asha from Natural Wonders at 10am. Asha took us to get some authentic Puerto Rican food by the road. I don’t remember exactly where. It was delicious. And I love the homemade hot sauce!

We then headed to the rainforest. We first went to a part of the rainforest that is not usually visited by tourists, but still beautiful. Unfortunately, because of the weather, one of the trees fell on the road and we couldn’t get by.  We then continued to other parts of the rainforest.

We went to Ceviche Hut in Luquillo for a late lunch. The food was great especially the ceviche, but it was pricey.  After lunch, we headed to the beach in Luquillo then went back to the hotel.

We booked the cheapest room (2 double beds with cityview) at Intercontinental. But when we got back to the hotel, we were given an oceanview room at the top floor!  It was great!

We ate dinner at Mi Casita at the shopping center across the hotel.  The restaurant was highly recommended and there were a lot of people.  However, we weren’t impressed.

Reviews after the jump…

Read on…

Southern Caribbean Cruise – Day 7

Saturday, April 30, 2011
Sea Day

We used our sea day as our relaxation/be-lazy day. We ate breakfast at the Horizon Court, then proceeded to the outlet sale at the Island Dining Room. The deals were okay, but not great so we didn’t get any. We went to the International Cafe for snacks and dessert… always great as usual. We went to Horizon Court for lunch and were told that they were having Asian food at Cafe Caribe. Needless to say, we sort of had 2 lunches! :P All we did all afternoon was take a nap, go around the ship, eat and window shop.  Now, that’s what I call vacation.

We got balloons by our door today for our 1st year anniversary.  Then we got a dark chocolate cake with a candle for dinner.  Small tip: Don’t celebrate an occasion on the last night. Everybody was busy with stuff (I’m not gonna tell you so not to spoil the surprise).

Below is today’s Princess Patter on embarkation day, click here to download the Princess Patter for the entire cruise.

Reviews after the jump…

Read on…

Southern Caribbean Cruise – Day 6

Friday, April 29, 2011
Aruba

It was a nice, sunny day in Aruba. We booked a dive trip via Princess. Red Sail Sports was a fine dive operation.  They also offered snorkeling.  The dive boat and snorkeling catamaran were right outside the cruise terminal.

We didn’t have to go far to go shopping. There are a lot of shops and stalls right outside the cruise terminal. The prices are not bad either. I got big zippered bags at a price of 3 for $10. We don’t really shop on vacation, just for souvenirs to give to people back home.

If you want your passport stamped, bring your passport to the cruise terminal in the morning.  The information desk will be able to stamp your passport for you, but they’re only there early in the morning.

We got back on the ship around 3pm and I decided to do laundry before everyone comes back. There were 2 washers, 2 dryers, and 2 irons and ironing boards on Baja (Deck 11) port side. The washer and dryer cost $1 each. Soap, Color Safe Bleach and Softener (dryer sheets) are available at the vending machine for $1 each. There’s also a change machine if you don’t have quarters.

Below is today’s Princess Patter on embarkation day, click here to download the Princess Patter for the entire cruise.

Reviews after the jump…

Read on…

Southern Caribbean Cruise – Day 5

Thursday, April 28, 2011
Bonaire

Caribbean Princess was set to dock in Bonaire at 12 noon. I walked around the ship and I was surprised that there were a lot of lounge chairs available by the pool, either in a shaded area or not.

We booked a dive trip via Princess and the dive shop was right across the pier. But that’s really the only convenient thing about the dive operation (Dive Friends Bonaire).  More details about the dive operation in my review after the jump.

I loved the marine life in Bonaire though.  And I heard that the snorkeling at Klein was great.  I definitely would want to go back to Bonaire to dive, but with a different dive operator.

We got to go around the area by the pier after 5pm and we weren’t able to get our passports stamped.

Below is today’s Princess Patter on embarkation day, click here to download the Princess Patter for the entire cruise.

Reviews after the jump…

Read on…

Southern Caribbean Cruise – Day 4

Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Grenada

It rained when we got to Grenada, but that didn’t last long and we saw a beautiful big rainbow from the pier.

The ship didn’t offer a certified dive excursion so we booked the dive ourselves. Only my husband dove in Grenada, but I tagged along. The dive operator, Dive Grenada was by a nice quiet area of Grand Anse Beach and I enjoyed just relaxing. There weren’t a lot of people at the beach. The loungers were comfortable and I could always find a shaded area to stay in. The dive shop also offered free wi-fi so I was online the whole time I wasn’t in the water. Later in the morning, the waves got bigger and I got pummeled by one. That wasn’t pleasant.

Grand Anse Beach is beautiful.

Docks are not allowed at Grand Anse Beach so the divers had to battle the waves and lug their gear to the boat.

We had to be back to the ship by 1:30 as it was to set sail to Bonaire at 2pm. We got our passport stamped at Security/Immigration when you enter the pier. There was a line when we got back to the pier at 1pm, but it was a quick line. We head to Horizon Court for lunch and it was packed.

That night, I left John in the cabin and went around the ship to take photos for my Cruise Critic fellas.  I stopped by the International Cafe, had some desserts and the shrimp salad everybody was raving about.  I loved it!

