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New Cruiser on Carribean Princess

M

Modittily

Guest
#1
Hi everyone. I'm new to cruising and message boards. I've booked a 7 night cruise for my boyfriend and myself at the end of September. Just curious what to expect - especially weather wise since it's during Hurrican Season (cheapest tickets). Here are some questions I've had:

Is purchasing insurance a good idea?
What exactly do you have to pay for on the cruise ship? Are there any "hidden costs"???
What if there's really bad weather (ie hurricane) when the cruise is suppose to depart?
Are you reimbursed in some way if you are not able to go to port due to bad weather/waves?
Is it better/cheaper to go with the cruise tours in port or find a local tour guide?
Are there any suggestions for things to do in the ports of St. Thomas and St. Maarten for first time visitors/cruisers?
How much spending money should one plan on bringing for a week cruise?

I guess I had a lot of questions. Any information or feed back would be greatly appreciated as well as any helpful advice/critiques for this particular ship and cruise. Thanks!
 
S

Sea Trekker

Guest
#2
Hi there new cruiser. First of all DON'T stress out !
Just relax and go with the flow. If there is a storm( hurricane) the ship will avoid it and maybe subsitute a different port. The cruise line will not reimbruse for any missed portions.
Yes, I would get travel insurance. Even if you are in good health, you never know what will happen. You could fall and break a leg or arm,etc. Especially if you have to fly to the departing port it is good to do. go thru your tavel agent or I like total travel insurance at www.travelguard.com.
As far as any hidden costs there are none. But you can purchase your photos as you board, at the formal dinner, etc. Also extra are the drinks on board, the gift shops,and tips for the crew members. There is a really great book out called.."Happy Sails" by Pam Kane. if your local book store doesn't have it order it from Amazon.com It's well worth it, about $15.00.
As for things to do in the ports you are visiting, the cruise line will give you a mini- news letter of the days activities, and you can choose what to do at that time. Don't sign up for anything to early as your plans my change,or the ship my be arriving late. I like to do what the cruise director suggest, its the best for everyone.
I hope this was helpful to you. I have other web sites for you to visit if you want to e-mail me in private. Please put a message in the subject line so I won't delete it.
Sea Trekker aka Carole
 
M

Modittily

Guest
#3
Sea T,

Thanks for the response. I'm almost convinced booking the cruise 5 months ahead of time was a way to drive myself crazy with curiousity and excitement. I've heard that you can usually always find a cheaper tour once you get to the island. My boyfriend and I are really into hiking/active outings. Do either of these Islands have those things to offer?

Thanks!
 
C

Cruise cutie

Guest
#4
If you go to www.Princess .comyou can plug in your ports and investigate excursions offered..then either can book online ahead..now or a little later..=welcome to cruise @ddicts..Enjoy all your planning..also visit the main community board for fast answers too..=bigwave..you will love =love Princess.we've been on them 10 years and they are wonderful..Enjoy!!!..:grin..Joanne
 
L

laginog

Guest
#5
Hi Modittily! We're cruising on the Caribbean Princess in the end of September also!! We're going on September 25th. Is that the one you're taking? I read somewhere that in the Eastern Caribbean that Hurricane Season usually ends in the beginning of September so I think we're safe anyway. Plus, I just read that a hurricane can only go up to 5 or 8 knots and our ship can go 22 knots so we can get away from it before it gets to us. We have a group of 8 of us going, my husband I (the old folks--47 and 45) and our Godson Austin, 11, our friend Kari, 39, her son Skyler, 10, another friend Lori and her husband Chris, both 25, and their daughter Zoe, 4. We always buy travel insurance when we cruise. It's not that expensive. We all bought it this time. Check out www.insuremytrip.com. We haven't made any plans for excursions yet. The '"younger" ones have talked about just taking a cab to a "beach" but my hubby's not much on lying on the beach. So...we'll probably either take a ship excursion or just stay onboard. So...if you'll be on our ccruise, maybe we'll meet you onboard!!!
 
M

Modittily

Guest
#6
Hey Kathi,

Yep, we're on the same cruise. It'll just be my boyfriend (25) and myself (22) going. It'll be my first cruise ever, and my boyfriend's (Navy boy of 5 years) first pleasure cruise. It looks like you're a very experienced cruiser. Have you ever been to St. Thomas, St. Maarten, or Princess Cay? Can you give me a description or an idea of what to look forward to (and what are the best activities) at the ports and on board.

I'm so excited to find someone on the same cruse as us. Any detail you can give me about the cruise/cruise ship/ports/overall cruising experience would be greatly appreciated!

