Travel Diary

Port Day in Roatán, Honduras with Princess Cruises

This post is sponsored by Princess Cruises.

I recently had the extraordinary opportunity to visit Roatán, Honduras in partnership with Princess Cruises—a place I’d never heard of, but was immediately excited to go once I found out our Caribbean cruise itinerary. Even before we docked, I knew I was going to love it. We passed through a rainstorm just a few miles out, and it was so cool to be sailing in what felt like the middle of nowhere in the middle of a shower. Once it was in view, the island was overflowing with lush and diverse vegetation that I didn’t find in any other port on our cruise. It was an absolutely incredible dock to pull into, especially from our starboard-side balcony room.

Some of my favorite cruising memories are the most routine, and as always, our day got started early with in-room breakfast. Although there’s a ton of amazing restaurants onboard Caribbean Princess (Sabatini’s, Planks, and Crown Grill to name a few), there’s nothing like enjoying croissants and coffee in bed or on your balcony as you cruise the Caribbean. Getting breakfast in bed is as simple as filling out the menu card and hanging it on your doorknob the night before. I like to add fresh fruit and yogurt to my order, and it’s the perfect amount of food to get the blood flowing before setting out on the day’s adventure.

Port Day in Roatán, Honduras with Princess Cruises | truelane
Port Day in Roatán, Honduras with Princess Cruises | truelane
Port Day in Roatán, Honduras with Princess Cruises | truelane
Port Day in Roatán, Honduras with Princess Cruises | truelane
Port Day in Roatán, Honduras with Princess Cruises | truelane
Port Day in Roatán, Honduras with Princess Cruises | truelane
Port Day in Roatán, Honduras with Princess Cruises | truelane

Of course, some days are more adventurous than others—in Roatan, we elected to take a beach day excursion and were simply picked up from the port by a motorcoach and dropped off at a beach. And with Princess, it gets even easier than that. When you book a beach day excursion through Princess, more often than not your lunch and drinks are included; believe me when I say they’re delicious. Local chefs know how to cook local fare better than anyone, and all of the seafood is usually caught in the same water you’re looking at as you enjoy your meal.

After a drive up the island, Big French Key was just a five-minute boat ride away and a treat of a beach resort. It was charming without being campy, had plenty of space and chairs, a beautiful lagoon and not to mention ocean views for days. It even boasted a quick nature walk through the trees, feeling a little like you’re on safari. There was even a smattering of thatched umbrella tables out in the lagoon, which we were able to take advantage of since the OceanMedallion is waterproof! Is there anything more relaxing than sipping on a cold drink in the hot sun, cool water surrounding you and a light breeze wafting through the island air? I’ll let these photos answer that for you.

Port Day in Roatán, Honduras with Princess Cruises | truelane
Port Day in Roatán, Honduras with Princess Cruises | truelane
Port Day in Roatán, Honduras with Princess Cruises | truelane
Port Day in Roatán, Honduras with Princess Cruises | truelane

Speaking of drinks, don’t forget to order the official drink of Roatan while you’re on the island—the Monkey Lala. While you might feel ridiculous saying the name to a bartender, you’ll feel even sillier if you leave the island without trying one! Still, if you miss your chance, ask Roldan at Good Spirits destination-inspired bar back on board to concoct one for you. They’re almost better than the original!

Port Day in Roatán, Honduras with Princess Cruises | truelane

Photography by Michele Equitz

iPhone shots by me

Stingray Encounter & Snorkel in Grand Cayman with Princess Cruises

This post is sponsored by Princess Cruises.

Whether I’m cruising the Baltic or the Caribbean, somehow I always end up getting off the cruise ship and onto another watercraft. It’s a natural excursion to take when you’re cruising, because you’re constantly surrounded by water in every form—channels, sounds, rivers, bays, seas, and oceans. On the recent Caribbean cruise that Princess Cruises hosted me on, we had a full day planned to make the most of our time in the Cayman Islands, and first on our itinerary was—of course—a boat ride.

Grand Cayman was our first port on the itinerary, so it was our first time getting on and off the ship using our OceanMedallion wearable devices. Unsurprisingly, it was incredibly simple and took no more than five seconds to tap the device and have the crewmember identify me when my photo popped up on their screen. I wrote a detailed post about how many ways the OceanMedallion has changed the way I cruise, so head there for more details. In the meantime, read on about our “Stingray Encounter, Reef, Snorkel, Beach, & Lunch” excursion at Grand Cayman!

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I had no reservations about any part of this excursion until we arrived at Stingray Sandbar, and I actually saw the little critters swimming around completely wild. Ironically, my favorite part about this excursion—the fact that the stingrays are not in captivity—was also the most nerve-wracking. Still, I jumped right in the water, reminding myself that this wouldn’t be a tourist attraction if it wasn’t totally safe. The key is to not to freak out if they swim close to you—remain completely still, because they’re just checking to see if you are food (you’re not). I didn’t mind the smaller, one-to-two-feet-in-diameter stingrays, but the large four-to-five-feet-wide ones did skeeve me out a little. But that was just me—everyone in our tour group was touching, holding, and kissing them!

