2013 Christmas Eastern Caribbean Cruise

Published: December 26th 2013
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Monday, December 23, 2013 (Eleuthera Island (Princess Cays)

I was up at 5:00 am this morning so I could start writing my blog from our first day. Cindy and kids woke up at 7:45 am. There was no real rush to wake up earlier because our tours started later.

After eating breakfast in the Symphony dining room, we gathered our belongings from our rooms and heading to our meeting place to exit our ship. This morning we needed to take a tender to Eleuthera Island (Princess Cays).

Here is some information on Eleuthera Island (Princess Cays). This island in located in the Bahamas’ and is an exclusive port for Princess Cruises. The entire island is 100 miles long and 2 miles wide. Princess Cruises owns 30 acres of the island. They say that Princess Cays, when there are no tourists here, the population is 2. However the entire population of the island is 13,000. The climate here is sub-tropical and has 340 days of sunshine. In the summer months the average water temperature is 75 to 91 degrees and during the winter is it 66 to 77 degrees.

After we boarding our tender at 9:15 am, the ride was about 10 minutes. The water was rough so the ride to the island was very tricky. We were packed like sardines on the tender. Once at shore, we disembarked our tender and then ship personnel took some photos of us. We are found a couple of spots to take our own photos. One thing we had to do this trip, on this island, was take a picture of the kids in the posing in the water with our ship in the background. We did this same photo in 1999 when we visited here then.

After our photos, we found beach chairs and made ourselves a home. Next to our location, there a Caribbean band playing in a pavilion fairly close to us, fun listening to the music. After making our beach home, Jenny and I walked along the beach to explore what else there is along the shore. About half way into our walk, there was a crew member dressed in a tuxedo holding a champagne bottle and two glasses. It was obvious that they were permanently attached to the tray. He was encouraging people to pose with him in the water. Jenny and I did just that. Are photos were together and separate. Can’t wait to see what they like when we get back on the ship.

After walking around and also relaxing on the beach, we heading to lunch that were prepared for us in one of the many pavilions that Princess had. Today’s lunch was hamburgers, hot dogs, bratwurst, salads, and a dessert. Overall this food was great and quick.

This afternoon each of us had a prepaid adventure planned. Michael was going wind surfing, Jennifer and Todd were going on a three hour dune buggy tour of the back country, and Cindy was relaxing on the beach. According to Michael, his wind surfing adventure didn’t go as planned. He had no problem getting on the surf board, however when trying to raise the sail, didn’t go well.

Jennifer and Todd had a lifetime experience. We met our tour close to the embarkation area on shore. We then went behind the scenes to meet the tour operators of the dune buggy tour. I enclosed a photo of Jennifer and I sitting in the dune buggy. Each dune buggy was a two seated; Jennifer and I shared a cart and she was the designated driver. We both wore helmets with an eye protection gear. This first part of the tour was on backcountry roads, easy riding. However within 15 minutes of our tour, we turned onto an unpaved, seriously rocky or sand surface. This is when the real adventure started. At first Jennifer took it slow, however then she starting really enjoying the challenging. She would layback low then race to the driver in front of us. Before reaching the driver in front of us, Jennifer almost flipped us, our tires were in mid-air, and we seriously bounced around. This part of the dune buggy trip was absolutely awesome even though it was heck on back and my full bladder.

Along the way during our dune buggy tour, we stopped at two points. Our first stop was Big Pond. Big pond was generally fresh water and was home to birds that migrate from Michigan. I enclosed a photo of the Big Pond with Jennifer and I. the tour guide said that most of the residents of this island learn to treat their own medical and health aliments. They rely on the natural resources to sure medical issues. Apparently this is one clinic and one doctor on the island. Seeing the one doctor is impossible.

After our quick stop at the Big Pond, Jennifer drove on the crazy roads again scaring the you know what out of me. Our last stop before the end of the tour was the historic lighthouse beach. This was awesome. The exceptionally blue water and small cliffs reminded Jennifer and I of Thailand. The rocky cliffs showed the years of erosion with what looked like layers rocks. Jennifer and walked on the beach for quite a while taking photos of each other and also helping others take photos. I posted a few photos of the area for your view pleasure. Before departing this area, Jennifer and I climbed a small hill and had an awesome view of the cliffs and blue water below. We took additional photos here. Somewhere from our vantage point we were able to see the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean oceans combined. To be honest, I never saw the dividing line, however I knew it was out there. The tour guide told us this beach area is so hard to get to that the beach is normally used by wealthy Canadian’s that homes on the island. He also told us that sometime the beach area is nude. The tour guide was telling us that he watches five homes of wealthy Canadian’s and many of them will come down for New Years and have big parties.

Once we finished with our one hour stop, we began our journey back to the beach area where the cruise passengers would be leaving from. Before the end of our tour, we stopped at an Anglican Church named Church of the Assumption. This church was abandoned several hundred years and could certainly see the wear and tear of the church. A photo of church is in the blog.

After a short stop at the Anglican Church, we drove back to the beach area and then got in the extremely long line to take the tender back to the ship.

The visit to Princess Cays was a lot of fun, our second time here. We last visited this same location back in 1999. It was really fun seeing all the changes. We also took a similar photo of the kids on the beach with the cruise ship in the background. How sweet is that?

Once we arrived back on the ship, we all took showers and dressed so we can visit one of the many lounges for a pre-dinner drink. I tried a new drink this evening. The drink was Oceans 11, it contained Crown Royal. I have never tried Crown Royal, however after drinking this drink, I have to say I really enjoyed it.

Dinner this evening, at least for me

Carpaccioldi Manzo (shredded beef with argula, parmesan streams, and Dijon mustard.

Zuppa Fredda di More di Bosco

Penne Arrabbiata

Dessert: Hazelnut Semifreddo (praline crunch and caramel drizzle)


After evening dinner, we were all exhausted, particularly being in the Sunday all day. Cindy and I still have a little energy in us so went to a show in the Princess Theatre. This evening was a magic show with Master Illusionist David Cats. I still can’t figure out how illusionists do what they do. We figured sitting the front row would help us out figuring his tricks, however such luck.

It was an awesome first full day on the cruise. Tomorrow is a sea day and there are a ton of activities planned for all ages. Stay tuned for my Tuesday blog.

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