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Old May 19th, 2010, 11:27 AM
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Default Caribbean Princess Repositioning Part 2

Sunday May 2

The day dawned grey and rainy in Old Town San Juan, so Marj and I scrapped plans for touring and opted for a quick trip to the CVS pharmacy on the next block and head for the ship. I was puzzled when the front desk at the Sheraton Old Town told us checkout was on the second floor but it became obvious quickly, the miniscule lobby was absolute chaos with three ships in port that day. Added to the chaos was departing Carnival passengers who normally would have schlepped their baggage across the street but wanted cabs due to the rain. Despite the chaos, we got checked out quickly, grabbed the nearest porter and went to catch a cab. In the few minutes that elapsed between our return from the CVS to checkout the skies had opened up and the alley in front of the hotel entrance had running water almost calf deep. The taxis in San Juan have a rule that taxis dropping off passengers at the hotel cannot pick passengers up, rather they have to circle the hotel and join the rear of the queue at the taxi stand. Problem was that the taxi at the front of the rank had a sleepy or otherwise occupied driver so it was 20 minutes before we were able to get a cab.

We waded to our cab and climbed aboard. Due to street flooding the driver took numerous detours, so it was a good thing that the taxis are flat rate based on zones. He did take us through some streets we really didnít want to know existed. Despite that, he got us to Pan Am Pier in a reasonable amount of time but not without providing a last second thrill. He decided that the line of traffic for the two docked ships was simply too long and decided to create his own traffic lane and zoomed up front. Marj was horrified and hid her eyes. Having more taxi experience around the world than her, I tried to reassure her that this wasnít bad at all but even my stories about Turkish cabbies didnít calm her.

On arrival at the pier we dropped our luggage off with the porters and had a seat in the large departure hall. Check-in went smoothly and after a quick stop at the duty-free liquor store (note: if you want wine, get it before you arrive, the selection is limited), we boarded.

Boarding the Caribbean Princess was like returning to an old friend since this was our second sailing on her. We got entries in a treasure hunt game that required one to visit 10 different venues on the ship and then turn the card in at sail away for a drawing. It was a good way to get acquainted with the lay of the ship as well as an opportunity for Princess to showcase onboard services. First stop was Sabatiniís where we booked a table for the first formal night. We noticed a few changes including the addition of the Sanctuary on deck 16, an extra-charge venue that offers deluxe loungers, pampering, use of an I-Pod, and a special spa menu. Priced at $10 per half day, the Sanctuary allows one to rent a specific lounger for an entire cruise if one is so inclined. Other changes on the Caribbean Princess include the relocation of the steakhouse and its change from Sterling Steak House to a Crown Grill and the relocation of the popular Wheelhouse Bar.

We had anytime dining and ate mostly in the Coral Dining Room on the 6th deck since we found an outstanding server in Nadjia from Switzerland who also provided us outstanding service in the morning in the buffet and got an extra tip and a You Made My Day card (comment card) from us. After dinner, we enjoyed the welcome show and then attended the sail away party which was late as we didnít leave San Juan until 11pm. We didn't win a prize in the treasure hunt .

This was our second cruise out of San Juan and I have to say it is our favorite sail away. We backed out of our berth, swung around and headed out past Old Town and El Morro. We watched Puerto Rico fade in the distance from our balcony and retired for the night.

Coming Up! Part 3 Ė St. Thomas/St John and Antigua!
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Old May 19th, 2010, 12:12 PM
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Thanks for Part 2 Doug, now on to Part 3!
I too love the Caribbean Princess, it is still my favourite of all the ships I've sailed. There's something so "Caribbean" about her, with her light colours, mosaic tiles, and palm trees everywhere. Hope you'll post some pics!

donna
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Old May 19th, 2010, 12:17 PM
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Originally Posted by rollerdonna View Post
Thanks for Part 2 Doug, now on to Part 3!
I too love the Caribbean Princess, it is still my favourite of all the ships I've sailed. There's something so "Caribbean" about her, with her light colours, mosaic tiles, and palm trees everywhere. Hope you'll post some pics!

donna
Pictures are forthcoming as part 3 will include our excursions to St John and in Antigua. There will also be pictures from Bermuda as well in future editions.
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Old May 20th, 2010, 04:42 AM
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Part 2 was worth the wait, now on to part 3 and pics :-)
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Old May 20th, 2010, 06:14 AM
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Doug, Thank you for this. I am loving my morning time reading this and RD's reviews. Have not been to San Juan in many years. Planning now to revisit that city.

Laura
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