Princess Cays - Compiled Info : Beach/Water activities, Food/Drinks, Bungalows, Facts

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Private Islands
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#1
Calgary Canada
244 Posts
Joined Mar 2006
I compiled this from all threads under ‘PrivateIslands’, I tried to group the info together a bit. Feel free to add and update and report back on current conditions. Hope this will be helpful to others going to Princess Cays for the 1st time. Many thanks for all the contributions on CC, I have learned so much. Printed - its 7 pages.

Princess Cays is a barrier island on the southern tip of Eleuthera. There is a shallow marshy bay with a bridge over to the main island, it is restricted for staff use only. Princess leases a small section of the island, the depth of the Princess property is about 150 yards. There is nothing else around the Princess Cays area, no private shore excursions, no transportation supplied, no town, no restaurants, only a few local vendors selling trinkets and small souvenirs. Princess Cay is basically a day to hang out on the beach.

Map of Eleuthera : east of Nassau : http://www.eleuthera-map.com
http://www.bahamas.com/bahamas/island/map.aspx?sectionid=6454
Princess Cays with a Princess ship : http://www.satellite-sightseer.com/i...s_Princess_Cay

Princess Cays is beautiful, the layout is like a secluded island with several buildings and restrooms. It is a total beach day, a free food/beach/snorkel stop and a great place to relax and enjoy the sunshine. You simply walk from the tender to an area of the beach and relax under a palm tree. If you just want to swim, lie on the beach and take your own snorkel gear, it won't cost you anything. The beach area is nice with clear blue warm water. You can also rent various water sports equipment. There is a 4-story high tower you can climb to the top for views. There are free lounge chairs and hammocks available on the beach, hunt around if you want one in the shade. The tenders go back and forth between the ship and the island all day. It's very easy to do.

Beach area to the left side of the tenders is much nicer and better for swimming, the actual swim area is small. There is a brick sidewalk, you don’t have to walk in the scorching sand until you got closer to the water.We easily found lounge chairs on the main beach. We were able to get plenty of shade under a palapa with a nice breeze. Bring cheap blow up rafts and inner tubes to float on all day. Just get off early so you can find a spot with some shade. Plenty of shade on the left side and plenty of room on the beach to find shade or sun. If you have sensitive feet, bring your water shoes along. In the spring and summer you can buy water shoes at sporting good stores, Target and Walmart. Bring towels for swimming, bring them back to the ship as there is a charge for lost towels. Beach towels are provided to everyone when they leave the ship and you are welcome to also get them on Princess Cays. We found the picnic tables at the pavillions adequate to hold stuff while we hit the water. What do people do with their cameras and other valuables while they swim? You just leave them, ask one of your neighbors to keep an eye on things. Princess Cays it too much of a family environment for topless sunbathing. If one is worried, walk south past the rocky point (don't forget your shoes) and there's a long beach where no one will even walk past - one could go bottomless there and no one would even notice. About a 20 minute walk from the tender pier up the beach.

The Cabana side is to the right when you get off the ship. The Cabana ($24) is not the same as the Beach Bungalow ($199). Cabana’s is a canvas cover cloth clamshell that includes two beach chairs, that cover up the back portion of the chair down to the ground, like a half circle. The material they are made of doesn't allow any air to flow, so they can get hot, as you do not get a breeze inside of them. There are plenty of loungers under palm trees, save your money and don't rent a cabana. On the cabana side of the island the beach and water was kind of dirty, and the coral was awful, wear water shoes. Over all we love the princess cabana's over HAL.

Food & Drinks : Drinks/Beer prices are the same as on the ship. The selection is limited, but still pretty good, as the crew has to tender all the beer/liquor from the ship. For drinks other than the normal water and tea, you use your sail and sign card as payment. Favorite Drink - They do one in a coconut shell that seemed to be in high demand when we were there. Bar waiters walk around taking drink orders. Water is free (not bottled water), Numerous water stations were set up on the walking paths. Lunch buffet is provided free - BBQ burgers, Hot Dogs, Chicken, Ribs, salads, a fruit buffet and deserts. The food was very good. BBQ buffet closing around 1:30pm, bar closing 45 minutes later. There was a covered picnic area where you took your food to sit down and eat in the shade. It was clean and comfortable.

Walking - There are a couple small trails that you can walk along, exploring the area behind the beach. We headed south-east to the right from the tender port when facing the island from the ship and discovered 10 graves. It was a bit of a hike, an hour there and back with some exploring, but made the day very interesting.

Shopping – At the end of the day, there is a long line to get back to the ship - this is the BEST time to shop. The outside small hut vendors will give you much lower prices at that time. There are some Princess inside shops and straw markets on the area leased by Princess, they are higher priced and will not bargain with you. They will accept a cruise card. The only thing the Princess shops had that the "outside" shops didn't have was A/C. There was one lady close to the food and beverage area that sold straw purses /bags with flowers on them (very pretty and lined with fabric) and she would put a name on for you if you wanted. Hematite black necklaces were also very plentiful and inexpensive, some ornaments also. There are a few shops if you want Princess Cays logo items, and a few hair braid huts. You get off the tender on the left side of the lagoon. The shopping area entrance is basically to the left and behind the lagoon when coming into the lagoon.

There is a small local flea market just outside of the actual Princess compound. There is no town to go into, just a small grouping of local curio shops. Take a short walk outside of the complex and there is another dirt street full of markets/shops. You will have to go out of the Princess property and go into the Bahamas. The entrance to it is right where the tenders come in, at the rear of the property. You can pretty much see it to the right when you get off the tender. There is a fence which is manned by security guards. All you need is your sign and sail cruise ID to get back in. Its very safe. There is the same stuff (but more) outside as there is inside. The prices are much better outside. Definitely go outside of the complex for your shopping. Much better prices on small items and jewelry than the official Princess Cays shops. Prices from the vendors outside the fenced Princess area are cheaper and they will negotiate prices. when we were there Nov 07 they did accept US dollars. We did all of our trinket shopping here - crafts, locally made jewelry, small souvenirs with local crafts, trinkets, some shell bracelets, fridge magnets, postcards, small figurines and a lot of local souvenir stuff. I would much rather support a local person, than Princess. Those people need the $$ WAY more. That's why we did our shopping there. The people were very nice and thankful for whatever sale they could make.

Google Earth views of Princess Cays - Type in or cut and paste, the coordinates into the search area on Google Earth - 24 38' 30"N, 76 10' 14"W - Staying in the Bahamas, but moving way south to Eleuthera Island. It's as sparse vegetation wise as it looks from the air.
A short video looking out from the bridge to the shops : http://travel.webshots.com/video/302...01799232cXpAGf
Pictures : Go to www.webshots.com and do a search on Princess Cays.
Bungalow pictures: http://web.mac.com/tlassek/iWeb/Site/Bungalows.html
How many ships on your day at Princess Cays : www.cruisecal.com

