Carribean Cruise For Christmas 2019

For our second cruise this year we wanted to be warm for Christmas, so we found a 10-day Princess cruise to the Caribbean. The itinerary started at Ft. Lauderdale and included St. Thomas, Antigua, St. Lucia, Barbados and St. Kitts. We left on December 17th and returned on December 27th. 

I had gone earlier to Chicago to be with my sister Elaine and met Katherine coming in on her Air Europa flight from Malaga to Miami on the 16th. We stayed overnight at the Hilton in Ft Lauderdale which was very close to the cruise terminal.  We were aboard the Crown Princess by noon the next day. This ship (3,500 passengers) was all it was advertised to be, beautiful décor and great facilities.  We could only compare it to our other cruise on the much larger Oasis of the Seas. They are very comparable as far as comfort and services, the Oasis (6,000 passengers) had more open spaces and special items such as a complete running track and mini golf course, which goes along with a bigger ship. The Crown rolled a little bit more but not that it mattered much in the Caribbean. Our dining and casino experiences were both great on the two ships and the staffs were equally friendly and accommodating.

Our first stop was at a beach island (Princess Cays) in the Bahamas used exclusively by Princess Lines. This was a good beginning to the trip, a chance to sit on a warm beach and do some snorkeling as well. We then had a sea day on the way to St. Thomas. There we took a nice excursion to the other side of the island for a guided kayak trip through the mangroves and some snorkeling (again).

The next stop found us at the large island of Antigua which I remembered as the main wintering location for the live-aboard sailors. I had signed us up for a zip line adventure and It was much better than I expected. For one thing, we did ten separate zip lines on a circuit through the trees and ravines. I had never done zip lines before, and after a quick safety talk, we got rigged up in a harness, clips and lines and “jumped” off. Katherine of course had all the trips nailed, it took me a few to understand how to lean back and not end up twisting backwards to end the run with a lot more excitement than needed. (See video link on Video Tab) On the way back to the ship we discovered a small casino in the town next to the ship. We had fun getting some additional practice for our evenings in the ship’s casino.

St. Lucia, with its beautiful harbor, was next. We had a relaxing day there with just a few-hour van trip to tour the back end of the island to Marigot Bay. Look at the pictures to see just how scenic this bay is.

We enjoyed three major activities during our time on the ship. The dinners in the main dining room were very good and the serving staff couldn’t have been nicer, so every night at 8 started us off well. Next was our evenings in the casino with breaks to go to the nice bars with live bands to do some dancing.  We typically ended the evening when the casino closed and then slept in before getting to the very large breakfast buffet. From what we can tell, that is the life on a cruise and it sure seemed good to us!

After St. Lucia we stopped at Barbados. This is the largest Caribbean island and is unique in that it is the only one with just one European colonial administrator (Britain).  Our excursion there was a beach trip to swim with the sea turtles and snorkel in Carlisle bay.  This was nice trip, well organized with plenty of turtles to “play” with.

The last stop was St. Kitts and turned out to be our favorite stop because of our excursion to the Dolphin Encounter to swim with dolphins.  Please look at the pictures to appreciate how great that experience was. Never thought that we would ever get to pet or hug a dolphin!

On the way back to Ft. Lauderdale we had two sea days of which we took full advantage: sleeping in, eating too much and getting some pool time in the warm sun. Amazingly, we ended our casino run ahead, entirely due to Katherine’s skill at the roulette and craps tables.

After departure in the morning at Ft. Lauderdale, we spent the afternoon and the next day at the Marriott Renaissance. That gave us some time to do some mall shopping and pick up some of the items we can’t get in Spain. We took the Air Europa night flight to Madrid and Malaga from Miami, getting back to Nerja late Sunday afternoon.  We are already looking forward to our next cruises in March and May.