Review - Caribbean Princess - July 11-20, 2010


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I will also post this to the review section, but without the pictures ...


This cruise is nine nights round trip to the Caribbean from New York. I am traveling with a small group that corresponds with each other via one of the treads on a forum for people that enjoy cruising. We have been participating in this thread for about two years, but we have never met – yet.

This is my fifteenth cruise, but first on Princess. At the request of someone who wanted more details, I have been writing my reviews while on the ship, while the events are still fresh in my mind (or what is left of my mind). I hope you find the review useful (or entertaining).

I am trying something different this time. I have installed photo editing software on my laptop, so hopefully I’ll be able to include some photographs with the review (at least on the review I will put on the main board - the review in the review section will only have links to the photographs).

Saturday, July 10 – Travel to the port

Fortunately (for me), JetBlue offers a non-stop from Burbank (a smaller, passenger friendly airport when compared to LAX). I saved some money by taking a taxi and leaving the car at home. The parking for eleven days cost more than a round trip via taxi.

The A320’s engines are rather loud. I was in one of the seats with the extra leg room, and the middle of the three seats was empty. So all in all it was a nice flight - except for the engine noise (which I guess is better than the alternative). It was the first time I’ve flown over the Great Lakes. Wow, they are big!

At any rate, we landed in New York; I got my luggage and headed to Manhattan. I was here two years ago to do a five night Canada cruise on the Carnival Victory, but didn’t get to Time Square that time. This time I picked a hotel that is two blocks from Times Square. The rooms are small (about the same size as the ship’s cabins) but I’m only here one night and I wanted to be close to Times Square (without spending a fortune).

Upon arriving at the hotel I checked in, put away my stuff, grabbed my camera and headed out to Times Square. Wow, there are a lot of people here. Many, like me, have cameras and about half don’t speak English.

At any rate, after a few pictures it was back to the hotel and begin writing my review. Then I upload the photos and off to dinner. Then I plan to go back out to Times Square to get some night time photographs.



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Sunday, July 11 – Embarkation

Well, I get up kind of late, around 8:30 in the morning. Of course it is 5:30am where I live (so maybe it is not that late). I get showered and dressed and then go online to see if anyone is still posting on the roll call thread (there was). Then I play my favorite computer game (Civilization IV) for about one hour, and then it is time to check out and go.

First there is the thrill ride to the port. Now I think I know where thrill ride developers get their ideas for the rides that they create. We spent a lot of time in the fourth lane of a three lane highway. Apparently lane changes are allowed if the vehicle’s front wheels are in front of the other person’s bumper. The classic situation arose when we were in the left lane trying to make a right turn, the person in the right lane was trying to make a left turn, and the people behind us were all making sure that their horns worked.

Somehow we made it to the port in one piece at around 11:00am. To my surprise Princess was already checking people in. I was given boarding number 62. I figured that meant that I was the 62nd person to arrive. No, but more on that later.

There was no line (okay, I waited less than one minute as there was someone in front of me) and the check in process went quite smooth. Then I was directed to the big waiting room with the other steerage class passengers (the ones with less than 50 Princess cruises and not in a suite). There I meet one of the people from our roll call that made up some shirts for us. There were four people sitting together (Mom, Dad and two daughters) with the right color shirt on so I just assumed (correctly in this case) that I found the right person (turns out there is another group on board celebrating an anniversary with the same color shirts and writing – though the message is different). I had sent him a check for $12 two weeks ago, and he gave me my shirt and $2.00 and said $10. At first I thought he was so used to tipping people that he tipped me $2.00 out of habit. But it turns out the shirts were only $10.

The family with the shirts had two numbers. Why two numbers? Apparently there is a limit of two people per numbered card. What are they going to do, split up a family?

Soon they announced that they would call numbers, after the rich and famous had boarded. They start with number fifty. Why fifty? I don’t know, that is the number they started with. Lots of people had fifty. For all I know, I might actually have been the 62nd person there.

At any rate soon it was my turn to board. The security photo is taken as you board the ship. On all my prior cruises the cabins were not ready until about 1:30pm. It was only 11:30am and our cabins were ready. Of the five cruise lines I’ve sailed with, Princess clearly is at the top of the class for embarkation day service.

So, after dropping off my carry-on I headed out on deck to take pictures. Lots of pictures. Over 460 and counting (the sun will set soon and I like to take sunset pictures too). I’m on my balcony right now typing away waiting for dinner (I have late dinner). I’ll provide more details about the cabin later.

After taking a fair amount of pictures I stop off and get a cooked to order cheeseburger. Though I did not eat breakfast, I am not all that hungry. I normally only eat two meals per day (except when I am on a cruise).

Then it is time for more exploring and picture taking. At this point I decide it is hot, and since I put a bathing suit in the carry-on (my luggage had not arrived yet); I decide to take a dip in the pool. The swim was just what I needed. Now it is time to head up to the bar on deck 16 overlooking the mid ship pool to meet up with the people from the roll call. As I mentioned before, this was the first time we would actually met.

After that I head back to the cabin to change. My checked luggage has still not arrived yet. On my way out I see one of the people from the roll call. I thought he had an aft cabin and I’ve got a forward cabin. He was walking with a purpose and told him he was as far forward as you can get. So he had a very long walk back to his cabin. However, at least he brought my luggage with him. It was at the bottom of the luggage cart. No matter, nothing in the luggage that could get hurt.

I decide to change into clean (meaning not covered with sweat) clothes and since it is close to the time for the muster drill, I just hang out in the cabin.

Princess has the muster drill inside, so at least we are not out in the heat (or at least what I thought was the heat). Also, we don’t have to wear our lifejackets. There are some announcements, a demonstration on how to put on a lifejacket and then we have to demonstrate that we can put on our lifejackets, the muster drill is over, and as far as I am concerned, the cruise now officially begins. Princess also gets high marks for the way it handles the muster drill (at least in my opinion).

Back to the cabin to drop off the lifejacket and it looks like the ship’s crew took advantage of the time to hose some things off. It is not until I get back on deck that I realize it had rained while we were at our muster stations.

We are late departing because not all the luggage had been loaded yet. We finally get going about one hour late and of course everyone is on the starboard side of the ship (the side with the Statue of Liberty). But by the time we get to the bridge it is raining again. I don’t mind, it is cool, and I could use a little cool right now.

The raining is falling at an angle from front to back. So I figure I’ll just wait until we pass under the bridge, and then shoot back toward the back the ship. Most people are trying to take the picture with the camera pointing toward the front of the ship and still keep the camera dry. Good idea, however, they are still going to have spots on the lens from where the rain hits it.

Of course when we pass under the bridge there is a big cheer. I decide to head back to the cabin and put away my clothes. The cabin is a good size. Instead of having drawers all over the place and a small closet, like I am used to, there is a large closet and fewer drawers. A better set up in my opinion. The sleeping area feels a little roomier with this setup. Also a nice touch is that there are two outlets over the desk (not counting the one in the bathroom that is for recharging shavers only). However, they are so close together that you will need a short extension cord if you want to use both outlets at the same time. For those that are interested, the safe is a coded safe. You enter a four digit number when you lock the safe, and enter a four digit number again when you want to open the safe. If the two numbers match the safe opens. If not, whatever is in the safe is safe from you. Once I put the empty luggage under the bed I start work on my review (this).

I like to sit out on the balcony and write my review. Right now it is after dinner and there is another ship out in the distance headed toward New York (or at least in that general direction). My balcony is about fifty percent larger than the typical balcony and it is half covered and half not covered. The balconies above me are all covered and the balconies below me are all not covered. So no one can look down into the balconies of the people above me. People can look down and see half my balcony. People can look down and see all of the balconies below me (so if you are in one of those balconies, don’t do something you do not want one million people viewing later on You Tube).

