As an avid Princess cruiser, many of the Caribbean routes are now simply relaxation for us on a floating resort. This was our 18th cruise and 5th aboard Crown who has hosted us on prior Caribbean and Alaskan adventures. This was also our first Medallion Class cruise.
The Medallion is a game changer in my opinion. As a small business owner, it unfortunately remains necessary to stay connected to email even when on holiday. Cruising is our main vacation choice and staying wired has always been a challenge and a worry-point given the prior wifi and Internet experiences at sea.
Those worries disappeared with MedallionNet! Purchased a pre-boarding deal for unlimited access on this cruise and it was as advertised. Logged in the afternoon we boarded on my iPhone and stayed connected throughout the cruise with no issues. The Internet for email, browsing and Facebook was similar to land-based experience including streaming at least short video which was previously almost impossible.
Cabin was a standard balcony room aboard any of the Grand class ships. It was clean and in good shape. The safe did have the knob broken off and a velcro strip served the purpose of being able to grab the door - but it worked and not worrying about that small detail.
The mattress is the Princess Mattress and these are amazing to sleep on and have enjoyed them before. This one did have a dip on one side so there may be some mattress wear starting to show up as these have been in circulation a few years now I do believe.
Room Steward was warm and friendly and addressed all our needs well. The new Medallion entry system is very good when you are approaching with a load of laundry or some pizza snacks to not have to fish out and insert the cruise card into the door. The next progression could be a lock release so the door is actually ajar that would be pretty neat so you could nudge it with a foot.
Overall no complaints about the room or the balcony. No obstructions to the view and the balcony can't be seen by those above you (unlike decks below which you look down into).
One of our favourite ports of call. We always enjoy Aruba and each visit for us includes lunch and a cocktail at Iguana Joe's which is within an easy walk of the ship where you can look out at the ocean and the ship from the open-air terrace. Ample shopping including local artisans if that moves you. Beautiful spot and one that would be on a retirement relocation list for us some day perhaps.
A part of the Caribbean Netherlands this is a clean and urbanized port with ample shopping within walking distance. Enjoyable and we were there into the early evening.
The black sand beaches are very hot so if you opt to go to a beach, you will need beach foot wear to walk, especially between the bus and the ocean.
The Emerald Falls are incredible! If not going on an excursion as we did this time, the port is mediocre so far as shopping and poking around. We opted not to cab further into town and to enjoy the Sanctuary instead. Typical duty free and mass produced souvenirs. Noticed many of the smaller hand-crafted artisans have been replaced by foreign-produced trinkets.
Good port and while no excursions this time, a great one enjoyed in the past was aboard "The Cat" and we went swimming with sea turtles which is a snorkel adventure (not sure if still offered - this was in 2014). A well established port and as an US territory one of the more secure for getting back aboard (only port photo ID was requested beyond Florida).
Princess Cays provides an enjoyable beach day. Can be rough surf at times but is always warm and enjoyable.
Port Everglades is a great cruise port and while large with 29 terminals, it is easy to navigate especially if coming in on a cab or hotel shuttle. We always use Springhill Suites by Marriott which is 4.5 miles from the port (about 10 minute drive). Problem free shuttle included with the room.