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Old January 31st, 2005, 09:11 PM
SDZ
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Default First Time Cruising 3/19- HELP!

I've been reading through many of the messages below and am starting to get a bit scared. This is our (my husband and I) first cruise, besides a one-day to the Bahamas...hardly counts! Anyway, we got a really good deal on a 7 day cruise down the Eastern Carribean on the Carribean Princess, but it sounds like many people were not very pleased with this boat or cruise line. My travel agent suggested either Royal Carribean or Carribean Princess. Well Royal Carribean was basically sold out except maybe a spot sleeping in the life boat for twice the price, so we went with the Princess. Looks great on the brochure and website. I suppose I will have a good time, because I have nothing to compare it with! Anyway, this will be the first vacation away from our two and a half year old, so it really does not matter where we are sleeping.... as long as he is not in the middle of the bed (ha, ha)!
Please enlighten on any tips for us. We are newbies to the cruising game! Thanks!
Sailing on March 19, 2004!
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Old January 31st, 2005, 10:23 PM
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Default Re: First Time Cruising 3/19- HELP!

hello, i will taking a princess cruise for the first time, i had always traveled carnival. dont have worries, you will have a great time.all the ship basically are the same as far as food and entertainment. the rest depends on what you make of the cruise as far as ship enjoyment, shows, casino, pool, etc. and get off at every port and see as much as you can. if you tell me where you are gonig and when, i might be able to help you out in port.
JIM
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Old February 1st, 2005, 06:10 AM
SDZ
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Default Re: Re: First Time Cruising 3/19- HELP!

Thanks Jim,
We will be leaving on Mrch 19 going to St. Thomas and St. Marteen and Pricess Cays (which I am now hearing is under repair). I will call to verify today on that matter. We are a little confused as to what to do for shore excursions. My husband likes to fish but I don't see anything like that available. I on the other hand will do anything from parasailing, helicopter rides to snorkeling or I would love to do something like swim with the dolphins, etc. We are not really into just shopping boutiques. After boarding we will be at sea for two days straight in order to get to St. Thomas. I am a little worried about there being enough to do on the boat for so long. Any suggestions for any of the above?
Shawn
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Old February 1st, 2005, 06:52 AM
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Default Re: Re: Re: First Time Cruising 3/19- HELP!

we have been on four cruises with princess all but one was great,do not worry while on board you will find plenty to do.sometimes I would not mind finding a cruise that just sails for 7 days.there is so much to do onboard.as far as fishing,I do not know,I think my wife would kill me if I spent that kind of money to go fishing.everytime we have gone to st marteen we book a day at everythingcool beach.its (was) only $25.00 p.p and you got the use of a locker,lunch,two free drinks each and the use of beach mats and chairs.my wife does like to shop so we go into town early get our locker and put our swiming stuff in it,go shopping come back at lunch time switch our shopping items with beach items have lunch and spend the rest of the time on the beach.this way we get shopping and beach and do not have to go back to the ship to drop anything off before enjoying the beach.we went to everything cool in 2001 and then again in april of 2004 and we found it to be the same including price which I was very surprised at.paul

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Old February 1st, 2005, 07:31 AM
Dana Cline
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Default Re: First Time Cruising 3/19- HELP!

Shawn,

Not to worry - you'll have a great time! St. Thomas is the shopping island for duty free items. For fun, visit Coral World (google for them - they have a great web site). Make sure you're on deck when the ship arrives - the views are stunning. Bring a camera. If you don't have a good digital yet, consider buying one in St. Thomas.

If you want an honest in-depth story of our first cruise (Sea Princess, 2000), take a look at www.logicsmith.com in the Adventures section. Good photos too...

Dana
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Old February 1st, 2005, 07:35 AM
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Default Re: First Time Cruising 3/19- HELP!

We are going on our 7th cruise, but I can remember the anticipation of our first cruise. It turned out wonderful, that is what made us cruise people!! The first two days at sea will be ones that you can enjoy knowing you have all the time in the world to do whatever you choose. There is sooo much offered by the cruise director (its all in the paper that you receive every night on your bed) As for tours look to see what is interesting to you both, there has to be something. Every island is so beutiful. We were at St. Thomas in May and we went to Megans Bay, its absolutely beautiful!! We were at St. Maarten and rented a car with another couple and he showed us around this island. If I had to do it over again I would have opted for a tour.But thats another story. Princess Cays is now opened and its suppose to be a beautiful spot also. Your precruise package should have all the info about that island and others. The choice is yours. We feel you cannot have a bad cruise. Its your vacation, enjoy it and I'm sure you will want to cruise again---- soon. We have sailed Norwegian, Celebrity, RCCL and this will be our second Princess. We never had a bad one!!!! Have a wonderful cruise.

