Swimming with the dolphins, watching a movie under the stars while the ocean glides beneath you, and making fresh tortillas in a traditional Mayan kitchen are just a few of the highlights Lindsey Wilde experienced while visiting the Western Caribbean aboard Princess Cruises. She shares the many activities offered on this itinerary and her tips and recommendations to one going on a similar trip.
What did you enjoy most about the cruise experience? Was this a River or Ocean cruise?
- This sailing was an ocean cruise. There is an incredible number of events on the ship. My favorite though was movie under the stars. It is surreal to be watching the big screen and know you are out in the middle of the ocean, on a ship, under the stars, and bundled under a fuzzy blanket with popcorn. The films were newer releases such as MI-6, Crazy Rich Asians, and Christopher Robin! Such a fantastic and relaxing experience!
Tell us about the ports/cities you visited with this itinerary.
- Princess Cays, Bahamas
- Princess Cays is a relaxing beach day. There are complimentary beach chairs and a buffet during lunch. The beach bar offers live island music and local Bahamian beer. To top it off, private cabanas and non-motorized water sports are available to rent.
- Falmouth, Jamaica
- The Jamaican people are warm and inviting! The port of Falmouth offers a variety of shops and restaurants. There is also an amazing small market with local crafts and artisans. We met Wesley who was carving a pineapple out of local wood and Denworth painting a picturesque Jamaican landscape. If you are feeling adventurous, you can take an excursion to climb the beautiful Dunn’s falls!
- Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands
- Grand Cayman has a beautiful downtown with beautiful architecture. Restaurants offer fresh caught fish, local beers, and many other island favorites. Grand Cayman has shipwreck snorkeling and stingray encounters. If you are feeling brave, you can take a tour out to the sand bars and interact with the stingrays at Stingray City. They are incredible creatures that will glide by you and even let you hold them!
- Cozumel Mexico
- Cozumel was my favorite port! The ship was docked from 10:00am – 10:00pm allowing travelers to take in the rich culture and sights. Taxis are readily available to whisk you off to your next adventure. We spent the day at Chankanaab National Park. We swam with the dolphins and the manatees, went snorkeling, explored the trails of the jungle, had an encounter with an iguana, and ate a fresh tortilla made in a traditional Mayan kitchen! Our day in Cozumel was the absolute best!
What shore excursions did you go on? Which ones would you recommend?
- We visited Dolphin Discovery in the Chankanaab National Park. At Dolphin Discovery, we experienced the VIP Royal Swim! This was a small group experience with only 6 guests, a trainer, and two dolphins (Jupiter and Kathy). The VIP Royal Swim was absolutely worth the extra money! It included a handshake, hand target, kiss and hug, foot push, dorsal tow, buffet lunch and open bar. Jupiter even gave me a high five! The foot push is when the two dolphins put their noses on the bottom of your feet and push you standing up out of the water! I thought this would be an impossible feat, but it wasn’t! The dolphins are professionals! Jupiter and Kathy were incredibly lovable and playful! When we were done playing with Jupiter and Kathy, we went on the Manatee Experience! Three manatees let us rub their bellies and observe them munch on their favorite lettuce snacks.
- The Chankanaab National Park is not just a dolphin experience. There are incredible educational experiences about the Mayan culture, high ropes courses, pottery painting, crocodile farm, snorkeling, and more! It is easy to spend an entire day here.
Did you do any pre/post activities?
- We stayed one pre-night at the Hilton Garden Inn Airport and Cruise Port. It was perfect for a place to rest your head before a cruise. The hotel offers a complimentary airport shuttle, cruise port shuttle for $10.00 per person, and there are shops and restaurants across the street. The business center is complimentary as well, where printing and copying are available just in case!
What are your top 3 pieces of advice for someone going on a similar trip?
- Don’t forget to relax! There is so much offered on the ship. Don’t feel like you need to experience it all because you can’t!
- Be sure to get off the ship at ports. Even if you don’t get off for the whole day, take advantage of being in a new culture at each port.
- Unless you live close to the port, fly in a day early. It took all the pressure off getting to the ship on time.
What did you like most about the cruise line?
- The service on the ship was great and there was no way you could be bored with all the events onboard. Princess is also launching the Ocean Medallion on select ships throughout their fleet! The Ocean Medallion is an innovative technology offering keyless entry to your stateroom, location services throughout the ship, and an incredible app helping you make the best of your cruising experience!
What are 3 things one can expect from this cruise line?
- Non-stop entertainment
- Fantastic Service
- Destination driven itineraries
Did you do any shopping or specialty dining on board the ship? What were your favorites?
- Effy Jewelry is a beautiful shop onboard. The pieces are exquisite, and the staff is extremely knowledgeable.
*The above mentioned cruise supplier may have gifted or discounted this cruise as an educational opportunity in order for our travel professional to critique for your review.