On this last full day of our cruise, we visited Princess Cays, the private island owned by Princess, located on the southern portion of the island of Eleuthera in the Bahamas.
I had visited here once before and remembered a wonderful day at the beach, and was eagerly looking forward to my second visit.
After a very cleverly organized debarkation procedure, which saw everyone seated comfortably in the Princess theatre, it took less than 15 minutes for hundreds of people to be moved into the lifeboats for tendering to the island.
The tenders operated back and forth most of the day, until the last one returned at 3pm.
We docked at Princess Cays around 9:30 am, prepared to enjoy a glorious, sunny day on the beach.
We spent the whole morning on comfortable lounge chairs (provided), enjoying the sun, the surf, the view of the ship, and a delicious frozen Margarita served in a Coconut Monkey!
The island offers numerous photographic opportunities, and I spent some time trying to capture some of the beauty, the colour and the atmosphere of this tropical paradise.
At 11:30, lunch was served at the outdoor buffet; chicken, ribs, hamburgers. hot dogs, salads, drinks, and lots of fresh fruit, all of it delicious!
After lunch, we picked up our rental floating mat and "sea-float", and took to the water to enjoy just floating around in the waves, and studying the undersea world through the "window" in the bright yellow plastic sea-float.
I could have stayed there forever!
James left early to go pack, but I was going to enjoy every last second of this wonderful beach day, and stayed until the last tender, swimming, sunning, having another drink, talking with cruise staff and other passengers, and doing a little gift-shopping.
I very reluctantly returned on the last tender, but I was not ready to pack yet. I was still in denial that this was the last day!
I spent another 1 1/2 hours at the Neptune pool, watching a movie, sunning in the shallow water around the pool, and enjoying some great pizza, savouring every last minute of the cruise experience.
I finally had to concede it was over, and returned to the cabin to pack, shower and change for dinner. So depressing...
Our last dinner was once again, in the Palm Dining Room, with Paul & Pauline, and I had one of my cruise favourites, "Tom Turkey" with all the trimmings; it was just like Thanksgiving or Christmas!
Everyone's meal was exceptional, and we enjoyed sharing our last meal with our new friends Paul & Pauline.
After dinner, we attended a last Trivia game in Club Fusion, thankfully, still smokeless so early in the evening.
Cruise staff member Calli from South Africa was our host, and he was dressed in a beautiful black suit and bow tie for a later function. He noticed a front-row passenger's bright pink Crocs and asked if he could try them on, and astounded at how comfortable they were, wore them for the entire Trivia game, walking around showing them off to everyone. He was quite the sight!
After we lost at Trivia yet again, the four of us went to see Bert in the Crooners' Lounge one last time.
He was in fine form, entertaining a full house and a crowded hallway.
When he saw us arrive, standing in the hallway, he dedicated "Words" by the Bee Gees to us, then proceeded to tell the whole crowd about my jigsaw puzzle gift that I had carried all the way from Montreal, and how much he loved it.
I was very touched.
After Bert's 1st set, we said good night and goodbye to our friends, and promised to visit each other with our respective Golden Retrievers once we got home.
James and I returned to our cabin to put our suitcases out, and although he retired early, I returned to the Crooners Lounge to see Bert's last set of the cruise.
The lounge was full, but I found a seat with some other Bert fans I knew and we all enjoyed a fine set of classic song requests in a very intimate setting.
This was supposed to have been his last cruise before moving to Nashville to further his songwriting and recording career, but Princess had extended his stay for another 3 weeks.
Bert joked that working on the Caribbean Princess was like the Hotel California, "you can check out any time you want, but you can never leave"!
After a wonderful last set, I said goodbye and good luck to Bert and he gave me his classic bear hug and promised to keep in touch.
I went back to my cabin in tears, so sad for such a wonderful week to end.