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Old February 1st, 2005, 08:12 AM
TonynMI
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Default Re: First Time Cruising 3/19- HELP!

Go here to find out more on Princess.
http://boards.cruisecritic.com/forumdisplay.php?f=197
Your first cruise is your best and you will never forget it. Everyone has an opinion and they vary. So, go with an open mind and you will enjoy every moment. A cruise is what you make it. Not what someone else tells you it was or was not. Happy cruising!!
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Old February 1st, 2005, 08:44 AM
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Default Re: First Time Cruising 3/19- HELP!

The Caribbean Princess is a fantastic ship. We were on her for Thanksgiving and had a great time. No worries.
Sea angel
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Old February 1st, 2005, 09:41 AM
MicheleandJeff
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Default Re: First Time Cruising 3/19- HELP!

I have a question,Paul said they booked a day at everything beach in St Marteen,how do you pay for that.Do they put it on your credit card or on the cruise card or do you need cash.Not sure how much money to bring.
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Old February 1st, 2005, 11:37 AM
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Default Re: Re: First Time Cruising 3/19- HELP!

that everything cool is an excursion in the book and you can book it on line or threw your t/a and it was just added to our bill.paul

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Old February 2nd, 2005, 12:23 PM
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Default Re: First Time Cruising 3/19- HELP!

Shawn, not to worry. Princess is a great line, its casual, yet elegant, not glitzy, or flamboyant , like a really nice resort hotel. We are Gold Club Members so we have experience sailing on Princess. You have picked a great itineary. I don't know about fishing but i do know that there is great snorkeling on both St. Thomas and St. Maarten.
St. Thomas - good snorkeling at Coki Beach, none at Meagans Bay - but we have found the snorkeling to be better over on St. John Island - you get there by water taxi from St. Thomas , go to this web site for great info on St. Thomas www.vinow.com
St.Maarten - great beaches - Orient is the most popular, lots of stuff to do, but one portion of the beach is clothing optional if that is a concern. Found good snorkeling over on Pineal Island (take a ship's tour) If you are looking for something fun and different to do on St. Maarten then look into either the America's Cup Regatta - you get to crew on a racing sloop in an actual race, or the Golden Eagle Catamaran Sail - here you sail up the coast- which is gorgeous, over to a small island preserve where you can swim, relax on the beach, do a little snorkeling, go for a walk, have a mud bath, the boat provides, soda, beer, rum punch and sandwiches - we had a blast. - book both of these excursions thru the cruise line.
Both St. Thomas & St. Maarten are great duty-free shopping ports. Do some beach time in the am and some shopping in the afternoon if you like., or if you don't want to shop, rent a taxi & driver for a couple of hours and just tour the island.
Princess Cays - we were here before the hurricane, it has since reopend, and is fully restored. This place is one huge beach party. You can rent water toys, relax on the beach and get served cocktails, they have a really good buffet lunch.
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Old February 2nd, 2005, 05:34 PM
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Default Re: First Time Cruising 3/19- HELP!

You're going to have a blast - One piece of advice - don't overpack. We will be on our 4th cruise in April and have learned to take only the minimum clothes. Yes - you'll want the formal and all that - but we take 2-3 pairs of shorts and tops. We both have those nylon shorts, my husband has the ones that have zipper pockets . When going to the pool or Princess Cays or even snorkling - you just wear your bathing suit with the nylon shorts and a cover up or tee shirt. I remember our first cruise where I was going to take all these good button down shirts . It never dawned on my to take tee shirts .
There is a "clothesline" in the shower where you can wash them out and hang overnight.
Also, bring (or buy onboard) a lanyard - it's a plastic envelope like thing with a long cord to go around your neck. We put our identification and Princess card in it - Makes it so much easier to carry.
I like to read while I'm at the pool or balcony - so I save all my Readers Digest and Good Housekeeping etc. After I read them, I just throw them out. We also load our suitcase with water or pop which we drink a lot of. Leaves more room for stuff we happen to pick up.
We have been to St. Thomas (My Favorite island) 3 other times. We love Megan's Bay - got a cab to there off the dock - even arranged for her to pickk us up at a certain time. Just sit in the sun at a gorgeous beach.The island tour is spectacular. You can arrange through Princess or at the dock. They showed us Michael Jordan's home as well as beautiful veiws of the island.
Our first two cruises, we booked everything through the cruise line - then we learned that if we know where we want to go, we just get a cab - much cheaper. We've never had problem doing that. Except one that got a flat tire! Just make sure you give yourself plenty of time to get back to the ship.
Get yourself into the relaxing mode - We had a friend we could never sit still and he hated his only cruise. Have a wonderful time - and let us know how lucky we are to be going two weeks later!!!
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Old February 2nd, 2005, 08:34 PM
sdz
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Default Re: First Time Cruising 3/19- HELP!

