Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Finally On Board the Emerald

Yes we are on board, it has been a long day but a great day, we are home!  Yes whenever we get on board Princess we feel at home once again.

But let me back track.  We flew from Seattle to Fort Lauderdale on Monday and checked into the Hyatt Place 17th Street, which we booked thru Priceline.  It had been a few years since we stayed here, and were very happy with the hotel.  For the price the room is much better than what we experienced in December at the Rennaisance.  We love the large room, the huge sitting area, and this room had a newly renovated shower.  The tub was removed and a walk in shower installed.  The air conditioner had also been updated and no longer sounds like a rocket going off in the room.  We did end up cleaning the air conditioner filters the next morning as they were very dirty.

We drove our rental car to the pier and dropped our suitcases off and then took our rental car back to the airport and then a quick return to the port.  We arrived at noon at the pier and we were directed to the preferred check in.

Pier 2 has recently been upgraded but even though it looks lovely the set up seems to be disjointed and lines seem to be haphazardly placed all over.  We see that the preferred line is snaking thru the check in and a lot of people just don’t know where to go.  I also see that the non preferred guests are still waiting outside in a line.  I believe they opened the door for them around 12:15 and then we had another snaking line of people for guest.  In all this was probably the worst check in here we have experienced, and definitely the longest we have ever experienced here taking about 40 minutes to check in.

We make it to our cabin E309 and put away our carry on bags.  I should state right away, we brought three bottles of champagne in our carry on and a bottle of wine too.  We also had three bottles of wine in our suitcases that we check and we had no issue with any of them.

We head up to the sun deck and enjoy some sun and a burger/fries and start to unwind.   It feels so good to be back on board the Emerald.

Officers on board are as follows:  Captain Giorgio Pomata, Staff Captain Jon Paul Bryant, Chief Engineer Willaim Witts, Hotel General Manager Peter Hollinson, Cruise Director Lee Childers, Senior Doctor Lynn Smith, Food & Beverage Director Max Bigagli, Cusomer Services Director Graham Kelly, Executive Housekeeper David Pearce, Executive Chef Giuseppe Pollara, Maitre d’Hotel Jean Paul Musiu.

We meet our cabin steward Chris from the Phillipines, a nice guy but not sure if this is his first contract or not but he is rather timid.  We ask for our usual, four towels, one extra pillow, a top sheet and the nice robes.  He tells us he can’t get us the nice robes without permission and we ask him to see about it, and we will find out later I guess.  As we unpack and remove the bed protector leather cover we see that the cover that they have at the foot of the bed has a huge blood stain!  ARGH and I wrap it up and open the door and see Chris and say “please take this as it has a blood stain” he just looks and takes it but doesn’t say anything.  I don’t think he really understood.  It is okay, we understand these things happen, the room is clean otherwise and we notice there is new carpet in the cabin and the mattresses are new too.

We see quite a few familiar faces some from this ship in the past and many from other ships.

Up on deck to see sailaway and again more familiar faces, including many from my facebook fan page (Cruising Princess Cruiseline with Vickie).  We see Peter (the Hotel General Manager) with his wife and son Max, we remember when Max was born and then last year he was a year old and this year he is two and boy does he have energy but a cute boy and so bright as he points up the sky and points to the moon and says moon.  He played with us and Bernie loved playing with him, and we are excited to see that he will be getting a younger brother soon, congratulations Peter and Sarah.  We also run into Andy who is a passenger that we met on board the Star in South America last February.

Skywalkers Platinum/Elite lounge is offering Margaritas and we meet up with Alice and Andy joins us and we sit with a lovely couple from Scotland.  But after two drinks at sailaway and then the margarita I need to freshen up and get a shower before dinner. 

We meet up with Alice in Vines and ask about the wine card, and oh no, say it isn’t so!  They have discontinued the wine card!  Boy just my luck, I was so looking forward to it but again it is not available.  No one seems to be able to tell me if it is on longer voyages or not but it is definitely not on the Emerald any more.  So fine, we order a bottle of wine in Vines and take it to the dining room for later.

We dine in Michalangelo around 8 pm at a lovely table with Elda and Nathanlian both from South Africa.  We love them, and Elda knows Ciska and we both share stores of Ciska.  Our head waiter Rui is wonderful and it is nice to see him again.  We request the same table every night and it is no problem.

For dinner I ordered the fish mojito salad and it was lovely served with avocado and a wedge of lime.  Then the mushroom soup, which I use to love but now that I have mastered the art of mushroom soup at home I prefer mine.  For my entre I chose the pork and it was very good.  And as many of you know I am not really a dessert person but had a lovely cheese/fruit plate.

We are both tired and we head back to the cabin to unwind and relax and call it an early night.  We don’t feel like going to the Welcome Aboard Show or to some dancing, or well anything…. We have 30 days to do it all but right now it is about going to bed early.

We did call room service to change out the mini bar to all Vodka and the sodas to all club soda, we wanted wine glasses but they don’t have any!  Go figure… oh well we will get some tomorrow.

Other things you might find interesting:
This week’s entertainment;  Production shows: Boogie Shoes, I got the music, Whatt   a Swell party, Disco Blame it on the boogie.  Vocal Impressionist, Joey Van (who we saw on the Star last fall).  Comedian Al Katz.  Juggler Aaron Bonk, Headliner Mark Preston.  Comedian Carlos Oscar, Comedian Magician Christoper James, Singer & Dancer Delisco.

Movies:  Premium Rush, Moonrise Kingdom, Snow White and the Huntsman, The Bourne Legacy, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, The Dark Knight Rises, Pitch Perfect, Robot & Frank, 9 to 5, Back to the Future, Dirty Dancing, Mamma Mia, Maeverick, The Devil Wears Prada, The Sting, Big, Breakfast at Tiffinays, Casablanca, Gentleman Prefer Blondes, How To Marry a Millionaire, Overboard.

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