Snorkling: Looking at the shore from the water, the snorkelling area is to the far left. When you get on the island walk to your left as far as you can go. Walk way down the beach, there is an area where the beach is closed at the shore line. There is a covered dock like/pier that goes out into the water - a red roofed shelter out on rocks overlooking the water. Get in to the left of that and swim around to the front. There were tons of fish near the structure. Swim around this area, and to a large reef area north of the red roof. This is a great snorkeling area, and can only be accessed by swimming around a small pier. You also have to swim back the way you came. This is because they do not want anyone standing up on the coral in this area, as this would destroy it. The snorkeling area is quite nice. Lots of fish and some coral. Snorkeling was very good. Our snorkling on Princess Cays was FABULOUS! Swimming and snorkeling was okay, not great, fish, no coral and there were rocky bits off the beach that you need to watch out for. We saw a lot more fish than expected. Wear water shoes as there is some coral near the edge of the water. You can swim past it though. You can rent snorkel gear here (snorkels, fins, rafts, boats, other beach toys) using your cruise card. We absolutely loved our day at Princess Cays! The best snorkling on our cruise. There are a few rocky spots getting into the water, but more sand. If you do go snorkling, unless you're a very strong swimmer, wear a vest. We went snorkling, had our own masks but after wearing myself out fighting the current, I rented a vest. Going out is easy, swimming around the pier looking at the fish is easy, getting back will wear you out! Buy some fish food, the fish will eat right out of your hands. Bring your snorkeling equipment and underwater camera. Tons of different fish there. We saw a large lobster and purple spiny things. I swam out deeper to the floating rope that encompassed the snorkeling area, and saw a large 3 ft long skinny fish. There are a lot of great things to see under the water in this area. We had a great time. The snorkeling from shore was also pretty good. We really enjoyed it and the reef is right off the beach. We all loved Princess Cays and would go back in a heartbeat.

Water activities - There are small sailboats, kayaks, water tricycles and banana boat rides available for rent. You may want to book on the ship as we found snorkeling gear and banana boat rides went quick.
List of Princess Cays Excursions and prices : http://www.princess.com/shorex/shorexdisplay.jsp

Glass bottom boat cruise: 1h –View the beautiful underwater world without getting wet. Board the boat at the marina for a cruise to one of the area’s pristine coral reefs. Upon arrival the captain will maneuver the boat around the reef and your guide will point out and identify the host of colorful fish, corals, and sponges that make their home here. View the fish and corals through large panels and you can even try to identify the fish on your own with the fish identification cards that are attached to the railing. Don't do the glass bottom boat ride, nothing good to see and they put way to many people on the boat.

Float - This is a relaxing way to spend your day on the water. From $9 p day. We rented the floats and enjoyed them in a little bay area right in front of the bungalows. Sea Board - Enjoy your personalized glass-bottom float. Do not rent the Sea Boards, They were heavy and hard to handle especially in the current and wind. We did not think they were worth the price. Aqua Chair - Relax in the turquiose waters - From $9 p day. It's a chair-like float with a horseshoe shaped foam piece that sits on the top of the water, and swing-like seat suspended underneath. There were lots available when we were there, so I wouldn't worry about ordering them in advance. Kayak - you book (and pay) according to how many boats you need, not according to how many people. Sea kayaking is great on this beach. We rented a Hobie Craft. (2 person sail boat). Even with no previous experience it was a blast! If people got into trouble (not able to harness the wind), they just sent out a guy on a SeaDoo to help out. We're read that the current can be on the strong side, so as we're not strong swimmers we thought that a transparent hull kayak might give us an opportunity to see some of the fish and coral. There are no wave runners, jet skis or no parasailing on Princess Cay.

The only motorized activity is the Banana Boat ride. The banana boat is pulled like a tube or skier, a 5 or so minute ride. I would highly recommend this - however, check the distribution of the weight before you start. The attendants just told everybody to sit where they wanted. Our family weighs about 450 lbs and the other side had to have weighed at least twice that. Everyone on the other side tipped over into the water twice. Despite only riding for about 5 of the 15 minutes promised, we still had a blast. The kids would have preferred a longer ride and less time waiting for people to climb back on. Recommend that you wear goggles, so that the salt water does not get into your eyes. Even if the cruise line says they are sold out, you can book it right there on the beach. We did the banana boat which was fun. Every muscle in my body hurt from trying to hold on!

Beach Bungalows (Up To 6 People) - Enjoy your own private beachfront bungalow while at Princess Cays. Located in the picturesque palm grove just behind the beach, the colorful bungalows are to the far left when you get on the island. There are now 12 bungalows on the island. It is a lovely area with palm trees, the water is very close by and the beach is not rocky at all. It's basically a little room that holds a table and four chairs for you to eat lunch. There were some reserved loungers out front and it was very close to a lovely little cove for snorkelling and swimming. Book per bungalow, one ticket is valid for up to six people. This rental is non-refundable.You could fit 6 people into each but any more than 4 would be quite crowded at the table, the other two could head out onto the deck. There are six lounge chairs provided with each bungalow. The air conditioning works well if you keep the french door closed and fan on. We've booked a bungalow, there are 8 of us. What to do, If there are only a maximum of 6 priority tender tickets ? 6 people got the priority tenders and the other 2 just show up later. The food served was plenty so not an issue. Waiters did not mind as the more, the higher the tips.

Things that make the bungalows special : priority tenders, food served, privacy, shade, reserved lounge chairs, air conditioning and has a ceiling fan, shelter from the sun. It certainly was a nice treat. There are areas of shade. each bungalow features air-conditioning and ceiling fan, a table and four chairs inside, two sun loungers outside on the deck, and a private shower outside - a tap on the side of the bungalow about 6 feet high and the other side had a water spocket for washing off your feet. Beach umbrella that four chairs could sit under - which was nice when we had a quick 5 minute drizzle. A/C was wonderful! Private stretch of beach with some excellent layout chairs on water / rock edge. Towels, we did take our own, but there were some on the loungers outside.

Bathroom is not nearby, its near the barbecue area, on the other side of the buffet. A little hike but not a deal breaker. The restrooms are close to the tendering area which is definitely walkable.If you want the one closest to the bathrooms, choose the yellow or bungalow #1.

Additional amenties maybe included for a supplemental charge such as a gourmet picnic. Ask for details at the Shore Excursion Desk onboard. The people we shared the bungalow with had done it on HAL and they said The Princess Bungalows were better. When we first arrived, there was a fruit tray waiting and four welcome drinks. They take your order for lunch, you don't have to wait in line and they were there with drink service all day long.They bring you bits of everything plus a fruit platter for lunch. You also have a set table with linen napkins, real plates and silverware.

Privacy - We did not feel that it was a real problem with people walking by, the cabana's are a ways down and most people don't walk down that far. It seems some think it is a great party area and want to have their music playing, inviting more than it is suppose to hold, etc. The bungalows are VERY close together and about 20 ft apart and right on the beach. It would be inconsiderate for others to be loud and play music that all the other people can hear, please be respectful when using them. The space in front of bungalows looks like they are fair game for anyone. I too was not impressed with the Bungalows. If they want to party and you want quiet forget it! If you have someone that needs AC then get them, but if you are looking for peace and quiet it's not the place!

To meet.... we went down to the Excursion Desk and then were escorted from there.It seems like it would be a long walk from the tender to get to them. They have a golf cart that can take you to the opposite end of the beach area. When you get on board just go to the shore excursion desk and request a ride down to the bungalows. You will be provided with six priority tender passes. If you choose not to leave on the first tender. Just head directly to the tender deck at your leisure. No need to wait around and get assigned a number. You get priorty tendering to get off the boat but its back to reality when it is time to go back to the ship. The line was very long BUT it moved quickly. Also you really need to take water shoes as there are lots of sharp rocks and the walk up past the cabanas on the beach is NOT to be missed.

