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I am deciding on whether to cruise Southern(Goldern princess) or Western Carribean(Carribean Princess), the Southern includes Aruba, which is a plus, and the Western includes Caymen, and Cozumel. I am not sure if I should choose by the destination or boat, any opinions, on what cruise would be better.
I did a Southern for my honeymoon (on Carnival though) and have returned to Western. Depending where you go on the Southern they islands start all looking and feeling the same! We did LOVE Aruba, but really that was the only island we really enjoyed. Don't get me wrong the others were not bad.
I would decide where you want to go and then which ship you prefer.
I love shopping in Cozumel (best deals)!!
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Southern(Goldern princess) or Western Carribean(Carribean Princess <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>Depends on what you like to do on a cruise. Western gives you ruins, snorkeling, stingrays, some shopping and often Princess Cayes for a great beach day. Southern has some beautiful islands, some not so beautiful, some beautiful beaches, often includes St. Thomas and/or St. Martin for shopping. Look at the shore excursions for the ports on each itinerary and decide what types are available and which has more to your liking. I'm not saying to take Princess shore excursions but they give you some idea of what is there.
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We LOVE the southern Caribbean! Aruba, Barbados...they are awesome. We have gone two March's in a row and booked again for next April. The Western is nice but you have to keep in mind that Grand Cayman is tendered so if the weathers rough and GC is the most improtant island of your trip you MIGHT get dissappointed. We booked the western for Sept and I am crossing my fingers we get to GC.
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We have done the Western, Eastern and Southern. Our Western Cruise was probably our best, GC, Coz and Ocho Rios, Jamaica. Did not due any of the ships tours, In GC we rented a jeep (only $65w/insurance - Andy's Car Rental. We were able to spend an hour on 7 mile beach, then toured the Turtle Farm, afterwards we drove all the way out to Rum Point for Lunch and one of the the most beautiful small beaches we have ever seen. Returned in time for some shopping in town before boarding the tender back to the ship. (Hint - if renting a car from Andy's book ahead of time, they are located across from the Marriott Hotel, if traveling with other, send to people to get the car on an early tender into town, cab fair in town is charged by the person. Then use the rental car to go back to town to pick up the others who have used the time to shop or were lazy and caught a later tender. THis is where having two way radios comes in handy.) What a great way to see what YOU want to see and do it in expensively. In COz, we asked the Cab Driver to take us to a nice beach. 10mins later we wer at Mr. Sanchez's Beach. What a great place, a few others crusiers like us were there, plently of water sports. BEst of all we had a table and chairs under a thatched roof for the whole 4 hours that we were there. Ordered a great Mexican Lunch and many beers and the total bill was only about $24. Add that to the $12 Cab ride each way and we again had an unforgettable day very inexpensively. Ochos' Rios - Dunns River Falls is a must! Best thing we ever did in a Portm\, on any of our crusies. Again ships tour is expensive. 8 of us got together rented a cab at the pier for $30 total each way. (Same Cab came back to pick us up 2 hours later.) Rented special climbing shoes right at the Falls for $2/pair.
Same tour on ship would have been about $35 pp. In the afternoon we relaxed the day away singing and drinking at Jimmy Buffets, located in a neat little shopping village right at the end of the pier. While sitting here typng all of this I'm wondering why I'm not going back there instead of the new Southern Carib interary on the Princess Golden. I guess its to see if we can find a island that will out do the the ones that we had such good times at previously.
Where ever you sail, you will have a great time! The people that you are with and the new ones that you meet that will really make the difference in your cruise.
The Western Caribbean is usually a bit more active; snorkeling, beaches, stingrays, etc. You'll also likely have at least two days at sea, broken up, not right together. That's nice.
The Southern Caribbean is probably more exotic. Most of the islands are what you think of when you think typical caribbean island. It's also very port intensive. Usually only one day at sea, then it's an island a day. Also keep in mind that because your ship won't leave from San Juan until late at night, 10 or 11pm, you can see a bit of Old San Juan before you depart. That's like getting an extra port of call.
I think the best answer to your question is to do both of them. ENJOY !!!
If the ship leaves from San Jaun for the Southern, the ship will have a lot of passengers from Puerta Rico on board and if the ship leaves from Ft Lauderdale for the Western, the ship will have a lot of Floridians on board. No comment or judgement being msde, just that regional discounts are often offered to fill the ship. Also if you leave from San Juan or Ft. Lauderdale, price of airfare may be a factor. Conversely, the cruise fare for the Southern is often cheaper, because it seems to be a lillte less popular, probably because of the airfare. No Princess Cays on the Southern. Both itineraries have different things to offer and you'll have fun on either one.
Thanks for the info. This will be my first Princess Cruise. I'm taking my mother-in-law and this is her first cruise ever. We are both excited. I've cruised bigger ships, we were looking for something smaller. Our main objective is to vegitate for 10 days.
How were the ports? What do you suggest we do? We both love the water so any beach suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks again.
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Sun Princess 10-13-2004 (10 day Southern Caribbean)
Really, to give you the best answer, we should know what your interests are. In general, the western Caribbean is good for sporty activities - I like it because I am an avid snorkeler. The eastern Caribbean has the best high end shopping (jewlery, china, electornics, etc) For me, the Southern Caribbean is my favorite, because it usually includes a little of everything.
I am going on the Golden this summer and the ship goes to both St. Maarten and St. Thomas (fantastic shopping, fantastic beaches and very good snorkeling on St. John), St. Lucia (lush tropical island , good snorkeling, and oportunities for exotic adventures) Barbados (pretty island, get to snorkel with turtles) and Antigua (get to do an eco adventure). I like the Southern because there is usally a wide variety of activities. Only down side - I like sea days to rest and there are very few on this type of cruise.
So, if you are not a big water sports fan, you may not like the Western Caribbean. I went on a cruise with friends who didn't want to ruin their hairdo's!! So going on a Western Caribbean cruise was not a good choice for them. I am amazed by the posts from people on this board who book a Western, then state "we are not beach or water sports or snorkeling people. What should we do?" Research the type of experience you want and you won't go wrong.