I picked the cabin all the way forward hoping that the space in front of me was public space and I would have easy access to a forward view. But this is not the case. The space in front of me is for the crew only (rats!). Just above me and a little forward of my balcony is the bridge. And, if I lean out I can get a good forward view. There is no chance I would fall in the water, since I would end up in the balcony below me (don’t worry, I’m not going to lean that far out, and if you are reading this, you can be sure I didn’t fall into the balcony below me).

I’ve been in a forward facing balcony cabin (going through the Panama Canal), so I was not concerned about having a cabin near the front of the ship (this is a side facing balcony). For those that don’t know, the front and rear of the ship pitch (up and down movement) more than the middle of the ship does. Even if it does get rough I am not worried – I brought ginger with me (not Maryann’s friend – this is ginger with a little “gâ€).

Well, I had to stop writing this so I could attend dinner (second seating at a table for five next to a window). My table mates are four lovely women from the roll call. I think we are all together because we have the same agent, who I assume linked us. Fine with me, I could not have picked better table mates. Many in our group opted for anytime dining. I prefer having a set time for dinner with the same wait staff.

I had the “five star†prime rib. Don’t know about five stars, but it was very good. I also had the floating islands for dessert, which was also very good. Our wait staff seem to be very good (as is my cabin steward) so this is looking like it is going to be a great cruise.

I ended up with 483 pictures today. We have two days at sea before we get to Grand Turk, so I’ll have plenty of time to edit the pictures later, and to take more of any areas I missed.

The sun set while I was at dinner. To bad, it looked like it would be a good one. But I didn’t want to keep my table mates waiting. As it is, we all arrived at the same time, so I think the waiter thinks we are all one group of five.

Well, that’s it for now. All in all a very good day (meaning that I fully recovered from the taxi ride). Back at you tomorrow.


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Monday, July 12 – Day at sea

Good morning everyone. Usually I like to get up early enough to catch a sunrise. And while I did wake up early enough for that, I was lazy and stayed in bed. When I woke up later it was light outside and I thought it was around 6:00am. Nope, it is 8:00am, which is too late for an early morning tour of the decks. So, I decide to catch up with all the reading material that was given to me yesterday. Most of it of course is self promoting junk. But since this is my first Princess cruise I want to scan through everything to see what is available.

I already bought my shore excursions online, so the shore excursion forms are of no use to me. My travel agent gave me a $20 certificate good toward a bottle of wine. We (my table mates and I) can use that at dinner tonight. I’ve got two ScholarShip@Sea brochures (one for each eye?) that seem to have some items of interest. The problem is, what is listed in the brochure and what is actually offered, are two different things. While duplicate bridge play is offered in duplicate everyday, the Navigation@Sea is only offered on the last sea day and the photography and computer classes are not offered at all.

My view looking forward when I peek around the divider.

Why is the Navigation@Sea only offered on the last sea day? Obviously by that point we are either hopelessly lost or don’t need the instruction. Shouldn’t this be something offered on the first day?

My balcony is the furthest forward on the top row. The bottom row are the mini suite balconies.

The shower is a little different. There are two unlabeled knobs. So I figure I’ll try the top one first and see what happens. Okay, I can hear water running, but there is nothing coming out of the shower head. I check the sink, no water running there. Oh look, there is a second shower head for really short people, or I suppose you could use it to wash sand off your feet. So I turn the knob some more and now the water is coming out of the shower head. At this point the knob hits a stop and there is a button to push that will allow the knob to turn further. Now this is too good to pass up! What happens if I keep turning the knob? I mean really, who can pass up this opportunity? Is this something parents can use to make sure the teenagers get up?

Well, there is no water squirting on the bed. It turns out to be rather anti-climatic. More water comes out of the shower head. Really, you need to have a safety button for this? Did someone drown because there was too much water coming out of the shower head? There is also a safety button on the temperature control knob (the lower of the two knobs). That is to be expected. The problem is, by the time you’ve turn the knob that far you are getting second degree burns on your arm. But if you like your coffee or tea hot, push the button and keep turning the knob.

The mini suite balconies have no privacy at all. The Caribe deck balconies are about 1/3 covered and 2/3 uncovered.

There is a little shelf to hold the soap shampoo (and whatever else you decide to bring into the shower with you – which by the way is fairly small, so don’t bring too much, and forget about showering with a friend). There is a little bar about three inches up to keep whatever on the shelf. This works great if you happen to have a bar of soap that is three inches thick. Even the little bottles of shampoo, conditioner and lotion that are found in the bathroom are two short and would just fall out if the ship were to tilt far enough.

Speaking of which, we are crossing the Gulf Stream and the ship is rolling (left and right movement) gently back and forth. About this time there is a knock on my door. For your information I was going to work on this out on my balcony, but it is already too hot for that. It is 10:00am and the cabin steward wants to do his job, but doesn’t want to impose on me. I go through this all the time. I know he has a job to do and I am more than happy to vacate the cabin so that he can do his job and I can go to breakfast and check out a few things on the ship. So I shut down the computer and head out to breakfast.

As I mentioned, the ship is rolling gently back and forth and I am using the full width of the hall as I walk back toward the elevator. I am reminded of the old CD (cruise director) joke about how you can tell who the drunks are. They are the ones walking in a straight line (ha ha).

At breakfast I run into one of the people from the group. So of course we compare notes and future plans. Thus a fifteen minute breakfast of eggs and watermelon ends up running one hour. He heads off to do some work he should have done before he took off. Me, I have a quick question about the Captain’s Circle, the ScholarShip@Sea program and my onboard account (the TV is not interactive, so I cannot check my onboard account via the TV).

First I head over to the office where the Captain’s Circle consultant is located. There is a long line but I figure that is for the Future Cruise consultant right next door. No, everyone is waiting for the Captain’s Circle consultant. When I look in the Future Cruise consultant’s office I see he is all alone. So I decide to ask him my questions about the Captain’s Circle and the ScholarShip@Sea, which he answers. I thank him and mention that everyone outside is waiting for the Captain’s Circle consultant. He looks outside his office and sees all the people waiting. So he asks me if he answered all my questions (yes). He then goes out to see if there are any other people he can help and I head off to customer service. The moral of this story, use a little imagination and don’t just follow the herd.

Sure enough, the only way to check the onboard account is to ask customer service for a printout, which I do. The first entry is a $50 credit courtesy of the travel agent. Then my four shore excursions, my embarkation drink, the daily service charge ($10.50 per day) and the two key rings I bought for my friend’s kids who collect key rings. So everything is correct so far. I also keep track of everything on my computer so that I can easily fill out the customs form at the end of the cruise.

Inside the cabin there is a small notebook with reference information. The safety section has all the safety information is several different languages. In the upper right corner, in English, is listed the language that page is written in. Shouldn’t that be in the same language as the page? People are going to look there to find the right language. What if they can’t read English? How will they find the page written in their native language? They will have to read every page. Everything else (all the fun stuff) is just in English.

I’ve decided to try out the Crown Gill (the optional extra cost restaurant - $25 per person). I now have a reservation for tomorrow at 8:30pm.

According to the Travel Channel (actually the ship’s information channel) it is 1pm on Monday, July 12. We are traveling south at 19.5 knots (just under 23 MPH). The sea temperature is 84 degrees with 1.5 to 4 foot waves. The air temperature is 81 degrees. We have traveled 363 miles and have 808 miles to go. We should arrive in Grand Turk at about 7:00am on Wednesday. The sun will set at 8:00pm tonight and rise again at 6:30am tomorrow morning. And I am off to do some more exploring and picture taking, followed by an afternoon dip in the pool (I hope – the pools look crowded).