The first drink is free, the rest we paid for on our cruise card.There was drink service all day and they took our food order and brought it to us. As for the food and service, it was excellent. They brought us fruit as soon as we arrived from the first tender. The people that served us were the Princess crew. After we were through our lunch, with the table cloth, our waiters came back in and cleared the table (table cloth included) but they left some fruit, dessert and food (some ribs, chicken etc. It's under the foil) so we could have something for the rest of the day to pick on. The plates, table cloth etc. comes from the ship, so they had to get these things back on board, hence the paper plates for later on. Lunch was delivered to your bungalow. There was a pitcher of ice water in the bungalow.

March 07 - Received our tender tickets in our room and was told to go directly to the disembarkment deck at our convience. No waiting for our turn to be called. Paid $199 for the "Sea Grape"(the dark blue one). LOVED IT! We sat in our air conditioned cabana and enjoyed our food. Used the ceiling fan for a little breeze. Used the shower to rinse off all the sand. Loved the little place!!We had two loungers on our porch with towels and two more loungers in front of our porch with towels also. There was also four loungers up closer to the beach with towels. The palm trees made for some awsome shade and breeze blowing through them was fantastic.

Oct 07 - This is a package only offered the ship. So when you get on the ship, its too late to cancel your bungalow. They are very nice - enough room for four lounge chairs but sit directly on the sand and we were glad we had it because it was sunny and hot when we arrived and then started raining after lunch.

Nov 07 : Ice water waiting, and an attendant there very quickly for drink orders.Princess provided a golf cart ride to the bungalow for us. Lunch was brought to us and served beautifully. They wrapped up the left overs for snacking on later, then brought us cookies and a variety of fruits mid-afternoon. Very nicely done. Enjoyed it very much. linen covered table was set and waiting for us. Our bungalow attendant was there quickly, taking drink orders and asking us what time we wanted lunch served. A team of two brought us a lot of food, much more than 4 people needed, wrapped up the leftovers for snacking on later. They then later in the afternoon brought us fresh fruits and cookies.

Dec 07 - Just got back from Princess Cays. When we booked our bungalow I was looking for a nice quite place. The bungalows are not that! The best thing about them was the air conditioning when you want out of the sun. Two of the bungalows had music going and the bungalow next to us had a group of 25 or so there! There is also a little deck with a couple of lounge chairs on it.

Just off the Coral--the envelope with the bungalow tour ticket coupon didn't include the VIP tender tickets, but when I called the Tour Desk and asked for them, they were separately delivered. Note that the tender line was chaotic--you still needed to get in line to get on the tenders early (and people just cut in the line as they pleased without being stopped), despite what the VIP ticket said.

Jan 08 - The bungalow area have your own set of wait-people, the servers are ship staff. As of last Saturday (1/5), they still had the linens, servers, golf carts (at the beginning and end of the day), priority tender tickets, pitchers of ice water, etc. They contacted the room that made the reservations and asked how many people would be using the bungalows. They were those green priority tender tickets you may have seen on past cruises. The waiters brought our food to us. Big platters of everything--fresh fruit, cheese, cookies, brownies, corn on the cob, chicken, ribs, burgers, hot dogs, buns, lettuce, tomatoes. Everything was swapped out for paper plates, though, in the afternoon. Watch your toes on the little step up to the patio.

BUG BITES! They do provide Off spray but almost everyone in our group had 50+ bites within two hours. Overall the family really enjoyed it. I have since learned the bungalow area is pretty much the only problem area for bug bites and have been told by Princess this is seasonal and happens right before it rains. Jan 08 – sand Flies. Use the spray. Half of our group of six had bites all over ankles.

Feb 08 - We had a bungalow, it was WONDERFUL. As far as tendering - we received 6 priority tickets in our stateroom - this entitled us to go to the front of the line. We had a golf cart to schlep us back and forth. We were told that once we got off the tender to go to the info desk on Princess Cays and there was a golf cart to take us to it. As far as going back to the tender, we did walk but I'm sure that if you ask for it, they will send one. It was great. We had a waiter who also took care of one or two other bungalows.I did tip him and he was really great - brought drinks, lunch, a fruit platter. Out of the 12 bungalows only 4 were occupied on our trip. The Bungalow was air conditioned, had extra towels, tissue and hand sanitizer, a table with 6 chairs, a porch with 2 lounge chairs, 4 extra loungers on the beach and a shower on the outside of the bungalow. We had priority tender tickets, a ride in a golf cart to and from the bungalow, had an attendant that brought lunch and our cocktails. A very sweet deal $199.00, worth every penny, especially when you want to cool down in front of the air conditioner!

April 08 : Just back from CB and rented a bungalow for the day for a party of 6, including the priority tenders tickets (6), Food which was plentiful and brought to us at 11:30, towels etc. We would rent again!

May 08 – We rented a bungalow. The package included six priority tender passes. We did not get a golf cart ride to the bungalows, as there wasn't anybody at the Information Kiosk when we arrived. It is a about a 5 minute walk to the north of the dock. Upon arrival at a hut near the bungalows, we were guided to our assigned bungalow, which was #5 Sunflower and introduced to the amenities and to our attendant, who also oversaw a few other bungalows. When we arrived, the air conditioner had already cooled down the bungalow, there were two pitchers of ice cold water, and the table inside was set and ready for lunch. Outside, there are two lounges on the porch and four more immediately in front of the porch. Our attendant brought a big tray of food for lunch at around 11:30 a.m. which included the meat for hamburgers, hot dogs, bbq ribs, bbq chicken, and grilled chicken breast; plus buns, condiments, and coleslaw. While in our bungalow, Princess had cocktail waiters and waitresses walking around the island and they would occasionaly stop by to take our drink orders. There was an extra charge for cocktails and soda, which is charged to your stateroom. I took a stroll while we there and I was able to pick up a glass of iced tea at the bbq line. The shoreline near the bungalows is rocky and consists of the shallow reef that you can snorkel. It was nice knowing we had a safe place to keep our stuff and did not have the hassle of waiting in line for lunch. Also, it was a good place to take a break while snorkeling to have a drink and cool off in the air conditioning. Our bungalow attendant brought trays of the bbq food from the buffet line. There was no extra charge. We got priority tender service, food brought to our bungalow by an attendant (for no extra charge), a golf cart ride to and from the bungalow area and all of the other amenities that were originally included. Be aware that the bars start closing down at 12:30 or so and the bartenders and servers are off the island by 1 pm as they have to get everything back to the ship before the tenders get too busy. That means pre-order the rest of your drinks EARLY so you won't be caught off guard when the attendants stop coming around for drink orders at around 1 p.m. It was well worth the money. I would highly recommend it. Soda and bottled water are not included in the cost of the bungalow. There are cocktail waiters/waitresses who will serve you those or cocktails and charge to your stateroom.

Princess Cay vs HAL’s Half Moon Cay - HMC is a much nicer stop. The beach sand is much finer/softer there than at Princess Cays. Half Moon Cay offers some of the best swimming we have experienced in the Bahamas. Very nice island.Five years in a row, Half Moon Cay has received Porthole Cruise Magazine’s Editor-in-Chief Award for “BestPrivateIsland” HMC is far superior to Princess Cays.

General Info : More than 300 years ago, English Adventurers in search of religious freedom founded the Western World’s first true seat of democracy and named it Eleuthera, the Greek word for freedom. Its settlers, fleeing persecution in Bermuda and England, called themselves The Eleutheran Adventurers and time and circumstances would prove that tag more accurate than they ever expected.

