Hello Everyone! The Crown Princess is amazing! Let me begin with our journey.
The day before we flew down to San Juan, we stayed in the EL San Juan Hotel and Casino. The hotel was beautiful, located beach-front, but it was very pricey, wouldn't recommend this hotel unless money isn't an object. The day we arrived the weather was warm and sunny, but only for a few hours, until the rain approached. The hotel offered many resturants throughout the hotel, but again pricey. We would of liked to have walked throughout San Juan, but the weather wouldn't cooperate so we had no other choice but to stay within the hotel resort.
The morning of the cruise...Saturday, October 27th we ate breakfast at the hotel than decided to take a taxi over to the cruise port around 11:30am so we could be one of the first ones aboard the ship. Although we managed to get to the pier early, the weather was horrible, rainy and miserable looking. At the pier we were able to check in our luggage right away and proceded to the apporiate area to check-in. I would recommend arriving at the pier as early as possible if that's an option. Although we arrived early, and we where only the sixth person in line to check-in, we couldn't check-in yet. We where told that a passenger from the previous cruise had passed away, and they had to make arrangments to remove the body before they could go through customs and have the passengers get off the ship. Do to the circumstances, they started to check-in passengers around 12:30pm and we where on ship around 1pm. Considering the circumstances our embarking went very smooth.
Boarding the ship was easy....we arrived onboard at 1pm and was directed by Princess staff where our room was located on the Riveria Deck, deck 14, only one deck from the Lido deck, where the pools and buffet is located. This was our first cruise where we had a balcony room, very impressed with the room and balcony, so I will say we will never cruise without a balcony. In the next room were our friends, another couple we met last year on another cruise, whom we become great friends with. Although we didn't have ajoining rooms we where able to have our room steward open our balconies so we could walk across to one-anothers balcony which made it convienant. The weather didn't seem to cooperate.We decided to take advantage of the rainy weather and explore the ship and take photos.
This ship was more than I expected, not only was it beautiful it had so many things to offer passengers. After we explored the ship we decided to have lunch in the buffet located on the Lido Deck, deck 15. Before entering the buffet they had a sanitizer machine located near the buffet, which I thought was a great feature, considering all the germs we carry as people. The lunch buffet had many hot and cold dishes to choose from, the only mass confusion was, there was no direction to the line of the buffet. The passengers came from many different directions making it hard to view all the food, there where times I didn't even see all the food, because I didn't have the patience of people bumping into me, and not even saying "excuse me", so I would settle with a simple salad and some fruit. If you love fruit, the buffet was the place to go because they had the freshest fruit aboard.
Day #2 St. Thomas: We boarded the ship on Saturday and Sunday we where in St. Thomas. This was our 3rd time visiting, love St. Thomas, we did the Champagne Catamaran Cruise. The cruise consisted of a 20 minute air-conditioned bus ride where we could board the catamaran. There were a total of 35 of us, which seemed a little to crowded. Once we boarded the catamaran we enjoyed an hour ride over to St. John, where we would dock near Honeymoon Beach. We had a choice of snorkeling or enjoy laying on the beach. The water was beautiful as ever in St. John, the weather wasn't the best, very overcast, but we made the best of it. We were able to enjoy the snorkeling and the beach for 2hours than we boarded the catamaran where we would have our champagne and snacks, which consisted of cheeses, and crackers. On our way back to St. Thomas we rain into a heavy rain storm, with very intense waves, it was a little scary to be on the ocean with such an intense storm, but we all felt safe because we had a very experienced crew assuring us eveything would be fine. Once we docked in St. Thomas, the rain had let up a bit, but not enough for us to go to Paradise Point, so our trip was cut short.
Day #3 St Kitts and 1st formal night: We arrived in St. Kitts and the weather was gorgeous, hardly a cloud in the sky and the sun was shining. We didn't have a excursion booked but we wanted to go to the beach. We where told that Turtle Beach was closed, the former owner sold it and now a new owner is trying to make repairs to open it in the near future. Next on the list, South Frigate Beach. Our taxi driver was horrible, we asked for him to take us to this beach and he took us to South Friars Beach which is two different beaches. After looking at the beach we decided not to stay because there was hardly a beach there to enjoy. The taxi driver recommended Bananna Beach...a little better beach, but the water wasn't the best, but we made the best out of it. On our way back to the ship we where shown the actual beach we wanted to originally go to, it's near the Marriott resort area, very beatuiful.
Day #4 Grenada: The weather seemed to get better and hotter as the ship moved on. We decided to take a taxi to Grand Anse Beach, the taxi driver was very friendly and informative about the island. The beach was nice, it had a small resturant on premises, and we enjoyed a day of fun and sun.
