Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Jan 26 - Aruba

Aruba - Fourth Time in One Year is a Charm

Of course Aruba is beautiful, and so many people love it, but it isn't one of our favorite places. Too flat, too busy, too expensive, but the beaches are beautiful! So since this is our last port we are going to head ashore and head to Eagle Beach. We get to the bus terminal and board the bus and low and behold many of our friends are on board.

It is very very easy to take the local transit bus to the beaches here. Walk to the terminal and catch the bus that is heading to the hotel zone, I believe it is the #10 bus. You can buy a return ticket or one way only. Lots of people on board will help you with where to get off if necessary. We decide to head to Eagle Beach. We cross the street to the beach and rent a chair and order a drink and relax. The water is beautiful, the weather is fabulous and we are on vacation!

Allan checks out a makeshift swing

Brian and Bernie

check out this beach!

We don't spend too much time at the beach, maybe 2.5 hours. The winds are strong, which is common in Aruba. We want to go into town and buy a few things so we head back for a quick shower. Bernie wants more champagne and I want to buy some Aloe Vera (there is a large Aloe Factory here). My recommendation is to buy the Aloe Vera at the grocery store in town, large selection and about $2 cheaper than in the kiosk in the Mall.
We get our espresso and a nice chocolate and people watch for a while. We run into some friends and check out some stores and finally decide it is time to get back on board the ship, but that means the cruise is coming to an end, only two more sea days then were are off! All good things must come to an end.
Tonight is the German themed buffet and Bill and Cathy meet up with us and we head to dinner in the Horizon Court for a great meal.
We now have two sea days and then we are on our way home, it has been a great trip, will miss everyone but it has been a great trip

Jan 25 - Curaçao

Curaçao or So We Thought

When we originally booked this trip we were quite excited because it was originally scheduled to go to Bonaire, one of our favorite places, especially for snorkeling. However about six months prior to the trip Princess changed the itinerary and replaced Bonaire for Curaçao. We were disappointed but well what can you do. We like Curaçao and today our thoughts were to head to Kon Tiki Beach and just relax.

The morning starts out normal, we are sitting in the Piazza enjoying our latte and breakfast items and we both notice that we should be docking, but we seem to be going away from the island. Shortly the Captain comes on the speaker to announce unfortunately because of high winds were are not able to dock safely at the pier. Of course we hear grumblings all around us, but we discuss our options with our friends.

We call up Mike and Sue and head over to check out their suite and the large balcony, and of course some wine, made only better because of the company.

beautiful aft balcony with a view of the wake and doesn't Bernie look relaxed

large balcony in this suite, with lovely teak furniture

After wine with Mike and Sue we head back to the cabin and run into Bill and Cathy and we decide to order some room service and sit out on their deck, and of course more wine. We also think what a great opportunity to get together with many of our Cruise Critic friends and we plan for an informal gathering on the Sun deck behind Sabatinis for 5 pm. We advise people to bring wine/champagne. We had quite a large turnout for this impromptu gathering. A few of us head up to Skywalkers to grab some sushi and finger foods to share.

More champagne!

Only a few bottles were consumed, NOT

I had to settle for a soda because well the effects of drinking all day were getting to me

Some of the finger foods we got to share

What a fun day. I wrote on my live thread about our great day and what we did, and apparently the Captain reads the live threads on Cruisecritic because the next day we ran into Capatin Yeomans and he said "man if I would of known cancelling a port would end up being so great for our passengers I would of done it sooner".

Can't you see the bliss on my face!

Jan 24 - Grenada

Oh my what a sight - and I am not talking about Grenada

We are all ready docked, it is early but we are alongside the pier in Grenada and we open up the blinds to look out to see another ship right across from us and our view are many of the passengers from that ship waking up and getting ready too. Maybe too much of a view, my eyes notice a man right across from me who goes up to the balcony window in his tight black undies! Way too much to see! Does he not understand that there is a ship right across from him! Obviously not because he actually comes out on his balcony. I see it is a ship that is carrying mainly Germans and maybe they are a little more free than us. Oh well, but I still haven't burned that image out. Wanted to take a picture but figured that would not be appropriate.