Thanks for all the tips. My husband keeps saying don't worry...we know how to have fun! I am hoping to snorkel. I hear that they do scuba classes on the boat... I think for an extra fee. I really don't care what we do. I just gave my advisor the last two chapters of my dissertation last week......so I am just ready to relax and enjoy my first true vacation in three years from work, school and the rest of the world! I appreciate the help. This site is cool, for new cruisers like me!
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Old February 3rd, 2005, 01:52 PM
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Default Re: First Time Cruising 3/19- HELP!

We were a bit hesitant about the Caribbean Princess after reading on-line reviews, but our travel agent assured us it was a beautiful ship & we'd love it. She was right!! It is a lovely ship, very easy to get around on (even though it is VERY large), the staff was very friendly & helpful, service was very good; it was comparable to Royal Caribbean, and we actually enjoyed it as much or more (we've been on 4 Royal Caribbean cruises). We would definitely cruise Princess again. Don't let the negative people ruin your trip - you will have a great time. One thing we didn't expect was the median age of the crowd was quite a bit older than RCI, but don't panic! There were plenty of people our age (40's) and younger families, too. I'd recommend the comedians rather than the floor shows - we enjoyed all four that we saw. It did get pretty quiet by midnight, other than the Skywalkers club (way up on Deck 18), but we weren't looking for action, either.

Ports were VERY full, St. Thomas had 5 ships docked and St. Maarten had 7 the days we were in port. We hired a taxi to take us around the islands, and it was worth it! Got away from the crowds and got to see some breathtaking scenery. A couple pieces of advice: at St. Thomas, if you like to snorkel or go to the beach, take a trip over to St. John. It's a lot less crowded, and they say it's just beautiful. Magen's Bay is a beautiful beach on St. Thomas, but it will be crowded. Still, it's worth a visit On St. Maarten, take a water taxi or walk to Phillipsburg (the taxis are really disorganized) - and if you get a chance, go to Orient Beach (it's also a busy beach, but very beautiful). And if you like chocolage, there's a Belgian chocolate shop in Phillipsburg that's worth a visit. Princess Cays is open again and it was BEAUTIFUL!!! It's what you'd dream a Caribbean island ought to look like - be sure to get out and enjoy it. The water is crystal clear & as beautifully turquoise as you could imagine!!

Getting on and off the ship was very well organized and we were very impressed at how well they move large crowds of people.

Hope you enjoy your trip - don't let the grouches spoil it for you. It is a lot of fun and I wish you well!!
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Old February 5th, 2005, 12:50 AM
SDZ
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Default Re: Re: First Time Cruising 3/19- HELP!

Well, this makes me feel alot better. My husband and I are in our 30's. By midnight, we are both snoring. Not up for too much action at night. I would be just as happy in my stateroom. We were upgraded to an OceanView. I think that it is partially obstructed, but at least we will get a bit of sunlight. I would like to snorkel. I have heard of St. Johns, maybe we will take a trip there. I have been hearing that the jewelry is a good price over there. Is it true? Any stores in particular? I am beginning to get anxious and maybe think that we will hit a coulple of stores to find some bargains.
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Old February 5th, 2005, 03:03 AM
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Default Re: Re: Re: First Time Cruising 3/19- HELP!

We went on the Princess C on the 15th Jan, our first time too and I guess I had the same feelings etc. BUT we had a fab time! Everything was brilliant, the service the ship the ports everything!!! And yes, we have now booked up the next one. I shopped till I dropped for Jewellery - one advise check prices before you go - the range is huge and unless you know what you want your mind just gets in a twirl. I wanted a tanzanite and diamond necklace and earrings (which I got!). Set your budget and ASK FOR A DISCOUNT! Eg., Royal Caribbean (the shop) took 50% off the ticket price, they have a shop at Havensight, the port where the boat comes in and if you leave your purchase to the very last minute they really will bring the price down. My last minute purchase for my daughter started at $180 which I got for $80 (a nice white gold chain with a small tanzanite and diamond pendant)

I hope you have as much fun as we did. PS no need to book excursions on either St Thomas or St Maarten off the boat if you just want to go shopping and then beach it. Just take a taxi to Charlotte Amalie (or Phillipsburg) at the main plaza there will be taxi drivers offering you trips to the beaches for about $20 each and they do good local knowledge talk sas they drive, these trips start at 12 noon so it give you plenty of time before hand to do the shopping bit.
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