Well, I forgot about what happens when you take a cold camera (I keep my cabin as cold as possible) and bring it out into the warm humid air. But if you like fog, I’ve got some great pictures (that I have to retake tomorrow). I did manage to spend about one hour in the two family pools. It was very refreshing. Then back to the cabin for nap.

As I was getting dressed there was a knock on the door. I was surprised to learn that the cabin steward didn’t know I had late seating. On my previous cruises the cabin steward knew which seating everyone was at.

Tonight is formal night. It is no secrete that I don’t like getting dressed up. If I have to wear a suit and tie, I expect to be paid for it (aka work). I have a pasta appetizer and a steak dinner. Both were very good. Of course in my opinion, both would have been even better without the suit and tie. I informed my table mates that I would not be at dinner tomorrow night.

On my way to dinner I notice one thing which seems to be the same for all cruise ships. If you want to go up, all the elevators are above you and moving up. If you want to go down, all the elevators are below you and moving down. And getting the elevator to stop on deck thirteen is impossible.

I took a few night time photos (nothing to write home about) and then back to the cabin to upload all my photos, back up all the photos and work on this. Yes, I have plenty of SD cards, 32 GB worth, but I still upload the photos to the computer so I can view the photos on a seventeen inch screen rather than the two inch screen on the back of the camera and I then back up all the photos to a separate sixteen GB flash drive.

It is just cool enough for me to work on this out on my balcony. It has been a nice relaxing day, which of course is why I like to cruise on my vacation. I’m looking forward to another relaxing day tomorrow.



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Tuesday, July 13 – Day at sea

Well, whoever said the sun would rise at 6:30am lied. I was up on the deck in time and the sun had risen a good 10-15 minutes earlier. When I get back to the cabin I look at the Princess Platters (the ship’s newspaper) and it says sunrise was at 6:00am. Great, what was on the TV yesterday, yesterday’s sunrise? At 1:00pm who cares what time the sun rose that morning? It is already up! I want to know when the next sunrise is, not the last one.

I put my camera outside when I woke up so it would be ready when I was dressed. Since sunrise pictures were out, I decided to take some of the early pictures from yesterday again, this time hopefully without the fog.

It is 6:30am and I notice someone has figured out a really unique way to save a prime deck lounge. She is in her bathing suit, reading a book, and actually sitting on the lounge. Most people just leave a book or towel on the lounge and expect that will hold the chair for the next twelve hours.

Then I headed back to the Horizon Court to get some breakfast. I picked up one egg McMuffin (I guess in this case it would be an egg McPrincess), an eggs Benedict (does that make me a traitor?), a couple of pieces of watermelon and four glasses of milk (okay, actually only two cups, but I drank two and refilled both before heading back to my cabin, which is on the exact opposite end of the ship from the buffet). I like to pick out my own breakfast and eat it on the balcony. And since I am up and about three hours earlier than yesterday, it is cool enough to sit out on the balcony and work on this.

I was having trouble getting the sliding door to lock closed (it will not lock open – some sliding doors do lock in the open position also). Last night I finally figured it out. I was wondering how the room steward was able to do it when I couldn’t, and realize I had made the wrong assumption about the handle. Up is open and down is locked. Okay, quit your snickering – yes I really have been on fourteen prior cruises. In my defense I would like to point out that I figured out the shower right away, and it has two knobs (the door only has one lever).

Speaking of the shower, as nice as it is, I wish the shower head was hand held. I have one at home and several cruise ships have a similar setup. Given how small the shower is, a hand held shower head would make things a lot better.

Yesterday was formal night, and along with that are all the formal pictures. One of the photographers was giving out coupons – buy three, get one free. I guess it made everyone feel special. That is until they opened there Princess Platters and noticed that everyone on the ship got one.

And speaking of the photographs, they are not labeled. How am I to figure out which one is mine (yes I know, old joke – ha ha). Speaking of photographs, the make up ones I took this morning turned out great.

Oh, and while we are on the subject of the Princess Platters (okay, that was two paragraphs ago – it was either the Princess Platters or the photographs, and the photographs won), guess what is on page one? Remember, this is only day two of a nine day cruise, we still have a week to go …


We have not even made it to our first port and already they want to know the best way to get rid of us. Here is the opening line …

“While not wishing to bring attention to the end of your cruise …â€

Well it is a little late for that – you just did bring attention to the end of the cruise.

A couple of things I have noticed about this ship, compared to other ships I have been on. This is certainly a more elegant ship than I am used to. However, it also seems less active. Not good or bad, just different. One negative, it has less public forward observation areas than most ships I have been on.

The bridge to Skywalkers.

Also the way the pools are divided up is a little different. The two family pools are not in the same area. They are separated. One pool has MUTS (movies under the sun/stars) and the other has music. The rear pool is adults only and looks out over the rear of the ship. Again, I am not saying this is better or worse, just different from what I am used to.

One thing about the MUTS screen is that it faces forward and is angled down. This configuration catches the wind and sends it down toward the pool. As a result, the pool with MUTS has a much stronger wind blowing across its surface than the other family pool does.

I must say, it sure is relaxing out her on the balcony. I’ve only been up for two and half hours and I’m already starting to stare out across an empty ocean with eyes that are only half open. Is it nap time already?

It is 8:30am and the TV says we are 750 miles from New York and 420 miles from Grand Turk. The air temperature is 83 and more important; the humidity is down to “only†78 percent (which is why it feels cooler). But the TV also says the NEXT sunrise is at 5:54am. So I did not miss read it, it does say next when I believe it means previous. We have slowed down a bit. We are moving at 18.2 knots (about 21 MPH). So we have 22 hours to go 420 miles. This should be no problem given our current speed.

At 10:00am it is time to leave the cabin so the cabin steward can do his job. I want to see if I can find my formal photos from last night. I run into a couple of my tablemates who have apparently abandoned the casino in hopes of better luck at BINGO. We talk for a while. Then I find my formal photos and the photos from dinner. I decide to buy a set of photos for myself and one set for my table mates. Hopefully I can give them the gift before they decide to purchase a set for themselves.

With my loot in tow, I had back to the cabin to work on this, watch a ship go through the Panama Canal (no, we are not lost – the Discovery Channel is one of the channels on the TV) and just relax a bit. Then I plan to take a dip in the pool before heading to Skywalkers for our meet and mingle (that is where everyone from the roll call who has already met pretends that this is the first time we have met).

The dip in the pool was nice. But I like a little more action. Everyone is too well behaved. There is no splashing. I will not start it, but I do like to get the kids back who splash me. No one has splashed me in two days. I miss it.

After the pool I decided to go to the front of the ship to dry off a bit. I don’t bring a towel with me to the pool, on a cruise or at home. I figure the only reason I am swimming is because it is hot, and if it is hot, why do I need a towel to dry off? Someone else was there with the same idea. He mentioned that if the captained wanted to, he could make it to Grand Turk today. Really? Let’s think about this for a minute. We are traveling just under 20 knots on average (per the captain). We are taking about sixty hours to reach Grand Turk. So if the captain sped up by twenty percent to 24 knots (which would be about top speed for this ship) we could knock off twenty percent of the time, or about twelve hours, which would get us into Grand Turk at about 7:00pm. What a lovely time to arrive, just in time to watch the sunset. Then what, volunteer to tuck all the residents’ children in for the night? This person even hinted that the ship was going in circles so as not to arrive in Grand Turk until tomorrow. Of course the ship is going in circles. Why run at a slower more economical speed when you can run at full speed and burn up all the free fuel?

I hate it when people make such stupid statements when in fact it is obvious that they have no idea what they are talking about. The captain went to a four year maritime college, and has been at sea for probably at least 15 years (most likely longer). And this passenger, who has what, perhaps as much as 100 days at sea, as a passenger, thinks he knows more about running this ship than the captain. Give me a break. It is stupid statements like this that cause trouble. I correctly him nicely, but really, I’ve got better things to do than listen to bar room ship captain.

