This first port, which came the next day following embarkation, was one of the ones that I was most excited for. We didn’t have an excursion booked, we didn’t have any concrete plans, we didn’t know exactly what we were going to do. And that was exactly why I was so looking forward to it. I was pulled in by the thought of lounging at the beach all day and doing absolutely whatever I wanted, whether it was everything or nothing. It was the perfect first port, the perfect first taste of vacation, serenity, and relaxation. I get why Princess has it scheduled as the first stop; there really is no better way to tell yourself you’re officially on vacation now than the crystal clear waters and soft, white sand of the Princess Cays.
Princess Cays is Princess’s very own privately owned beach on the southern portion of the island of Eleuthera in the Bahamas. Princess Cays is situated on more than 30 acres of beach and has more than a mile and a half of white-sand shoreline. The island of Eleuthera’s population is about 13,000. As for Princess Cays, whenever there isn’t a ship in, the population is only two, which consists of the managers who live on the property. It’s an exclusive Princess Cruises Caribbean port of call, and something that Princess has to boast about for sure. There are more than 3,000 beach lounge chairs on the island, four bars with a ton of drinks, and for lunch, the grills serve a selection of burgers, hotdogs, chicken, salads, cookies, and more all complimentary. Only if you cruise with Princess do you get to enjoy this luxury. And what a luxury it is.
We got off the boat as soon as we had docked because we knew we would have to get there early to get a lounge chair where we wanted it. So right when the captain gave the go-ahead, we hopped on a tender and sailed to paradise.
As soon as we got off the tender, I could already feel the smile form on our faces. The sun was overhead, we were in our bathing suits, and we had hours ahead of us to spend as we pleased. We got a lounge chair under a canopy for some shade and we wandered around on the beach for a bit, taking in the view, the heat and snapping some photos. After hearing the crunching of snow underneath your boots for so long, there was no better feeling than taking off your shoes and feeling the warm, fine sand between your toes. The happiness that comes from the lightness of bare feet after a winter of boots can’t be properly expressed.
First on our to-do list? Snorkelling, which was one of our favourite activities. We rented out some equipment by a booth and we ran for the waves and the warm, turquoise water that was beckoning us in with each ebb and flow. Right by the shore was a rock formation that boasted a lot of coral and tropical fish. We put on our masks and watched the different types of fish swim back and forth. We’ve snorkeled a ton of times before in a range of places around the world – Cabo San Lucas, the Cayman Islands, the Great Barrier Reef, etc – but for some reason, the activity never gets old. I never get bored of watching fish in their homes and marveling at the complexity of life underwater. Of course, these pictures were all taken with my trusty GoPro, which saves lives during vacations.
My favourite sight of the day? This type of silver fish that was probably a tenth the size of my pinky. They traveled in packs and what I loved about them was that they would dart towards one direction and another, and when they did, the silver of their scales made it look like they were glowing.
After a while, we chose to make our way back to land and back to our chairs. The sun was directly overhead and I wanted to get some tanning in. I always feel so at peace when I have my headphones in and I’m just lying on a chair in the sun, with my eyes closed, feeling the rays gently embrace me.
With just about 2 hours left on land before we had to head back to ship, I was itching for one last adventure in the Cays, one last thing to end off the day with a bang.
If you’ve never heard of it, the concept might seem really strange. Basically, you climb onto a giant inflatable neon yellow banana boat and a powerboat drags you around on the water as you hang on for dear life. The fun comes when the boat turns left or right and you’re trying so hard to not slide off the banana. It’s such an exhilarating experience and really gets the adrenaline going.
It was so, so much fun.
As I was sitting on the banana boat, with the salt water from the waves splashing me in the face at what felt like 100 miles an hour, I felt as if I could finally let go and I felt so free. It’s been a hectic 3 and a half months since the summer last ended and while I was racing around the water, being pulled by the powerboat, feeling the wind in my hair, I felt so content with everything.
So after a day of lots of sun and sea, we headed back to the boat and continued to look forward to the next 14 days of the trip and the other 8 amazing ports that we were certain to fall in love with too. After all, the adventure was just starting. And already we felt so full.
Next up: St. Thomas!