We are here until 2 pm and so we need to get up and get going. We booked a tour with Native Spirit http://www.divinggrenada.com/snorkel.htm that is going to take us to some snorkel spots. Cathy organized this tour and there is a large group from Cruise Critic going. One of the reasons we booked is because the boat stops at Turtle Head Reef and Moliniere Sculpture Park & Flamingo Bay. You can check out the website of the artist at http://www.underwatersculpture.com/

A bunch of us get off together trying to find the tour boat, and after a bit of confusion we quickly find Native Spirit in the same area as the water taxi dock.

It is getting warmer and I can tell it is going to be a great day.

Paul snorkeling and trying out his new underwater camera.

The first sculpture of life size statues done in a circle of friends setup

This is a face with crown - it wasn't very large (compared to the other sculptures)
but one of the more beautiful.

This is a person riding a bike

this was kind of creepy but cool all over are bodies of women resting,
I would estimate there were about 20 bodies

After the first stop we are offered beverages and we are all ready for the next stop.

Bill has his beer he is happy

Kim and I - she was hilarious, a great couple from Chicago

The scenery here is amazing, and every snorkel spot was quiet we had it to ourselves


2nd snorkel spot, I don't think I have ever seen so many fish

Smile Bill

Christine and Brian another great couple from Prince George

After another stop for snorkeling and a few more drinks and some sandwiches we are heading back to the ship. In all the tour was about 3.5 hours and the owner was our guide and was willing and eager to accommodate all our requests. We ask about shopping for spice and he calls ahead to his Mom who has a stall and warns us we are all coming.

Two ships docked side by side - I always love a good ship shot

We dock and we head to the shopping area. A few of us are feeling the effects of the booze, but we are happy.

Here we are at Mom's stall

Wow when you compare the ships side by side you can see how big the Golden Princess is

We make our way back to the ship, Bernie is all ready heading to the International Cafe for his salad and sandwich and tea. We are both exhausted after spending the entire morning in the sun. I watch the sailaway and then crawl into bed for a quick nap as tonight is our Chef's Table Experience.
We've done the Chef's Table three times prior and every time is unique but there are similarities. We meed up in the arranged spot and are greeted by the Matre D'. Lab coats are put on to keep us sanitized and we head to the dining room kitchen.

The staff are all so friendly and keep waving and posing for photos

Shrimp Margarita with Avocados and Mangos
we were then served Fole Gras Terrine on Toasted Brioche, then Apple Chutney -Fontina Cheese Quiche with White Truffle and Sun Blushed Cherry Tomato

Bliss New Potatoes with Sour Cream and Caviar

Bill is getting use to this champagne thing

Chef Joel serves up the foie gras

Here is the galley bar and here are the bottles that
have been corked and saved for the next day

Tender Risotto Laced with Parmesan Cheese Julienne of Treviso Red Radicchio and Langoustine Ragout

Then to cleanse the pallate Amalfi Lemon Sorbet
with Mango Slaw and Grey Goose Vodka

The main course Roast Veal Shank & Veal Tenderloin, Carved Table Side
with Cepes and Jus, Today's Market Vegetables - Chateau Potatoes

Baked Camembert with Pine Nuts, - Port WineReduction and Walnut Bread

And dessert - pastry chef has prepared a Passion Fruit Dome Cake
Whiskey Soaked Raspberry Soft Centre, Mango Glaze

And the plate is made of spun sugar, don't
lick it Bernie you may stick your tongue to it.

Me and Chef Joel -who was our Chef on our first ever Chef's Table

Our great wait staff

here the waiter is serving the Triumph of Gluttony, cookies,
and bon bons but can we handle any more food?
We waddle out of the dining room and decide to change clothes and get dressed for the White Hot Deck Party which is allready in full swing when we head up to the Lido deck. The band is playing the area is all decorated and the passengers are dancing up a storm. We run into Rick and Diane and Karen and Allan and we dance up a storm, which helps the food settle and hopefully burn off 10% of what we consumed.
We had a great time at the deck party, we leave drenched in sweat and man is it hot out! We head back to the cabin and get ready for another great day tomorrow.