Oct 23, 2018 - This morning, Island Princess is docked at the Falmouth, Jamaica, Cruise Port.
We have been to Falmouth a couple of times, yet we have never really checked out the cruise port shops. We decided we would get off the ship and do a little shopping this morning. The cruise port here is relatively new and very clean. If you are looking for a true Jamaican experience, this is NOT the place. However, if you are only interested in getting off the ship to stretch your legs, do a little shopping, or perhaps even have lunch ashore, this is a good place to do it.
Of course, there are lots of jewelry shops like Diamonds International, et al. Island Princess has a Shopping Host who conducts a variety of lectures on how to get the best deals on diamonds, emeralds and other jewelry. My only experience with purchasing jewelry in the Caribbean was a few years back at a little shop in St. Thomas. We have returned there a couple of times to buy items and always had a good experience. However, when I was looking to buy a nice watch years ago, I was able to find the exact same watch back in the USA at a cheaper price.
In addition to the big name jewelry shops, there are quite a few local souvenir shops, most of which all sell the exact same thing. We always like to pick up a few souvenirs to give as gifts. I have a friend back home that will buy me a $20 lunch if I bring him a $2 magnet. I consider it a good investment! All of the shops accept US dollars and you can bargain with the merchants on most items. Rickee bought a straw visor that was priced at $20 for only $12 after some negotiating!
I was interested to see the price of Crown Royal at the "discount" liquor store. I pay $22 for a 750ml bottle at home. The "discount" liquor store had a 1 litre bottle (1000ml) for $28. A quick calculation tells me that they are charging .028 per ml vs the .029 ($22/750) that I pay at home. That is far from the 50% discount their sign claims they offer. I met another couple who were shopping for Highland Park scotch and they said the prices were no better than back in the USA. So, Falmouth cruise port is not the place to buy liquor. By contrast, I was able to purchase 1 litre of Crown Royal in St. Maarten last year for only $17. That is only .017 per ml. Now THAT is a discount.
After our shopping spree, we headed back to Island Princess for lunch, after which, we indulged in another visit to The Sanctuary. It is super hot this afternoon and there is virtually no breeze, so this was a short visit.
This evening we visited the Crooner's Bar on Deck 7 midship for a pre-dinner cocktail. Due to the bar's location right on the Atrium, we could enjoy the steel drum music from Trevor as he played on Deck 5 below. Crooner's Bar seems to have the most updated style on the ship with new black-and-white furnishings. This may be our favorite lounge on Island Princess.
We showed up at Sabatini's early for our dinner reservation, but they were gracious enough to get us right in and seated at a nice table with a view of the ocean. Sabatini's is Princess' Italian Restaurant with a menu that is the same each night. There is a $29/pp charge to dine in Sabatini's. Princess recommends that you make reservations in advance, which we did through the Cruise Personalizer website.
As soon as we were seated, our waiter, Noel, introduced himself and presented the menus. We learned that Noel has been with Princess nearly 20 years!
When we were presented with the wine list, we chose the Rex-Goliath Moscato ($30). We like sweet wine with Italian food and this one was perfect.
The menu is filled with a variety of creative Italian dishes. From the list of Starters, I chose the Artichoke Souffle. The souffle was swimming in Castelrosso Cheese Sauce (whatever that is) and topped with a slice of black truffle. It was delicious.
Equally as tempting was Rickee's Burrata alla Panna con Carpaccio di Pomodori, a fist-size chunk of Burrata cheese (similar to Mozzarella) sitting atop thin slices of tomato, drizzled with olive oil and surrounded by jewels of Balsamic syrup.
For my pasta course, I chose the Penne con Brasato di Manzo, which is basically braised beef short rib over penne pasta. Try to imagine shreds of the most tender pot roast sitting on perfectly cooked penne pasta. The dish was delicious, and could easily be a main course. However, it is very rich.
Rickee opted for the Manicotti alla Sorrentina, pasta shells filled with spinach, Ricotta & Fontina cheese roulade on a tomato coulis. Rickee and I agreed that we preferred the Manicotti, but both dishes were excellent.
My Main Course was the Lombata di Vitello al Forno, a thick veal chop with mushroom ragout. The veal was very tender and flavorful, and quite large. I could not quite finish the entire chop.
Rickee has been on a shrimp kick this cruise, so she decided to try the Gamberi alla Caprese con Verdurine di Stagiono. That translates into six large garlic-infused shrimp with cherry tomatoes and vegetables. Noel suggested that the tomato sauce be served on the side, and that was a good choice. The shrimp were delicious without the sauce, and we found the sauce to be somewhat bitter. If you like shrimp, this is an excellent choice.
For dessert, Rickee enjoyed a small glass of Limoncello (lemon-flavored liqueur) and I thought it only fitting to try the Tiramisu. Sabatini's take on Tiramisu is very creative in their use of chocolate. The dish was as beautiful to look at as it was delicious to eat!
This was our third time to dine at Sabatini's on as many Princess ships. Hands down, this was the best Sabatini's meal we have enjoyed so far. If you are planning a cruise on Island Princess, make sure to reserve at least one dinner at Sabatini's. It is a bargain at only $29.
Tomorrow is another day at sea as we sail to Cartegena, Colombia.