Eleuthera is located near the edge of the Caribbean Sea, about 60 miles from Nassau at its nearest point, CurrentIsland, and about 200 miles from Florida. This sickle-shaped island, with a hump-back ridge, is 110 miles long, an average of 7 miles wide and its highest elevation is 168 feet. Sand dunes were blown into heaps on the eastern shore of the island, eventually consolidating into powder and forming natural cement. Much of the island’s architecture and way of life were influenced by Loyalist settlers in the late 1700s. Miles of glistening pink and white sand beaches, serene colonial villages, and rolling acres of pineapple plantations.

Commonwealth of The Bahamas - The Country of 700 Islands
Population estimate for 2007 was 305,655. Almost 60% of the population lives on New Providence, which includes the capital city of Nassau.Language: English, Currency: Bahamian $
Government: IndependentState within the British Commonwealth

Map of the Bahamas: http://www.thebahamasguide.com/islands/maps.htm
http://www.peterloud.co.uk/bahamas/bahamas.html

Geography: Located adjacent to the US and Cuba, the Bahamas is an extensive island chain of which 23 are inhabited. Being the closest island-chain to the US, the airport seems to handle non-stop flights from Florida taking advantage of quick getaways or vacation specials.

The people who live in the Bahamas are predominantly of West African descent. Their ancestors were slaves brought to the islands to work the cotton plantations until 1834, when Britain abolished slavery in all its territories. Most white residents of are descendants of the first English settlers, who emigrated from Bermuda in 1647 to gain religious freedom. Some are also related to the Loyalists who fled the southern United States during the American Revolution and built enormous plantations here. After the abolition of slavery, life in the islands changed drastically. The plantations were dissolved, and both blacks and whites turned to the bountiful sea (sponging and fishing) or tried to farm. The lack of fertile cropland prompted the islanders to become a nation of seafarers, and Bahamians used these skills to great advantage during the days of shipwrecking, gun running, and Prohibition.

Religion is an integral part of Bahamian life. Even the tiniest village has a church. The people's religious ardor and high regard for education are evidence of their Puritan heritage, derived from the Eleutheran Adventurers. Music is also in the very bones of the people. African rhythms, Caribbean Calypso, English folk songs and the uniquely Bahamian Goombay beat echo in the air. The fast-tempoed "goom-bahhh" resonating from the drums can be traced back to the days of slavery and is used both for story-telling and dancing. The legal and political institutions of the country reflect its Anglo-Saxon heritage. It has a bicameral parliamentary government composed of a Senate and a House of Assembly, a Prime Minister, an Attorney General, and an independent Judiciary, including a Supreme Court and a Court of Appeals. The Changing of the Guard ceremony, held every two weeks, continues the British tradition, and Bahamian policeman pride themselves on their starched uniforms.

Between the poles of Grand Bahama and Great Inagua are 23 inhabited islands and thousands of unpopulated islets and cays (pronounced "keys"). Cosmopolitan Nassau, the capital city, once ruled by pirates, seems a world away from the desert-like wildlife sanctuary of Inagua.These beautiful islands lie only 50 miles off the Florida coast - far closer than any destination in the Caribbean. With more than 5% of the planet's reef mass, The Bahamas offer inexhaustible pleasures and challenges to snorkelers and divers. BiminiIsland - Being the closest Bahamas island to the coast of Florida (you can see the glow of Miami Beach at night) has made these Islands a popular destination for American visitors. The waters surrounding The Bimini Islands are known the world over for top big-game fishing.

History: In 1492, Christopher Columbus made his first landfall in the New World on the island of San Salvador in the eastern Bahamas. After observing the shallow sea around the islands, he said "baja mar" (meaning low water or sea), and effectively named the area The Bahamas, or The Islands of the ShallowSea. Baja Mar, the name the Spanish bestowed on the islands. it means shallow sea, but the islands are really mountain plateaus that emerged from the Atlantic hundreds of thousands of years ago. As they grew, they hosted countless generations of coral, which today comprise the islands' limestone base.

The island people, were the first settlers. Originally from South America, they meandered up through the Caribbean and finally arrived in The Bahamas around the Ninth Century AD. Over the years Nassau became notorious for pirates, like Blackbeard, Sir Henry Morgan and Calico Jack. They used false lighthouses to lure ships onto the reefs and then confiscated the cargo. In 1695. Spanish troops destroyed the town of Nassau in retaliation for these raids. A few years later, settlers rebuilt Nassau with the goal of making it a privateering capital. However, the French and Spanish navies joined forces and wiped out the town for the second time in 1703 because British privateers continued to plunder their countries' merchant ships. Looting rich cargo ships as they passed by on the nearby shipping lanes was a lucrative business, so it wasn't long before pirates overran Nassau once again. Word of this piracy reached the King, so in 1718, Woodes Rogers, was appointed as Royal Governor of the islands to restore order. Rogers, a former pirate, offered amnesty to all those who surrendered. After a brief battle, more than 300 pirates surrendered and the rest fled. In 1964 Great Britain granted the Bahamas limited self-government and in 1969 the the Bahamas became part of the Commonwealth. On July 10, 1973, the Bahamas was granted its independence.
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#3
LA
42 Posts
Joined Sep 2008
Thanks for all of your great work in compiling the info in one place. Saved me a lot of looking. We wiil be there 11/19/08 via Emerald Princess (our 18th cruise on Princess)
#4
NC
843 Posts
Joined Jul 2006
Great summary...thanks for all of the hard work!
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#5
Palm Harbor, FL
13,158 Posts
Joined May 2000
Thank you so much for this information. I haven't been to Princess Cays since 2001 and had forgotten some of these things
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Linda
#6
Tulsa Metro, OK
214 Posts
Joined Jul 2006
WarmWaters! Thank you so much for taking the time to gather this information. It's extremely helpful for those of us who haven't been there yet!
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~Laura


Looking forward to:
November 9-16, 2008 - Crown Princess: Eastern Caribbean Roll Call

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August 2005 ~ Cozumel Land Vacation (Post Emily, Pre-Wilma)
#7
Wooster
304 Posts
Joined May 2008
Quote: "Beach area to the left side of the tenders is much nicer and better for swimming, the actual swim area is small."

Clarify. Sorry if dumb question but is this left if you are on the pier and facing the ocean or left if your on the peir facing the shore? I'm assuming left on pier facing shore.
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#8
Colorado
96 Posts
Joined Feb 2007
Thank you for the helpful information. We will check out the snorkeling area!
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#9
O.C, California
12,118 Posts
Joined Jun 2004
Originally posted by 956wenbrook
Quote: "Beach area to the left side of the tenders is much nicer and better for swimming, the actual swim area is small."

Clarify. Sorry if dumb question but is this left if you are on the pier and facing the ocean or left if your on the peir facing the shore? I'm assuming left on pier facing shore.
Left on pier facing shore
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Past Cruises: Carnival Splendor - March 2011 ... Carnival Paradise - April 2010 ... Ruby Princess - Nov 2009 ... Mariner of the Seas - April 2009 ... Mariner PreInagural - Feb. 19, 2009 ... Carnival Pride - April 2008 ... Carnival Spirit - Nov 2007 ... Monarch of the Seas - May 2007 ... Carnival Paradise - March 2007 ... Westerdam - Oct 2006 ... Monarch of the Seas - May 2006 ... Monarch of the Seas - Dec 2005 ... Caribbean Princess B2B - May 2005 ... Zuiderdam B2B - Aug 2004- Hurricane Charley ... Sitmar Fair Sea - Jan 1986
#11
Columbus, Ohio
464 Posts
Joined Jan 2003
Originally posted by 13 Travelnut
Thanks for all of your great work in compiling the info in one place. Saved me a lot of looking. We wiil be there 11/19/08 via Emerald Princess (our 18th cruise on Princess)
We go the week of the 6th of Dec. Will you post about what all you get with the $199 please. Thanks have a great cruise
#12
Calgary Canada
244 Posts
Joined Mar 2006
I have cut and pasted all the questions and answers regarding Princess Cays from the most recent thread to the last time I updated this thread. This now covers all questions and answers regarding Princess Cays from about 2006 I think.

