Tuesday, September 25, 2012

We are Off

Nothing better than knowing you are getting on a ship soon.  As we walked towards Canada Place after taking the skytrain to the pier we caught our first glimpse of the Star Princess.  A shiver comes over me, I know it sounds weird but it feels like home to me.

We quickly make our way thru the security line, thru customs, filled out the health form, then got our cruise cards.  We were on board within about 15 minutes from arriving at the pier.  Very streamlined, and smooth, but then again there was only one ship in port today.

Our cabin c212 is an inside cabin all the way forward on Caribe deck.  We see right away our bags have arrived (helped that we dropped them off at the pier an hour earlier before heading out to park the car).  We quickly unpack and find once again lots and lots of storage and more than enough space for our items for the 27 day voyage.

Our cabin steward is Loida Natividad from the Philippines, a tiny thing but boy oh boy is she on top of her game.  Right away we are impressed to see most of the items we usually have to ask for are done.  Large fluffy pillows are on the bed (normally we have to ask for these or at least ask for two more), nice robes are in the room, our elite toiletries are there already, and even slippers are there.  

We are surprised to see a lovely fruit basket full of strawberries, grapes, pears, apples, bananas and oranges for us along with a plate of chocolate covered strawberries with a lovely note from the PR department welcoming us on board.  We even have personalized stationary with our cabin # on it and our name is spelled right!  Now we have never had this but it is much appreciated and another reason why we love Princess and their recognition of loyal passengers. 

I will add when we had our shower tonight we had an issue with the drain in the shower not draining very well, we left a note for Loida and it was taken care of before we came back to the cabin after dinner.  Prompt and efficient – impressive.

We are hungry and head up to the Horizon Court, looks like we have beaten the mad house and find a seat easily and enjoy a great little meal.  Bernie loved the stew, me I love the salad bar and their balsamic dressing.

Not much time before we have to head down for muster drill, today it is held at 3:20 and we are in the Princess Theatre for the drill.  They did scan our cards as we entered for those that always ask.  But I still laugh at the comment “if you see someone fall over board yell Man Overboard” kind of sexist, what if it is a woman! 

We drop our life preservers off in the cabin and head up on deck for sail away but we actually don’t make it in time we have already started moving.  An on time departure and we are off towards San Francisco.

Music is playing on the Lido deck, people are in vacation mode, people are dancing, people are drinking – ahhh we are on vacation.  I do see Martyn Moss our Cruise Director watching the happenings below ensuring everything is running smoothly.  Also see the Customer Services Director checking things out (Jasper Wothuis).  They both should be proud as the ships is running smoothly.  I see the cruise director staff below and right away I see Zara who we stopped by to see and she remembered us from South America (probably because of the crossing the equator ceremony I took part in).  It is like seeing old friends.

One of the things I really wanted to try this trip is the Thermal Suite.  They are offing access to the Thermal suite for the two day voyage for $20.  Now the sale says that is limited number, but I can tell you that the limited number must mean a hell of a lot!  I decided to try it out around 5:00 pm and all the heated loungers were taken, the three steam rooms were all occupied, and I joined two women in one of the smaller steam rooms and later after they left two couples came in.  We were squeezed in there, but we shared some great conversation.  All I can say is I don’t know if I would do it again, not because I didn’t like what is offered, but it was way too busy.  I will try it again tomorrow and see if it is less busy.  The crew at the spa were amazing and very helpful.  When you arrive you give them your cruise card and then they give you a robe (certainly had seen better days this robe, had two holes in it and was very frayed).  You proceed to the women’s change room where there are lockers that you can set a code and lock (no key required).  What is wonderful is there is a nice steam room and sauna here that is free to use and large showers.

After many coffee purchases
Bought the first of many coffee cards today, total cost is $29 plus tip equals $33.35 this gives you 15 espresso drinks, plus unlimited specialty tea and brewed coffee free for the current voyage you purchase the card on.

We have made arrangements to meet up with Laura and Dolores who are on my Cruising Princess Cruiseline with Vickie fan page.   We hook up with them at 7 pm in Vines and Peter (Captain Circle Host) join us for a drink and fills us in on how he has been doing since I saw him last time in May.  Seeing Peter is one of the main reasons we booked this cruise.  And we surprised him tonight by telling him we extended the voyage by adding on the Hawaii portion.  He is tickled pink that we now are on for 27 days.

I ask right Peter our Captain Circle Host about the rumor of Princess removing internet minutes for Platinum/Elite passengers and he told me straight out “IT IS NOT TRUE” so whoever is spreading the rumor note it is a rumor only.  Glad to hear cause we love Princess, and one of the reasons we love Princess is they take care of past passengers, so we love to come back.

