Monday, September 16, 2013

Sunday Newport, Rhode Island

Today is a tender port at we drop anchor early around 7 am but what really awakens us is the announcement in the hall way that tenders are now available.  We slept like babies, the great thing about being in an inside cabin is it is very quiet (at least this one is) and dark.  

We don’t have anything big planned today just head ashore and check things out.

Things happening today:  Dr. Bob & Bill W Meeting, Solo Travellers gathering, Pin Pong Tournament, Introduction to Acupuncture, Trivia, Mah-Jong, Taboo game, Golf Chipping Challenge, Princess Pop Choir Rehearsal, Afternoon Tea, Lighting Photography seminar, Pain Management Seminar, Veterans Get Together, NFL Football on MUTS, Bingo, Princess Book Club, Art Auction, Zumba Fitness, GLBT Get Together.  
Tonight is formal night and the Princess Theater is showing Comedian Steve White at 7, 8:15 and 10:15 pm.  It is also the Captain’s Welcome Aboard Champagne Waterfall Party in the Atrium at 7:15.

Well off to enjoy the day.

We are back after a lovely day in Newport.  Key to remember it is a tender port and the harbor today is very very busy with lots of boats of all types.  In fact there is a boat show going on we later realize.  Because of this the tender process is very slow as the tenders manoeuver in and around all the traffic.  The ride on the tender was at least a half hour.  Because of this waits to get a tender from the ship were long.  We were lucky as with elite you get priority tendering and so we just walked down to deck 4 midship and boarded the next tender by showing our priority tickets.

But if you don’t have priority tickets remember you need to follow the directions in the Patter on where you need to go to get tender tickets.  For us today people had to go to the dining room mid ship on deck 5 and wait there for their tender number to be called.  Of course if you have a Princess tour booked meet with the group as per the directions on the ticket.

Once ashore we first tried to rent some bikes.  We had read on line that there was a rental place just a block from the pier and we went there but all the bikes were taken.  They directed us to a place a few blocks further and we went there and they didn’t open until noon and that was still 1.5 hours away.  So with our map we picked up at the Visitor’s Center we started walking.  We walked along streets with beautiful older buildings and then back towards the center of town along Spring Street.  

Stopped for a coffee and a treat and a rest then we were back out towards the downtown and old mansions.  

The mansions are huge, stunning, huge, oh and did I say huge.  In fact we like the walking cause all along the way there are signs explaining a lot about the history of the area and the facts about many of the buildings, including many mansions.  

We stop and look at the Elms mansion and we are blown away to think that this wasn’t even their main house but their summer house.  Seriously, just so much wealth.  You can tour these homes and we are not really interested in that.  I am sure they are beautiful but we are happier seeing more how the “normal” hard working people live.

We walk back towards the water and the crowds are getting heavier.  Again that boat show has brought a lot of people into Newport.  By now we have been walking around for four hours and the last tender is 3:15 so with not much time left we decide to head back on board.  

The line to get back on is long, but don’t worry the line moved rather quickly and in total we maybe waited five minutes.

Once back on board Bernie decides to head to the trivia and I head to Vines to find a quiet place and get a glass of wine and read.  Mark the bar staff at Vines is very helpful and I order a bottle of Santa Margarita and he recommends buying a bottle because a glass is $9.50 and a bottle is $47 so I would get a lot more wine for a better price.  That sounds great and so that is what I do and he has tagged the bottle for me and will keep it in the cooler there for whenever I come back.  Aren’t the crew great!

We then head up to the Lido deck at the grill to grab a burger and I fill up on a big salad from Horizon Court.  

My observations so far about this trip are the ship is full.  The age group is rather young in fact it seems the average age is around late 40’s early 50’s and very few kids.  I can count on my hand how many kids I have seen.

A lot of new cruisers – and many first time cruisers.  So a lot of people asking question about where to go and how to find something and learning about cruise travel.  But by the end of the second day a lot are more knowledgeable and we see people finding their grove.

Tonight is formal night and we head back to the cabin to shower and get ready to head to Skywalkers for a cocktail for the Platinum/Elite Lounge.  It is not very busy up there, again a reflection on the ship.  We enjoy a Cosmopolitan that is the drink of the day for $5 each and the food is shrimp cocktail and also there are chesses, olives, vegetables and a nice snack.  We meet up with Barb and Gordon from Wisconsin who are on the roll call and we have a lovely chat with them sharing our passion of travel with each other.

Dinner again is in the Palm Dining room second seating.   I start with the quiche appetizer, then the French Onion Soup then I had the beef entre which was okay.  Definitely not one of our favorite menus but we certainly didn’t go hungry.

We head out to take a few pictures, this is not a normal thing for us to pose for formal pics but I forgot to mention that yesterday I won a free formal picture from the sail away party.  First time I have won anything from the sail away party.  

We head to see the comedian Steve White in the Princess Theater for the 10:15 show.  We enjoyed him again, and thought his material was very current and funny.  Of course he has to make fun of all the people coming in late which again made us laugh but really people if you are going to come in late why would you come in and sit right near the front?  You are just asking for it.

After dinner we head over to say hi to Delmarie in Facets for a while and then it is up to Skywalkers for some dancing.  We must of danced for an hour straight and then bamm we hit a wall and my feet are killing me and it is midnight so back to the cabin we go.

Our laundry is already there, that was fast, just put it in yesterday and we got it back the next day.  Now remember this is not what is promised but it is nice when we get it.

Other comments about the voyage.

The ship is in great shape.  This is the first time we are on the Caribbean Princess and she is beautiful. Constant upkeep is being done, today we saw work being done on some tiles in the Atrium.  

Morning show is being shown at 10 pm the night prior which is something we experienced on the Emerald last Jan/Feb and actually works out well.  We watch just before we go to sleep and Neil today explained a lot of great info about coming into Boston and some details of where some sights are.   Well done!
Switching out our mini bar was an experience.  We wanted to trade out all our hard liquor for vodka and then replace the two beers and two tonic waters for Perrier.  On the first call the person we were talking to was all confused and said we can’t trade the beers for water which we know can be done and  of course is much cheaper than beer.  We think she understands and when we come back from being ashore, nothing has been replaced.  Okay we call again and this time we are talking to someone different and they seem to understand completely.  A few minutes later a knock at the door and everything is correct but they only have three Vodkas instead of the six.  He says he will come back and he does.  We giggle never realized how difficult a mini bar change could be.

This is a port intensive voyage with five ports in a row then one sea day and after one day in port we are exhausted and when going to bed tonight we both commented we need to make sure to take some time to relax more.  We are so glad we are doing a back to back.

Oh and we saw Klaus the Executive Chef from the Island Princess a few years ago.  He is now Chef de Cuisine but he is still cooking and loving it.  And is so personable.

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