Tuesday, October 11, 2011

3rd Day and Disembarkation - aka Chaos

The seas have calmed, the water is smooth as silk, things are back to normal.  And with one day left to enjoy this ship we want to relax, and take it easy.

We head to the dining room for breakfast and I am happy as they has Eggs Benedict on the menu.  But it is immediately clear that the passengers are up and ready to enjoy the last day too.  Those that had been under the weather are taking advantage of today.  The dining room is packed, the staff got slammed at the same time and the service is slower today.  A few around us are complaining but we are like "heck where are you going to go anyways".

The on board outlet sale is going on at 10 am and we wander in, well almost in, as soon as we saw the line up of about 20 people to pay, we walked out without even looking at a thing.  I hate lining up and do I really need anything in there, probably not.  But it does appear that quite a few people scooped up some deals.

We are back in the room around noon when the announcement signal comes over the speaker into the cabins -- you know that is not a good sign.  The Captain announces that because of the storm yesterday our arrival into San Pedro will be delayed by three hours, instead of 7 am we will arrive at 10 am.  I look at Bernie and immediately we both know we won't make our 11:45 am flight.  I head straight to the Internet cafe where a line has already started but I quickly get access to a terminal.  But with everyone trying to access the net, here and in their cabins the connection is slower than molasses.  Again, it is going via a satellite not a DSL cable from the back of the ship and the more on the signal the slower it will be.  Sure it is frustrating, especially right now with needing to make a change to our flight.  It is almost impossible for me to access our airlines web page so I think fast.  I fire off an email to our friend Anita (who is one of next most travelled savvy people I know) and copy my itinerary and ask her to work her magic and we will check back later.

Lunch is in the Crown Grill for the Pub Lunch, much prefer it in the Crown Grill than in the Wheelhouse bar like some other ships, in the Crown Grill you get a proper table.  In the Wheelhouse it is more of a bar setting and the tables are like coffee tables and often too small.  We both ordered the fish and chips and they were okay, and very small.  Other times we have had it and they were larger fluffier battered pieces. 

We try to enjoy our lunch but so many people around us are complaining about everything!  We are almost at our breaking point.  We discuss our options, and I am always the positive one so I say the worst is we rent a car and drive home, or heck stay over night and fly home the next day, no worries. 

After lunch Anita responds and she has cancelled our current reservation that we couldn't make and re booked us on Alaska later.  We did have to pay a cancellation fee, and there is a small credit for future flight, and thankfully using her $99 companion coupon we lucked out.  But we will be getting home later than normal Wednesday night.  We can now relax.

I met up with Kimberly and her son who is a contributor to my Facebook page

We sit and enjoy some nice music in the Piazza and discuss the voyage.  We ponder if these three day voyages are worth doing.  A few things come into play, there are a lot of first time sailors - and not that this is a bad thing it is just that they don't know how things work, and if something goes wrong like the weather, or delay well all hell breaks loose and they are like chickens with their heads cut off.  Now on every sailing we encounter rude, impatient people, but somehow with everything else this just brought out the worst in most people.  I am sure after a few months when it comes to another repositioning cruise we will book again but might need to do a happy dance or two first.

The line up at the Purser's desk is never less than 20 people all day and all night.  The poor staff there are taking it from every angle.  People are asking about arrival tomorrow, wanting off first, bag issues, credits for the internet.  I will add that Princess did provide internet time free for those that required it and asked, and even provided some with free phone calls to their airlines, which shows they do care and is something they didn't have to do.

We decide to head back to the cabin for an hour or so of relaxation before our dinner in the Crown Grill at 6 pm.  Tonight is also the Captain Circle Party, however we can not attend as it conflicts with our schedule, but amazingly when we head down to dinner people are allready lining up to get in the door 20 min prior to it opening.  Come on people you are on holidays, it isn't like they won't let you in.

Crown Grill!  Yes, and as soon as we sit down we notice the menu has changed slightly, the foie gras is no longer there and the lobster tail you can get extra is no longer there, but they still have the small lobster tails.  Also they now serve three different types of salt on the side to go with your steak. 

We take a peak in the Princess Theater for the Stardust Production show but it is packed and we really don't feel like sitting for an hour to watch a show after such a big meal.  We venture down to the Piazza bar where I have a Brown Cow and Bernie has a Key Lime Martini and we chat with Ronnie.

We head to the 50's trivia where we do surprisingly well considering I wasn't even born then and Bernie was born in the late 50's but we came in third.  A nice stroll up on deck is in order, we love to stroll up there and check out the stars and well walk arm in arm.  Can it get any more romantic? 

Time for bed.

The next morning we are up and pack up, and we are not really ready to get off.  That is the downfall of these short voyages, the time is just too quick.  We leave our bag in the cabin and head up to the Horizon Court for a bite, but man who let the dogs out!  The place is a zoo - again with people who have never sailed before and with a later arrival more people are eating at the same time and they just don't know where to go.  Now those that know me know I don't do well in crowds, I actually get a little freaked out.  So I am getting a little freaked, every time I turn someone is bumping into me, line ups everywhere, people complaining, I grab a yogurt and some fruit and run for a quiet spot.  Bernie is frustrated too and he barely gets his oatmeal.  We opt out of anything else to eat for now and head back to the cabin for our bags. 

We have Group 4 (Group 1-3 are for Walk Offs for US citizens - Group 4-6 are Walk Offs for Non US citizens) and we are told we will be off around 10:45.  We sit for a bit in the Atrium, I get a latte and an egg sandwich, Bernie grabs a few items too and we relax and try to digest the voyage, thinking positively.  We head into the dining room that is the Platinum/Elite disembarkation lounge -- it is packed, again I try to breathe and we ask to sit with a nice couple.  But this woman at the next table is freaking out, she has a flight at 1:30 she asked to be in the first group!  They took the first group ticket she had and gave her group 2, why are they letting the US citizens off first, she demanded!  I am getting off 1st anyways, she says.  We both look at each other and pray she isn't on our flight that is also at that time.

Our group is called, we file off, again people are complaining why is the gangway on deck 7 when we are on deck 5, we have to lug our bags.... come on people you asked for self disembarkation which means you are to handle your own bags!  There is quite a long line for US citizens and a short one for Non US, but then again they just let out the Non US citizens.  We get to the agent, Bernie nudges me to look to my right, who is there, but the woman who complained in the dining room, she obviously didn't save time.  We are outside and we head over to the shuttles and we didn't have a reservation and we said we would go with whoever left first, and we got on and the van was now full and we were off.  Again we had to listen to two woman complain and complain.  The cost of the shuttle was $17 each, we tipped the driver $6 just because we wanted him to know we all were not complainers.

We get to the airport, and thru security and to our gate at noon, so there was no way we could of made that original flight.  We had a nice lunch and then relaxed for a bit before boarding our plane home.  During the flight I head back to the washroom only to see miss complainer from the dining room on our flight (guess she made the flight) squished into her middle seat! 

All in all, it was a good trip, not a great trip -- but what made it good and not great has nothing to do with Princess but to do with the rude and inconsiderate people we kept encountering.  We now count down to our Emerald back to back in November and to great memories.

Bernie's closing comments are:  we did encounter a lot of passengers that we would rather not encounter, but fortunately we did meet many who were great and again the staff worked their magic.  They made us feel like we were at home.  This is the main reason why we stay with Princess.
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