Number of Cruises: n/a
Cruise Line: Princess
Ship: Ocean Princess
Sailing Date: February 18th, 2002
Itinerary: 10-Day Eastern Caribbean
Monday - Port Everglades
Tuesday - At Sea
Wednesday - At Sea
Thursday – Antigua
Friday – Barbados
Saturday - St. Lucia
Sunday - St. Maarten
Monday - St. Thomas
Tuesday - At Sea
Wednesday - Princess Cays
Thursday - Port Everglades
My husband and I flew into Ft Lauderdale, and we took a taxi to the port ($9.00, plus tip). We walked into the port building, and we approached the desk for the Aloha cabins. There were 2 people waiting in line, for guests who had pre-registered. Although we had pre-registered, we went to the regular line, where no one was waiting. He looked at our documents and he handed us our Sign & Sail cards. That was fast. From exiting the taxi to entering our cabin, it took about 20 minutes. As far as embarkation and disembarkation, Princess rules.
Our cabin was nice, we had plenty of lighting and I liked the colors in the cabin. There was a desk, with a mirror above it, a standard 110 outlet and a hair dryer. The desk has 6 drawers for storage. There was also a 6 drawer chest, near the bed(s). The closet had plenty of wooden hangers, and it also had several drawers. The TV, refrigerator and safe, were on a slim, vertical unit, right in front of the beds. This unit also had storage space. This cabin was small, but it was easy to get around. I could sit on the foot of the bed, curl my hair with a curling iron, use the safe, open the fridge, and rearrange the closet, all at the same time (but only when I used my feet, too). What a cabin.
The bathroom was roomy, with areas for storage, and the shower was large. Unfortunately, the shower head did not move. How do people bathe small children in a shower like this? It also must be difficult for some handicapped and/or elderly people to rinse off all the soap. This was the first inside cabin for my husband, and he was worried that he would not like it. I keep telling Sammy that I look better in the dark! I think he agrees with me. He loved the cabin.
Dining - Here are their dining options on the Ocean Princess.
Sardinian Dining Room -
Emerald Deck 6
Breakfast 7:30am - 9:30am (Open Sitting)
Luncheon 12:00- 2:00pm (Open Sitting)
Dinner 6:00pm, First Sitting 8:15pm, Second Sitting
Tuscan Dining Room - Plaza
Personal Choice Dinner, 5:30pm - 10:00pm
Horizon Court - Lido Deck -
Open 24 Hours
Breakfast Pastries and Beverages 4:00am - 6:00am
Breakfast 6:00am - 11:30am
Luncheon 11:30am - 6:00pm
Dinner 6:00 - 10:30pm
Bistro 10:30pm - 4:00am
Riviera Grill - Lido Deck 14 - 11:00am - 6:00pm
Sterling Steak House - Lido Deck 14 7:00pm - 10:30pm (reservations only)
Sundaes Ice Cream - Riviera Deck 12 8:30am - 6:00pm (you pay!)
Afternoon Tea - Sardinian Dining Room Deck 6 3:30pm - 4:30pm
Fabio's Pizzeria - Dolphin Deck 8 11:30am - 4:00pm and 7:00pm - 12:30am (you tip)
We chose Personal Choice for dining. They ushered us to table number 87, and it was a table for 8. We liked our waiter and our assistant waiter. As soon as we finished one course, the next course arrived. Princess has done a great job with Personal Choice, at least on this ship, and on the Grand Princess. We never had to wait for our table, and the service was good. We only ate in the dining room 3 times, and we asked for table number 87. We had the same table and the same waiter, each night we ate in the dining room, but we dined with different people, on each night. It was a great way to meet new friends. If we wanted to be alone, we could have always asked for a table for 2. The soufflés were great, so was the chocolate mousse.
This is where we ate breakfast and lunch, and most of our dinners. The only beverages Princess offers in the buffet, is tea, coffee and water.
At breakfast, they made omelets and they fried eggs. They offered standard breakfast fare; french toast, pancakes, scrambled eggs, lox, fresh fruits, bagels, toast (white and wheat), English muffins, donuts and pastries. Fresh and sliced fruits were offered almost all day; mango, papaya, pineapple, watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew, figs, prunes, pears, peaches, apples, bananas, oranges, plums, grapes, etc.
