Number of Cruises: 4
Cruise Line: Princess
Ship: Ocean Princess
Sailing Date: March 20th, 2002
Itinerary: Antigua, Barbados, St. Lucia, St. Maarten, St. Thomas, Princess Cays
Julie, Captain Stubing, Doc, Isaac, and Gopher would be very proud to see us enjoying Princess Cruises after their time on "The Love Boat". My cruise on the Ocean Princess was my first voyage on Princess Cruises. I was really excited about going because of my love for "The Love Boat" television show. I was even more excited when I started "making another run" to the Caribbean on my fourth cruise.
I am proud to say that my voyage aboard the Ocean Princess certainly exceeded my expectations! Of the cruise lines I have been on, (Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, and now Princess) I would have to say that the crew on the Ocean Princess was far more friendly than the crew of any other ship. I didn't know that crew members enjoyed their job so much!
I enjoyed the entertainment a lot aboard this ship. There were a two show lounges you could attend at night if you do not enjoy certain entertainment types in the other lounge. There was the Princess Theater as well as the Vista Lounge. Sometimes, the Ocean Princess singers and dancers went to the Vista Lounge and then other days they were in the Princess Theater. The Broadway-type shows that I saw included "Words and Music", "Rhythms of the City", "The Century Sings", and "C'est Magnifique". I enjoyed these shows so much that I saw each of them twice. (no kidding) There were also guest performers on board as well. They were also excellent. The Ocean Princess dancers were wonderful, as well as the outstanding vocal styles of James Campbell and Liz Piazza-Davey. In the Princess Theater (usually daily), they show movies for your viewing pleasure. I went to see "Shrek" and "Hearts in Atlantis". It was perfect for that time of day when you want a break from the sun.
I thought the dining on the Ocean Princess was great. The tiramisu really jumped out. It was the best I have tasted yet. There was no dish that really jumped out and made you really jump out and say "this is the best food in the entire world." To me, all cruise dining food tastes pretty much the same. Our two waiters, Viorica and Sittimath were excellent. They were very friendly and loved talking to my sister (12) and I (15) and making us feel at home. Sittimath (our assistant waiter) remembered what drinks that we liked from the bar during dinner. That was neat. As for the daylight hours, the buffet in the Horizon Court was good, but the buffet area was very crowded at certain parts of the day. Especially breakfast around 9:00. For lunch, they had the Riviera Grill, which was great too. If you want a break from formal meals, you can go up and enjoy burgers, hot dogs, veggie burgers, and fries. It's right by the pool area too, if you want to chill in the sun while eating.
Personal Choice Dining:
I did the formal dining arrangement, which I like. I like having a waiter for the week and making friends, but I heard people talking about the Personal Choice Dining. They said it was great because it was never crowded, you could go eat dinner at whatever time you like, and have pretty much whatever choice of food you want. There was a choice of either Fabio's Pizzeria, the Tuscan Dining Room (separate from regular dining room, the Sardinian Dining Room) as well as the Horizon Court. I don't know if the Riviera Grill was open for Personal Choice or not.
The Ocean Princess is a beautiful ship. Everywhere you look, there is something sparkling. It's one of those things that makes you feel all "tingly" inside. I like that feeling. The Grand Plaza atrium was a great place to be at night. There are sitting areas to talk with friends and bars as well if you want something to drink. Plus, they give you either a little cup of either peanuts or "mixed delights" to have with your drink. It's nice right before dinner. The condition of the ship was great too. There are always people working to make the ship cleaner, even up on deck at the pool. They do a great job. The ship has been sailing for two years and it looked like it was on it's maiden voyage.
As I said earlier, the staff was extremely friendly. Though we did not see our cabin steward very often, the other cabin stewards were just as friendly. There was one cabin steward down the hall from our cabin, Manny Sanchos, that we really enjoyed. He was extremely friendly, commenting on our dresses, asking how our day was. You could definitely tell he wasn't doing it for a good tip. We wrote up four people to be put in a box and chosen for employee of the month/year. You just can't help it sometimes!
Cruise Entertainment Staff:
The Ocean Princess entertainment staff was excellent. The cruise director, Trevor Bradford, was especially funny and was a great face to come back to every night before the shows. As usual, some staff members are more lively than others. Daily trivia games and line dance classes, as well as party nights up on the pool deck were only headed by the best.
Ports of Call:
Antigua was a very pretty island to go on shore. My parents, sister, grandparents, and I took a taxi ride around the island to see the highlights and the countryside. Some places literally looked like they just decided to plant a mountain there. It was very beautiful though, excepting some of the construction on the main roads. We drove out to the other side of the island from where we docked to Nelson's Dockyard. Some people, including the lady at the ship's excursion desk, really recommended to go there. Truthfully, it isn't much. There are a couple little boats sitting in this lagoon-type thing, but it isn't exactly the "spot of the island." We had to pay $5 to go into the museum or go shopping, which we blew off because of the price. Even if you just wanted to go shopping inside the gate, you had to pay. Why spend money getting in to spend even more money? It was a very pretty island though.
I really enjoyed Barbados a lot. We took the Five-Star Catamaran trip up the coast to go snorkeling with sea turtles. They are very friendly and not the least bit dangerous. They swim below you, so there are none just floating around the surface to scare you if you turn around. On the catamaran, the crew was very nice. They didn't beg you for tips and they served you a great lunch. We got to try flying fish, which isn't fishy at all. It's better than chicken! Plus, they had a bar on the catamaran if you were thirsty. The lunch and the bar are all free of charge. The water in Barbados is very clear, but a little cold in March!
I was very proud of this island. In a way, it is like St. Maarten, as far as the look of the island far away. We took another catamaran ride, but this time we went to see the Pitons. It was very interesting, plus they stop so you can take pictures too. We then went to Marigot Bay, where films such as the original "Doctor Dolittle" (with the snail) was filmed. It was a nice stop. We got to get off the catamaran and swim and walk ashore too.
I have been to St. Maarten a couple of times and I enjoy it every time I go. We drove our own car over to Orient Bay for swimming and Parasailing. It's definitely worth the trip. (and money if you decide to go parasailing) The waves were a little rough, but it was so refreshing on that hot day.
My favorite island. We docked at a strange dock that I was not familiar with from previous cruises, but we did still have fun. We rented a car and drove on the mountain side. It was really fun, and pretty too when you see Magen's Bay from the road. We went to Magen's Bay on The Enchantment of the Seas (Royal Caribbean) and it was great. No shells, no big waves. Just rest and relaxation as usual. We drove over to the car ferry that took us over to St. John. That was a pretty island too. You drive through rainforest the entire time in St. John. That was really fun. There are plenty of places to shop and go to beaches too.
Princess Cays was the best private island I have been too. It is very developed and it is nice and big. It accommodates everyone. Plus, there is fresh fruit and everything, right there on the island. There are four buffet lines for lunch too, so it never gets too crowded. Te snorkeling in Princess Cays is great too. Even if your just standing on the dock, you can see straight down to the bottom of the reef. There are lots of different kinds of fish to see too. Bring something to feed them with when you go in for a dip. The water's pretty cold though.
As you can see, the Ocean Princess is a great cruise to take. Have fun and cruise happy. The Love Boat crew will be very proud.