Every cruise line has excursions that you can select from and Princess Cruise was no exception. Excursions are trips that you can take when you are docked at a port. There are several selections for each port. We were able to select ours even before we left the house.
On our recent cruise, we stopped at five (5) ports — one each day of the week, Monday through Friday.
Our first port was in St. Thomas which is part of the U.S. Virgin Islands. The ship docked right next to the pier. (Sometimes ships dock away from the pier and you have to take a tender (a smaller boat) that takes you to shore.)
St. Thomas is really pretty. The population is approximately 51,000 according to the 2000 Census Bureau. The weather has year round temperatures ranging from 73-89 degrees Fahrenheit. English is the primary language and the currency used is the U.S. dollar. It was established as a trading post by the Dutch West India Company back in 1657.
St.Thomas was named after one of the apostles who was also known as doubting Thomas because he temporarily disbelieved that Jesus had risen from the dead.
There is plenty of shopping that you can do at each port. The cruise lines tend to push jewelry, more specifically diamonds. Since I’m not a jewelry person I discard the paperwork they send and don’t listen to the recommendations of the shops where you can get good discounts. Diamond International is one of the recommended shops at almost every port.
Our excursion on this island was called “Turtle Cove Catamaran Sail & Snorkel.” We grabbed our bathing suits, sunscreen and headed to the pier where we signed off on a disclosure stating that we wouldn’t hold the company liable if anything should happen.
The man who met us was kind’ve gruff. However, the catamaran staff was excellent. The name of the catamaran was The Cat.
Sandals were not permitted on board so we took them off and dropped them into a netted bag that they kept stored for us.
The weather was perfect. We sailed past many hillside houses and stopped at another pier to pick people up from the Marriott Hotel.
We were handed snorkeling fins and mouth/goggle pieces that had been cleaned in a special solution so that “you won’t kiss the person who previously had it.” After a brief talk on safety and the water guide we would get, we were helped down the eight (8) side steps of the catamaran. The water was perfect (after a couple of minutes).
While snorkeling we saw turtle, coral and different colored fish. We didn’t see the really large turtles that had been seen by other snorkelers though. It was nice. The water was pretty clear. After the guided water tour, we had a little time to venture our for ourselves.
When finished, I had a little difficulty getting back on board as the steps were too high for me to reach with my feet. I almost fell backwards. The guides though were right on top of things and told me to sit on the bottom step then turn around and walk up. It worked perfectly.
(Note: One myth about snorkeling is that if you wear glasses you can’t snorkel. That is not true. I’ve snorkeled before without my glasses. The water seems to amplify my vision and, although not perfect, is good enough to see the underwater life.)
Back on board the catamaran, lively music was playing, chips were set out for hungry folk and rum with punch drinks were served. For those of us who don’t drink alcoholic beverages they served an orange pineapple drink.
The trip back to the pier was very relaxing. Once we arrived our sandals were lined up waiting for us.
On the short walk back to the ship, we saw iguanas basking in the sun.
A tourist fed one of the iguanas a piece of bread even though the animals are not supposed to be fed.
And here comes company to share the bread …
Notice the camera that was videotaping the iguanas …
Our excursion lasted about four (4) hours. Back on the ship, we changed into clean clothes and found a place to sit. Too much sun can make you tired.
There are many activities you can attend such as:
- Ping Pong Challenges
- A seminar on acupuncture
- Ballroom dance classes
- Basketball shootouts
- Ceramic class
- Advanced Photography class
- Water volleyball
- Big screen movie theatre with 3-4 movies a day
There is an all-day buffet that you can go to that closes at midnight. I was disappointed that the fruit was not fresh. Lots of watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew — but not ripe.
Dinner was at 5:30 p.m. in the Coral Dining room. It was not our first selection (the room nor the time) as we wanted to eat later but this was what was available when we booked. (More on the dining room itself in a later post).
Today was formal night so we had to dress up. Suit jackets with ties or tuxedoes for the men and dresses or nice pantsuits for the women. A person can choose not to eat in the dining room and instead head to the Horizon Cafe where the buffet line is. The food served is almost the same and you can dress casually. Dressing up was nice though and my husband and I had a formal portrait taken.
After dinner, we attended the Captain’s Welcome Champagne Waterfall Party. There were approximately 700+ champagne glasses and the Captain and part of his crew came and started pouring champagne on the very top one. The champagne then cascaded down to the other ones.
Each evening there is a show in the Princess Theater. Tonight the show was called “Do You Wanna Dance.” The cast performed different dances. It was okay. They certainly put all their hearts into it.
From here we went to the cabin where the cabin steward had made our beds for the evening and left us two pieces of chocolate.
Sleep came quickly. Day 2 had now ended.
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