Our Princess Cruises Caribbean tips include suggestions on things to do to make your Princess Cruises experience in the Caribbean more enjoyable. I include a favorite first place to eat, what to do and see when boarding early, some favorite Caribbean cruise excursions, and more.
I have sailed with several different cruise lines in the Caribbean and share below some specific Princess Cruises Caribbean tips.
Princess Cruises Caribbean Tips
Some of these Princess Cruises Caribbean tips apply to Caribbean cruises, while others are appropriate for Princess Cruises in any destination. Maybe you sailed with Princess Cruises in Alaska and are considering their Caribbean itineraries. I say do it!
Wherever you decide to sail with Princess Cruises, these tips can help you have a more enjoyable and memorable experience.
Fort Lauderdale Cruise Parking
Princess Cruises passengers driving to Fort Lauderdale should strongly consider parking in the Port Everglades garage adjoining the Princess embarkation terminal.
Fort Lauderdale Princess Cruises sailings leave from Port Everglades terminal 2 and the most convenient and closest place to park is in the Heron garage.
We suggest that you park on level 5 of the Heron garage. On levels 2, 3, and 4 there could be a long wait for the elevator. But from level 5, walk right onto the pedestrian walkway to the cruise processing center and skip the elevator wait.
Repeat for disembarking the ship when the cruise ends. Walk straight to your car and bypass all the people waiting to for the elevator to the lower levels. You are welcome!
As a third-generation South Florida resident (until I graduated high school), I inherently seek shady parking spots. It is not fun getting into a scorching hot vehicle.
Pick a parking spot in the shade, since your car will be there for a week—or longer if you are lucky and take back-to-back cruises. Level 5 is the top floor—so totally in the sun—but there are dozens of parking spots just a short stroll down the ramp.
The daily parking rate is $20 (January 2024). Visit the Port Everglades parking page for more detailed information about directions, handicapped parking (choose level 5!), and more.
Less expensive parking options are available outside Port Everglades and some offer a free shuttle. Some area hotels offer stay/park packages.
I have stayed two times in the Hilton Fort Lauderdale Marina, which is a short walk from the Heron garage. In fact, the daily rate at the Heron garage is less than the hotel parking fee so if you do not mind walking, park in the garage a day or two before the cruise.
Princess Cruises The Sanctuary
Tour The Sanctuary, The Enclave, and the Lotus Spa soon after boarding. During Princess Cruises sailings these areas are limited to passengers with day passes, treatments, or reserved bookings.
Previewing The Sanctuary can confirm whether you will enjoy it or not (P.S., you will!). After your quick tour, make a reservation because the spots fill up!
In fact, many passengers make The Sanctuary reservations in advance before departure. Reservations can be canceled 48 hours in advance so keep an eye on the weather, excursions, and activities.
The Sanctuary is a phenomenal spot during a day at sea but only when the weather is nice (in my opinion). On cold, windy, and/or rainy days, it is not a preferred area to be in.
Note that afternoons in The Sanctuary include a relaxed elegant afternoon tea service.
Early Boarding Strategy
Staterooms are generally not available until at least 1pm but you may be able to board a couple of hours earlier. Please allow the amazing Princess Cruises team time to clean and get all the staterooms ready.
Most passengers do board earlier than 1pm and that means a lot of people carting around bags. Including us. We pack light and prefer to pack everything in our carryon bags. For us, that means a backpack and one piece of rolling luggage—but perhaps also a bag with some goodies.
But it is a pain to lug around and keep track of those bags for two hours until our room is ready.
Stow carryon bags in the Take Five lounge until your Princess Cruises stateroom is ready. Enjoy the ship, dining, exploring, or whatever and then return to the Take Five lounge to retrieve bags.
Princess Cruises Caribbean Excursions Strategy
If you tried to register before the cruise and could not get into a popular excursion, try when you first board. The Cruise Excursions Manager and other staff members are available and very helpful.
Request a waiting list spot if there are no openings for scheduled excursions. If enough people request an excursion, Princess will set up more activities with the port partners.
Early Boarding Eating
On our last Princess Cruises Caribbean sailing, soon after boarding, dropping our bags, and checking on excursions, we headed for Ocean Terrace for our first meal. While sipping sake and savoring sushi, we watched the line at the pizza restaurant grow longer and longer.