Please add any useful info as this thread might be helpful to those going for the first time as a one stop shop regarding info on Princess Cays.

"Princess Cays - Kids Area -

Does anyone have pictures and/or can give a detailed accounting of the children's area at Princess Cays and their experience there. I'm just wondering what there is for them to do and what its all about.

Here's a great website with photos and descriptions: http://beyondships.com/Princess-PrincessCays.html

Princess Cay - Banana Boat –

Is it necessary to reserve this advance or are there plenty of openings once we arrive at Princess Cay?
We reserved so that we have the time that we would want to go and one can cancel the reservation while on board if you were to change your mind.

just don't wait too long. I think that you are able to cancel 24 hours or more and won't get charged.
Some of the Princess Cays can be cancelled up to 24 hours but many of them CANNOT. Be sure to check the Princess write-up for specific excursions before you book if you're not sure you want to do it.

If you're iffy, you might consider waiting until you're onboard to book something that has a "no cancellation" restriction. It may be all booked so you won't get to do it, but that may be better than booking (and paying for) something you decide you don't want to do. Just an option. Ok, I just checked my excursions.
I am able to cancel/delete/edit my pre-reserved items before boarding the ship.
Once on, I am not able to get a refund for the Bannana Boat ride. I just might cancel just for me but I know that the kids and hubby will still want to go.

Princess Cays snorkeling -

I'm just curious if snorkeling from the shore is available at the island without taking an excursion.
You can snorkel from shore. It wasn't the best snorkeling from shore, but it can be done, and you will see some fish. They sell fish food on the island. The fish will come and eat out of your hand. If I recall, the best snorkeling was to the left of the tenders, as you face the shoreline, as far down the beach as you can go. Have fun. Make sure you wear aqua shoes as it is rocky the further down the beach you go.

Aqua Bike vs. Paddle Wheeler on Princess Cays -

Can anyone tell me the difference between the Aqua Bike and the Paddle Wheeler listed under shore excursions on the Princess website?
It says the Aqua Bike must be resereved 'on board' whereas the Paddle Wheeler can be reserved on line.
My family is wondering if the Aqua Bike is some type of motorized equip? I think I've seen pics of what appears to be an aqua bike that's really a big bike you pedal the old fashioned way and it has "monster truck" style wheels so most of the bike is out of the water, whereas a paddle boat is usually manned by a couple and it sits in the water.

Princess cays toilets -

Does anyone know if there are toilets and changing facilities on Princess Cays. If so, where are they located? Yes, there are failities there and they were within close distance to the area that we were dropped off.

Princess Cay - Deep sea fishing -

Has anyone tried this excursion? Since it's a private island and unless someone knows of "outside" tours, it would seem they have a lock on the market. Just don't want to waste $200+ on a trip that is not worth it. Plus it seems pretty short, so thought I would check it out.

Princess Cays Waverunners/Jet Skis? –

I have noticed that there is no waverunner/jet ski excursion offered at Princess Cays. If that is correct, does anyone know why? Has anyone heard any news that this might be added as an excursion in the near future?

Lastly, if anyone has any active/adventure excursion recommendations for this port, please feel free to share... Heard there are no power toys at PC
No waverunners but they do have banana boat rides.

Walking-princess cays -

Are there any walkways on Princess cays if so what are they made of? Need to know if I'll be walking on concrete, sand, or cobblestone.
I would say all of the above actually depending on where you are. Add wood to the mix too. I tried to stick to the sand as much as possible.

Soda card princess cays -

Can you use the soda card on Princess Cays?
The soda sticker is NOT valid on Princess Cays. Although, I read somewhere there is one available for an additional fee valid on the ship and the island. Check when you get aboard.

Princess Cays shops -

Do any of the shops have Christmas ornaments in the off season? There are no real shops on Princess Cays. There are kiosks that sell local trinkets. I have not seen any Christmas ornaments at those kiosks.
In addition to the locals selling their wares at the little huts, Princess runs a souvenir shop on Princess Cays with similar stuff as what you'll see on board the ship. I'm pretty sure I have seen Christmas ornaments in there but I wouldn't bet the ranch on it!
Yes, they don't change out their supplies in their one enclosed shop, and yes they have ornaments
Kiosks are natives and their wears and I don't believe I saw any in them.
Also there is a tiny post office attached to the enclosed shop for those who want to buy Bahamian stamps.
Yes you can purchase a christmas ornament there. We bought one on our Caribbean Princess cruise back in April, go into the store that's actually a building....not one of the kiosks that were set up further down.

I was there for Thanksgiving. I was thinking the same thing...I'm pretty sure I saw ornaments but I got there right as they were closing and my shopping was limited by the time.

Princess Cays - clamshell? –

For everyone who has visited Princess Cays, were there ample umbrellas or did you rent a clamshell? I just noticed "Clamshells for rent" on the my shore excursions page. Must have some shade through the day.

The clam shells were pretty nice, but they can get rather hot from the sun beating on them.
I booked one and only stayed for about an hour. They are placed much too close together. Also, the beach in that area is not as nice as the one that has just lounge chairs. If you get off the ship in the morning, you will find lots of shaded areas where you can find a lounger. Personally I found the clamshell to be a waste of money.

Princess Cay vs. HMC –

Considering a couple cruises, one stops at Princess Cay, one at HMC. For those of you who have been to both, which do you prefer? We are especially interested in info on snorkeling, water temp, covered patios, walking paths and ease of tendering from/to the ship.

We found Princess Cay to be a little more crowded than HMC. It seemed as though we were on top of one another to get in the shade. Snorkeling was better at Princess Cay. You could snorkel from shore,at Princess Cay and see some sealife, but not much to see from the shore at HMC. Did the snorkel excursion there and that's were we saw some fish and a turtle. Food at both was your basic BBQ (hamburger, hot dog, salads, cookies). Been to each island only once. Someone with more trips to the islands may have other opinions or pointers for you. HMC used larger island based tenders while Princess used life boats from the ship. You will enjoy either island.
IMO, HMC is so much nicer. The sand on the beach is lovely, soft, and white while the PC beach sand is quite course.

I'd easily choose HMC over PC, especially if I could reserved a cabana for the day.
Been to both. HMC is definitely the better beach. Previous polls on this board have confirmed this. But PC is OK too.
HMC is the place to choose. Princess Cays didn't impress me. It was just like any other beach here in the U.S.

Princess could use some work in the beach maintenance and grooming department.

Great stirrup vs. Princess cay –

I have read that Half Moon Cay is far superior to Great stirrup and Princess, but how do princess and GSC compare?
We loved Princess cays. GSC is a beautiful beach with clear water but NCL has a lot of nerve putting that many people in such a small area (we were on the Pearl). By 11:00 it was unbearably crowded with people literally plopping their chairs inches in front of us. Also, lunch was not good- ice cold burgers.
We enjoyed Princess Cays. The BBQ was good (and free) and the beach was quiet and enjoyable.
Not even close IMHO. Princess hands down much nicer, though not as nice as Half Moon. As Neptune said, GSC is not set up to handle the amount of passengers that these new mega liners bring in. It looked to me that it was put together in 70's and very little done to it since then.