Well, something happened between setting up the meeting and actually having the meeting. Nobody from Princess showed, so we didn’t have to pretend that this was the first time we meet. It was nice to see everyone and we had a good meet and mingle none the less.

One thing I have noticed, the Horizon Court (the buffet), Skywalkers and the Palm restaurant (where my dinner table is), are at the aft (back) end of the ship. And you sure can feel the engines back there. I’m not sure I would want to have a cabin on the back third of this ship.

Also, the wind is pushing us around a bit. Everyone once in a while (but on a regular basis) it feels like we just hit a speed bump. It is not the waves; these waves are not big enough to push this ship around. Even though I am way up front, I don’t feel the ship pitching (up and down movement) though I can feel the rolling (left and right movement). The higher you are the more you will feel the roll. Front or back does not matter for roll, just how high you are above the water line. I’m on deck ten (Caribe deck).

Well, I could feel the effect of the Long Island ice tea that I had at the meet and mingle, so I went back to the cabin to relax for a bit and work on this. Soon I’ll head up to the Palm restaurant to give my table mates their gift and then head over to the Crown Grill for some grilled crown – oops, I mean grilled steak.

I went to the Palm Restaurant to drop off my present (the two younger women where there and I told them I was headed to the Crown Grill) and then headed over to the Crown Grill. The fashion police will be happy to note that the restaurant staff was preventing a man in shorts from entering the restaurant. And although I make no secrete about not liking to dress up, I do at least meet the minimum dress code.

My setup for typing my review on the balcony at night.

The food at the Crown Grill was excellent. I had the prawns, a very good soup with a couple of small shrimp, some very good French fries, corn and the rib eye. Was it worth $25? Well, the food in the main restaurant has been very good, so compared to that, it is a hard call to make. Could one get the same quality food and service on land for $25? No.



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Wednesday, July 14 – Grand Turk

I forgot to put my camera outside while I was dressing. No matter, I am on deck with plenty of time to get the camera warmed up. I see there is another cruise ship in front of us also heading to Grand Turk. It turns out to be the Carnival Destiny.

Sunrise was a bust. Clouds on the horizon delayed the appearance of the sun for about thirty minutes. As a result, when the sun finally popped up above the clouds, it was already too light to see any colors.

The lack of forward observation space became apparent from the crowding that developed. However, I found a good spot along the rail on the Sun deck (deck 16). If you go all the way forward on deck seven (the Promenade deck) and then up the stairs, you can go all the way forward. It is not as good as standing on the helicopter pad on the Royal Caribbean ships, but if you want to be all the way forward, you can do so on this ship.

We drew quite a crown from the Carnival Destiny watching us dock. Once we did, it looked like the two bridge wings were only about five or six feet apart.

While taking pictures I felt a little tap on my hip. Normally I would just ignore it, but when I heard the question I knew what was going on. I told the little boy standing next to me that his father was now standing on the other side of him.

I have a quick breakfast consisting of a banana, two small slices of ham and two glasses of milk. I eat inside my cabin because it is hot. It is very hot inside the buffet (you would think all those people and cooking would keep the place cool) and just plain hot outside (and it is only 7:00am). So I eat inside, then work on this and upload this morning’s photos. Then it is off to meet some stingrays. I signed up for the 10:45am tour and got moved to the 8:00am tour. Well, at least the stingrays will be hungrier early in the morning.

Or so I though. Only a few stingrays came around and it appeared the only reason they showed up was to see what all the noise was about. I have done the stingray encounter twice at Grand Cayman (which is the best so far), Antigua (second best but still good), Pearl Island in Nassau (I recommend you avoid Pearl Island if you are going to Nassau) and here, which today was not very good as far as I was concerned, because I wanted to feed the stingray and never got that chance. However, because it is a nice beach it was fun.

This beach is just to the left of the pier.

It was hot and muggy in Grand Turk today. There were two ships in port, the Carnival Destiny and us. I figure that adds up to about 6,000 passengers. Just to the left of the dock (as you walk off the ship) is a very nice looking beach. And right next to that beach is Margaritaville with a huge swimming pool. It would seem 4,000 of those 6,000 passengers were at one of these two places. One of the things I noticed (or didn’t notice earlier – depending on your point of view) is that Carnival and Royal Caribbean put muster station wrist bands in the younger kids. Princess does not do that.

While the stingray encounter was not that great, I was at least able to do two good deeds today. Upon exiting the ship for the first time I saved some little boy’s hat from a watery grave. At the beach where the stingrays were supposed to come one of the guides did catch one so everyone could kiss it and the photographer could take the photos that he then tries to sell. One little boy wanted to touch stingray and his sister was not tall enough to hold him in that depth of water (about four feet deep). I have no idea where Mom and/or Dad were and the little boy did not feel comfortable treading water. So I carried him out and he was able to touch the stingray. Afterwards I heard him proudly telling Mom that he touched a stingray.

Meanwhile another Mom was forcing an obviously scared little girl to go in the water. For what purpose? The kid was obviously scared and it was not the water that she was afraid of. She was clearly scared of what was in the water (could have been me, it could have been the stingray – I couldn’t tell). Mom didn’t force the kid to go anywhere near the stingray, but who needs a scared screaming kid?

After we got back from the shore excursion I went back to my cabin, showered and changed into something dry. It was not so much the dry, but the lack of salt that I was after. Then I walked to Jack’s (which is about one third of mile from the dock along the beach) so I could get a jerk chicken lunch. Then back toward the ship so I could pick up my photos from the stingray encounter and grab some souvenirs (key rings for my friend’s kids and a shot glass for a different friend). I bought all nine photos, though if I had taken more time to look at the pictures I probably would have only bought three.

Then it was back to the ship. I was hot and tired and everyone had to board in one hour anyway. 7:00am to 2:00pm is just not long enough. Given the short time we had in port, the earlier shore excursion worked out better for me. We could have stayed two more hours and still make it to San Juan if we went the same speed we did to get to Grand Turk (as it is we are traveling twenty percent slower). I like the sea time, but if we are in port, I like to stay for a full eight hours.

We left a little late because some of the passengers were late. Even when we did leave they asked for people from five cabins to call guest services. The reason for this is that they want to see if somehow those people got on board without going through the security scan (of the room card). So, for all I know, we may have less passengers than we started out with, though I did notice a family boarding the ship with luggage. I was dying to ask if they missing the ship in New York, but I didn’t ask.

I’m sure the entire island knew when the ships were leaving. First of all the beach was empty. Second, the two ships decided to have a horn blowing war. Well, at least it was two in the afternoon and not two in the morning.

The weather has taken a turn for the worst. There isn’t a sky in the clouds and the Captain reports that we can expect a 40 knot wind creating a 60 knot wind across the decks. Also we can expect some eleven foot swells. Good thing I’ve got that ginger.

Dinner was very good again tonight. I had the Cordon Blue. However, upon my return to the cabin I was greeted with some very sad news. Princess reported that a fourteen year old passenger from the Carnival Victory was caught in the middle of a gun fight between two rival gangs on St. Thomas and died. As a result Princess has cancelled three shore excursions on St. Thomas (which we will visit in two days). I did not sign up for any of the shore excursions that were cancelled.

I am dead tired and I have decided to stay in the cabin tonight and just vegetate. So, I’ll have nothing of interest to report until tomorrow morning.


Well-Known Member
Thursday, July 16 – Puerto Rico

Well the ship is really moving this morning. Some of it forward. Per the travel channel we have a 30 knot (34.5 MPH) wind hitting us at about 80 degrees (almost broadside). The seas are “rough†(7.5 to 12 foot waves). Looking outside I see plenty of white caps (could be white caps, could be a large heard of polar bears – it is hard to tell). As a result the ship is rocking. It is not too bad unless you are trying to concentrate on something, such as solving the Sudoku puzzles on the back of the Platters or writing something (like a review). The air temperature is 81 degrees with 84 percent humidity.

