In November 2023, Cruise Expert, Lee Finch, went on a fabulous Caribbean sailing from Miami with Princess Cruises.
I love cruising – have done for many years. But, this was my first experience with Princess Cruises, and I can definitely say it will not be the last!
Arrival at Miami and Overnight Hotel
On arrival at Miami Airport, Princess Cruises’ team of representatives were wonderful. They had our transfer coach waiting ready to take us to the Miami Lakes Hotel, where I was staying for one night before the cruise.
The hotel was clean and comfortable with an onsite restaurant/bar – food was really good and plenty of it!
The next morning I used the restaurant for the buffet breakfast and then met the Princess representative for the transfer to the ship. This took around an hour to go from Miami to Port Everglades, Fort Lauderdale.
The Medallion App
A really simple to use app to get OceanReady for any Princess Cruises holiday. As I was coming from the UK, I had to use the blue lane to collect my Medallion (needed for the app), but the overall process was still very quick.
The app is used to book excursions, dining, see the entertainment guides, navigate the ship and even locate any friends, family or children cruising with you!
I loved the Medallion, it’s a great piece of technology! From opening your cabin door without needing a key, to ordering your drinks or even using the interactive screens around the ship. What I loved most was the bar staff being able to locate us easily, and address us by name… their tablets/till systems pick up your Medallion and could see your name and picture. So easy to use and there are many Medallion wearables that are reasonably priced. I used the clip which was great!
Day 3 – Princess Cay
Princess Cruises very own Bahamian Paradise. This is a tender port and Princess Cruises use the ferries from the mainland to bring people ashore and return back to ship.
Lovely sandy beaches and crystal clear waters – it’s a beach-lover’s paradise.
Activities available range from snorkelling to enjoying a stingray encounter (additional cost – booked via excursion section on the app). There’s also plenty of sun beds etc for rental, and watersport hire.
You can even enjoy a BBQ lunch on the island, and that’s included in the your full board cruise fare.
Princess Cays is treated as an extension of the ship and is Medallion enabled, meaning you do not need to have cash to purchase any items. Even better… if you have the Princess Plus or Princess Premier package, then you can order drinks from the bar and they’re still included in your package!
Day 5 – Mexican Fiesta at Cozumel
At Cozumel we took the Mexican Fiesta excursion which treated us to a welcome glass of margarita; traditional Mexican dancing; tequila sampling (who knew there were so many different types!); and a taco lunch. We finished with an optional guided walk around Cozumel, it’s a fascinating, and very pretty, town.
Day 6 – Snorkelling in Roatan
Today we boarded the Jolly Roger catamaran for a snorkelling adventure. Met onshore by staff of the Jolly Roger , we walked a short distance to embark the catamaran. Once the safety briefing was done we set sail for a quiet bay. Soft drinks were included prior to the actual activity of snorkelling. Lifevests (PFDs), snorkels, goggles and fins are provided, so no need to pack yours! The Jolly Roger crew gave us a guided snorkelling tour over an amazing coral reef filled with wildlife.
And, if snorkelling isn’t your thing, then you can simply choose to swim in the vicinity of the catamaran, or soak up the Caribbean sun on deck!
After snorkelling, we enjoyed a few rum cocktails (it’s the Caribbean after all!) and a BBQ lunch. All included in the ticket price.
Day 7 – Exploring the Mayans in Costa Maya
I’ve been to Mexico previously, but never visited any of the Mayan Ruins. I was therefore excited to visit the Chacchoben Mayan Ruins, which has only been partially excavated. Led by a Mayan tour guide, we had the opportunity to get up close with the Mayans ancient way of life and admire their construction abilities.
Day 8 – Fort Lauderdale – Disembarkation day
Normally I wouldn’t ever say that leaving your cruise ship behind is a highlight… but we had a fab experience lined up for the day! With our flight being late afternoon we had booked an excursion, which doubled as our transfer to the airport. We headed to the Everglades for an exhilarating Airboat Ride! We actually saw an alligator in the wild, plus visited the animal rescue centre that they have onsite. A wonderful way to end the trip!
Whilst Caribbean Princess’ first cruise was back in 2004, her last refurbishment was in 2019. She looked amazing, fresh, very classy and elegant, and that’s exactly what many Princess ships are known for.
She is very well laid out with plenty of public spaces. This sailing was actually full, but we never felt like we struggled to find space, or felt overcrowded.
Entertainment was excellent. There was always something happening, from Sail Away parties by the pool and quizzes in the lounges, to Movies Under The Stars or live music in the Piazza (Atrium).
There is also plenty of deck space to relax, read a book and enjoy your favourite cocktail! There’s also an adult only pool area, plus the adult only Sanctuary (Approx $40 for a full day) for a relaxing area of peace and quiet.
The food on Princess Cruises was some of the best I have had at sea.
Breakfast was a choice of buffet, main dining room or room service. Personally, I preferred the main dining room option, however the buffet offered plenty of quality choice.
For lunch, there’s loads of options. The pool deck pizzeria and grill (hot dogs, burgers and fries) are very popular if you don’t want to go into the buffet. This tends to be my go-to, and food from both options are great.
In the evening we ate in Palm, one of the 3 main dining rooms onboard. Menu choices were extensive. The food tasted great! And, on the odd occasion, when you cannot choose, they are happy for you have more than one starter/main/dessert, and will even re-portion sizes!
We also ate in two of the ships speciality restaurants:
Sabatini’s – Italian Restaurant – 4 Courses of great Italian Food!
Crown Grill – Steak House – My absolute favourite! Four-course meal with the best choices of steak and seafood. The Porterhouse was superb!
Other food options include:
International Cafe, just off the Piazza. It’s open 24 hours a day, and serves light bites such as sandwiches/pastries. It’s also a great spot for something sweet to go with your coffee, as there’s a great array of cakes!
Soft-serve ice cream is available on the pool deck, and is included in your cruise fare.
Premium Desserts – A daily changing choice of Ice Cream Sundaes loaded with goodies! These were included for me as part of the Princess Premier package.
We chose to upgrade to the Princess Premier package, what great value for money this is! I loved not having to think about what I was ordering, safe in the knowledge everything was covered. Great peace of mind!
The package includes:
- 15 Alcoholic Drinks per day (maximum value of $20 per drink) – This is tracked in your Medallion App after the limit is reached you are charged for each Alcoholic drink thereafter.
- Unlimited Soft Drinks, Juice Bar
- Speciality Teas and Coffees
- Crew Appreciation (Tips)
- Wifi (up to 4 devices per person)
- Unlimited Premium Deserts
- Unlimited Fitness Classes
- Unlimited Digital Prints (Photos taken by Princess Photographers loaded straight to your Medallion App and able to download to you phone)
- 2 Speciality Dining Meals
- Princess Prizes (When Casino is open – when you walk through your cabin door you have the chance to win some amazing prizes inc Spa Treatment, Onboard Credit or even a Free Cruise)
- Reserved Theatre Seating – an area of the Theatre is zoned off with Princess Premier covers – spaces still limited.
- Plus Unlimited Casual Dining experiences, room service delivery and OceanNow Delivery where you can order from the Medallion App to where you are on the ship.
The package works out at £65 per person per day, however, it saves 69% off adding all of these separately!
If you fancy a Caribbean cruise for yourself, or any Princess Cruises holiday, start your search here. Or call our Cruise Experts on 02380 658 386.