Princess Cays Bungalows -
Has anyone used one of the "new" bungalows yet? Any difference from the "old" ones that have been there for awhile? Also, does anyone have a map or list of the order of the bungalows by color? For example, what color is closest to the ship, then the next, etc. up to the color of the bungalow furthest from the ship?Is there still just one restroom for the bungalows or was one built when the new bungalows were built?

We were there in Feb. The "new" look exactly like the old. They are the farthest down the beach from the tender landing. On Crown first folks got number one, next got two, etc. We arrived, maybe 9 AM and got the red one that was near the "new" ones. There wasn't a nickel's worth of difference from one to the other so just relax and enjoy.

Any updates, new experiences or hearsay to what you get when you book a bungalow ?

Not sure if I still want to keep reservation. We were on the Emerald Princess in early December. When we got to our room on embarkation day, there was a letter asking us how many tender tickets we needed. I went down to the desk and said 6 and also asked if we could have a specific bungalow. We had no problem getting the one we wanted.

On the day we arrived, we walked over to the bungalows, promptly met our server who stayed with us all day. He provided us a sample of the bbq lunch and drinks (which we paid for of course). We tipped him generously at the end of the day, because his service was outstanding.

This is the 2nd time we have booked a bungalow- the first was on the Grand Princess in december 2007 and we received exactly the same service- except that we didn't request a specific bungalow, but that was only because we didn't know which one we wanted!!!
Are some bungalows better than others? We have one reserved also and if I can request one which would be the best?
We liked "pineapple" (I believe it is # 9), because it is opposite the stairs to the beach.
We have reserved a Bungalow on Princess Cay and wondered if we would be able to take a small cd player? Does anyone know if there is a power outlet. I know there in an air conditioner so was hoping there was an outlet. Would be nice to have some music.

Feb 09 - I would like to know if anyone that has rented a bungalow recently can give me information on the upgraded lunch. I know the bungalow service has changed over the last few months. If anyone has gotten the upgraded lunch, etc. it would really help to know how much it cost and exactly what you got for the price. Also, if it was worth it. We have a bungalow reserved for an April trip and are still trying to decide if it's worth the money. Thanks so much!

I would think one of the issues with bringing music with you is, what happens if you neighbors don't like your music taste and want some peace and quiet? The thing I hear about one of the reasons that people like being over by the bungalows is the peace and quiet compared to the other beaches. Now if a few people bring cd players and play their music loud enough to hear outside the bungalow what is it going to be like if there is country playing in bungalow 1, rap in bungalow 3, rock in another and so on. Personally I wouldn't want to be stuck in between or next to it and would be upset that I spent the $199 plus for the day.
I would hope that the bungalows aren't that close together that soft music would be that big of a problem. For that matter....loud screaming kids and obnoxious loud adults could be even more annoying. I think just being respectful all the way around is the way to go.

From looking at the pictures they are that close. In order for the music to be heard outside of the bungalow the volume will have to be put up to some degree.

I agree, loud screaming kids and obnoxious loud adults are very annoying. But, it would be even more annoying if on either side I had different music playing at the same time. Think about it, what if a young group on one side had head-banging or rap playing and you're just not that into that kind of music and then you had country music on the other side which you're also not into....that would be difficult to handle.

Many beaches do not allow radios, especially state beaches.

I do agree, respect is a great thing. It's just not something that I've always witnessed while cruising. Most cruisers are very respectful of their fellow passengers and then well....you get the rest.

Posted Nov 2 08 - Princess Cays Bungalow Review for 10/27/2008

Just thought I would post some info about our rental of a bungalow on Princess Cays this week. We were on the seven day Crown Princess cruise out of Fort Lauderdale on Sunday 10/26/2008. Our first port was Princess Cays on Monday 10/27/2008.

We had reserved a bungalow via the Cruise Personalizer on the Princess website, largely based on the wonderful reviews we read here on cruisecritic. Well, all of the wonderful accommodations that past cruisers received from the bungalow rental are gone, at least on our visit this week.
Past cruisers had reported getting called before arrival at the island to pick out which color bungalow that they wanted - no more - now when you get to the island you get a golf cart to a check in stand where they tell you which you have been assigned.
Past cruisers had reported getting a ticket to allow up to six persons to have priority boarding on the tenders - no more - now you wait in line with everyone else.
Past cruisers had reported getting delivery of food from the barbeque, plates overflowing with some of everything available - no more - now you get a pitcher of water and a bucket of ice. We asked the cabin attendant who would get drinks (for a fee of course) if there was still food service to the bungalows, and got a terse no.
The cost of the bungalow is still $199 for up to six persons but for that you pretty much get an airconditioned room, guaranteed loungers, a table and chairs, some ice and water.

Princess provides a letter with the bungalow ticket indicating that for $245 total ($199 plus an additional $46 for the first two persons) you get priority boarding and a deluxe lobster salad lunch. Additional two persons cost an additional $48.

When we returned to the ship we inquired at the tour desk to see if we should have gotten better service. We were informed that all of the previous accommodations had been dropped. In Princess' defense, I do have to say that the description of the service in the shore excursions listings for the bungalow rental does NOT include all of the goodies past cruisers reported.

If any of this may change your feeling about having pre-reserving a bungalow, please also be aware that once you board the ship any Princess Cays "excursion" such as the bungalow or rental of any watersports equipment cannot be cancelled for refund.

I guess the experience is different for each party. We were on the Emerald 10/22/2008 and we were given the opportunity to choose which bungalow we wanted (that were not already spoken for). We asked for, and were given, bungalow #12 which is the very last one. (6 more have been built and are awaiting completion). My guess is if you want a particular bungalow you must call the excursion desk and ask. Don't wait! We also had priority tender tickets. As for food service our attendant, Claudio, took very good care of us. We knew going in that drinks were extra including soft drinks. We got all the water we wanted. Claudio came with us to the barbeque and insisted he carry our food back to our bungalow. We did not take advantage of the cart ride in either direction as some did. They were there on request. While we were there it did rain quite heavily for a time and we were glad to have a place to go, as well as store all our stuff, and felt it was safe. In all, we will rent one again on our next trip to Princess Cay. By the way, Claudio is also a waiter in Sabatini's. Ask for him and you will see how attentive he can be. We had a great time.

I looked at reserving a bungalow for our 12/20 Emerald cruise and changed my mind since this is our 1st visit to Princess Cays and I'm not sure how long we will want to stay on the island. However, I guess the good news is, it sounds like the Emerald is still providing priority tender service when you reserve a bungalow. That just sounds like the right thing for Princess to do.

Princess definitely needs to develop some uniform standards for bungalow rentals.

Some people get the royal treatment one week, the following week, others get the royal shaft. Not very good business IMO.

We had a bungalow for our 10/19/08 Crown sailing, and we WERE given priority tender tickets, but did not have a choice of bungalows, however I asked, and our waiter brought us all sorts of food. He earned a tip for his efforts! For the six of us, we considered it a very worthy investment.

We were on the Emerald Princess 10/21-10/31. We reserved the bungalow for $199. Since there were 6 of us the price was most reasonable. We received everything that Princess described on their website. We weren't asked what color bungalow we wanted but who cared about that? Our waiter was great, he worked his butt off to accommodate us. Made several trips (in the rain) to bring us food, water, etc. In fact we tipped him extra for his efforts, it was well deserved. We weren't the only ones who were getting great service. All of the bungalows around us were being attended to by other waiters. I didn't hear of any complaints about the service or that people felt they didn't get their money's worth. Granted the weather could have been more pleasant what with the downpour of rain we had for about 20 minutes (mother nature at its finest!). But we were very happy to have had the bungalow while the water was pouring down from the clouds.

