Eastern Caribbean Cruise: Overview
Winter in Wisconsin can get old. Really old. We thought maybe an Eastern Caribbean Cruise on the Royal Princess in February of 2015 would take off the chill. We had only been on one cruise prior – a Carnival Cruise in the Mediterranean. If you’d like to check out my blog, there are quite a few posts beginning with Mediterranean Cruise. When you get to the end of each post, just click on the green link to continue in the order of our cruise. It was fabulous and a great way to get an overview of an area and only unpack once. If you click on the Carnival Cruise link above, you will see that similar itineraries are available, but not our exact cruise. Our ship – the Carnival Sunshine – now stays in the U.S.
Carnival was having some issues at the time, but the cruise went off without a hitch and we saw so much, we were constantly pinching ourselves to make sure we weren’t dreaming. Even to this day, I look back and can’t believe we were standing in the center of the Sistine Chapel, or any of the stops on that fabulous vacation for that matter. Anyway, back to THIS paradise!
On our Med Cruise we opted for a deluxe balcony stateroom at the aft of the ship, which turned out to give us great views as we came into and left each port of call. We opted for the same this time and it did not disappoint.
Princess was an upgrade in quality and I think the staff was actually more friendly. The music was a disappointment since we may be 60 and 65, but we’re not dead! Carnival’s music was actually more to our liking, especially the band that played most nights with 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s music on different nights of the week. It was a lot of fun.
Princess offered string quartets, classical music and dance music – which brought out a group of ballroom dancers that must cruise together. It seemed a little dicey to me as each of the men (all dressed in black) made his choice among the women anxiously waiting to be chosen. The men were a little robotic with their dance steps, which gave us both a little chuckle and a little bit of the creeps. Most of the music that played in the atrium had dancing going on by this group, so we learned to avoid it.
If you’ve been on a cruise you know that it’s quite expensive to just sit and have cocktails, without some kind of distraction like music. We bought a juice package and purchased a bottle of gin from the gift shop, so we could get a mock-tail from the package, head up to our room and spike it from our bottle. At first it was fun, sneaking around like a kid spiking our juice, but after a while it seemed like a pain and we probably wouldn’t do that again. You just have to accept the fact that if you’re going to drink on a cruise, you’ll have to pay the price.
We saw several shows which were an upgrade from Carnival’s and the magic show was fabulous. Almost every night there was something going on and we enjoyed the shows quite a bit. Overall, if we could combine the two cruises – the music of Carnival and the class of Princess – it would have been perfect.
Our cruise departed from Fort Lauderdale, which worked out well. We were able to visit with family in the area for a day or two before and after the cruise and they didn’t charge us too much for airport/cruise terminal transportation, accommodations and a few meals – ha ha. They showed us the sights, took us to great restaurants and we had our share of gin and tonics. Of course I had to put up with some baloney (as always) from my much-older brother, but it was a fun way to start the cruise.
When we came into each port, we were not as impressed with the views of the islands as we were with the huge, ancient cities we pulled up to on the Med Cruise, but we weren’t expecting the history and spectacular views of the Mediterranean. We were expecting the gorgeous blue-green waters and we definitely had that, especially in the Turks and Caicos. We started off the cruise with a couple of excursions to get a feel for some history of the islands, had more than our fare share of the fabulous rum that the Caribbean is known for and some relaxation that was the crux of any cruise to this area.
If we were to come back to this area, I think I would prefer to just rent a condo for two weeks on one island (probably St. Thomas), pour a rum and coke and get out the sunscreen and beach chair. We’re going to try out that scenario in February of 2017 when we head to Aruba. We’ll see if we can relax for that long without going stir crazy. I have a feeling the beautiful bright blue water, white sandy beaches and umbrella drinks would never get old!
Next up: St. Kitts