It was a fabulous time to enjoy one of our favorite Princess Dining Options and the people watching opportunity was top notch.
One of my favorite Princess Cruises Caribbean tips is to really enjoy the Caribbean sunsets. We even plan our dinners and activity schedule around the sunset times. If there is a choice between the early show or sunset, we are going to the late show!
Princess Caribbean cruises are wonderful opportunities for amazing sunset pictures.
Some passengers are looking for that perfect Instagrammable moment so sunset is also a great time for people watching.
Princess Cruises Top Deck Movie
Every night of Princess Cruises Caribbean sailings, there are plenty of events and activities. From magic shows, to stand-up comedy, to jazz performances, to grand Broadway performances, everyone can find something to enjoy and remember.
I love all of the above but really love seeing the outdoor evening movies of Princess Caribbean cruises. Check the weather and the movie schedule for the next few nights and decide which movies to see. Plan your dinner so that you can be on deck for a wonderful movie.
On a chilly night, grab a blanket or a couple of towels. Intrepid cruisers can even spend time, maybe even the entire movie, in one of the hot tubs.
McCool Travel tip: And, yes, look for freshly popped popcorn and maybe even have a drink delivered.
Princess Cruises Caribbean Excursion Tips
Every Princess Cruises Caribbean itinerary port offers plenty of excursions for all interests, budgets, and activity levels. Half-day sailing and snorkel/diving trips are really popular, as well as equipment rentals (Waverunners and Jet Skis, boats, floats, snorkel gear).
Our recommended excursions include:
- Grand Turk. Electric car tour will make you feel like James Bond while you drive around the small island.
- Princess Cay. Reserve a bungalow (our first picture above) and choose the optional food package. A server will deliver lunch (skipping the busy line is a real time/stress saver) along with snacks/beverages throughout your bungalow visit.
- San Juan. The Old Town guided walking tour includes cathedrals, monuments, El Morro fort, and a lot of insider history and information.
- Puerto Plata. Join the historic town tour and visit Mount Isabel de Torres to see the Christ the Redeemer statue atop the highest point on this side of the island of Dominican Republic.
See also how to Save Money on Cruise Excursions.
More Princess Cruises Caribbean Tips and Princess Cruises FAQ
Why choose Princess Cruises?
Princess Cruises is one of the most iconic company brands in the world. Remember the Love Boat? Princess Cruises aligns with my audience who prefers relaxed luxury options. The Princess Cruises brand emphasizes dining experiences and live entertainment. See Princess Cruises dining tips.
What is the best month for a Princess Caribbean cruise?
We have sailed on Caribbean cruises in every season. Unlike the short Alaska cruise season, Princess Cruises operates Caribbean cruises all year long. Christmas and New Year’s weeks are very popular, as are Spring Break and other school breaks.
Cruising during the summer months will be hotter and there is a threat of hurricanes. But whenever there is bad weather, cruise ships are able to redirect to other ports. It has happened to us!
How much is a Princess Caribbean cruise?
Princess Cruises hosts more than one million passengers each year and there are a myriad of pricing options. From top end luxury suites to inside staterooms, there is a price range that will appeal to most. Remember that cruises are packaged vacations, with lodging, meals, entertainment, and more bundled together. Beverage packages, wifi, and more can be added on but are not necessary.
What hotel should I stay in before Princess Caribbean cruises?
A great hotel to stay in before a Princess Caribbean cruise is the Hilton Fort Lauderdale Marina, which is less than a block from the Heron garage and the convention center. I enjoy strolling across the 17th Avenue Causeway bridge and looking at the yachts in the river.
In fact—special McCool Travel tip because you read this far—check into the hotel, skip their valet or self parking, and head over to the Heron garage. You will score an excellent parking spot before the mad rush on Saturday morning. And pay less than at the hotel!
Where can I find Princess Cruises deck plans?
View Princess Cruises deck plans for all their ships on their official website.
We hope you enjoyed McCool Travel’s Princess Cruises Caribbean tips. Let us know your favorite Princess Caribbean tips and any other questions to include in our Princess Cruises FAQ.