The pastas in the buffet were good. They offered baked potatoes in the buffet, which made my husband very happy, he also enjoyed the asparagus. I had the sushi twice. One day, they offered fried shrimp, but they always had a fish, and they had scallops several times. They offered prime rib, roast beef, chicken, roast turkey, pork loin and lamb chops. Sammy did not like their cookies, which surprised me. If he can eat my cookies, he should be able to eat anybody's.
They cooked hamburgers, hot dogs, bratwurst, knockwurst, chicken, veggi-burgers and french fries. This is located outdoors, right outside of the Horizon buffet.
We arrived at 7:00pm, and we were seated right away, by a very nice waiter. There were only a few diners that night having pizza, the room was almost empty. Maybe they are busier at lunch. I ordered a Caesar salad and a pepperoni pizza, my husband ordered a Caesar salad and a calzone. The pizza tasted very good, and it was hot. I had heard a lot about their pizza, and I will probably try it again. IMO, Carnival's pizza is better, it has a nicer crust, more cheese and more toppings. Like I said, I will try it again. My husband thought the calzone was great. We were not sure how much to tip, so we left him $5.00.
We never tried the Sterling Steak House. I had two steaks in the Tuscan dining room, they were cooked perfectly, and tender enough to cut with your fork. I could not imagine going to the steak house and finding anything better. Maybe I will try the steak house on another Princess ship.
They had a couple of production shows in the showroom lounges, which were nice, but the band never appeared. We saw 2 stand up comics, each were good. One of the comics was very funny, but he used "R" rated material, which wasn't mentioned in the Patter. They had a juggler, who was also very funny. A couple of singers also entertained us.
They had a laundromat on our floor (Aloha, Deck 11). The washers are 50 cents, and I think the dryers were $1.00. Don't touch the sprinklers in the ceiling, that is all I will say about that. ;-/
This was a 10-day cruise, and the cruisers were a little older, most people were over 60. It was a great group of people, a lot of fun, and very friendly. I will cruise with older folks any day. There was only 2 people on scooters, and maybe 4 people in wheelchairs. Most of the people were older than I am, but they were all in great shape, a few of them went kayaking.
There were more children on board, than I expected on a 10-day cruise. These kids were well behaved, they never caused a problem, that I noticed. They were a joy to cruise with. This is a semester break for the children in England, so many of the children on the ship spoke with an accent. They sounded like Sunny.
I noticed few tuxes on formal nights. While sitting In the Princess Theater, I looked around, and I only saw 4 tuxes in the middle part of the theater, and one of those was on my husband (someone asked me to notice, so I did... I generally don't care what people wear on formal nights). The other men wore suits, and they looked very nice. Maybe tuxes are not being worn as often.
We walked into town, to use an internet cafe. We stopped at Cable & Wireless to use the internet, which was $10.00 for one hour of internet use.
We took a guided tour, by taxi, the drivers name was Mervin. This tour was arranged through Port Promotions http://www.portpromotions.com/ The cost was $39.00 per person. This was a 5 hour tour, and we covered the whole island. We saw St. John's Parish Church, the Gun Hill Lion, and a cavern called Harrison's Cave. We also visited a couple of sugar cane plantations, one was the Francia Plantation and the other was the Sudbury Plantation House. Both of the plantation houses were around 400 years old. I once read a book called Plantation Slavery In Barbados, by Jerome Handler and Frederick Lange, so I found the plantations interesting. Our tour with Port Promotions was a great value, and it was a wonderful tour, but I may try Foster and Ince Cruise Services next time. I have an acquaintance there, named Sarah. http://www.caribsurf.com/fosterince/barb.htm
After the tour, we walked back through the shopping area, to reach the ship. Sammy found a watch, an Omega Seamaster. He already has a Seamaster, but this one was different.(?) He was tickled with his new watch. At another store, I bought two candy bars. Each were made by Beacon, in Africa. One was "Niki", it tasted like an Almond Joy, without the almonds. The other was called "All-In-One". This candy bar was crunchy muesli, topped with caramel and covered in chocolate. They were both delicious. I wish I could review a cruise as well as I can a candy bar.
We rode the water taxi ($1.00 pp) from the ship, into a shopping area, this is where we rented the car ($82.00). Driving on St. Lucia, what a nightmare. The next time I ride with Sammy, along steep cliffs, I will bring along a parachute. We drove on the left side of the road, up steep, narrow roads, to a volcano. I looked down, and I was about 4" from falling off a cliff. For a thousand times, I thought he was going over this cliff. I complained so much, he threatened to open my door and push me out of the car. This drive took one hour, but it seemed like a lifetime. My knuckles are still white. We drove by the mouth of a volcano, that was still bubbling and spewing steam. We also visited a beautiful flower garden.
