Caribbean Princess Review
Friday, June 2, Princess Cays
On this morning, we woke up anchored off the shores of Eleuthera Island, the southern portion of which is Princess Cays, the Princess private island.
It was a dull, and threateningly overcast day, and extremely humid. Sitting in our usual breakfast spot overlooking the back of the ship, we watched with trepidation, a dark storm moving in over the horizon. When it started to sprinkle, we feared it was not a good sign for our planned day at the beach in Princess Cays!
Just after 9:00 a.m. we headed down to the gangway for the tender ride over to the island, and by then the sprinkles had turned to a heavy rain. Believing in the old Caribbean adage, "if you don't like the weather, stick around 5 minutes and it will change", we headed out anyway, figuring the rain would be over by the time we got to the island.
Well we were wrong. Instead, there were rumblings of thunder and flashes of lightning to accompany us on our trip to the beach. By the time we had completed our 10 minute tender journey, we were in the middle of a full blown thunderstorm. In fact, I'd say it was bordering on a tropical storm; the only thing missing was a name!
High tropical winds bending the trees in half, sheets of rain blowing sideways, booms of thunder, flashes of lightning lighting up the sky - it was incredible, and not at all what I'd imagined our day on Princess Cays to be! Hundreds of passengers took refuge in the closest building, the Tropical Treasures Gift Shop, which did a roaring business that day! James of course, stayed outside under the sheltered porch, to film "the show". When we look at the video he shot that day, it's a bit like watching Anderson Cooper out in the Florida hurricanes on CNN! Even the covered porch area was leaking torrents of rainwater, and the noise from the storm was deafening. We could barely see the ship anchored just offshore.
And then just as suddenly as it had begun, it was over. The rain turned to a trickle, the dark clouds moved on, the sky cleared, and there was a rainbow!
The sun came out and so did we, venturing out into the puddles to explore this beautiful island. The lush tropical greenery and bright colourful flowers were amazing; the island was neat, clean and well organized and marked, with paths and signs everywhere. There was a childrens' play area with their own small pool, vendors' kiosks for island-made crafts and souvenirs, the BBQ Grill, water equipment rental areas, beach bars, and The Crow's Nest Overlook, where you could climb several flights of stairs and enjoy a view of the whole island and the storm that had moved out to sea!
View from lookout
Kids play area, Pelican's Perch
Sign posts rather appropriate for us!
But best of all, was the endless expanse of white beach, thick sand underfoot, and rows upon rows of comfortable beach chairs overlooking the gorgeous turquoise waters of the swimming bay. Pure paradise!
By now, the sun was shining strong, and it was brilliantly hot. We picked up our pre-rented float mats ($8 a day) which were thick and comfortable, chose a couple of beach loungers, and made ourselves comfortable by the shore. James went right in the water, but I wanted to "warm up" a bit first. By 11:00 a.m. I had a very large frozen margarita in my hand while I sat baking in the beautiful Caribbean sun.... Ahhhhhh!.......
Just out of curiosity, I asked my drinks server (Princess staff) if they had these storms often on the island. His reply was that this was his second contract, the average contract being about 9 months of the year, and he had NEVER seen storm like that! Just our luck to hit the worst storm in a year and a half!
It was here that my opinion of the beach and my husband’s opinion differed. He thought that the beach area upon entering the water was too rocky (pebbles) and that the actual swimming areas were too restricted for the number of people visiting the island. He much preferred Holland America’s private island Half Moon Cay. As for myself, I love just about any beach, but I have to admit, it was a bit crowded.
The day turned out so beautiful it was hard to imagine what a stormy day it had started out to be. By the time I finally made my way into the warm water, and was floating peacefully around the bay, it was sheer heaven; total relaxation!
And there we stayed, in pure heaven, until around 12:30 when our tummies called us in to the BBQ Buffet.