We took the Eastern Caribbean and visited St. Thomas, St. Maarten & Princess Cays from 5/22/04 to 5/29/04. This was our 1st cruise with Princess, but our 7th overall (5 Carnival & 1 RCL).
Embarkation: We flew into Ft. Lauderdale. When we picked up our luggage, there were plenty of cruise reps to guide us. We then took the bus from the airport to the cruise terminal. At the terminal, Princess has made this very efficient. You stand in line by your cabin deck. It took about 15 minutes to get thru the line & on the ship. This was the easiest embarkation we've ever had.
Ship: The ship was absolutely beautiful! Even though there are over 3000 people, it never seemed crowded. There was no shortage of chairs by the pools. The movie under the stars was awesome. We suggest planning on doing this one night.
Dining: The food was awesome! We really enjoyed the Caribe buffet on sushi and seafood extravaganza nights (there were 2 of each). We chose traditional dining. We really enjoy having the same waiter & asst. waiter each night. Whenever we wanted food, we could find some somewhere, there is no shortage of food on this ship. We each got the Coke card for this cruise. It was well worth the cost.
Cabin: We originally booked an oceanview cabin, but were upgraded to a balcony on the Baja deck. Our balcony was completely covered. It had 2 sitting chairs & a table. We talked our room steward into exchanging a sitting chair for a lounge chair on the balcony for us. Our room had plenty of storage. The suitcases slid under the bed.
Itinerary: St. Thomas - For starters we did the St. Thomas Skyride. It was within walking distance of the ship (about 5 mins) and was well worth doing. Our excursion in the afternoon was snorkeling, New Waves Castaway Snorkeling. You get right off the ship onto the snorkeling boat. We really enjoyed it.
St. Maarten - We did the Afternoon Beach Bash. We took a bus to the Orient Beach. It was set up really nicely and was just a relaxing afternoon in the sun. We highly recommend this excursion.
Princess Cays - This is the private island. We just swam and relaxed. They had a BBQ lunch set up. There are plenty of chairs for everyone and plenty to do. We needed no money for this port.
Service: Our room steward, Cesar, was great. He always came and went without disturbing us. We really appreciated everything he did. Our waiter, Eduardo and asst. waiter, Levi, were great. They always chatted with us about our day and were a pleasure. They made sure we were taken care of. At the pool bar, the bartender, Joey, always knew we wanted Sprite. It was a pleasure seeing him. On another note, all staff was very friendly and always said HI when passing in the hall.
We are in our early 30's and love cruising. We really enjoyed this cruise and we will definately take another Princess cruise in the future.