-Monica
 
L

ljeanbrown

Guest
#7
Kathi,
Hurricane season goes from June thru the end of Nov. Not Sept. Sorry didn't want to worry you. We have cruised in Sept.,Oct. or Nov. every year since 1991 and have never had a bad cruise due to a hurricane. The ship sails away from it or maybe to other ports, but it takes you where it is safe. We have not even had rain, so enjoy your cruise :wave
 
N

Natalia

Guest
#8
=welcome to Cruise @ddicts!! And congrats on your upcoming first cruise.... how exciting!

I just love Princess, you have picked a great line and a nice new ship, you will have a wonderful time. Yes, buy travel insurance (check out that site mentioned above, they have several different companies and different policies, with descriptions and prices). Do make sure you take some small bills for incidental tipping (room service is at no additional charge, but a few dollars tip is customary), remember to tip your baggage porters also (about $1 per bag). The above replies hit most of the other items you can expect to pay for in addition to your cruise fare... excursions, tipping (cabin steward, head and asst waiters), photos, bingo (and any other gambling), alcohol and soda, alternative restaurants... etc. If you make any reservations for tours online (independent of the cruise line) be sure to find out their cancellation policy before booking or making a deposit. You want ones that are fully refundable in case you are unable to make your tour due to reasons out of your control. Independent tours are usually cheaper than those booked through the cruise line, just be careful to keep an eye on the time! The weather is just a chance thing.... we have had rain only 2 times and only briefly both times. Take rain gear just in case. Read the back of the Princess brochure, theres LOTS of important info there. Here are a few links to sites that I found helpful in preparing.

<http://www.cruisediva.com/> .... check out the packing lists here

<http://www.cruisesnyou.com/> .... check out the first-time cruiser area here

Enjoy your cruise!! If you have more questions, feel free to ask.
 
L

laginog

Guest
#9
Hi again Modittily! We've only been to St. Thomas out of these 3 ports. We did the Coral World & Island Drive excursion. We were on RCI so it may be a little different. St. Thomas was very pretty! It was kind of eerie seeing them drive on the wrong side of the road---scary too!!! The open-air bus ride was neat! The bus driver gave a lecture as he drove around and talked about the hurricane that practically wiped out the whole city several years ago. Magen's Bay beach looked pretty. We just stopped waaaaay above it to take pictures. We've taken our Godson on one other cruise but all of the others in our group are "first timers" too. When we decided to go, they all decided to go too because they've always wanted to cruise but were afraid to do it for the first time without somebody "experienced" with them. Plus....us old folks love the kids so we'll "babysit" so the younger ones can go and "party"!! We've only cruised once before
on Princess and that was to Alaska so....I'm not quite sure what to expect from them in the Caribbean! But....we're easy to please! I'm not the least bit worried about hurricanes....the Captain knows exactly where they are for several days. He can stay away from them. You just have to remember not to get upset if you miss a port because of the weather----it's for your own safety!!!
 
M

Modittily

Guest
#10
Once again, let me say thanks for all of your help. I really find your thoughts and experience very helpful!!!

Nat - Thanks so much for all your help on the tipping - I was really concerned as to how much to tip, etc. I appreciate it
 
T

teeree

Guest
#11
I PERSONALLY LOVE THIS ITINERARY. IN FACT, WE ARE REPEATING THE EASTERN CARRIBEAN CRUISE AGAIN THIS SEPTEMBER ON THE CARRIBEAN PRINCESS. WE SAILED CARNIVAL LAST YEAR--IT WAS GREAT BUT WE WANT TO TRY ANOTHER CRUISELINE & HEARD PRINCESS WAS A STEP ABOVE CARNIVAL!! WE'LL SEE. ST. THOMAS IS MY FAVORITE STOP!! MAGEN'S BAY IS A MUST!!!! IT IS ABSOLUTELY GORGEOUS. WE TOOK AN EXCURSION THERE A FEW YEARS AGO ON OUR FIRST CRUISE. THE BEST PLACE I'VE EVER SWAM! LAST YEAR WE CHOSE TO GO OVER TO ST.JOHN & SNORKEL @ TRUNK BAY. IT WAS NICE, BUT TO ME NOT WORTH THE EXTRA TIME IT TOOK TO GET OVER THERE. WE HAD A 30-45 MIN BOAT RIDE TO GET TO THE ISLAND & THEN HAD TO BOARD A SHUTTLE TO GET US TO TRUNK BAY. MAGEN'S BAY , IN MY OPINION, IS BETTER. ALSO A MUST IS PARADISE POINT AT ST. THOMAS. IT IS AT THE TOP OF A MOUNTAIN WHERE YOU CAN LOOK OUT & SEE SEVERAL ISLANDS & THE BEAUTIFUL WATERS FROM HIGH ABOVE. THERE IS AN EXCURSION THAT TAKES YOU THERE AFTER YOU LEAVE MAGEN'S BAY OR YOU CAN TAKE A CABLE-CAR UP THERE FOR JUST A FEW BUCKS A PERSON. IT'S NOT FAR FROM THE SHIP EITHER!! THERE IS GOOD, CHEAP SOUVENIER SHOPPING THERE ALSO. THEY ARE SET UP IN TENTS JUST A SHORT DISTANCE FROM THE SHIPS. IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS, FEEL FREE TO E-MAIL ME @ teeree@cox-internet.com HOPE THIS HELPS A LITTLE!!
 