I don't mind getting my own food, but there are still waiters to get the, ahem, beverages, then, at least?
Just not sure if I will be pushing to get one now, especially being first time there. As someone said earlier, who is also going first time, not sure how much time they're/we're going to spend there. Just know that I do enjoy the idea of sitting in a/c and having someone bring me drinks all day.
Just had a call from Princess, I had emailed them to find out exactly whats included with the beach bungalows in the princess cays ? (after all the mixed reviews above)

they had to call their Los Angeles Office to confirm, its basically just the bungalow we will be getting, no luch, no early tender etc

I am afraid some people out here may be having fun providing mis-information about what is available concerning bungalows. Maybe available benefits for these are, indeed, determined by ship. As stated in my post, we felt we were very well taken care of by the crew of the Emerald. Had I listened to some of the "bad information" previously posted and I cancelled, we would have missed out on a great day on Princess Cay. We were even lucky enough to have fellow CC folks next door. Maybe this thread can be kept open by those returning from various ships with their own personal experiences who will give more objective answers. One post stated he/she didn't get a preference of bungalows, where I did. Good luck with your decisions and hope they work out to fit your needs. Happy Cruising!!

Posted - Nov 14 08 - We also rented a bungalow on Princess Cays and got full service. We had 6 priority tender tickets, were offered a golf cart ride to the bungalow, full wait service and our own personal waiter. We were asked when we wanted to eat lunch and it was ready at that time, complete with table linens. We were given more platters of food than the table could hold, so we had to place some on the corner shelves until we were ready for them. Yes, you will pay for your drinks and the soda sticker will not work on the island...because they only have canned soda there, but you do not have to go to the buffet. You will be served a full lunch at no additional fee. You are offered a gourmet picnic lunch when you get your tickets, but it is up to you whether you want to add this item. The bungalows are still full service, so someone is spreading rumors...probably by someone trying to stir up trouble, or who got wait listed. And, you all should know better than to listen to Princess customer service reps. Everytime you call, you get a different answer. Don't cancel your reservations and relax. No services have been taken away from the bungalows.

Princess provides a letter with the bungalow ticket indicating that for $245 total ($199 plus an additional $46 for the first two persons) you get priority boarding and a deluxe lobster salad lunch. Additional two persons cost an additional $48.
That package is optional.

Im just back, and we did get everything for the $199, I will try and answer some of your questions

Will we be able to get all 3 together? think you would have to be 1st off the ship, we didnt know what one we had until we arrived, and didnt get the choice, but in fairness we didnt ask for a specific one, but when we did get to the bungalow the table was only set for 2...so not sure how it worked
How many loungers are there? I have heard 2,4 and 6 which is it? there is 2 on the front porch, and 4 more directly in front on the sand with an parasol, also beach towels were there 4 of them im sure
table for 4? but bungalow for 6? where do the other 2 eat? not sure, maybe they will add 2 more seats
How far are the restrooms? about a 2-3 min walk behind the bbq area
How far is the BBQ (food)? see above, but out waiter brought us a selection, so we didnt go
Is the swim/beach area right there or how far to walk? just a walk through all the loungers to the water in front of the bungalows
Can you see the water? yeah right in front of the bungalows, as they are all set along the back of the beach front
Are the clamshells on the beach? are they closer to the facilities? yes i think they were but not 100% sure
Would we be better off getting several clamshells next to each other?
I know splitting the bungalow between 6 people cuts the cost, but we don't want to be far from the fun either. all the fun was at the other end of the beach (where you get dropped off) we didnt even know about all the games we missed until back on the ship

we were in bungalow 10 called sugarapple (pink one) this was 3rd from the end, there is 3 new bungalows at the very end, but havent been used yet, not got furniture, names etc

I just got off the Ruby and had a fantastic experience at Princess Cay, thanks to getting the bungalow. We had one of the newer bungalows. They are now open. They are just past the older bungalows but offer a very peaceful and relaxing environment. We had full service from our bungalow attendant. He brought us our lunch, drinks etc. It is true that you are a bit further away from the action but quite frankly there were so many people in the main area that I appreciated being able to retreat to the bungalow for some quality R and R. For my family this was money well spent.
Can anyone who has been to Princess Cays, tell me which of the bungalows are closest to the access point to the water? I think I'll be spending 50% of my time in the water, but want to be close to the bungalow as well. I don't care about privacy or being in a quiet area.... anyone know?

Bungalow #1 is closest to the action and water access. Although we were in #12 we didn't feel we were too far away either.
Just an update for those of us keeping track of these things-On the main board today 12-9-08 Princess Cay question-someone off the Ruby reported that they did not get a ride or food service.

Posted - Dec 08 - Yeah, we could have gotten a ride (I did ask), but if there was a designated spot for bungalow renters to be picked up and dropped off, I didn't see it. The walk wasn't bad at all though.

And no, our waiter wasn't able to bring us food from the buffet, he could only get us drinks. (Our waiter was Alessandro from Sabatini's, whom we'd seen nearly every day either for breakfast or dinner, which makes me wonder if we even got beverage service only 'cause he'd known us). Again, the walk wasn't bad and the lines at the buffet weren't very long (there's 4 stations) but it's apparant they've discontinued the service from the way it used to be. (We ended up in #10, the pink-purple one called "SugarApple", and on the real my biggest regret about getting a bungalow was that it wasn't hotter outside, which Princess really can't do much about )

Posted - Dec 13 08 - Just got back from 10 Day Emerald. I went on the cruise w/ 3 retired friends. The Bungalow worked out perfectly for us as one of my friends just had surgery and would have been unable to walk to the Bungalow w/o the golf-cart ride. It was an overcast day w/ some sprinkles so we were able to go inside when necessary. Had full service lunch w/ waiter, drinks, and sort of our own private patio/ beach front. Also had the priority tender tickets so went right to the gangway on Deck 4 of the Emerald, rather than wait for the cattle call in the Princess Theatre. At $50 bucks a pop, we felt spoiled and loved the privacy and convenience. There was a young family w/ kiddos next to us and I know they appreciated it too. Very fun!! I love Princess Cays! Should I cruise again I will not hesitate to get a Bungalow.

Posted - Dec 22 08 - Well, we were in bungalow #14, and it was fine! They gave us a ride and took us right up to the front door. Until the ride, I didn't know which one we would be in. No food service, but I needed the walk anyway (lost a pound on this cruise!). Access to the water was not far away at all. It was slightly chilly, but once you got in, it was wonderful.

Beautiful day, not too awfully hot, but I don't sit in the sun, so as my daughter sun bathed outside, I read my book and gazed out the open doors at the beautiful ocean. It was great to have the privacy of the cabin for changing. My daughter told me that the stop at Princess Cays made the entire cruise for her (even AFTER having kissed a stingray two days before!)

Being in the bungalows.. Are you far from the 'excitement' and fun? Is it too far away, for those that want to participate, yet close enough for those that more enjoy the quiet? Just another question that was brought up in our group.

Posted - Dec 29 08 - I am just back from my 7 day trip on the Crown Princess 12/21-12/28. We reserved a bungalow for Princess Cays and here is what we received.

