Tuesday, January 18, 2011

All Aboard the Emerald

We got up and since we had to check out by 10 am we arranged to meet up with Sue and Mike at 10 and head to Joe’s Diner (near the Publix on 17th Street) for breakfast. We dropped them off at the pier around 11 am with all the bags while we headed back to Sawgrass (because one of the sweaters we had bought they had forgotten to remove the security lock on it). We dropped the car off at 12:30 and caught the Alamo/National Shuttle at the airport (they asked for proof this time that we were in fact customers – never had done that before) and we left for the pier at 12:45.

The Grand was docked at pier 2 so the Emerald was at pier 21, and I have to say it was quite a distance away and although possible to walk to 17th street it certainly would have been a long walk. In total there were five ships in port.

Should say we booked again with bestpricecruises.com again they had the best prices.  Even friends of ours who sell cruises for a dedicated cruise agency couldn't come close or honour the price best price was quoting.  Again a big thank you goes out to Connie Stevens for taking care of us at Best Price.

We had no real issues with checking in but I do have to relay the funniest. As we approached the security line ups there were four distinct roped off lines, I said to Bernie “take the one on the right as no one was going in it” and we went almost to the front, with two elderly couples in front of us but the other three lines had tons of people. The first elderly man in his suit goes in and all the bells/whistles go off. Security asks is you belt an issue – NO, do you have coins, cell phone – NO he goes back thru again the bells/whistles go off, security says take your jacket off and as the man does he hears the mints in the square tin in his pocket and pulls those out, yup that was the issue. We smile and wait patiently as the other lines dwindle. The older gentleman in front of us goes thru all the bells/whistles go off. Sir do you have a belt on that could be the problem – NO as he proudly shows his (what looked like a macramé belt) proudly, do you have a cell phone – NO, he goes thru again, the bells go off, the security is getting flustered and says can you please check your pockets. Now by this time I am giggling as the (I would guess 80 year old) man puts his hands in his pockets (looking like the 6 year old boy who has the frog, stick, tacks, marbles in his pocket) and pulls out the contents – coins fall to the floor, a nail clipper, heck even a bolt fell down. He cleared after this and we made our way thru as we glance to our left and all the lines have cleared! Bernie looks at me and says “guess this is there first time ever going thru security”.

Us with Anita and Richard

We are on the ship very quickly and head to our cabin – an inside Caribe 721 for this leg. We do up our cabin list for our steward. The cabin is in great shape the bed looks great, but definitely needs an egg crate foam, the shower curtain however stinks of mold, it was so bad I had to remove it and put in a bag to contain some of the smell. Carlos our steward quickly changed it though and we are good to go. He very quickly provided everything on our list and was rewarded by Bernie.

The ship looks great, the dining room had been open for lunch but we were too late to take part in that. I can confirm also that the coupon book from the Travel agent does not have the coffee card coupon in it. We made reservations for the Crown Grill for Tuesday night (first formal) for 7 pm for 8 of us.

I love the new Princess Patters layout, very easy to read (for those of us getting older). Our Captain is Giorgio Pomata. We recognized a few other officers. Jaco Diedericks the Food and Beverage manager was on the Island with us in Oct. And as we were walking around we saw Peter Van Tonden the Captain Circle Host from the Island and he came out to give us a big hug and we were congratulating him as he just recently became a circle host and is doing great. We are hoping to meet him for drinks/dinner one night.

Considering our bags were dropped off at 11 am we didn’t get them in our cabin until 3:30. Ours were okay but many people got wet bags because of the rain and we did notice another women’s bag had been ripped badly (unusable) and was heading to the purser’s desk.

After muster drill we headed up to the Outrigger Bar to have an impromptu gathering of the Cruise Critic gang, quite a few were in attendance and it was nice to put a face to the name. Now weather was not cooperating it was overcast and showers – that had just stopped in time for our sailaway – but it was rather warm and muggy. We then ventured over to the Neptune’s pool for the music and party.

Bernie and Sue playing in the soaked deck

We had to unpack so down to the cabin and setting up of everything. For dinner we decided on the Horizon Court which was very very good, they didn’t have the seafood buffet but the shrimp and many other items were great and noticed that most of the items were also on the dining room menu. We met up with Anita/Richard for dinner, but after dinner we met up with Paul/Yvonne and Brian/Christine from the roll call who we have sailed with many times now.

We are back in the cabin at 11 and settle in and we are out like a light very quickly.


First happy birthday Bernie! It is always great celebrating his birthday every year in the Caribbean.

Princess Cays

We dropped anchor not far from the beach in the Bahamas, also known as Princess Cays. We caught the tender at around 10 am and heading to the far left, past the music, past the restaurant, past the crowds and saw that Mike and Sue had got a bunch of chairs together and were relaxing waiting for us to arrive.

The weather was perfect, but that slight wind was misleading and kept us cool but trust me the sun was strong. We had a very relaxing and fun day frolicking on the beach, in the water and playing little jokes with each other.

Snorkeling was not very good because of the weather from yesterday the water was just not very clear. Lunch was the usual fare, hamburgers, hot dogs, ribs, salad and fruit.

Bill Blowing up my diaphram
We had a few things up our sleeves too. I had done up a door sign for the entire cruise critic roll call that showed our sailing and ports. When I emailed it out to friends, one of our friends (Bill) decided to add actual pictures to the sign of all of us. Now some of these pictures were not flattering at all, so something had to be done. As soon as we returned to the ship I snuck down and took the sign off and came back to the cabin and scoured the People magazine for “new” “better” faces to past over. I then snuck back down and replaced the poster. Check out the picture below.

Tonight is also our dinner in the Crown Grill for the eight of us, (Bill/Cathy, Mike/Sue, Rose/Jerry and us) now this dinner came about because last year Vancouver (where we are from) and Chicago (where Sue/Mike are from) were in the Stanley Cup playoffs. The bet was whoever won the series would treat the other to the meal at the Crown Grill. Well we lost, and we were prepared to treat, but first we needed to show where our support was. Bernie picked up some temporary tattoos with the Canucks Logo, and all six of us showed up at Skywalkers with our tattoos showing. (see blog link below for picture).

We went up to Skywalkers for a drink in the Platinum Elite lounge (However we have not received our formal invite nor have we received the list of drinks and on which night there are on) we will talk to Peter about this tomorrow. Tonight is was a Rob Roy cocktail so I opted for the Key Lime Martini, very good by the way. We went and grabbled the last of the food items, and there was slim pickens and it was only 6:15.

Dinner was set for 7 pm in the Crown Grill and we were all looking forward to the meal. Jewel was our waiter and she was amazing, very attentive and accommodating. I worked hard at not overeating but man was I full. My one recommendation for Princess is that they should provide electric scooters at the door of the restaurant so you can take them back to your cabin, and if there are crowds in the way you can press a button that squeals out “Crown Grill” and the crowds would disperse, sort of like Mosses and the seas separating.

here are Rose and Jerry with their tatoos
 The Birthday crew all got their birthday cakes and got sung too, and a lovely take home treat wrapped up in foil that looked like a pretty hand bag, check out the shot.

The birthday gang with their little purses
Jewel with Jasper, she was an amazing server

Back to the cabin and a quick change and then back up on deck for a walk about to wear off some of this food.

Tomorrow is a quiet day at sea, we have our scheduled meet and greet with the cruise critic roll call for 10 am in Skywalkers.

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