My parents had ports of call at both La Guaira and Granada during a cruise through the Panama Canal aboard MV Royal Princess several years ago. They thoroughly enjoyed Granada, which is known as the spice island of the Caribbean, and they brought back a few spices among their souvenirs. Their reaction to Caracas was somewhat mixed, as they saw several beautiful buildings and a fair amount of poverty. Venezuela is not exactly the safest place to go ashore on your own, the tours offered from the ship will be fine.
Three of my six cruises have been aboard MV Sun Princess, and she is truly a magnificent ship with plenty of options for daytime activities at sea and for evening entertainment. The best music for dancing usually is in either the Wheelhouse Bar (just aft of the Princess Theater on the Promenade Deck) or in the Horizon Court. The Wheelhouse Bar usually has two live combos that play music for dancing from 5:00 PM until 1:00 AM. The combo in the Horizon Court usually plays from 9:00 until midnight.
Things not to miss aboard the ship include the following:
>> Verdi's Pizzeria serves great pizza and calzones. It's a great spot for lunch, and it's also open at night for a late snack.
>> Dinner in the main dining room features a different menu each night. The food and the service are superb.
>> The wine tasting, usually held on the first afternoon at sea. You need to sign up in advance. There's a $5 charge, but you get a credit of $5 toward a bottle of wine for dinner on the evening of your choice if you order the wine at the tasting. You can apply the credit toward any wine on the ship's wine list, which is fairly extensive. They usually sample two white wines, two red wines, and a sparkling wine on a rotating basis.
>> Princess's production shows -- they are really outstanding, and each show has its own unique character.
>> The "Island Night" party and buffet, held under the stars in the main pool area (be sure to bring tropical shirts/dresses for this occasion).
>> Afternoon Tea, served from 3:30 to 4:30 each afternoon in one of the main dining rooms, is a very proper British afternoon tea with finger sandwiches, etc. Be sure to go at least once during your cruise.
My wife and I took this cruise last Nov. and LOVED IT! Take the four wheel drive coastal excursion tour if they still offer it. That was one of the most enjoyable part of our trip. We went snorkeling in Grenada and had a very good time. The island looked beautiful and we wish we would have taken some time to explore it, maybe next time (and there will be a next time).
Check out the Grenada web site at spiceisle.com .
We did this itinerary last spring on the Dawn. Caracas was a port of call where we did not even get off the ship. The place where the ship docks is quite a long trip (over an hour) from Caracas and the pier area looked very poverty stricken. wouldn't advise going out on your own. We opted, like I said , to stay onboard with our kids and lounge by the pool that day. With all the other excursions we did on that cruise we needed a break. My in-laws did check out the area right around the pier and found a few interesting items for sale.
The rest of the cruise was great. Another interesting thing to do in Grenada was the tour of the spice plantation. It was facscinating! Hope you have a great trip! We won't be cruising again for awhile. Can't wait for the next one!!!