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Our travel agent got us into San Juan, Puerto Rico 2 days before the ship was to leave. I am so glad as it gave us a chance to rest from our very long flight from the west coast of Canada. We flew all day and got in after 11 p.m. San Juan time. The next day we checked out the beach in the Condado area as we were booked into the Radisson Ambassador Hotel. This hotel was about a two block walk to the beach. The beach was absolutely beautiful with huge waves. We also had time to stroll and shop the streets of Old San Juan. I did find the heat hard to take so I drank a lot of water and looked for air conditioned stores or shade. We took the ferry over to the Bacardi Rum Factory. The tour was interesting and a little flashy but we got two free drinks and a chance to send a video mail home.
The next day we arrived to board the ship. I could not believe how big the ship was. The lines moved fairly quick until we got inside to get checked in,etc. I would recommend showing up at 2 p.m. as there was no lineup. Once we passed the duty free shop that was giving free samples of liquor to sample, we got on board. It was nice to have people directing us to our rooms. Our room was on the port side and we were on the Baja deck, room 604. We met Rey our cabin steward and he was very nice and helpful. Our room was great as we had a balcony on it.
We ended up taking a tour of the ship and it sure was great as Patrick, one of the 9 cruise directors showed us around. I am glad as he showed us some places I would never have found. The tour took about an hour. Then we took a tour of the Lotus Spa and gym. That was a nice facility and we ended up booking the Thermal Suite for the rest of the week. I highly recommend this. The Thermal Suite had 5 stone beds that were contoured for your body and heated. This is a nice way to soothe your tired body after a hard day of shopping/walking around. We also got the use of the steam room and sauna and two different kind of showers. My husband and I used it practically everyday and we must have fallen asleep a couple of times on the stone beds. This was worth the money.
We had anytime dining and it suited us as we went when we were ready. Most of the time we had a table for two and ended up chatting with the couples on either side of our table. We had all our dinners in either the Da Vinci or Michaelangelo dining room. We had great service in both. The food was delicious and there was alot of seafood to choose from daily. I had swordfish, crayfish, king crab legs and lobster tails and if it was served with melted butter--the tastier it was. My favourite dessert was the Love Boat Princess Dream which is a heart shaped chocolate mousse with a little chocolate that had the princess emblem on it. I pretty well ate that every night. For breakfast we also ate in the dining room and sat with great people we met from England. Everyone is so friendly. We did not eat too often in the Horizon Court buffet as I liked the food in the dining rooms better. We ate quite a few of our lunches in the International Cafe down in the Piazza. They had a wonderful selections of salads and sandwiches. I ate alot of the greek, spinach mushroom, shrimp and chicken salads. The desserts were good as well. I had a yummy blueberry pie one day and wanted more but was told that they only made it that one day. They had a great fresh fruit tart as well and good cookies as well. We tried the pizza once and it was good and finally on the last day discovered the Trident Grill that was serving hamburgers, etc. The burger was good. I know there were a couple of other places to eat but we ran out of time to check it out. I also took advantage of purchasing the soda card for $27 plus tip and it was worth it.
For entertainment, we saw a couple of shows in the Princess Theatre. I really enjoyed the Motor City show. It was Motown music. Tim Donovan was the cruise director and he was good and funny. The guy dancers were awesome as well. We also took in one movie under the stars. That was great as we got comfy deck lounges to sit in, popcorn, a blanket and a beautiful starry night. A couple of times we caught bits and pieces of the shows at the Explorer's Lounge. That seemed to be the favourite place as it seemed to be standing room only. They also had entertainment in the piazza which was great, I saw a lot of piano players. One day they had a food demonstration where talented staff made animals out of fruit. They also had a drink demonstration where they had people from the audience make drinks--that was funny. We attended a shopping seminar which was great. I bought the Savvy Traveller book for $25 and picked up nice freebies at each and every port we went to. Needless to say my daughter got a lot of nice stud earrings and necklaces.
Most of the time, we were out on our balcony. It was great being out there as we pulled into port every morning. I heard the roosters waking up when we pulled into Antigua. It was the strangest thing. We ended up chatting to Bill and Betty from Wisconsin almost every afternoon as they were out on their balcony to watch the ship pull away from port. And then of course while the ship sailed to the next port my husband watched the good movies on tv and I sat out and enjoyed the wonderful warm air and stars. This was so relaxing for me.
I enjoyed the ports we stopped at. We went to Barbados and we did the Malibu Beach excursion. A beautiful beach with strong waves. I got knocked down quite a few times. St. Lucia had a great shopping area with all the stalls with local crafts. I got quite a few souvenirs from here. We took the four wheel drive tour and that was fun. Got to sample local bananas and drink from a coconut. Antigua was the most fun for us as we had friends take us all over the island. It certainly is a beautiful island and we were able to swim with the stingrays. St. Maarten was strictly reserved for shopping the good jewellery and we got what we came for. We did play at the Great Bay Beach which was next to the cruise terminal and lastly we went to Trunk Bay for snorkeling when we went to St. Thomas. I definitely recommend to shop in the morning and then do an excursion in the afternoon as I found when I did the excursion in the morning, I was too tired to really shop and walk around in the pm.
Getting off the ship was very smooth. We had a 12 noon flight so we were one of the first few groups to get off. I could not believe the sea of suitcases when we went to collect them. I would highly recommend that you put coloured tape on both sides of your suitcase as my husband had a hard time finding our 3rd suitcase as it was flipped with the backside showing. He said, if it weren't for the green tape he had on the bottom of the suitcase--it would have taken him forever to locate it.
We had such a great time that we would like to go on another one with Princess. I definitely want a room with a balcony and anytime dining, I have been spoiled. So I will start saving now.