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Daniel and Terri Brown

Age: 45

Occupation:Nurse Practitioner

Number of Cruises: 3

Cruise Line: Princess

Ship: Star Princess

Sailing Date: March 12th, 2006

Itinerary: Western Caribbean


Arrival in Florida
This cruise we traveled with my 2 daughters (22 and 24) and my mother and step-dad.
My third cruise, Dan’s second. We flew ‘JetBlue’ to Ft. Lauderdale the day before departure and stayed at the AmeriSuites on 10th Street. Very close to Port Everglades, many restaurants and shops within walking distance, including a very nice wine store. The hotel was quite clean and staff friendly. Nice breakfast included – eggs, waffles, Danish, bagels, toast, fruit, etc.., shuttle to Port every 15 minutes or so. Price was very reasonable.

Embarkation
Arrived at the port at 9:30am, a little early, but fun to watch everyone else arriving. This time we sat in the terminal awaiting the embarkation process to start, not outside as we did on previous cruise. Embarkation started at 11:35am, went very smoothly. Only one staff person was what I considered rude, she was on a power trip. After we received our room key we were told to proceed to the ship. As we approached the escalator, one employee stopped us and told that “you will just have to wait, they aren’t boarding yet”. Of course we just watched approximately 30 people board. She held the line for about 4 minutes when a senior staffer approached her and asked what she was holding everyone for? Definitely a little bite with his bark. We then were allowed to embark. We were in our rooms by 12:00 noon.

Staff –
Everyone was so friendly and professional. They made you feel so welcome and absolutely waited on you hand and foot. I could not ask for better service, felt very spoiled!

Staterooms
We stayed in a balcony stateroom on Baja. Room was spacious, balcony was NOT. The balcony had a small table and 2 armless chairs – the chairs were very uncomfortable, not ones that you could sit and relax or read on. I think the balcony was about 4 – 5 feet X 10 feet, not very big. The balconies on Caribe Deck were much larger – 10 X 10 as well as the balconies with mini-suites and suites.

Room had a queen bed, desk with chair, refrigerator, TV, chair, and 2 end tables, plenty of room. The mirror behind the bed also added some depth to the room. The closet area was quite spacious, also had a cabinet for storage with a Safe. We had a full length mirror near the very small bathroom – just a shower, no tub. You do NOT want to bend over in this shower! A small pipe protrudes from inside the shower at the wrong place if you know what I mean.

Our room steward – Edgardo- introduced himself right away, very friendly and very efficient. He cleaned our rooms 2 times a day, and he always knew the right time to do so.

Ice, wine glasses and fresh towels were always in our room. Princess also provides a hairdryer, shampoo, conditioner, and body lotion.

My daughters had an inside stateroom, I was surprised at how much room was there- only difference appeared to be that they had no balcony.

Public Areas
Beautiful! Not sure how many bar/lounge areas were available inside, let alone outside. Princess has every detail covered. There is literally something for everyone on this ship, from folks that like to party to those that like to kick back and relax.

We enjoyed the aft pool – adult only. We also did not experience any of the chair hogging that many people complain about. The spa pool was also adult only, but a little more crowed than we like – still very enjoyable. Many ‘spring-breakers’ on this cruise as well as small children. I must say that the children were well-behaved as well as the college students.

Entertainment-
Saw some comedy shows, very funny! Did not enjoy the hypnotist - I thought her got a little raunchy, especially with children attending the early show. Box office movies played everyday, good movies on the television (watched these while getting ready for the evening). Terrific shows in the Princess Theatre..can't say enough about the entertainment!

Dining and Food
We thought the food was terrific!
Horizon Court had many offerings, fruit, salad, many hot entrees, breads, desserts, the list goes on! Water, coffee, and iced tea were offered all day at no additional cost. I’m not a coffee drinker, but step-dad and daughter are, they said the coffee was very good. Juice was offered for breakfast as well. We did purchase a coke card for $31.95 for a 7 day cruise. This was worth it for me; I drink approximately 3-4 diet sodas a day. If you purchased a can the cost was $1.50 per can. With the Coke card, I just asked for a large diet coke, which holds the equivalent of 2-3 cans! Some days I would drink 2 of the large glasses, so definitely got my money’s worth. If you do not drink this much soda, the card may not be worth it to you – buy it by the can.

Ice cream at ‘Scoops’ was an additional charge, but Horizon Court had ice cream at no charge everyday at 3:30pm. The dining rooms also had ice cream every night. The pizza on Princess was to die for…..an absolute must have.

Food and service in the dining rooms were excellent. We thoroughly enjoyed every morsel. Antonio “Cebola” was our waiter, he was outstanding! Food preparation exceeded our expectations – but keep in mind that this is a subjective finding; everyone has a different palate  I could not eat everything that was served – too much food. We only ate in the dining room for our evening meals; we ate in the Horizon Court for all daytime meals. We love the ‘anytime’ dining, never had to wait but 2-3 minutes.

We did attend a wine tasting for $25.00 each. Sampled some very high priced wines, we completely enjoyed it. We are not wine connoisseurs, but do enjoy a good glass of wine.

Excursions
Cozumel – no excursions, just shopping in the downtown area. Hurricane Wilma pretty much destroyed all that was beautiful along the beaches. The only thing that will bring back the beauty of the area is money spent by tourists. Cozumel has the manpower to rebuild, but not the money. We made a few purchases and ate in Panchos Backyard – great margaritas and Mexican food.

Grand Caymans – Stingray City – wonderful day! Well worth the money. Island was beautiful. It was apparent that Wilma had done some damage to this island, but the Caymans have the money, not necessarily as much manpower, to rebuild the area to its former state.

Montego Bay – beautiful island, although somewhat scary in some places. We did not venture anywhere that was not recommended. Did some shopping, the folks in Jamaica are so poor, but so appreciative of anything you can offer them. I definitely felt like a ‘spoiled American’. We got off this beautiful ship after eating a wonderful meal, wearing comfortable shoes, with my family….what else could a person want?, just to see how very little these wonderful people have. EVERYONE we encountered asked us to return to their island and to please tell our friends. Tourism seems to be all they have.

Princess Cays – BEAUTIFUL day!! Lovely island. Very relaxing. Something for everyone – volleyball, paddle boats, floating, snorkeling, relaxing on the beach….wonderful way to end the week.

Disembarkation
Could not have been easier. Our flight was at 11:00 am, we were off the ship and to the airport by 9:30 am. Boarded our plane by 10:30 and away we went.

Oh, one more thing. We already booked our next cruise while on this cruise. We will be sailing the Caribbean Princess Jan. 2007.
 

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