Day #5 Bonaire and Halloween: Today is Halloween and the ship staff has the atrium deocrated in orange and black balloons and near the piano in the atrium they have a huge table with over 100 pumpkins decorated and lighted with two halloween cakes for the Halloween party later on board. We arrived in Bonaire at 11am, on this island we booked an excursion through the ship. This excursion was a beach resort excursion with lunch, and where we could utilize the resorts beach, pools and facilities. Upon arriving, the resort was very beautiful, the ocean and beach was nice, but the water was rough and hard to walk into because there was many rocks. We decided to spend half the day near the ocean and the other near the pool, where they offered umbrellas and lounge chairs and a swim up pool bar. The lunch they served was awesome, they had barbaeque ribs, small filot mignon, salad, and veggies. A very recommended excursion. While shopping in Bonaire, the staff of the ship led the children and their parents through the shops of Bonaire to tricker-treat. We had a reservation to Sabitinin's speciality resturant this evening, the menu was very overwhelming. They offered 16-appetizeres which mostly consisted of fish or seafood, and the only thing we had to worry about ordering was our entree. The food was amazing but we expected to see more Italian dishes on the menu which they didn't have, but the resturant and staff where amazing. Later that evening they had an amazig halloween party in club fusion.
Day #6 Aruba and 2nd formal night: We arrived in Aruba very early, this would be our 2nd time visiting and this happens to be our favorite island. We decided to visit Palm Beach for the 2nd time...many new surprises since we last visited 6-years ago. We set up shop right in front of the new RIU hotel, which is amazing, this hotel looks like a castle, and can be seen from the cruise pier from our balcony. My girlfriend and I have been looking forward to Aruba because we've been talking about parasailing while visiting Palm Beach. The weather couldn't of been any more nicer, warm and hot just the way we like it. For the firt time in both our lives we had the opportunity to experience something amazing, parasailing on a beautiful island, what a rush!!! The scenery of Aruba was amazing from 300-feet above the water, I will never forget that moment for the rest of my life. I'm truly happy that Aruba was the last port of our itinerary because I believe it was the best port of our trip. From a long day, the four of us was so tired, that we decided to skip our 2nd formal night, and we went to the late night buffet. The dinner buffet was good but I missed going to the dining room for diner, even though we had anytiime dining.
Day #7 A Day At Sea: We had a chance to sleep in until 10am, had breakfast and right to the pool for a day of fun and sun. Our friends are early risers so they where able to get us chairs right along the main pool were they where going to have all the pool games and ice scalping for the day. The weather was very hot with lots of sun. I've been on 5-cruises including this one and everyone I've got a great tan, but on this one I've gotten the most intense tan that I can ever remember. This cruise has been amazing and truly our favorite so far.
The night before disembarking: We where provided with color tags for our luggage and asked to leave our luggage out before leaving for dinner that evening.
Disembarking: Princess provided color tags, and a time and an area of the ship to meet. At 9am after clearing customs they began to call passengers off according to their tag color. We met in the Explore Lounge and had red tags which allowed us to disembark the ship at 10am because we had a 1:40pm flight. Disembarking was very easy, we went down the gang plank where we went through customs, showed our declarations, and passports and was led to the area where we had to collect our luggage. It only took us 30 minutes from the time we got called off the ship to clearing customs and getting our luggage...a good process by Princess.
San Juan Airport: This is where the hell began! We arrived at Delta at 11am, to find out our 1:40pm flight was canceled due to weather on the east coast. Delta told us we would be leaving at 1pm now but flying on American Airlines. We went to American airlines to check in our luggage, to find our the flight we had, wouldn't make our connecting flight in to JKF, so they had to change it again. So now American doesn't have us leaving San Juan until 2:40pm, and we have to go to Chicago, which we wouldn't get into until 6:40pm, and leaving at 9:04pm using United Airlines and arriving in Albany, NY at 11:56pm. Originally before all the changes we where susppose to be arriving home at 8:44pm and now we wont be arriving until 11:56pm and utilizing three different airline carriers. It was a long day after departing the ship. We arrived in Albany at midnight and got home at 12:30pm.
In conclusion: Over all this cruise was our favorite, Princess was amazing, the staff was excellent. Although we had anytime dining, we found a great waiter and decided to make reservations at his table the remainding of the week. Our room steward Jose, was awesome, he worked well with my husband in making our 6th wedding anniversary very speical. I would recommend Crown Princess very highly, the ship and the staff was a perfect 10. I hope you have enjoyed my journey, feel free to ask me any questions. Happy Cruising Everyone!