It was a very unique chance to embrace the Princess motto, #ComeBackNew, by facing my fears and letting myself enjoy such a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I now have a stingray encounter story to tell for years to come!

Stingray Encounter & Snorkel in Grand Cayman with Princess Cruises | truelane
Stingray Encounter & Snorkel in Grand Cayman with Princess Cruises | truelane

 After all that adrenaline, we luckily got some chill time afterwards. I always try to choose excursions with Princess that include a beach break just to make sure I get some time to myself. Included with our tour, we had a delicious fish and chips lunch at Rum Point Beach. Not included with our tour, we got our first sunburns of the trip there too—oops. We also learned a little too late that Grand Cayman is the home of the mudslide, a dangerously good chocolatey, boozy drink (which happens to be just about my favorite on a tropical getaway), but we made do with a couple of cold beers in the hot sun. It was priceless to have that time to fully immerse ourselves in island life.

Stingray Encounter & Snorkel in Grand Cayman with Princess Cruises | truelane
Stingray Encounter & Snorkel in Grand Cayman with Princess Cruises | truelane
Stingray Encounter & Snorkel in Grand Cayman with Princess Cruises | truelane
Stingray Encounter & Snorkel in Grand Cayman with Princess Cruises | truelane
Stingray Encounter & Snorkel in Grand Cayman with Princess Cruises | truelane

We had one more jaunt out on the boat after resting up—snorkeling at one of the beautiful coral reefs that surround the Caribbean islands. This time, we saw a stingray about twenty feet away minding his own business, and I loved watching him float on by keeping us both in a more relaxed state. Our guide also showed us a gigantic lobster, and we saw tons of purple and green coral, brightly colored fish, conchs, and beautiful anemones! Snorkeling has also been an activity I’ve had to work hard to not be afraid of over the years, but now that I’ve got the hang of it, it’s such a spectacular way to experience new parts of the world. Grand Cayman is definitely one of my favorite ports I’ve ever visited with Princess, making it an easy highlight of the trip. What a perfect way to kick off a weeklong Caribbean cruise vacation.

Stingray Encounter & Snorkel in Grand Cayman with Princess Cruises | truelane
Stingray Encounter & Snorkel in Grand Cayman with Princess Cruises | truelane
Stingray Encounter & Snorkel in Grand Cayman with Princess Cruises | truelane

I can’t forget to say thanks to our tour guides for the day, Solomon and Ralph. They kept everyone safe and having a great time every stop of the way. Michele and I were giddy buzzing about in those crystalline turquoise waves.

The best part? After a quick and easy tap of our Medallions to get back on board, we had a steak dinner (or exquisite seafood for me) waiting for us at Crown Grill. What can I say? Days on Caribbean Princess are what dreams are made of.

Photography by Michele Equitz, iPhone shots by me

Your Guide to the MedallionClass Experience with Princess Cruises

This post is sponsored by Princess Cruises.

 
Gone are the days of carrying around your cruise card, credit card, and passport while hopping from your stateroom to the port to the pool. A few weeks ago, Princess Cruises invited me to come aboard the Caribbean Princess on a 7-day Western Caribbean cruise to check out the MedallionClass Experience, and let me start by saying that it has changed the cruising world for the better. Since I’m now a full-fledged cruiser after my fourth cruise vacation in three years, I can’t wait to share how Princess is taking you from curbside to poolside in a snap. And that’s just the beginning of the genius of the new OceanMedallion™ technology!

What to Do Before Your Cruise

Let’s start from the beginning—two weeks before my cruise, I downloaded the OceanReady® app and after filling out my travel information and mailing address, our OceanMedallion™ wearable devices were sent right to my house so we would be ready to go well before we actually walked into Port Everglades to check in. Once we arrived, all it took was a few minutes and a tap of our Medallions and we were walking onto the ship, ready to relax.

The cherry on top of this convenient new technology? The personal stateroom portal next to your door recognizes your OceanMedallion as you approach and unlocks the door for you. Caribbean Princess is living in the year 3000, guys.

Princess Cruises, travel, Caribbean cruise, Ocean Medallion, cruising, mojito, summer vacation, spring break, Caribbean Sea, ocean, cruise technology
Princess Cruises, OceanMedallion, Caribbean cruise, travel, travel blog, style blogger, summer vacation, travel tips, cruising
Princess Cruises, OceanMedallion, Caribbean cruise, travel, travel blog, style blogger, summer vacation, travel tips, cruising
Princess Cruises, OceanMedallion, Caribbean cruise, travel, travel blog, style blogger, summer vacation, travel tips, cruising, pool, lido deck, ship tour, Caribbean Princess

Princess Cruises OceanMedallion Overview

Princess Cruises has created a suite of apps that work in accordance with the OceanMedallion that lets you do just about anything you can imagine on board. My favorites were OceanNow® and PlayOcean®, but I’ll give you a quick rundown of all of them.