We are due to arrive in San Juan in about five hours. I was there once, but all I saw was the airport, the sea port and the roads between the two ports. So I have scheduled a city tour. Then if I decide to cruise out of San Juan again, I’ll know where to stay (last time I took a red eye and ended up being the first one on the ship).

On the way to breakfast I checked out the pools. One is drained and closed. The other has had its water level lowered by a good six inches and it is still producing four foot waves. I can see some little kid watching MUTS getting splashed right out of the pool on the pool deck. Once we are in port, those staying on the ship will have a much calmer pool to swim in.

There was a knock on my door. Can’t be the cabin steward, he already cleaned the room. It is someone in a white uniform (an officer) with a red shoulder patch with the Princess logo on it. Tomorrow there is going to be a simulated balcony fire on my balcony. Naturally I want to know if I can bring marshmallows. He wants to know what time I’ll be out of the cabin. I have a tour at 8:20am which works well for him as the fire drill is not until 9:30am. Looks like I’ll miss all the fun. Perhaps I should have asked for pictures. I’ve got some post it notes, what kind of a sign should I put on my balcony door? I guess it is convenient for the bridge officers to see. The bridge is about thirty feet up and about ten feet forward of my balcony. Also I see some hills on the horizon, so we must be getting close to San Juan (it is 11:00am – we dock at 1:00pm).

I must say, it is kind of nice to come into the harbor during daylight. Last time I was here we left after dark and arrived back before dawn. And since I was sleeping both times, I didn’t see much.

Well, we are here, but if the Captain does not turn off the thrusters soon, the lamp on the desk is going to vibrate out of its mount. Also, we are not alone. The Liberty of the Seas is also here.

Caribbean Princess docked in Old San Juan.

I believe that one deck below me and about two cabins forward of mine is one of the family suites. There are four kids, three that are very small. The little ones were doing what little ones do best – climbing on the chairs so that they could see over the railing. Fortunately the older boy made them get down, even though they were so small that even with the chair as a boost they could only get their heads above the rail. They could still see out, they just had to look through the glass partition. Climbing near the railing is not something that you want to allow little kids to even think is okay.

Well, the city tour was very popular. There must have been at least 200 people signed up. Obviously we needed several buses. Apparently when people go on vacation they allow their minds to go on vacation also. I heard the comment, “Oh good, all the busses are small.†Yes, I saw those busses also. But take a look at the group we had. There was enough to fill three of those small busses, and yet we were all assigned to the same bus. Of course we ended up in a very large bus.

The tour was pretty standard for a city tour. The guide, who was very good, pointed out all the places that Ricky Martin owned. Then we stopped at a park at one end of hotel row and stretched our legs. Then back in the other direction to a fort that was very close to the ship. We were given forty-five minutes to explore the fort without the guide at Princess’ request, because the guides were taking up too much of our time. I don’t understand it either, but I didn’t feel like asking for an explanation. It just seemed like I was better off not asking.

Then we had a choice between shopping or being taking back to the ship. The shopping area was only a couple of blocks from the ship, and I had some souvenirs to get (key rings, shots glasses, some pirates’ gold for a young boy and a couple of necklaces for a couple of young girls). About this time I was feeling the effects of the humidity (I’m from California – we don’t have humidity in California) and needed to get back to the ship.

There is a knock at the door. It is the room steward. By now he should know I have late dinner. No big deal, he’ll come back later.

After relaxing for a bit I decided to grab a quick snack. On the way back to the cabin some guy appeared to press the button for the elevator, saw me and headed downstairs. I looked at the button; it didn’t look like it had been pressed, so I pressed it. When the elevator door opens guess who is inside, waiting to go down. What, did he think I wouldn’t check the elevator button and push it if necessary? This might be my first time on Princess, but it is not my first cruise. When I get back the room steward is working on my room.

At any rate I shower and get dressed for dinner. Bad news for the fashion police. I see at least one girl get into the dining room with shorts on.

When I arrive the waiter asks me where the lady will sit. The room steward and the wait staff are doing a very good job, but apparently Princess is not sharing much information with them, such as which dinner seating we have and what out last names are. What did the other four say to the wait staff when I went to the Crown Grill without them? I assume my tablemates are going to come and I wait. About fifteen minutes later I assume they are not coming and order dinner. The wait staff wants to know what happened to the four ladies. I don’t know and that is what I tell them. At this point I can only imagine what the wait staff is thinking, but I am not going to worry about what someone else thinks about a non-existent marriage.

But later the waitress asks a question that requires a full explanation. She is embarrassed, but the mistake was an easy one to make (if one doesn’t know that all the last names don’t match). We arrived at the same time on the first night and we have been talking like we know each other. I had to explain that we had never met prior to this cruise, that we met online and had the same travel agent, who apparently linked us together for dinner. The poor waitress was so embarrassed. Oh well, at least she doesn’t think our marriage is on the rocks any more.

I ordered pasta, a meat appetizer, and a surf and turf dinner. The pasta was good. The meat appetizer looked just like the dinner I had earlier, and the dinner was just like the appetizer with shrimp added. All very good, but at least the cook could make them look a little different. It is kind of like claiming that a ham and cheese sandwich is different from ham and cheese on toast.

Since it is just me I finish dinner quickly. As I leave I notice that more than half the tables are empty. I guess a lot of people are eating dinner on land tonight.

After dinner I wanted to catch the sailaway. I laid down, but I remained awake. I figured I would feel the thrusters come on and would then get a chance to see the city at night. About 11:15pm I began to wonder what was up (we were supposed to leave at 11:00pm). When I checked I discovered that we had just left the harbor.

So, I decide to bring this current, upload my pictures and record my purchases (I keep track of my purchases, both on land and sea). I wish Princess would provide receipts all the time. The photographer and the store both provide receipts, but when I get a drink (bottled water prior to the shore excursion or from the bar) I don’t get a receipt, so I have to remember what it is, then go to guess services and get a printout to verify everything. Then it is off to bed. I’ve got an early shore excursion tomorrow.


Well-Known Member
Friday, July 16 – St. Thomas

Good morning. We are docked in St. Thomas. Princess does not dock where everyone else does. We are docked in the less scenic part of town (Crown Bay – the other cruise lines dock at Havensight) with a lovely view of nothing. The dock in New York, without the tall buildings, offered a better view. This is the industrial port. If you like shipping containers, then you might like this spot a little more than I do.

It should be interesting when we leave. Any area to turn that I can see is just barely wider than the ship is long. The Captain might choose to back out. We will see.

There is a chance of rain today and a lot of birds just outside my balcony. Someone must be feeding them. Yes, it is the couple in the cabin below me. I wasn’t aware birds like cinnamon rolls. And how do I know he is throwing the birds pieces of cinnamon rolls? Because I had a clear view of what was on his plate before I went to breakfast myself. If you are in a mini suit on this ship you have no privacy on your balcony. Also, it would appear my balcony is about fifty percent larger than the mini suite balcony and about twice the size of a normal balcony on the Aloha and Baja decks.

Well I see some dark clouds rolling in. This should make for an interesting shore excursion. Fortunately the instructions are to wear a bathing suit. So I don’t care if it rains, the temperature is going to be in the mid eighties. I have two cameras with me this trip. One is my normal travel camera (which means it will fit in a shirt pocket) and the other is a water proof camera. I’ll be taking the water proof camera with me today. When I don’t have to fly I also bring a DSLR.

I decide to eat a bigger breakfast this morning, as I don’t know when I will have a chance for lunch. I have eggs Benedict, an egg McMuffin, two pieces of watermelon and some Oriental rice.

