Second Mate

Joined: 12/20/2013
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HappyTwosome's Past Cruises


November 2015 - 7 Night Eastern Caribbean (Ft. Lauderdale Roundtrip) Cruise on Westerdam

Smooth Sailing

This was one of our best cruises out of many.  The service, food, activities and entertainment met or exceeded our expectations and I didn't hear anyone on board complaining much about anything.  The best part of cruising for us are the ports, and this seven-day Caribbean cruise had four days ashore to keep us busy. We had a lot of fun driving the dune buggy on Grand Turk; and Half Moon Cay has one of the most beautiful beaches in the world for swimming, floating and sunning.  In San Juan and St. Thomas it was easy to pick up two-hour sightseeing tours upon disembarkation with qualified guides and safe, comfortable vehicles at about half the price of the on-board shore excursions.  We have learned that for short general tours this is the best way to go.  You can evaluate your guide's communication skills and give a quick inspection of the tour vehicle before you select them.  And they don't collect your money until the end.  We paid between $20 and $25 cash each plus an optional tip.  (For tours involving adventure or for those that travel a long distance from the ship, we usually book through the ship's shore excursion desk for our safety and to be sure we make it back in time for sail away.)

Our cabin 5048 was located port side near the forward elevators and stairs.  We discovered that from our cabin the quickest way to access the aft dining rooms, Lido buffet or pools, and the gangway is to walk back through our corridor to the mid-ship scenic elevators.  Perhaps because you have to turn your head to notice them, the scenic elevators are not used that much by the passengers so we hardly ever had to wait for a ride.  A port balcony is great if Puerto Rico is on your itinerary because you sail right past the famous El Morro castle and Old San Juan while the cruise director offers live commentary on the loudspeaker.

This sailing proved to us again that November is a great time for cruising.  The ship wasn't sold out, making it easy to get a table in the dining room as well as chairs around the pool or in the showroom.  And, of course, the price is right!

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Coral Princess

January 2015 - 11 Night Panama Canal Partial Transit (Ft. Lauderdale Roundtrip) Cruise on Coral Princess

A Teacher gives Grades

Our cabin # 710 was interesting.  It was on a high deck, far aft, across from the guest laundry room, not too far from the stairs and elevator, and had no covering over the balcony.  I thought I wouldn't like the roofless balcony, but I ended up enjoying the full vista of the sky and sea both day and night and I spent a lot more time out there than on other cruises.  Issues arose right away, however.  The high, aft location created a constant engine vibration in the cabin.  I got used to the rock and rolling pretty quickly and it didn't affect my sleep, but my husband was bothered by it throughout the cruise and he spent far less time in the cabin than I did.  A worse problem developed as we traveled south.  The roofless balcony doors had no protection from the direct sun.  Even with the drapes pulled shut during the day, the A/C was unable to compensate.  It was ten degrees hotter during the day than at night.  The laundry room location was an asset.  It was not at all noisy in spite of the foot traffic and it was extremely convenient on those days I used the laundry.  CABIN GRADE: B-     The many interesting and educational activities on sea days that were directly related to the ports of call earned high marks.   We felt really connected and prepared whenever we disembarked to shore.  Princess excels in this area compared to other cruise lines.   ACTIVITIES: A+.  We were surprised, however, to see the same exact entertainment shows (same costumes, same sets, same everything) as on an Island Princess cruise we took a couple of years ago.  We still enjoyed the shows, but were surprised nonetheless.  ENTERTAINMENT: B;   FOOD: A- ;   RESTAURANT SERVICE: A+ (mainly because they were liberal in allowing guests to wear nice but casual clothing on formal nights).    OVERALL CRUISE: A  (The pros outweighed the cons and we had a very good time.) 

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HappyTwosome's Tips

HAVANA, CUBA - The evening stroll through old Havana was wonderful. You’ll need a cruise that stays overnight in Havana, however, to book this excursion. The tour around the city in a vintage car was interesting and a lot of fun. We booked this tour in advance through our Cruises Only and we loved it.
Nassau, Bahamas - Very commercialized like a lot of other Caribbean cruise destinations. But fun anyway.
CIENFUEGOS, CUBA - It was interesting and enlightening to see how the Cubans really live.
Insignia Insignia - 1) Book a specialty restaurant for the first night of the cruise. It’s easy to get the table of your choice at the time of your choice. And you won’t be tired of eating yet! 2) The Cuban Affair by Nelson DeMille was fun to read on board. Some of protagonist’s experiences will parallel yours and you’ll recognize the specific locations in Havana.
San Juan, Puerto Rico - If you are over 62 and have a U.S. National Park Senior Pass, bring it with you. You can use it at the fort for free admission.
Grand Turk Island - There's not much to see here, so choose an adventure excursion or go to the beach rather than sightseeing.
Westerdam Westerdam - The Vista Lounge showroom was so consistently uncomfortably cold that some passengers wore winter coats. The cruise director averted complaints by making jokes about it being a roost for penguins. Be prepared by bringing a warm wrap that goes with your evening clothes.
Ocho Rios, Jamaica - Dunns Falls and the mountain view are very nice, but they are mostly man-made attractions.
Puerto Limon, Costa Rica - The excursions are really interesting, but there is nothing to do or see in Limon on your own.
Cartagena, Colombia - After your excursion, visit the little zoo, cafe (wifi) and gift shop inside the gated port area.
Colon, Panama - Except for the wifi cafe and some shops near the ship, Colon is dirty and dangerous
Coral Princess Coral Princess - FREE WIFI was easy to find near the dock in all the ports. Just ask your waiter or any crew member to point you in the right direction.
Cozumel, Mexico - The beach clubs are reasonable and clean with lots to do.
Tampa, Florida - If you have time, go to the Clearwater Aquarium, home of Winter from the film "A Dolphin's Tale".
Norwegian Sun Norwegian Sun - Avoid deck 6a if you don't wish to climb stairs.
New York, New York - New York is amazing. Lucky for us that we live nearby! Even dragging luggage, it was easy to walk to the ship from the Port Authority bus terminal.
Norwegian Breakaway Norwegian Breakaway - The Garden Café has seating and the same food service on both starboard and port sides. But one side was always far less crowded than the other. Take a look around before you choose a table or wait in line.
Brilliance of the Seas Brilliance of the Seas - There were no intellectual type activities, such as photo or tech classes or lectures on the ports. Belly flop contests were more the style.
Carnival Paradise Carnival Paradise - On "Elegant Night" most guys wore slacks and a sport shirt (no tie) in the dining room. Only a minority wore tie and jacket. Another minority wore shorts, even though long pants were requested. Apparently anything goes, so do what makes you happy.

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received a helpful vote on their Insignia cruise review - Five Days in Cuba

received a helpful vote on their Insignia cruise review - Five Days in Cuba

received a helpful vote on their Coral Princess cruise review - A Teacher gives Grades

received a helpful vote on their Coral Princess cruise review - A Teacher gives Grades

received a helpful vote on their Norwegian Breakaway cruise review - Floating Resort

received a helpful vote on their Coral Princess cruise review - A Teacher gives Grades

received a helpful vote on their Norwegian Sun cruise review - A Great Ship, but Beware of 6a

received a helpful vote on their Insignia cruise review - Five Days in Cuba