Hi there, my name is Debbi Haney. I have had 41 years of travel experience and I am currently at Fox World Travel’s De Pere office. I recently had the opportunity to sail aboard Princess Cruise Line’s Caribbean Princess. The experience was unforgettable. Let me go above and beyond your expectations to help you plan your perfect vacation!
We arrived at the pier in Ft Lauderdale around 12:15 p.m. and early enough to avoid the long check-in lines. Once onboard we headed to our ocean view cabin which was 315 on the Plaza Deck. The location of our cabin turned out to be ideal as we were close to The Piazza, Atrium and Island Dining Room. Though the cabin was moderate in size I enjoyed the large walk-in closet, and in-room fridge that was stocked with soda and bottled water (for a fee), daily. The Caribbean Princess’ décor was beautiful with a lot of dark woods, rich fabrics, and marble accents. The one thing that stood out to me was the narrow stair cases between floors. I think that this design allowed for wider hallways on the decks, but it also gave the appearance of greater congestion in the stairwells. This is the only negative thing that I can say about this ship. The food, the staff, the entertainment, and variety of everything, was outstanding. We had opted for anytime-dining. I really enjoyed being seated with different people every night and also having the opportunity to dine whenever you wanted to. The only down-side was that you had different servers every night which didn’t offer the opportunity to get to know them very well. On the other side, you were able to meet many of the on-board guests. Princess charges your ship-board account daily for your tips. Although this procedure is convenient, I think that as a result, we spent more on tips than what we normally would in that, I still insisted of handing a personal gesture of gratitude directly to the staff that served us so well during the week of our stay.
This 7-day itinerary included Princess Cays, Curacao, Aruba and a total of 3 days at sea. Because I enjoy the cruise experience and find the island-stops to be a bonus, this itinerary was perfect. Additionally, I had not been to either Curacao or Aruba.
First Stop was Princess Cays. This uninhabited Island is always one of my favorite stops, and similar stops offered by a lot of cruise lines. Because the ships cannot dock here, you must tender in to the island. In one short description, this stop entails “A Huge Beach Party” complete with live music, dancing, a beach barbecue, hammocks, swimming, snorkeling, banana boats, jet skis, and private bungalows for those that want to get away from the crowd. A great time for all ages!
Hi, my name is Kathi Madison. I also had the opportunity to sail with Princess Cruise Lines. With 25 years of travel experience and working at Fox World Travel’s De Pere office, I would be more than happy to share my knowledge and experiences with you to help you plan your dream vacation!
Our balcony cabin was on the Baja deck. I hadn’t been on Princess since Alaska 1998, and found it to be pretty much the same with great service and enjoyable staff. The only thing I missed was the towels shaped into different characters at bed time! We took part in the anytime dining and met very interesting people each time we dined. My husband’s birthday was on December 7th, and they had a happy birthday sign on our door and they brought him a delicious “Love Boat” cake with a candle at dinner.
Newly enhanced with the latest innovations, Grand Princess continues to offer the signature service for which Princess Cruises is renowned. With innovative features like Movies Under the Stars®, Italian-inspired Piazza and The Sanctuary®, there are plenty of ways to help you escape completely. Sip on a variety of soothing teas at Leaves Tea Lounge & Library, or enjoy hand-tossed pizza in Alfredo’s, our full-service pizzeria. Plus, the new nightclub, The One5, provides a vibrant ambience to dance the night away.
Our ports were the same as Debbi had on the Caribbean Princess.
Dutch influence still lingers on this balmy Caribbean island, part of the former Netherlands Antilles until its independence in 1986. Aruba is a contrast: the island’s arid interior is dotted with cactus and windswept divi-divi trees while secluded coves and sandy beaches make up its coast. Aruba’s long and colorful heritage is reflected in its dialect. Called Papiamento, it is a tongue that combines elements of Spanish, French, Portuguese, Dutch, African and English.
In Aruba we did an island tour with a local guide that was on an open air bus. We started with a drive through Oranjestad, which is Aruba’s largest port, and the island’s capital and offers the best shopping experience on its main street. It is also known for its impressive Dutch Colonial architecture. Our next stop was to climb up the Casibari Rock Formations. These dramatic formations are shaped by boulders, some the size of small houses and weighing several tons. Arawak Indians would visit in order to hear incoming thunderstorms and draw on the rocks. We stopped at the Baby Natural Bridge which is a stunning rock and coral formation. The original Natural Bridge fell into the sea in 2005, but the smaller bridge remains a must-see island highlight. Then we were on to the California Light House. Perched on a high elevation and named after the steamship “California,” which sunk off the coast of Aruba, this lighthouse was built in 1910, and offers stunning views of the island and coastline. Our next stop was for the people that wanted to get some beach time. Aruba is famous for gorgeous, palm-tree lined white sandy beaches which are home to calm clear waters, making them perfect locations for swimming, snorkeling and sunbathing.
Historians still contend over which European adventurer first spied the largest island in the former Netherlands Antilles. Some historians claim the honor for Alonzo de Ojeda; other historians champion Amerigo Vespucci. Little does it matter; today’s travelers are content to bask beneath sunny skies cooled by the trade winds. Lying some 40 miles off Venezuela, Curaçao boasts a landscape that is dramatic, stark, and volcanic. In contrast, Willemstad, the capital, seems a cozy Dutch haven with its neat row houses. And while those gabled and tiled roofs illustrate the island’s heritage, the bright, pastel houses speak pure Caribbean. Islanders themselves reflect this same colorful contrast: over 50 different nationalities have come to call Curaçao their home.
In Curacao we did an island tour with a local guide this time in an air conditioned bus. We started with a city tour of Willemstad. This charming capital city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Boasting a rich and diverse history and culture, its traditional Dutch architecture has been infused with the color and spirit of the Caribbean. We had a tour of the Curacao Liquor Factory with free samples!!! We continued around the island ending up at the Queen Emma Pontoon Bridge. Constructed in 1888 and nicknamed the “Swinging Old Lady,” this bridge swings open to allow ships to access the port. Recently restored, it connects the Punda and Otrobanda districts.
This opportunity was definitely an unforgettable one. Princess Cruise Lines have never disappointed either of us. The service, staff and entertainment was excellent. For help in planning your next Caribbean vacation, contact one of our Cruise travel agents!