The Havensight pier.

Well, I am back and the balcony doesn’t look too scorched, so I guess the fire drill when well. However, did they have to rearrange the furniture? I had it the way I liked it. This was not a random rearrangement that one would expect from a fire drill, it was back the way I found it when I first boarded the ship. I put it back the way I want it. It is raining outside, so no way I am taking my laptop outside.

The Caribbean Princess docked at Crown Bay.

The shore excursion was very enjoyable. We got a small tour of the city. This is my third time on St. Thomas and the first time I have gone outside the dock area. The tour offered some great views, which is what I wanted. First we stop where we get a great view of Charlotte Amalie and the bay. I notice that there are no ships docked at Havensight (then why are we stuck at Crown Bay). As soon as we got back into the “taxi†it started raining. The “taxi†is a one ton crew cab pick up that has covered seating for twelve in the back (for a total of eighteen people including the driver). Five minutes latter it stopped raining. The next stop provides a great view of Megan’s Bay. If you have seen any pictures of Megan’s Bay taken from above, then most likely the picture was taken from where we stopped.

Then it is off to Megan’s Bay where we spend two hours. This is a great place to do a little swimming. There are no jet skis allowed, so it is nice and quiet. The waves are small (about six inches) and the water is a nice turquoise color, so bring the whole family. You don’t have to take a ship tour, you can take a taxi which is nine dollars per person each way and the admission is four dollars per person who is thirteen or older (under thirteen is free). Parking is two dollars. This is a lot less expensive than the ship tour.

There were some women in the water screaming like there was a stingray in the water with them. It turns out to be some small fish (about the same size you would find in a home aquarium). The fish are about the same color as the surroundings, so my pictures did not come out too well. I looked around some rocks and found a few more tropical fish, but I had also disturbed the sand so once again the pictures are not great. However, while swimming back I came upon a school of thousands of little fish. Again their color match the surroundings but since each picture has hundreds of fish, the pictures are not too bad (not great, but not too bad either).

I saw the boy I helped with the stingray. I waved to him and he waived back. Either he recognized me or he was just being friendly. And guess who his sister is? Yes that is correct, the little girl who didn’t want to get in the same water with the stingrays. She was happily playing in the water today. So it was not the water and not me she was afraid of, which only leaves the stingray. I think Mom’s efforts would have been better used to help her son enjoy something he wanted to do than to force the girl to do something she was scared of.

After that we went to Blackbeard’s Castle which has a little of everything. There is a great view, rum samples, rum for sale, a gift shop for other souvenirs, a museum, a pool and a tower for greater views. We walk down from there, through some other museums to the main street. On the main street you can find anything you could possible want to buy, as long as it is jewelry. There are not that many jewelry stores at a Beverly Hills mall.

Two more blocks later and the ferry back to the ship has just arrived (it is part of the tour). How nice, the people on a cruise get to take a boat ride. I’m hot and salty; all I want to do is get back to the cabin and shower.

After I shower I decide to grab something to eat. It is 2:30pm and I haven’t eaten since 7:00am, and dinner is not until 8:15pm. I decide to eat in the cabin. It is hot outside and even hotter in the Horizon Court. When we leave the Captain spins the ship. I would estimate that there was a total of 250 to 300 feet of clearance total. We are now headed to Bermuda at an average speed, per the Captain, of 22 knots (about 25.3 miles per hour).

Although I have personally not witnessed it, apparently some children and/or teenagers have not been on their best behavior. The Captain gave a clear warning to all the parents and guardians that they should read the “family guidelines†that have been put in their cabins. However, it is clear from the tone and the way the warning was given that it was made because of something that happened.

I’m sitting at the desk, working on this, and watching the TV via the mirror. I notice that there is a bee outside my door. Then I realize I am look at everything in reverse. Since I got stung by a bee, inside my cabin, on my fourth cruise, I am not about to let that happen again. Sorry all you bee lovers, but that bee and I were not going to co-exist.

Well it is 3:40pm now and we are on our way to Bermuda. In about an hour we are going to have a group picture. Tomorrow morning all the ships clocks will be set ahead one hour.

We conned one of the bar service people to take our picture. We must have had half a dozen cameras. My tablemates didn’t bring their camera, so I said I would give them copies of my pictures at dinner. How could I do this you ask (so did they), I bring blank CDs with me. I told them that I had to tell the wait staff last night that a shark ate them. After the picture we all stood around and talked for a good hour. We also planned a group formal picture at 10:00pm tomorrow night (the last of the formal nights).

More bad news for the fashion police, I see someone with a t-shirt get into the dining room for dinner. At diner the two girls (college students) are feeling a little under the weather. On top of that apparently their air conditioning has not been working too well and their room is hot and muggy (they have a mid ship inside cabin). Though they have been asking to have it fixed from day one, it is still not working well. When you are feeling a little motion sick the last thing you need is a hot cabin. With a balcony one can at least open the door and get some fresh air, thought calling that hot muggy air fresh takes a little imagination (not the Carnival Imagination – that would be a lot of imagination).

Though I get motion sick easily, I am doing fine. Of course I also take ginger when I feel the ship starting to shake (and we are shaking) and I know to eat bland foods (bread is good). We are also traveling at 22 knots, which is the fastest we have traveled this trip.

After dinner I get a print out of my account and buy a few pictures. I am spending a small fortune on pictures this cruise and one of the cashiers for the photographs has me interested in something that costs $60 (I can add my own pictures to a coffee table book and I have three months from the end of the cruise to e-mail them the pictures). I’ll probably buy it.

Well, that is it for tonight. Tomorrow is another sea day, though we lose an hour (we will get it back on the day we arrive in New York).


Well-Known Member

Saturday, July 17 – Day at sea

Good morning. The ship is traveling north and I am on the starboard side, so I can see the sun rise from my balcony. There are clouds on the horizon again. But there is some color in the clouds, and I don’t have any good sunrise pictures yet. Desperate times call for desperate measures, so I take the pictures anyway. The pictures turn out okay, except there is no sun in the sunrise photographs – just black and orange clouds.

Then I decide to head to breakfast. I pick things I haven’t eaten yet. A small cheese omelet, chocolate chip pancakes, some bacon and a banana (okay, I had a banana before). This time I decide to eat on deck. My balcony is in the sun and on deck I can eat in the shade. I notice both of the main pools are filled to the brim with water, and the water is moving all over the place. All the kids that are not green (seasick) today should enjoy the wave pools.

I meet up with one of the group sans his wife and kids. He has one of the few mini suites with a covered balcony (they are in the back of the ship, but side facing). He tells me that the ship is having quite a few problems with the air conditioning in the mid ship cabins. So apparently the girls’ cabin is not an isolated issue.

His mini suite has a sleeper couch and a bed that comes down from the ceiling. I don’t have any bunk beds, but then he points out something else I don’t have, which makes the room feel a little bigger. I don’t have a couch or loveseat. I just have a desk chair and a single padded chair. I haven’t found the couch all the useful in the cabin when I did have a couch or loveseat, so this works out well in my opinion.

After breakfast I work on this and then head out to the pool to cool down. Some of the water has been drained from the pool, so the water is not going all over the place, but there are still plenty of waves. I run into a couple of people from the group. When the Captain makes his noon time announcement we are about half way between St. Thomas and Bermuda. There is nothing unusual about the rest of the announcements. Then I go back to the cabin to recharge my batteries. The combination of heat and humidity is taking a lot out of me and I just want to relax for a while. Tonight is our last formal night and at least I’ll still be awake at 10:00pm for the group picture. Also, if I work my cards (read freebies) right I can get two free portraits tonight.