6 priority tender passes
We were also given a letter that let us know about the added amenities that we could pay for. All of this for $48 per person (children under 12 are free) minimum of 2 people maximum of 6

Deluxe Bungalow Package!
- reserved beach loungers and umbrellas
- beach towels provided
- complimentary signature series Island Cocktail (alcoholic or virgin)
- bottled water
- dedicated and attentive service staff
- Served gourmet picnic luncheon
- Italian Style Antipasti
- Lobster and Mango Salad
- Artisan Cheese Board with Tropical Fruits and Fig Bread
- Island BBQ Selection
- Petite Pastry Specialties

We chose not to upgrade and thought I would post my additional comments. We did have 6 beach towels in our cabin, we did have reserved beach loungers and umbrella, we had regular ice water served to our cabin, we did have servers passing by the cabins all day - no problem to order what you would like to drink. We had cabin 6 and were within walking distance of the buffet and washroom facilities. We thought it was well worth the $199 price tag for what we received. If we had not received the priority tender tickets I would question whether it was worth it or not.

http://lh3.ggpht.com/_sCLlQQ5Uelo/SV...2/IMG_4799.JPG

The picture above shows most of what is available on the island. The far right is where the tender boats dock and the far left is the last of the beach cabins. The middle area with the dark red roof is where the BBQ is served. Most of the activities take place in the beach area between the tender dock and the BBQ area.

We are waitlisted for a Bungalow, we are hoping we will get one. What are people's experiences with being on the waitlist? Do you generally get one or not? To answer my own question... I just checked My Princess and we are now confirmed for a bungalow, so I guess you can get one even when waitlisted.

Crown seems not to do food service without paying the extra money and so far NO ONE has posted that experience. The BBQ food is often served by staff on other ships. The tender tickets are tipping the scales in favor of keeping the reservation. We go in Feb. and I'll let you know our experiences. Thanks to all of you for posting.

Goumet Picnic at Bungalow on Princess Cays –

I have experienced the regular bungalow service at Princess Cays. Can anyone tell me what the Goumet Picnic is like? I read once about one dish being a lobster salad, but that's all I can remember. Does anyone know for sure what is served for this extra upgrade?
If you look for the thread titled "Princess Cays Bugalows?" someone posted a PDF of the upgrade package and the cost - which is $295 per couple.

I found the thread by searching for "Princess Cays bungalow upgrade" From reading what you get with the upgrade, I think my husband and I will just book the bungalow. The upgrade package just seems worthless. "
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#13
Brickell, Miami FL
6,879 Posts
Joined Apr 2003
I was on the April 5th Crown sailing and had one of the bungalows.

We did receive 6 priority tender tickets along with the coupon for the bungalow.

Lunch was served to us between 11:30 and noon. It was a really nice surprise because we didn't expect it.

Drink service was by one or two guys walking around and asking, not by the person who brought lunch.

Personally I thought it was worth the money and we really enjoyed our time over in the area. We really enjoyed our day here and it was a great way to start our cruise. The only downside was that you couldn't swim in the water in front.

After having been to Disney's Castaway Cay 6 times, Princess Cay really does pale in comparison.
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Carolyn

Disney Wonder 7/19/02~Bahamas ---- Disney Wonder 1/5/03~Bahamas
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#14
Carson Valley, Nevada, U.S.A.
3,119 Posts
Joined Aug 2002
Glad you had a good day. We're looking forward to this on our upcoming cruise.

Which bungalow did you have?
Why couldn't you swim in the water in front of your bungalow?
How far away did you have to go to swim?
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#15
Brickell, Miami FL
6,879 Posts
Joined Apr 2003
Originally posted by candydane
Glad you had a good day. We're looking forward to this on our upcoming cruise.

Which bungalow did you have?
Why couldn't you swim in the water in front of your bungalow?
How far away did you have to go to swim?
There were 2 bungalows, then the stand where the crew hangs out that works the bungalows and then our bungalow. We were the first people to get there that had rented a bungalow. They started with ours and went from there. For some strange reason the first 2 were assigned last.
The location was perfect and we really enjoyed it.

You can't swim right in front of the bungalow because there wasn't any access and it's all coral.
I didn't bother going to find out where to swim because the water would have been too cold for me anyway. I know my son and his friend went in but they walked down quite aways to the soft beach area.
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Carolyn

Disney Wonder 7/19/02~Bahamas ---- Disney Wonder 1/5/03~Bahamas
Disney Magic 6/7/03~W. Caribbean ---- Disney Magic 1/3/04~W. Caribbean
Golden Princess 10/24/04~S. Caribbean --- Golden Princess 7/11/05~N. European Capitals
Star Princess 3/19/06 (the infamous fire cruise) ~ Western Caribbean
Disney Wonder 7/23/06~Bahamas ---- Crown Princess 11/4/06~S. Caribbean
Crown Princess 3/31/07~S. Caribbean ---- Crown Princess 3/29/08~S. Caribbean
Crown Princess 4/5/09~E. Caribbean ---- Crown Princess 10/30/10~Western Caribbean
Crown Princess 11/12/11~S. Caribbean ---- Norwegian Sky 9/3/12~Bahamas
Majesty of the Seas RCL 1/11/13~Bahamas --- Majesty of the Seas RCL 8/19/13~Bahamas
Ruby Princess 1/18/14~W. Caribbean ---- Ruby Princess 1/23/14~W. Caribbean
Caribbean Princess 9/25/14 ~ Princess Cay --- Regal Princess 11/6/14 ~ Caribbean
Regal Princess 11/9/14 ~ E. Caribbean --Norwegian Sky 2/13/15 ~ Bahamas
Regal Princess 4/12/15 ~ Caribbean --- Emerald Princess 3/5/16 ~ Caribbean
Norwegian Getaway 9/2/16 --- Regal Princess 11/27/16~Caribbean
Norwegian Getaway 4/16/17 ~ W Caribbean

#18
O.C, California
12,118 Posts
Joined Jun 2004
Here is a photo of the water in front, these is a reef there ans as to preserve it you must walk to the access area just to the right of this photo









Also the first 2 bungalows are saved for last for those who are handicapped.
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Past Cruises: Carnival Splendor - March 2011 ... Carnival Paradise - April 2010 ... Ruby Princess - Nov 2009 ... Mariner of the Seas - April 2009 ... Mariner PreInagural - Feb. 19, 2009 ... Carnival Pride - April 2008 ... Carnival Spirit - Nov 2007 ... Monarch of the Seas - May 2007 ... Carnival Paradise - March 2007 ... Westerdam - Oct 2006 ... Monarch of the Seas - May 2006 ... Monarch of the Seas - Dec 2005 ... Caribbean Princess B2B - May 2005 ... Zuiderdam B2B - Aug 2004- Hurricane Charley ... Sitmar Fair Sea - Jan 1986
#19
O.C, California
12,118 Posts
Joined Jun 2004


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Past Cruises: Carnival Splendor - March 2011 ... Carnival Paradise - April 2010 ... Ruby Princess - Nov 2009 ... Mariner of the Seas - April 2009 ... Mariner PreInagural - Feb. 19, 2009 ... Carnival Pride - April 2008 ... Carnival Spirit - Nov 2007 ... Monarch of the Seas - May 2007 ... Carnival Paradise - March 2007 ... Westerdam - Oct 2006 ... Monarch of the Seas - May 2006 ... Monarch of the Seas - Dec 2005 ... Caribbean Princess B2B - May 2005 ... Zuiderdam B2B - Aug 2004- Hurricane Charley ... Sitmar Fair Sea - Jan 1986
#20
Grand Rapids, Michigan
49 Posts
Joined Jun 2009
Wow, thanks for all the info. Sounds like our groups decision to rent a bungalow is a good one. Come on October.......