Number of Cruises: First Cruise
Cruise Line: Princess
Ship: Dawn Princess
Sailing Date: n/a
Itinerary: Southern Caribbean
Our first cruise experience upon the Dawn Princess (February 2002) was awesome!
Our Southern Caribbean itinerary took us into Barbados, St. Lucia, St. Kitts, St. Maarten and St. Thomas. We can't say enough of the warm trade winds and beautiful scenery of each and every island.
Bunking with my sisters and my mother, we four girls had a fabulous fun time in our cozy room with bunk beds and a balcony, located on the Aloha Deck, Room 7737 (three from the end of the ship!) Location was terrific as we had a little walk to the elevators at mid ship and if we chose to go out the back door it was up one floor to the pool area and buffet.
The room was small but adequate. Surprisingly sufficient for storage space. Two bunk beds swung down from the wall so they weren't taking up space during the daylight hours. We put our suitcases underneath the bottom beds. There was a dresser /make up table with six small drawers, plus a big closet with space enough for four of our stuff. Also there was a small refrigerator in which we kept water and pop cold.
Bathroom was ample if you consider the kind of space you get in a trailer home. It came complete with a back of the door hook for those wonderful hanging makeup bags. Lots of shampoo, soaps, towels. Our room Steward, Anna, supplied clean beach towels each day as well so we were glad we didn't pack any for our shore excursions!
When we arrived through check in the ship loomed huge above us and we couldn't wait to board. Up the gangplank we went and navigated ourselves to our room. They had an organized ship tour but we decided to explore on our own and were fully able to get our bearings.
There were two cinemas, numerous hot tubs, two swimming pools, a number of bars, two main restaurants plus a delicious pizzeria. There was also an ice cream bar but we never made it over to that particular venue. We didn't participate in much of the nightlife as we were up before dawn and out on excursions most days, so were tuckered out to do much partying. There were plenty of activities though. We did see two comic acts, one impressionist and one dance performance, all of which were high caliber entertainment! Played bingo once or twice and enjoyed a game of Wheel of Fortune too. We only participated in one of the two Formal Nights. One was plenty for us.
As far as dining options, we opted for Personal Choice. We never had to wait for a table and we chose to not want to dine with others. I found you had great flexibility. You can eat at the time you want, with the people you want. You can even make reservations for a table (even a specific table if you like the waiter or view). You receive the same food choices and great service as you would in the formal dining room without the limitations of time. And don't be afraid to ask for more Lobster!! I can't imagine why you'd want anything else! It allowed us all the freedom you need. You can choose to dine at the same time each night with reservations or just show up when you're hungry.
Among some of the food choices were pasta, steak, lobster, Beef Wellington, Maui fish, shrimp, Chicken Kiev, Clams Casino, Chilled Piano Colada soup with Rum, Caviar, Fudge Love Boat Dream, rum balls, macadamia nut ice cream, macaroons, hamburgers - the list is endless!!!!
We pre-booked our excursions (which also gave us four free photos on board PLUS the comfort of knowing we didn't have to worry about not getting an excursion or having to line up to purchase one on the ship).
Barbados: We took the Atlantic Submarine tour. My mother had done this in Aruba and she felt it was better in Aruba. But it was a lovely journey under the sea. The tour just ahead of us saw a sea turtle. We saw tons of fish and a shipwreck too. It was a fun experience. Then we rented a taxi ($50 for four of us) and toured the island on our own. Visited Mullens Bay (stopped for a swim), Speightown, Moletown, Cherry Hill, Bathsheba. Then did some shopping at the dock. Shopping tip: Buy the RUM Cake here.... it's delicious and it's priced cheapest than any other island.
St. Lucia: Took the Land and Sea Tour and could rave about it for days! It was EXCELLENT. Toured the winding roads of this jungle like beautiful island, stopped for shopping with local vendors where we picked up some wicker, banana ketchup, spices, local beer etc., saw the volcano, toured a plantation and ate lunch (plantation was a lot more fun than I expected) then we took a catamaran and had a swimming stop, visited Marigot Bay and returned to port. Absolutely highly recommend this tour!!
St. Kitts: We booked the snorkeling excursion, which was very nice, and the catamaran was a lot of fun. Snorkeling was pretty good, but having been to Cozumel and Ixtapa Island, and also because it was cloudy that day, it felt a little disappointing. Well worth the money though for the views alone!! (not to mention the rum haha)
St. Maarten: Took an island tour here and it was very interesting. Visited both sides of the island with two times to shop on the French side (not enough time to shop on this island!!) Views were spectacular. Opted to do more shopping after the tour on the Dutch side and spent a lovely afternoon picking up good deals on clothes, jewelry and beach towels.
St. Thomas we made our own way to Trunk Bay on St. John. Didn't want to do it in the afternoon. So we hired a cab to the ferry, then caught another ferry to Trunk Bay. Spent a few hours snorkeling then returned to St. Thomas where did a little more shopping.
All in all it was a trip to remember and a thoroughly enjoyable experience. I wouldn't hesitate to take another cruise again and definitely have fallen in love with St. Lucia. If there weren't so many other places to see in the world I'd have already booked another trip back!!