M

Modittily

Guest
#12
TeeRee,

Thanks so much. Your advice is great. That's just the kind of information I was looking for. Is Magen's Bay crowded? And I'm really interested in "open-air" shopping. Do you know where the best place to get that experience would be?

Thanks!
Monica
 
A

Al

Guest
#13
There's an open-air market right before downtown St. Thomas, which contains dozens of vendors. As with any such operation, many have the same merchandise (including hundreds of St. Thomas souvenirs handcrafted by the skilled artisans of ... Sri Lanka or other such third-world country). It's basically garbage, so be aware. There are, however, some decent bargains if you're willing to look - but do you really want to spend several hours rummaging through merchandise, when you're in that tropical paradise for only a few hours? Yes; you can (and should) negotiate with the merchants. I've been to St. Thomas at least a dozen times, so I believe I know whereof I speak. Downtown is quaint, and you'll enjoy exploring the shops. But my advice is to book with my friend Godfrey at <http://www.godfreytoursvi.com> ... for $20pp, you'll get to see the island, swim at Magen's Bay (or beach of your choice), have time for shopping, and be back at the port in plenty of time. He truly wants you to enjoy your stay, knows where to get the deals (and what to avoid) ... it's by far the best deal in St. Thomas.

Incidentally, I'm booking the Caribbean Princess for a November sailing, so be sure to post a review when you return. I'm anxious to know what your impressions were. If you'd like some info on St. Maarten, let me know (either here or via direct e-mail). I'll be glad to share whatever information I have with you. Have a great cruise!!



Post Edited (05-27-04 07:46)
 
C

cruisin soon!

Guest
#14
Al...
What can you tell me about Orient Beach in St. Maarten? We're also thinking of booking a November cruise on this ship.
 
S

salstang

Guest
#15
I am going on cp on sept. 25 also.Going with a group.Counting down.i'ts been 20 years since i've been on a cruise.I live in Ft Lauderdale,so had a chance to go see the ship in port.It is massive.The only problem is it made me want to leave right then and there.The friends I'm going with have been to the ports so I am just going to go with the flow.They did say megans bay is beautiful.
A women that works at the dentist I go to is going the end of July so I should have more info on details when she gets back.
Hope to see you on board
Salstang
 
A

Al

Guest
#16
Cruisin' Soon -

Orient Beach is absolutely gorgeous; but if you're a bit "conservative," be aware that semi-nudity is permitted in several areas. Go to <http://www.shoretrips.com> and get a peek at the combined morning sightseeing and afternoon beach bash escursion - well worth the $44pp. You'll get a nice feel for the island in a relatively short period of time. Have a great cruise!!



Post Edited (05-28-04 19:57)
 
N

nursesailor

Guest
#17
I was on another cruise line and went to Orient Beach. It was clean, absolutely beautiful and well worth the time and money to get over there from where the ships dock. Also, I encourage anyone that has always thought how fun it would be to swim in the nude, to give it a try. It was the most freeing sensation. However- not being of a small body type- I went out to about chest deep on the "nude" end of the beach and took my suit off, putting it around my neck, so it would not get away. Seeing someone across the evening dining table that had seen me nude was not a pleasant thought. You will see everything on the beach including one women that had her top on, but her bottom off. The first person of nudity we saw was a couple well into their 70's and were naked except for visors. I think that if you feel comfortable, it would be a great trip. The area where they drop you off is clothing optional and then it progresses gradually down the beach to where there is a nudist resort. You cannot take pictures of any naked people on that part of the beach or they can take your camera. Not worth the price of a good camera for a little talk around the proverbial water cooler back at work.
 
C

cruise crazy

Guest
#18
Went to Orient Bay in May on an excursion from the ship. (Another line) It is really beautiful. We did not experience very much nudity at the section of the beach we were on. Just one women topless walking by. Lunch was included and was served at a restaurant on the beach called Kon-Tiki. The tables were outdoors in chicky huts. Lunch consisted of Chicken and Ribs. Very good. One thing to be warned about are all the beach vendors who walk back and forth trying to sell their goods. All in all I highly recommend an excursion to the bay including lunch. Will be sailing Caribbean Princess 7/31/04 Western itinerary in a balcony cabin on Aloha deck with my sister, her daughters and my daughter along with their children. Need some info on the kids program for 5 year olds on board and also the teen clubs. How fast do you have to make reservations for Sabitinis? We are doing Traditional dining option but want to try the specialty restaurants as well.