BIO / CRUISE
This was our third cruise and the first with the Princess line. Our group consisted of 7 people, me and my wife, my brother and sister and their spouses, and the real Princess and birthday girl, our 87 year(young) mother. With the exception of my 45 year old sister-in-law, we are all in our mid to late fifties. We sailed out of Fort Lauderdale from Philadelphia. Ports of call were Princess Cays, Montego Bay, Jamaica, Grand Cayman Islands and Cozumel, Mexico.
Since the airport is only 10-15 minutes from the ship, we suggest you take a cab or a van. The Princess bus transfer, which we were told not to take but did anyway, took over one and a half hours. Live and learn. Princess does a great job with registration. We suggest you get into the shortest line even though the lines are identified by deck.
We had a balcony on the Aloha deck on the 12th floor, and it was great. Plenty of storage room and it was quiet all week. You may want to check to make sure you are not below the night club since we heard that could be noisy. We suggest you pack a night light since the room does get dark. Having your morning coffee on the balcony is a must! Also, you may want to try sleeping a few nights with the sliding doors open to hear the sound of the Caribbean Sea, it's a great experience. Once you have a balcony deck, it will be difficult to book future cruises without one.
Maybe its our Italian heritage but quality food is important to us. We were not disappointed. We selected the personal choice dining but did a "work around" by making a standard dinner reservation at the Island Dining room for the entire week with the exception of the two nights at the specialty restaurants. This was done on our first day. We never had a problem all week and our table was always waiting for us. Since our group preferred sit down service to cafeteria style, we enjoyed breakfast in the Coral Dining Room. Cruisers with children and on tight schedules may prefer the Horizon Court and Café Caribe on deck 15. Our two best meals were at the specialty restaurants, Sabatini's and the Sterling Steakhouse, both on deck 7. Even though it costs $15-$20 more per person , treat yourself, its well worth it. Just buy one less Tee shirt.
Sabatini's is a wonderfully delicious 5 course meal with 5 different waiters serving the 7 of us.
The meal at Sterling Steakhouse was equally as good. If you are only selecting one of the two, my choice would be Sabatini's. We suggest you call the Concierge on your first day to set up all your reservations for the week since they do fill up quickly.
Trident Grill located around the pool had great thin crust pizza in addition to the usal burgers, hot dogs and fries. The pizza however baked daily, is the main attraction.
You won't starve on this ship between the 24 hour room service and the food available at the Horizon court, Café Caribe and the Bistro.
In order to see as much as possible, you need to check the daily Princess Patter for a schedule of activities, and plan accordingly. Movies under the Stars was enjoyable especially with the free popcorn and blankets provided.
Here is our review of the entertainment:
Fernandez the comedy/ hypnotist was our favorite attraction. He hypnotizes 15-20 volunteers from the audience and makes them do some hilarious things. The audience was hysterical. In fact we caught his Jerry Springer routine as well on another night.
Bert Stratton the piano player/singer is also a "must see", he is in the Crooners lounge.
James Michael has a high energy comedy/magic act that is very entertaining
Mike Wilson, a comedy impressionist was also very good.
Sarge, a comedian put on a good show.
The Broadway show, Let's Rock, was a high energy production with a young group of singers and dancers. I found it to be only average.
Brandi Chapman, a female vocalist only appeared on our last night and she was terrific, singing Oscar award winning songs. What a great voice!
For the younger crowd there was plenty of after hours partying going on at the Sky Walkers lounge on deck 19.
My wife enjoyed her body massage and we even got Mom an eye facial although she questioned what it could do for her at this stage of her life.
PORTS OF CALL
Princess Cays - this is Princess's private island where you get a tender to their beach. We had a great day and rented paddle boats, rafts and even went sailing on a Hobie cat. Lunch was a nice barbecue.
Montego Bay - we took the Wet N Wild party cruise and were disappointed. The boat was old, small and dirty. Once we got off at Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville, we decided to stay there, have lunch and not return on the boat. Lunch was a little expensive but we enjoyed it. We took a cab back to the ship.
Grand Cayman Islands - since we previously visited this island we just did some shopping. Of course my wife did buy a ring.
Cozumel Mexico - We booked the Passion Island beach tour which was fun. It's a 5 four tour with 3 hours of actual beach time. Our tour guide Octavio was excellent. The beach and water were beautiful. Trip included lunch and an open bar.
Princess does a superior job. Very organized with little waiting.
We had a great vacation and made a lifetime of memories. The ship is beautiful, great food and service, plenty of swimming pools a wide variety of entertainment, a casino for my brother-in-law and much more. Since I am a sports fanatic, my only disappointment was the lack of a true sports bar with American ESPN, Spanish ESPN just didn't cut it for me. The Churchill Lounge is only a cigar bar, although they call it a sports bar. Other cruise ships also offer an Internet version of the USA newspaper at a daily rate, which Princess did not. Other then that, I had no complaints. We would book another Princess cruise in a "New York minute."