Well, I pose for four formal photographs. Then I realize I should have worn my Hawaiian shirt for the portraits (I already have three with my suit on). But it is too late to change into the Hawaiian shirt, take the photos, and then change back in time for dinner and tonight’s group shot. So instead I’m back at the cabin selecting photographs to include with the review.

I notice that at least one person enters the dinning room wearing a nice shirt and pants with a causal pair of shoes. No tie and no suit. One of the staff looks directly at him, but says nothing. That is more to my liking. If nothing else, I don’t like dragging the jacket across the continent (twice). Even a tie is not as bad as a jacket, in July, in the tropics.

The good news is that the two girls are feeling better. The bad news is our assistant waiter is sick and the girls’ air conditioning still isn’t working. And yes, this is apparently a Caribbean Princess problem. Also, apparently one boy got into a fight with another boy yesterday. The other boy did not fight back. The first boy and his father were escorted off the ship in St. Thomas. So that explains the captain’s stern warning yesterday as we left St. Thomas.

After dinner we have our formal group photo. This time we conned one of the passengers into taking out photographs (again there are several cameras). His son is behind him trying to make us all smile. Then there is still time for me to run (okay, walk fast) to the cabin, change into the Hawaiian shirt I bought in St. Thomas, and get a few more “formal†photographs with a little color in them.

It is still a little warm out on the balcony tonight (it is about 10:40pm) but I decide to work on this outside. It is kind of quiet and dark. I’m guessing new moon and the weather has gotten a lot better. Everyone should be their normal color and feeling better when we get to Bermuda tomorrow morning.

Well, it took a little bit of doing, but everything is current as of tonight. My review is current, all my receipts have been entered and categorized (makes filling out the customs forms on the last day easier) and all my pictures have been uploaded and backed up. It is almost midnight and time to hit the hay. See ya in the morning.



Well-Known Member
Sunday, July 18 – Bermuda

Well it feels good to wake up fully refreshed. The only problem is it is 4:45am local time. Back home it is 1:45am. I’ve gone to sleep this late. Finally it gets close to sunrise time (6:20am). There are clouds on the horizon. However, we are moving north and as the speed we are going (about 23 knots or 26.4 MPH) we should move forward about six more miles before the sun rises.

The furniture on the balcony has been rearranged again. I had it the way I want and it has been put back the way I found it on day one. Why? This is not a safety issue. My room steward is friendly enough, but he has a little to learn about customer service. He’ll have plenty of time to rearrange the furniture the way he likes it in two days. For now I want it the way I like it.

Finally as the sun begins to rise we are far enough north that the clouds on the horizon are really low. That is when I realize the second piece of the puzzle is missing. There are no clouds overhead. Another busted sunrise. Today’s sunrise is even worse than yesterday’s. I’ve only got two more chances for a good sunrise picture.

I throw on some clothes and head for the Horizon Court. I go for a light breakfast and take it to my balcony. Oops, I forgot the sun is on my side of the ship. Fortunately if I sit close enough to the divider I can sit in the shade.

Map of the area around the pier.

After breakfast I shower and get dressed for my shore excursion. Then I work on this (inside) and upload my sunrise pictures which lack color because there were no clouds overhead. With all that done there is nothing to do except wait for us to dock.

This is where we docked.

We dock at 9:30am, which is a little late, but still leaves me plenty to time to make it to my tour by 9:50am, which I do. However there is no tour guide. When she finally shows up she is a little late (fifteen cruises and this is the first time the tour guide is late). Also, she does not have on a special uniform, she looks just like one of the passengers (she had a clipboard with the right tour number).

Clock Tower Mall.

At any rate I am really looking forward to this. It will be the first time I have ridden a Segway. It is an interesting two wheel machine. It does everything well except stand still. Any slight lean forward or backward and the machine moves in that direct. I can see where it would be great for getting around town, but since it only goes twelve miles per hour, it would turn my half hour commute into a two and a half hour commute. Still it was a lot of fun. So much fun in fact, that I just might have to get me one. It would be an expensive toy, but then that is what separates the men from the boys.

While on the tour I see the NCL Spirit coming in and it docks right behind the Caribbean Princess. I get the souvenirs for my friends and forget to go to the glass factory to pick up something for my sister. No matter, in less than a year I’ll be in Cabo and since I am driving to the port, I’ll be able to transport the glass back home safely (last time I got her something made out of glass it broke on the plane).

Is this really the best place to park a ship?

Back on the ship I decide to cool off in the pool. As one might expect, the pools are almost empty because most of the passengers are off the ship. Still I am surprised how much of one pool two kids can take up. For the most part I am just floating in the middle of the pool, watching MUTS, yet I seem to be almost bumping into them all the time. Let’s just say that unlike me, they are very active.

Finally I leave for the other pool, not because of the kids, but because of the movie. The theme of the movie seemed to deal with the different love lives of a bunch of couples on Valentine’s Day. I was not following it at all. At least at the other pool there is some nice music.

First I grab a slice of pizza, and then slide into the other pool. There are also more kids, yet I am not bumping into them at all. After a while the pool starts to fill up as people return to the ship. So I decide to catch the sailaway from my balcony.

Once underway I head over to the photo gallery to find my pictures. I took three with my Hawaiian shirt and can only find one. The photos from dinner are nowhere to be found. This photo gallery is not big enough for this ship. There is not enough room to display al the pictures. I’ve been on smaller ships with bigger photo galleries. Further more, the ships (all ships) would not need to print all those pictures (thousands of which get thrown away) if they would change to a kiosk type system. Some ships have it, this ship does not.

Another thing, people the pictures look the same if you are six feet from the wall with the pictures as they do if you are six inches from the wall with the pictures. The difference is, if you are standing six feet away, others can find their pictures. I had to ask several people to move. If you found your pictures, move out of the way and then look at them.

I purchase what I want, and then it is back to cabin to sort everything out. Soon it is dinner time. This time there is really bad news for the fashion police. I see people in the dining room wearing t-shirts and jeans. So apparently the only thing not allowed are men wearing shorts.

Also at dinner I notice the photographer taking pictures – on smart casual night? When he comes to our table he mentions that some of the pictures got lost and he has to retake the pictures. We all decline. Then he says it again, “I have to retake the pictures.†He has to retake the pictures? Apparently the photographers are paid based on the number of pictures they take. No wonder the photographers are so aggressive.

I was not happy with any of the dinner selections, so I ordered off the menu. The pasta was great, as always. The steak could have come right out of Denny’s. It was good at best and hard to cut (I ordered it cooked medium). If I was grading the meals, all the prior meals would have gotten an “Aâ€. The steak tonight was a “Câ€.

All of the dinners, except this one were quite affairs. None of the announcements, conga lines or table dancing that one finds on the other family oriented lines. Tonight Princess was just like those other lines. That surprised me. Though I like a little more action than I have found on this ship, this has been a more peaceful cruise. If you are one that enjoys a nice quite dinner, then you would not have enjoyed tonight.

After dinner I check again to see if I can find more of my Hawaiian shirt pictures. This time my view is blocked by a group of people that are just talking; they are not even looking at the photographs. They get the hint that they might be in the way when I just walk between them to look at the photographs.

I didn’t find any more pictures, so it is back to the cabin to work on this. It is finally cool enough to sit out on my balcony again. I count my pictures, and so far I have taken over twelve hundred on the cruise. I’m over thirteen hundred if you count the pictures I took in New York.

And now that I have been to all the port, I can give my opinion on which side of the ship is best. I would pick starboard when leaving New York since that is the side the Statue of Liberty is on. I would say that port is the most interesting side for Grand Turk, as it appears that the ships will always dock with the bow pointed toward the island. Port is also better in San Juan as that is the side the fort is on when you enter the harbor during the daylight hours. If docking at Crown Bay neither side is all that interesting. If docking at Havensight, port offers a great view of the harbor and most likely the ship will dock with the bow pointed toward the island. For Bermuda it doesn’t matter. The Captain could dock with the bow pointed in either direction. In fact, the Caribbean Princess and the NCL Spirit were docked at the same dock (west end), but were back to back.