OceanNow®

This app lets you order food or drinks right to your lounge chair, your stateroom, or basically anywhere on the ship. No more looking around for a waiter to flag down or getting up to get refills for you and your pals. Since the Medallion has your name and photo encrypted in it, servers are able to spot right where you are for a smooth, quick delivery. Genius, right?

OceanView®

OceanView is like Netflix at sea. There is a huge amount of exclusive content for Princess cruisers, including travel shows like Ocean Treks™ with Jeff Corwin, The Voyager™ with Josh Garcia and more. It’s a cool way to learn about the ports you’ll be visiting all week.

Ocean® Casino

This one the gaming app to play when you want to win big! There are a bunch of games available within the app itself, or you can play on portals around the ship—you just log in by tapping your Medallion. I may not be a big casino-goer, but…there’s always time for Bingo.

PlayOcean

A gaming app probably directed more towards children, PlayOcean ended up being me and Michele’s favorite. You can customize your very own Tagalong®, an animal avatar that is used around the ship on the different OceanMedallion portals. Out of the fish, seahorse, and sea turtle options, I’m sure it’s no surprise I picked a sea turtle. I named him Morris and it was always so fun to see him swim across the animation whenever I walked by with my Medallion! It’s a unique idea to make such a huge ship feel more personal, and I was a big fan. We stopped to play games on our way back from Coffee & Cones…let’s say more than once.

Your Guide to the MedallionClass Experience with Princess Cruises | truelane

OceanCompass®

This app is super useful for logistics during your cruise. Not only does it help you find your way around the ship by literally giving you step-by-step directions to where you need to go from the adults-only Sanctuary to the Sports Court, you can even find something else—your shipmates! Whether it’s whom you’re traveling with or you make new friends on the cruise, you can become pals on OceanCompass and use it to chat as well as find each other’s locations (this can be turned on or off for privacy).

Things To Know About OceanMedallion

Another tool you’ll want to keep in mind is OceanConcierge. It’s a web page you can view without being connected to MedallionNet, and it’s incredibly useful. You can see details about the ship’s itinerary and schedule, look at menus for different restaurants onboard, or keep tabs on your stateroom account.

Speaking of MedallionNet, when you book a MedallionClass cruise with Princess, you get to experience the fastest Internet at sea, and let me tell you—as an Internet person who lives her entire life online, I was thoroughly impressed. I was able to upload videos and photos with no downtime, and Michele and I even streamed Netflix one night (the only night we took a break from watching The Love Boat, which you can find on demand in your stateroom…and I highly recommend doing so). We watched one of our shipmates’ Instagram Lives with no issues, and freaked out over the new Jonas Brothers music video the day it came out. We did as much as we would have been able to do on shore…maybe more!

In this day and age, it’s always a thrill when technology is able to make experiences even more personal rather than impersonal. Connections with crew members are formed easily when your face and name pop up on their iPads as you walk up to the bar. You’re able to stay in touch with your friends and fellow cruisers constantly. We even made new friends just by talking about the different accessories available to style your Medallion with!

Princess Cruises, OceanMedallion, Caribbean cruise, travel, travel blog, style blogger, summer vacation, travel tips, cruising, Caribbean Princess, dream trip, snorkeling, Belize, white sandy beach, clear water, beach day, solid and striped, one-piece swimsuit
Princess Cruises, OceanMedallion, Caribbean cruise, travel, travel blog, style blogger, summer vacation, travel tips, cruising, Caribbean Princess, dream trip, snorkeling, Belize, white sandy beach, clear water, beach day, solid and striped, one-piece swimsuit
Princess Cruises, OceanMedallion, Caribbean cruise, travel, travel blog, style blogger, summer vacation, travel tips, cruising, Caribbean Princess, dream trip, cruise outfit, outfit inspiration, denim shorts
Princess Cruises, OceanMedallion, Caribbean cruise, travel, travel blog, style blogger, summer vacation, travel tips, cruising, Caribbean Princess, dream trip

I’ll be sharing more diary-style travel posts about our day-to-day experiences and excursions in port, but there are just so many cool tidbits and so much new information surrounding OceanMedallion that I wanted to be able to share a resource for those of you who have upcoming trips planned on a Princess MedallionClass itinerary. As of right now, Caribbean Princess and Regal Princess are the vessels with this technology, with many more rolling out in the next few years…which means it’s the perfect time to #ComeBackNew and get yourself on a cruise!

Photography by Michele Equitz.