The ship took us to a new pier in St. Maarten, and car rentals are available there (Hertz, Alamo, etc). We chose a Suzuki Vitari at Safari Rentals , for $40.00 per day. Now, I want to trade in the Mercedes for a Suzuki! I enjoyed that a lot. We drove by Orient Beach (the water was really rough), then we went to a beach called Baie Rouge, over on the other side of the island. The water was nice and smooth. They rent chairs and umbrellas for $5.00 each. After the beach, we went towards the airport, where I found a Starbuck's. I used their internet cafe, it was $4.00 for an hour. On the way to the ship, we drove through the old shopping area. Sammy saw a vertical sign that said "ROLEX" in big block letters, on the front of a building... he came to a dead stop. After I pulled myself out of the floorboard of the car, we went shopping at the jewelry store. I can't believe it, but he bought himself a new Rolex watch, too. BTW, I have a Timex that keeps perfect time. I will save my money to buy a Suzuki.
We had to go through immigration before we could leave the ship. We arrived at immigration 30 minutes early (they go by your last name), but that was no problem. No one was waiting in front of us. There were a couple of women in the front of the lounge, sitting at a table. They took our yellow sheets of paper, that had our names on them (these papers were left in our cabin). They marked through our names on a list, then we walked through to the next man, who glimpsed at our documents, and it was all done. It only took 30 seconds. We walked to K-Mart to buy a new curling iron, then I used the telephones at AT&T, right across the street from where the ship was docked. I did not go to the beach, I had too much sun on the day before.
At Princess Cays, we found two lounge chairs in the shade, and I enjoyed reading a book. The weather was beautiful, and the food was good.
We had yellow luggage tags. We waited in a lounge area, until our color was called, it was called at 8:15. We had another sheet of yellow paper, with our names on it, to hand in as we disembarked the ship. We went through customs, caught a cab, and made it to the airport by 8:30.
I like this ship, but this was the roughest ride I've ever experienced on a cruise ship. This lasted for the first 2 days and nights. In the showroom lounge, people were walking down the aisles to find a seat, and they had to hold on the seats beside of them, to keep from falling down. In bed at night, we rolled back and forth, due to the ship rocking. Finally, some action in this cabin! LOL
One day, they announced pool games in the Princess Patter... I waited for 30 minutes, but the games never began. I went into the lounge, and I heard a motivational speaker named Ilene Savin. She was very good, in fact, I went to her next two talks. I also met her at the airport on my way home. She was on her way to spending 30+ days on the Caronia, doing her speeches there. What a way to earn a living, by cruising on different ships! I wish I could do public speaking, but I am not good at it. I can belch the alphabet, but nobody wants to hear that. LOL
The Promenade deck was nice for walking around the ship. I walked outdoors, and I noticed that there was a teak deck, with real, wooden (teak?) chaise lounges.
In the library, they have leather chairs, where you can put your feet up, relax and read. These chairs are so comfy. They also offer CD's, which plug into your chair. I read 4 books on this cruise, all of the books were provided by Marie... thanks, Marie.
I used the Internet Cafe twice. This area was crowded, with only a few computers, and there was always a wait. Their charges are $7.50 for 15 minutes.
The casino is located on Deck 8. Nothing is located on this deck, but passenger's cabins, the casino and Fabio's. Going to Fabio's, was the only way we saw the casino. For those who want to avoid smoke, you did not have to walk through a cloud of smoke, on this ship, to get to the showroom lounges each night.
There was no English Pub Night, which I had heard about. There was not one on the Grand Princess, either. Maybe Princess has discontinued these, or they are just held on other ships.
I enjoyed the Ocean Princess. This ship is the right size for me, not too large and not too small. Our cabin was nice, the employees were friendly, the food was good, and I liked the entertainment. We also had perfect weather. Still... ten days may be too long for me to be at sea, at least for now. I missed my cat, who recently had surgery, I missed my job and I missed my coworkers. I will try to stick to 7 day cruises for a while longer. There are still lots of 7-day cruises, I would love to do, and many I would love to do again. Any questions, feel free to ask.