Caribbean Princess

February, 2015

Ports of call:

Princess Cay
St. Maarten / St. Martin
St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands
Nassau, Bahamas

St. Maarten

Five ships in port (can sometimes be twice that):
Caribbean Princess -- Capacity of 3,080 passengers
Jewel of the Seas -- 2,501 passengers
Independences of the Seas -- 4,375 passengers
Norwegian Getaway -- 4,028 passengers
Disney Fantasy -- 4,000

Total capacity: 17,984, almost 18,000 visitors, not counting thousands of crew members who get shore leave. Incredible commerce builds up around so many visitors. Still, how can there be enough customers for all of those diamond shops? And other jewelry? And souvenirs?

We took a taxi into St. Maartan and immediately hopped a local bus (a small van) to Marigot on the French side of the island in St. Martin. There didn't seem to be any bus stops, people just waved their hand to stop the van, and just spoke up when they wanted to get off. A taxi would have cost $18 - $20 but the bus was $2 and a wonderful exposure to local people.

A man told us where to get out to go downtown (it wasn't obvious).. We stopped at Banana Cafe, which was open air and very colorful, but the internet didn’t work, so we left. At the local vendors market I bought a T-shirt designed by a local man, sold by his wife. We spoke French, as her English was limited. We stopped for a fruit juice at a tourist rip off place. Walked down the waterfront and ended up my sheer luck in the Marina.

There we had a great French lunch at the Belle Epoque. We could also have chosen the nearby Cafe de Paris or Cafe de France. The former had great reviews. I couldn’t remember what was said about Belle Epoque. I was attracted by the fois gras and the raie aux capres. We flagged down the bus back to Philipsburg and walked around there. Lots of people, not much to do if you didn’t want to lie on the beach, buy gems, or drink. After indulging in a chocolate shake with homemade ice cream we took a taxi back to the ship. We passed through the stores around the port but made no purchases.

St. Thomas

We were at the dock closest to town but we stayed in the immediate area at a shooping center with exclusive shops. People really pay those prices, huh? We gaped at huge yachts, one of which was called Infinity. Our goal is always to find a place to do email. In this case, it was at Bad Ass Coffee.They had real chocolate in the moch (not squeeze bottle junk). The gelato place wasn’t open yet. The ship has a unique set of horns that play numerous tones, so upon our departure we did more than just three blasts.

On Board

We ate at two of the specialty restaurants: Sabatini and Crown Grill. Both were excellent meals but with too much server presence, especially the latter. Despitte my intended discipine, I ate more than I had planned and gained weight. As usual it was he desserts. I couldn’t burn off that many calories. Linda and I had a great time. Cruises allow for plenty of quality time together.

Entertainer Mike Marino was good, very funny. Resident singers and dancers were mediocre with the occasional high point. Dancers were not in sync, singers not always on the same page. The guy in the piano bar played as well as Ian West (our favorite), but with less pizazz. We enjoy listening to him. Fresh Power were excellent, with great dance music. We tried to go to some of the public events but found them too crowded. On sea days, all of the lounges get taken by readers, card players, drinkers, and talkers, while the upper deck is a sea of broiling flesh. Not a pretty sight.

Nassau

The plan was to go back to Van Breugle’s on Charlotte Street for cold beer, conch soup, and internet. However, the weather was poor so we didn't get off the ship..



No photos. Sorry. Now a days I have a smart phone and take many more pictures.