We head to dinner in the Capri dining room (deck 5) note Portifino (deck 6) is being used for the early seating dining at 5:30, Portifino becomes anytime at 7:45.  The Amafi Deck 6 aft is for traditional dining early seating 5:30 and second seating 7:45 (not sure if these times will be the same for the next voyage as normally it is a later early and later late seating).

We have a reservation in the Capri dining room for 7:30 and we are sat a nice window table for four.  The Maitre D’ comes by to introduce himself (Jaques Ghennai), lovely man very friendly and accommodating.  You can see he takes a lot of pride in his dining room and staff, he made us feel like we were dining in his own kitchen.  The waiter and assistant waiter (darn I wish I could remember their names) were fabulous up there with the best of them.

Let me state right here, that the wine package is available on this ship for ten day voyages and longer, so we will have it on for Mexican and Hawaiian cruise.  Jaques explained a bit of it to me but it sounds just like what I wrote in the “note” section on my facebook fan page, so check it out.  We will be getting a wine package and will write more about it then.

Douw (a head waiter that we met last time on the Star) comes over to say hi.  We brought him a bottle of BC wine to enjoy later. 

Dinner was very good, and yes I can confirm that we have new menus.  Now my memory is a little bad on what is new or not there anymore on the menus, but I can say that they no longer have the “always available items” on the left, it is now broken down into appetizers, salads, pasta, main entrée.  With all the old always available items in the appropriate sections.  Certainly makes things easier when deciding.

For dinner I had the spring rolls, the bass fillet, and for dessert mixed berries.  The did have a lovely crème caramel but I resisted!  By the end of dinner we had cosummed a lot of booze.  Two bottles of champagne, one bottle of wine and I am feeling pretty darn good (note we did have help with the two bottles of champagne from friend Peter).

We are one of the last tables to leave and the time is 10 pm.  We say goodbye to Laura and Dolores after a very enjoyable evening and start exploring the ship.  We run into friends and a few drinks later somehow it is midnight and I am officially drunk.  I rarely drink at home but I have had a lot tonight, people just kept buying rounds!  We stagger (literally) back to our cabin and we both crash.

The ship moved tonight, the water is normally a little rough once we clear Vancouver Island, but still quite smooth (we have definitely been in worst waters).  Tomorrow is a sea day, aka total relaxation day!  Again what better way to travel.

Some information you might be interested in.  Captain is Todd McBain, Staff Captain is Rikard Lorentzen, Chief Engineer is Pietro Di Fusco, Hotel General Manager is Emilio Mazzi, Cruise Director is Martyn Moss, Senior Doctor is Dr. Dylan Belton, Food & Beverage Director is Giuseppe Arrigo, Customer Services Director is Jasper Ruben Wolthuis, Executive Chef is Gaetano Patamia, Maitre D’Hotel is Jacques Ghennai, Executive Housekeeper is Monico Reyes, Jr.

Patter information today is:  Entertainment is Arkadia String Quarted in Atrium, Pianist Leandro, Explorers has Tempo Quatro, Crooners Piano Entertainer is Leandro, Dance party dj is Dollar.  Production show is British Invasion.  MUTS is:  NFL game, Paul McCartney concert, Take That Live at Wembley Stadium, The Killers Live at the Royal Albert, and U2 Vertigo.

Various other offerings around the ship today:  Photo & Video, free gift with your welcome aboard photo package (not sure what it is though), Fragrance & Cosmetics save an extra 15% with the purchase of $250 or more in fragrances and cosmetics.    They did have a spa flyer with specials but I threw it out I will try and remember to write about it when I get one for the next voyage.


  1. unquote

    Are these available for all Elite passengers, or are Princess doing this because of your FB pages and Blog?


    1. well this is the first time we have gotten them so I don't think it is for elite. And both Bernie and I always say we don't expect anything but are very appreciative.

  2. Jacques *does* make you feel like a valued guest - we've had him a couple of times, and he's really the consummate pro.

    Personalized stationery! Ooh, la la! Can't wait to see that pop up in our cabin someday (hasn't happened yet, despite the carte noir).

    1. Jacques is amazing, the New Matre d'Hotel is Rui Pereira. Re stationery very cute, but don't know how I will use it. But I did bring my own cards and wrote a thank you card to Emillio for yesterday on it.

  3. Love the entertainment in the Piazza! Our Fave was the string quartet and Pianist Leandro...glad to see they are on your voyages! :)