After a restful night’s sleep in our cabin, we awoke to the sound of tenders being dropped in the water — we’d made it to Princess Cays, our first destination.
Blue skies above. Not a hint of Gonzalo in the air. But that was about to change.
Princess Cays is located on the island of Eleuthera in the Bahamas. It’s Princess Cruise’s exclusive port of call, and offers up a range of activities from dune buggy rides to cultural tours to simply relaxing at the beach — our choice for the day. We hopped aboard the tender, disembarked on the island, and headed to the bungalow we reserved.
One thing you’ll notice when you’re cruising is that you can pretty much line everything up prior to boarding the ship. Activities can be booked well in advance and the choices can be a bit overwhelming, as can the level of detail that you can achieve. With kids in tow and a whole new travel experience unfolding before their eyes, we chose to take it easy and make it a beach day.
Princess Cays is a beautiful, clean stretch of white sandy beachfront property that’s about 40 acres in total. That’s plenty of room for everyone from the ship to spread out without feeling crowded. I was a bit worried about the lines getting off the ship for the trip to the island, but the level of efficiency with which these people operate is something to behold. In no time, we were comfortably relaxing at the beach. Tenders moved both people and supplies constantly between the ship and the island.
The bungalows came with a food option, which we chose. Excellent barbeque fare — burgers, chicken, sausages, ribs, and a wonderful lobster salad that the kids absolutely loved. Portions were more than generous, and it was nice to have the air-conditioned bungalow for our meal. Service was again spot-on, with the resort manager checking in on us to make sure we were enjoying our visit. They even brought us ice cream for the kids after lunch.
The water here is crystal clear and the perfect temperature. We snorkeled, swam, and generally relaxed for a few hours before taking the tender back to the ship. There really is something for everyone to do here. You can go on nature tours, visit the island’s capital, enjoy all sorts of watersports, go deep sea fishing, take a glass bottomed boat tour — you name it. All told, there were 31 excursions available to us on the island. Something for everyone.
As the day wrapped up, we headed back to the ship to clean up and feed the kids again (kids can eat a lot, can’t they?). Through some sort of miracle, I was able to convince my husband to join me the next morning at a yoga class in the ship’s fitness area. Things were looking pretty good at this point. The kids shifted between swimming in the pool and playing table tennis; Oscar then discovered the outdoor sports court toward the aft of the ship (getting this lingo down!) where he and my husband blew off a little steam.
I was surprised at how many international travelers were on the cruise, and it was fun for Oscar and Stella to run around the ship with their new British friends. Oscar is a baseball loving kid if there ever was one, but British kids are not so keen on the sport. As a compromise, my husband oversaw the creation of a new form of cricket on the ship which all the kids loved — American and British alike — using tennis balls and paddle tennis racquets inside the sports court. A new nightly event organically emerged; I’m not sure I can fully describe this form of cricket, but it was really fun to watch these kids develop a new “sport” that they could all enjoy. If anything, the American kids were more than fascinated by the quirky rules of cricket (I suppose they’re not quirky if you’re a cricket fan, but I digress).
After getting cleaned up, we hit the buffet for dinner for an easy meal. Kids headed to the movie under the stars, and my husband headed back to the craps table to pass some time as we headed off toward St. Maarten — which we thought was our next destination. As the ship steamed onward, however, storm clouds were gathering behind us and the ship seemed to be moving noticeably faster than it had from Ft. Lauderdale to Princess Cays.
You don’t want to miss what happens next… Continue to follow our adventure and see where we wind up!
Cruise travel provided by Princess Cruises. All opinions and ideas expressed here are my own.