The loungers at the Calypso pool were all covered, ready for the evening MUTS.

Below is today’s Princess Patter on embarkation day, click here to download the Princess Patter for the entire cruise.

Reviews after the jump…

Read on…

Southern Caribbean Cruise – Day 3

Tuesday, April 26, 2011
Dominica

The ship was late in getting to Dominica. Our meeting time for the dive trip we booked via Princess was 9:20am so we headed to the gangway at 9am. The gangway was packed.

The Roseau (Dominica) pier was tiny. The pier was packed with tour operators and cruisers waiting for the rest of the cruisers booked for the tours. It was hot and the vehicles by the pier made the wait very uncomfortable.

Before we could get our excursion tickets at the Princess tour desk, we had to sign dive waiver forms and present our certification card. But when we met with the dive operator (Dive Dominica), we found out that they weren’t given the waiver forms we signed at the ship so we had to fill them out again… waste of time, paper and ink.

In the afternoon, we went to get our passports stamped, then bought magnets by the pier ($3). If you want your passport stamped, take the street right in front of the pier, between the bank and museum. Look for the police headquarters which is right before when the street curves to the left. It’s about a 5-minute walk.

Below is today’s Princess Patter on embarkation day, click here to download the Princess Patter for the entire cruise.

Reviews after the jump…

Read on…

Southern Caribbean Cruise – Day 2

Monday, April 25, 2011
St. Thomas

The ship arrived at the Crown Bay pier at St. Thomas at 7am. My husband left at 7:30am for his dive trip and I left at 8am for my snorkeling excursion. There was barely a line at the gangway.

I booked the St. John Trunk Bay Beach and Snorkel tour from Princess.  We boarded the ferry right by the cruise terminal and took about an hour to get to St. John.  Then we rode an open-air tour bus to Trunk Bay.  Trunk Bay was beautiful.  There weren’t as many fishes as I would like to see, but still a good place to snorkel.  We snorkeled around the little island you see on the photo below in the middle of the bay. There was an underwater snorkeling trail that tells you different marine life you would see at Trunk Bay. The signs said that the surf conditions that day was choppy, but I thought it wasn’t that bad. I think it was a also good place for newbies to snorkel.

I booked John’s dive trip through Blue Island Divers.  It was cheaper than the ship’s excursion.  John forgot the name of the dive sites they went to, but it wasn’t one of his favorite dive spots.  Marine life wasn’t very healthy.

John and I met at the pier after our trips and headed to Horizon Court for lunch.  We went back to our cabin to shower and fell asleep right after. We then got out of the ship to buy some magnets.  The magnets were quite expensive at Crown Bay ($5). There weren’t a lot of shops. I’ve heard people recommend going to the Havensight pier for shopping.

We were so tired after shopping that we slept through our dinner (8:15pm).  We woke up at 11pm and went to Cafe Caribe (extension of Horizon Court) for dinner.  Late at night, Horizon Court closes and Cafe Caribe opens.

Below is today’s Princess Patter on embarkation day, click here to download the Princess Patter for the entire cruise.

Reviews after the jump…

Read on…

Southern Caribbean Cruise – Day 1

Sunday, April 24, 2011
Embarkation – San Juan PR

We booked a Southern Caribbean Cruise on Caribbean Princess for our anniversary trip.  The ship sailed away from San Juan, Puerto Rico and visited 5 islands.  The itinerary was great and we were very excited.

We had a very early flight to San Juan on US Airways hoping that we could go around Old San Juan before the ship set sail.  We arrived in San Juan at 11:20am.

We purchased a Princess pre-paid transfer ahead of time and got to the Princess pre-paid transfer “meeting area” (which is close to baggage claim 1 or 2) at 11:30am.  We waited a little bit for the shuttle, then the shuttle did 1 more round through the terminals and we got to the ship terminal at 12:20pm.  Check-in was a breeze, we got to our cabin by 12:45pm.

We headed to Horizon Court (buffet restaurant) for lunch and it wasn’t crowded.  When we were leaving the buffet stations, a staff helped us look for a table by the window.  As soon as we were seated, a server got our drink orders.  Loved the attention, but it took a little while to receive our drinks.

This was John’s first cruise and instead of getting off the ship to explore Old San Juan, he suggested we just explore the ship until our sailaway at 11pm.  Besides, the Caribbean Princess was docked in the Pan American pier which is not close to any sites, you had to take a taxi.

Our muster station was in a lounge.  We were told to bring our life jackets from our cabin.  Staff scanned our key cards at the door, then we proceeded with the Muster Drill.

Our traditional dining time was 8:15pm.  But we were too lazy to change our clothes, so we headed to Horizon Court for dinner.  After dinner, we attended the Cruise Critic informal meet & greet and met wonderful cruisers that we’ve hung out with at shore excursions throughout the week.

Cruise lines usually have daily newsletters that contain the day’s activities, specials, and other info.  These daily newsletters get delivered to your stateroom the night before except of course on embarkation day.  Princess Cruiseline’s daily newsletter is the Princess Patter.  Below is the Princess Patter on embarkation day, click here to download the Princess Patter for the entire cruise.  It was in our cabin when we checked in.

Reviews after the jump…

Read on…