Jody & Julianne Brown
Occupation:Programmer Training Specialist
Number of Cruises: 7
Cruise Line: Princess
Ship: Sea Princess
Sailing Date: NOT FOUND
Itinerary: Western Caribbean
About Us: My wife (Julianne) is thirty-eight, a director in the Property and Casualty division of a local insurance company. I am forty-one and train students on Java, Visual Basic and COBOL mainframe computer programming at the same company. We have cruised seven times and this was our fourth with Princess.
Precruise: When we left home at 6:00am it was 27 degrees, when we arrived in Fort Lauderdale early in the afternoon it was 79 degrees. What a difference a thousand miles makes in March! We stayed at AmeriSuites the day before the cruise. Nice place that will pick you up at the airport and take you to the cruise port. They even dropped us off (and picked up) at the 15th St. Fisheries for dinner. This was an awesome place for seafood dining. My wife said this was the best dinner she has ever had. The rooms at AmeriSuites are roomy, nice location (great place to walk) and price includes continental breakfast. We'll be staying here on our next visit.
Overview of the ship: The condition of the Sea was immaculate everywhere we looked (similar to the Sun and Star Princess and Celebrity Century). True to the Princess creed, the cruise staff was very friendly and except for one employee, they never said 'no' to any of our requests. A comfortable area for lunch and snacks was the 24-hour Horizon Court. The Terrace Grill outside the Horizon court served up cheeseburgers, ballpark hotdogs and fries. The Pizzeria was open afternoons and evenings and served great pizza. Overall the food was excellent in the dining room for breakfast and dinner. The coffee was better than expected at all serving locations throughout the ship (hint - the La Pattiserie serves fresh brewed coffee at no charge, its made from coffee beans by the pot). The huge deck area included ping-pong tables, shuffleboard and basketball. Freshwater swimming pools and hot tubs are open 24-hours a day. Overall the entertainment was very good to excellent. The use of two full sized show-rooms and lounges provides everyone a variety of entertainment each night. I would estimate 50% of the passengers on the ship were from America, and 40% were from Canada (official spring break in Canada). As with our prior Princess cruise, the average age of the passengers was very mixed. My passengers age barometer: older than Carnival, younger than Celebrity and RCI. The cruise was sold out and we never felt crowded or stood in long lines. The longest wait for a tender was only ten minutes.
Our day by day review:
Saturday, March 10 - Weather: Partly Sunny / 73 degrees - Sea: Slight
We arrived at the port around 10:00 am for embarkation at 11:45am. It took less than five minutes for check-in, which included processing of ship charge card and checking all paper work. The normal 'Welcome Aboard' picture, then up the escalator and a brief two minute wait and then one more picture (ship security) and finally onto the ship. We had an inside room, rear Aloha deck. The room was very appropriate for our needs. With suitcases unpacked, we still had empty drawers and closet space to spare. The room was very quite and only on occasion did we hear anything other than chatter in the hallways during busy periods. We met our room steward who was not happy to see us. They had a problem that caused most of the staff to lose two hours of work that morning. Without going into detail, this was the first and only problem we had faced with a Princess employee. He still did a good job cleaning our room and the problem was dealt with later in the week. The afternoon was consumed quickly inspecting the ship and then eating some pizza. Someone walked by and said 'are you Jody Brown' and with a puzzled face (how could someone know me so far away from home?) I said yes. It was TinaLee (from Cruise Critics Message Board) and her family. She stopped and chatted for a few minutes. We saw each other almost every day all week and had a great time with them.
Our luggage arrived around 4:00 and after unpacking, we had the Muster drill at 5:30 p.m. We had a table of ten for dinner and met our fellow cruisemates for the week. The table consisted of eight woman and two men. The dining room looked amazingly small and quiet. Princess has done a wonderful job arranging this room into 'small areas' to achieve this feeling. Our waiter, asst waiter and of course the food were all excellent!
We attended the Welcome Aboard Show hosted by the cruise director Peter Tredgett. He and his staff did an exceptional job all week. Hint - check him out on 'Must Sea TV' in the mornings from 6 -10. It's a fifteen minute (continually repeated) show where they review the Princess Patter. Very, very funny!
Sunday, March 11 - Weather: Sunny / 78 degrees - Sea: Slight
While waiting for the ship to arrive at Princess Cays, Bahamas, we did the trivia challenge. We had fun and finished second. At 10:30 we went to Princess Cays.
This is a private island that Princess has developed into an enjoyable beach area for passengers. We relaxed on the beach the rest of the morning on hammocks (next to TinaLee) and stayed for lunch early in the afternoon. This evening was formal dress and the Captains welcome aboard party in the atrium. Our dinner was as good as the previous night. One note on the dinner selections: every night Princess offers an 'always available' choice of dinner selections. This is a great for passengers who don't like all or part of the menu on certain evenings. In the Princess Theater we saw 'Rhythm of the City', my wife thought it was very good. We then went to Rockys Night Club for Karaoke and had a great time.
