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San Juan, Puerto Rico - What can I say? This place is history personified. If I could have spent more time there, I would have. Make sure that you leave time for La Bombonera for breakfast. It is awesome. Amy and I spent the day before the cruise walking around the city. For a good walking tour, check out the this link. It was created by my new friend, Luis Salazar from San Juan. We spent the post-cruise at El Morro and, once again, strolling the streets of Old San Juan. Check your luggage at Barrachina (free!) and have lunch there. It is quite good. Plus, it is the birthplace of the Pina Colada!
Barbados - We took the Island Highlights and Sunbury Plantation tour. It was nice. We saw the beautiful Sunbury Plantation house, a beautiful seminary called Codrington College, and Gunhill Station. We were supposed to see St. John's Parish Church, but a movie was being filmed there. Codrington was the replacement, and it produced the best picture of my trip: a beautiful shot of a water lily. I will post it later. The island in general was...well...kind of creepy. Very pushy vendors/cabbies...even more so than the other islands. The downtown area is not worth drive for shopping. Wait until the other islands. If you must go into Bridgetown, take a taxi tour and stop for pictures when you want to.
Saint Lucia - Breathtaking. A very nice island. People were friendly, port was nice. Amy and I booked our own horseback riding tour through International Pony Stables. We saved $30 each over the price of the Princess-sponsored excursions and got the same thing. We galloped along a nice trail to the ocean, were you trot along a half-moon shaped beach to a nice point. Here you have pictures taken by the guides. After that, you stop at a small vendor area and ride on the horse as it swims in the water. Very cool. The return ride is nice and they return you stright to the cruise chip.
Antigua - Oh, Antigua. This is one of the two islands that Amy and I want to spend a whole week on. We were originally going to go to Half Moon Bay or Five Points Beach with Frank and Lorraine (two of our CC friends), but the taxi service director recommended Long Bay. He said that we would not be disappointed, and if we were, he would refund our cab fare. Well, he was right. It was perfect. Awesome, unique snorkeling and a perfect sandy beach. We are going to try and stay at the Allegro Pineapple Beach there sometime. I would highly recommend it. It was just far away enough from the ship to make it quiet, and only $6 per person for the cab.
St. Maarten - Two Words: AMERICA'S CUP! THis was the coolest excursion I have ever taken. You board the original Dennis Conner Star's and Stripes from the 1987 world-cup win and race in the crystalline waters of St. Maarten. For info, click here.
St. Thomas - We went with Bernie and Mary (two more CC friends) to St. John's Cinnamon Bay from St. Thomas. It was perfect. There is no other beach that I have eve seen that is like it. I spent a full minutes trying to find something that marred the view and found nothing. It is the bay just past Trunk, and is bigger and less crowded. THe snorkeling is just as good, if not better, and there is not entry fee. IT is still a NPS beach, and there are facilities and rentals. This is another one that I would do again and again and again. This is the other island where Amy and I are going to try to spend a week.
Embarkation - F (isolated incident. Don't let it mar your judgement)
Ship Overall - A
Ship Appearance - A
Ship Dining - A
Ship Entertainment - C (Sarge is the only thing that kept it from an F)
Puerto Rico - A
Barbados - B-
St. Lucia - B+
Antigua - A
St. Maarten - A
St. Thomas/St. John - A+
Feel free to ask lots of questions. I didn't want the review to be too long.
We have to agree on the entertainment on the Golden. We would give it a D-. Sarge was the only passable thing. We walked out on most of the shows. Most were repeats over the last two years. Sarge took a cab to the town with some of our kids and said he was hoot off stage also. We will be on the Regal in Aug-Sept and I hope there is some improvement.
Jon. Do you know if the Golden has the "dinner on your balcony" deal - similar to the breakfast on your balcony? This is not the normal room service menu. The dinner is $50pp, with linens, cocltails, all the courses, Personal waiter, etc. I started a thread, but decided to go to YOU the authority. Thanks - and I have enjoyed your review(s).