According to the TV it is 4:30pm (it is actually well after 11:00pm) and we are still docked in Bermuda. So, in two days we will either be in New York, Miami, Grand Turk or back in Bermuda, who knows.

Well, that is it for today. It is almost midnight. Tomorrow is another sea day (good) and also packing day (bad). Even worse, the following day we get kicked off the ship and have to go home (yuck).


Well-Known Member
Monday, July 19 – Day at sea

Well, the day started out nice, at least as nice as the last day can be. Beautiful clouds overhead, but also on the horizon, so sunrise is a bust. According to the travel channel we are still docked in Bermuda. At this rate I don’t think we’ll get back to New York in time.

Speaking of the TV, one channel is all Jackie Kennedy replica jewelry and a second channel is apparently the painting channel. There is also CNN, Headline News, BBC World News, a couple of cartoon channels, three or four movie channels and several channels hawking Princess stuff.

I take a few “sunrise†pictures just to prove I was up and then relax for a while. The sun is coming trough the window, so I draw the shear curtains. This will lead to a surprise once I get dress and go to breakfast.

Though I notice the ship is rocking, it has been the entire cruise, so I don’t think anything of it. Since the time on the TV is wrong I decide to go to the photo gallery on deck seven to see if I can find any new pictures. My plan is to walking along the promenade hoping there is a ship’s clock somewhere on the deck. However, I notice the deck is wet and assume it is salt water splashing up from below. So I go to customer service on deck six and verify the time (we are still one hour ahead of New York) and get a printout of my on board account.

Then it is up to deck fifteen for breakfast. A look out the floor to ceiling windows reveals that there has been a drastic change in the weather. There is nothing but clouds outside, it is raining and the sea looks a little rough.

After breakfast I look at the aft adult pool. There is no one in it and the water in the pool looks like the water in the ocean. The MUTS pool has a few kids and the pool in the middle pool is also void of any humans. Yet as I type this (at 9:30am) the clouds are breaking and the sun is coming out. I estimate our speed at 19 knots (about 22 miles per hour). So in two hours we seem to have gone from good weather, to a mild storm, to improving weather again to what turns out to be completely overcast. However, it is not as windy, so the ship is not moving around as much – but it is still rocking. However, that changes as the day goes by.

A little scheduling conflict developed around lunch time. As a group we planned a group lunch at 11:50 at the Crown Dinning room. However, at 12:30pm is the only Scholarship@Sea program (on Navigation) that I am interested in. The slide projector (a laptop computer) was not working too well, but the presentation from the second officer was interesting.

I asked what was causing the ship to shutter. He denied that it was happening. He was Italian and it was clear that there was a language issue involved. I decided not to press it. However, one of the other passengers saw me and agreed that the ship was shuttering.

Well, the packing is done except for today’s clothing and the additional pictures from the photo gallery (I found the ones I could not find yesterday). So before dinner I’ll change into tomorrow’s clothes and put my checked beg out to be collected. The pictures will go in my carry-on (carry off in this case). Also I note the TV has caught up with the ship. We are no longer heading southwest at a speed of zero and it is no longer yesterday afternoon.

Walking is a little challenging. If you time it right you can take all of your steps uphill, or you can take all of your steps downhill. If you are in a hurry then you get a mixture of both. My tablemates told me that they were up by the pool about one hour after I was and Princess had closed the pools.

Dinner tonight was okay. I ended up with the same steak I had last night, except this time it was on the menu and so now I know what it is called. I guess a New York Strip steak is not the same quality I am used to eating. But it was a little better than last night. I give tonight’s steak a grade of “Bâ€.

Tonight was baked Alaska night. My table mates gave me a bottle of wine as a gift. So now I have to change my customs declaration form (which the customs officer noticed, but accepted my explanation). Also, my tablemates didn’t have a computer with them, so they could not view the pictures I gave them. I told them that the pictures were all group pictures except that there is one picture of the ship. While all of that is true, I didn’t mention that two of the pictures were actually group pictures of the large school of fish I came across in Megan’s Bay.

So here I sit, working on this and waiting for the photo people to add the new pictures I bought to the set of pictures I can add to my coffee table book. I have to pick up the pictures between 11:00 and 11:30pm. I spent more than $275 on photos this cruise, which is far more than I normally spend on pictures. Speaking of which, I sure am glad I saved all my receipts. My total and the printout I received earlier today did not match. I quickly identified a seventy dollar photo bill that I had not recorded. I would have hated to stand in line only to find out it was my error. By looking through my receipts I found the receipt that I had not entered and now my total matches what the ship has, which is good. It is almost $800, but that includes the four shore excursions, so for nine days it is not too bad. I had six drinks, which is about double what I would have expected for myself. I didn’t spend a dime in the casino.

So I guess now a fair question would be, "How did I like the cruise?" I enjoyed it a lot. Would I go on Princess again? Yes. However, I still like Carnival and Royal Caribbean better. Princess does some things better than Carnival or Royal Caribbean and in some cases Carnival or Royal Caribbean is better. However, being in the pool on Princess was a little to boring for me. I would like to see a little more action (splashing).

Tonight we get an extra hour of sleep, and then tomorrow is debarkation day, which is never fun. Well, it is midnight (or 11:00pm, depending on your point of view) so it is time to say good night.

Tuesday, July 20 – Debarkation

Sunrise over New York.

We passed under the bridge and entered New York Harbor at 5:15am, about 45 minutes before I estimated that we would. The Caribbean Princess has a little history of arriving and departing late (at least at the times when it was not taking out the shore side gangplanks). But we arrived a little early this time. I was wondering where the Captain would spin the ship. I thought the channel where we are docked in was wide enough. However, he spun the ship just outside the channel and we backed to the dock. For a city that never sleeps, it sure is quiet outside. I enjoy breakfast with a view of the Statue of Liberty and south Manhattan.

My final invoice is exactly what I expect it to be, except for the very last entry. That is the one that changes the balance due from $800 to zero. I didn’t know they were actually going to charge my credit card.

So now I have one hour before security comes and drags me out of my cabin kicking and screaming. Of course my friend from work is currently cruising in Europe, and I will soon be stuck on some airplane, so I guess anything I have to say from this point on would just be sour grapes.

Debarkation was a breeze. I was supposed to go to the Coral Dinning Room at 8:30am. I headed that way at 8:20am. I was on the bus to JFK by 8:45am. The bus did not leave until 9:15am. We arrived at the airport at around 10:00am. It is now about 11:30am and I’m using the free wireless Internet provided by JetBlue. In about two hours I’ll board a non-stop to Burbank and should be home in less than one hour from landing.

Well I made it home, so it is time to end this review. I hope that if you are reading this for information that it was of some help to you. If you were reading this for entertainment, then I hope it brought at least one smile to your face. So until the next cruise (November 2010), it is time to say good-by.

What a trip review! Sounds like you had a good time.

I really enjoyed the pictures in the review as well. (Especially the 'shot' of the Spirit :doubleup:

Did you see any of the shows on board?


Forever Remembered
Cruizer - I just saw your review, dropped what I was doing, and have been sitting here mesmerized.

Thoroughly enjoyed everything. Thank you for a wonderful read and great photos! :thankyou::clap:


Well-Known Member

What a trip review! Sounds like you had a good time.

I really enjoyed the pictures in the review as well. (Especially the 'shot' of the Spirit :doubleup:

Did you see any of the shows on board?
No, I didn't go to any of the shows. That is a first for me. Usually I like to catch the production shows. However, being from California I am not used to the humidity and basically I was just running out of energy.