Monday, March 12 - Weather: Sunny / 80 degrees - Sea: Slight
A day at sea and the sun was simply glorious! We did morning Trivia again and then hit the poll area for sun (pool area was packed!). In the afternoon we participated in the 'Newlywed Not So Newlywed Gameshow' hosted by Peter and 'Vanna' Martin. It was a great time, and again we finished second (is everyone starting to see a trend here?!?). Later in the week Martin told us we were the best couple (by that he meant FUNNY) he had seen in a long time. For rest of the week, people would stop us and tell us what a riot we were! Dinner (semi-formal) was again excellent, followed up by a lazy evening of simply having a drink in the Wheelhouse Bar and then laying under the stars in a hot tub.
Tuesday, March 13 - Weather: Sunny / 84 degrees - Sea: Slight
We awoke to a beautiful morning in Ocho Rios (that was the highlight of this port). We were here three years ago and had no problems at all. We walked to the two main shopping areas and I honestly can't think of a single minute when we weren't approached for a taxi, have hair braided, purchase a Red Stripe beer or even some 'smoke'. It was tiring and thankfully Princess is pulling out of Jamaica and we won't be 'tempted' to get
off the ship here anymore. Dinner (Tropical/casual) was again excellent, followed-up by comedian Kier.
Wednesday, March 14 - Weather: Sunny / 82 degrees - Sea: Slight
Another picture perfect morning, this time in Grand Caymans. After an excellent breakfast we tendered to the shopping district of George Town for some shopping (rum cake!). They have a new La Casa Del Habano here, so I spent quite a bit of time looking over cigars and drinking wonderful Cuban Coffee. Grand Cayman is a beautiful, clean, wealthy island. This ended up being our busiest evening on the ship. We attended the Captains Circle Club party and then to dinner (formal) which was excellent and then a brief fifteen minute round of roulette in the casino (won $117). Next was an excellent show "C'est Magnifique" in the Vista Lounge. Then to Rockys Night Club for Karaoke, followed up by the midnight Champagne Waterfall in the atrium. That was one of the best days at sea I can remember!
Thursday, March 15 - Weather: Sunny / 86 degrees - Sea: Slight
Again, a picture perfect day, with a nice tropical breeze in Cozumel. We arrived at the new pier and shopped for three hours (great prices on several items) and finished the morning at Carlos & Charlie's for lunch and adult beverages. The island was very clean and the people who worked here were kind and helpful. We soaked up the sun by the pool in the afternoon and consumed more adult beverages. Dinner was great, our lobster was 'fab', and probably the best we ever have eaten. After dinner we went to see 'Words and Music' in the Princess Theater. I thought it was very good, my wife said it was excellent. Julianne was very tired, so we missed the 'Pub Night Comedy Show', which we heard the next day, was awesome.
Friday, March 16 - Weather: Sunny / 84 degrees - Sea: Slight
This was our last day at sea. My wife spent most of the day relaxing by the pool and saying goodbye to new friends met throughout the week. We did manage to play both morning and afternoon rounds of trivia and my wife played bingo. I played in the blackjack tournament and finished third at my table. I packed late in the afternoon, but did manage to see a dolphin by the side of the ship. My wife took advantage of our last day at sea and laid out by the back of the pool. Dinner was excellent (again) and we went to the Vista Lounge to see Dave Heenan. He puts on a great comedy show and even though we have seen him three times, his material has always been new each time.
Saturday, March 17
Disembarkation was quick and smooth. Our four pieces of luggage were all together in the same row (first for us!). We boarded a bus to the airport and said goodbye to a great cruise!
This cruise was our second favorite (9.75 on a 10 scale), closely behind a perfect cruise a few years ago on the Star Princess. We would highly recommend both Princess and the Sea Princess for anyone who enjoys great service, very good food and a relaxing atmosphere. We booked a cruise next March on the Dawn Princess on the ship.
- Peter (CD) and the staff (special
praise to Martin) were great.
- The food was excellent every day, without a doubt the best we've had on a cruise.
- Our dinner tablemates were a 'hoot'! We had a great time each night with them.
- The ship was clean everywhere, all the time.
- Paul at the La Pattiserie (I think of this as the news center of the ship, if you wanted to know what's going on, hang around this place for an hour or so in the morning) was great to talk with during our morning coffee breaks.
- Dave Heenan was great with the guests all week. We had coffee with him almost everyday and he told some great stories and jokes.
- Need to have more TV channels and movies on all day.
If anyone would like more information or have questions answered, please send us an e-mail, we would be happy to help.
Jody and Julianne Brown