Number of Cruises: n/a
Cruise Line: Princess
Ship: Sea Princess
Sailing Date: January 25, 2003
Itinerary: Southern Caribbean
Our trip started off on the right foot when Princess called us the day before we left and offered us one cruise fare credit in return for moving from a balcony room to a outside room. We ended up in room 211 on the Baja deck. This is the very first cabin at the front of the ship. We were a little nervous about getting motion sick, but it turned out to be a great room. Someone else who had a similar room gave us great advice to go to the front deck right on that floor. We saw lots of gorgeous sunrises, sunsets and starry skies from a very private spot!
We chose Princess partly because of the personal choice dining. We didn't want to eat dinner with people we didn't know. We were on the Grand last year and had no problem getting a table for two every night. We were surprised on our first night on the Sea Princess to immediately be seated at a table for 8! We had said 2 people, but we meant a table for 2! After the initial shock, we sat down and enjoyed a nice dinner and met some wonderful people! After that night we made sure to say table for 2! However, on the second formal night, the maitre d' said it would be an hour wait for a table for two. Again we sat at a table for 8 and had a wonderful time (and must have eaten over 20 lobster tails between the 8 of us!) The bottom line is that although we were initially a little disappointed about the seating, it turned out well and we met some great people.
We really enjoyed our excursions, so I am going to focus on them.
Barbados: 5-Star Catamaran with turtles and lunch. It was a beautiful day in Barbados and we climbed on to the Tiami for a wonderful sail. While riding at the front of the catamaran, we saw several flying fish. If you have never seen one, they are amazing and they do really look like they are flying!! We sailed for about an hour out to where the turtles have been spotted. Everyone received a mask and snorkel (no fins to protect the turtles). We saw several turtles although the water was a little murky. After coming out of the water, there was a delicious lunch waiting for us with: fish, chicken, rice, potato salad and green salad. After lunch we headed for the beach. The boat anchored just of the shore. Some people went snorkeling and others just relaxed on the beach. The crew was so friendly and attentive, no one went without food or drink for long. They really made the difference.
St. Lucia: We spent the day at Sandals Golf Resort. You can get a day pass for $40/per person and have complete access to everything including food and drinks! Taxi ride was $12/each way. After a wild taxi ride up to Sandals, we checked in and quickly found a hammock for two to relax in. We then headed to the beach area to take out a Hobie cat (sailboat). We got a quick lesson and headed out. It was so beautiful being out on the water on our own. The winds were pretty strong and it got a little hairy when one of the other boats tipped over! At that point we got a nervous and headed in. We cooled off in one of the beautiful pools and enjoyed a drink at the swim up bar. We had a buffet lunch and spent the afternoon relaxing by the pool and at the beach.
St. Maarten: One of our favorite days! We did the America's Cup regatta - which was a fantastic excursion. I was selected as Captain of one of the boats. Our team picked a Stars and Stripes boat. There were 21 people on the boat (including 3 real crew members). As we tendered out the boats, the crew assigned us jobs and once we got to the boat they showed us the ropes (literally!). My husband was a main grinder and I was a backup primary grinder. The main grinders control the sail in the back and the primary grinders control the front sail. We practiced a while and quickly realized how much work and fun we were going to have. The actual race was great and we won by a hair thanks to the strength of a few strong grinders! I would highly recommend this excursion if you are thinking about it! Not to be missed.
Tortola: We took the ferry to Virgin Gorda and went to the Baths. It was another beautiful day and a beautiful location. If you do go to the Baths and make it to Devils Bay, make sure you take some time to keep going past the beach and explore the coves and paths. We saw lots of lizards and even a lost chicken!
St. Thomas: We woke up early to go through immigration thinking we would be the first ones there. Wrong!! The line went from the Vista Lounge all the way to the Atrium. It looked overwhelming, but I timed it and it only took 10 minutes to get through once the line started moving. I splurged on a Chakra Stone massage while Bill went to do some shopping. The massage was really wonderful, but not really worth the money. We met back up and took the Tramway up to get a wonderful view of the harbor. There was a really nice bird show that started just after we arrived. Definitely worth watching (for free!), if you are there and like animals. In the afternoon, we took the New Waves snorkel trip with Captain Nautica to St. John. There were only 11 people on the boat (including 2 crew members), so we got lots of space and time in the water. The ride over was a thrill, it is a hard bottom inflatable boat that really flies!! Our first stop was Christmas Cove, where we snorkeled for about an hour. There were tons of fish and some rays and turtles have been spotted there, but we didn't see any. The next stop was Honeymoon Beach on St. John. It was just picture perfect and we had it almost to ourselves. A beautiful way to finish a wonderful vacation.
We had a wonderful time and would do it again in a minute. There were a few negatives. As we walked around the ship, we sometimes noticed that there was a sewer-like smell towards the back of the ship. It wasn't there all the time, but when it was there, it was pretty nasty. The internet access was pretty slow and they definitely need more terminals or more hours because there was always a line.