Friday, November 21, 2014

Thursday Evening

I rush to get ready.  We have made a reservation at the Crown grill for 6:30.  It is odd being in a different layout of cabin, what I am usually use to is not to be.  Nothing major just things like my underwear/bras are in the drawer right but the balcony door when normally they are in the drawer beside my bed. 

The shower is amazing!  I love it, so big! 

But there are some odd things too with the cabin.  There are two door hooks on the back of the bathroom door that are understandably low for those in wheelchairs but you can’t hang your bathrobe on it cause half of the robe would be laying on the floor.  I think two hooks higher up as well would be a good idea cause I have a feeling that 75% of the time this cabin has at least one able body person in it and two extra hooks would cost little.

There is also no full length mirror anywhere, in fact there are only mirrors for waist up which is odd cause again anyone in a wheelchair would not be able to see themselves.  They certainly could put a mirror on one of the cabinet doors where you hang your clothes or on the bathroom door.

I forgot to mention that just prior to sailing we received a bottle of champagne and canapés from Princess’ Public Relations Department.  That is lovely and so appreciated. 
I also got a phone call from the Maître D’ Giuseppe Castino welcoming us on board and asking us if there was anything he could do for us with regards to reservations etc.  He also said that we should let the head waiter know when we dined tonight that we were wanting to talk with the Maître D and they would page him so he could come and say hi.

On the way to dinner we stopped in the Captain Circle Host’s office to say hi.  The host this trip is Tiago Travaras.  He welcomes us and we talk about friends we know in common and he is informs us that we are number 10 in the Most Travelled this voyage.  We are honoured.  (Oh and for these short voyages in lieu of a Most Travelled Party/Luncheon they give you dinner for two in one of the Specialty Restaurants.)

We went for dinner at 6:30 and the Crown Grill is relatively busy.  Joaquin is the Head Waiter and he was on the Crown with us in South America.  He seems a little frazzled tonight though, running around with a clipboard back and forth and a few times he just stops like he is trying to figure out what he should be doing (I understand that totally). 

They open the champagne we were given and we decide to try some different items tonight.  I start with the scallops appetizer and it is very very good, then I had the shrimp bisque and really enjoyed that too.  I did have the filet mignon again because why mess with a good thing.  Steak and all the food were cooked perfectly.

When we arrived we mentioned to the head waiter that we were to tell him to contact the Maître D so he could come by to introduce himself.  We did see Giuseppe walk in stroll by and then he approached the couple that was at the table beside us.  He introduced himself to them and asked how things were and said to them “oh you are dining tomorrow in Donatello the head waiter told me” (which we had told him cause they had a bottle of wine for us complimentary from the Maître D).  The couple did not recognize who they were talking to and responded that “no we will be dining every night in the Crown Grill”.  And that was that…. Giuseppe never figured out that we were the table he was to talk to.  I later saw him in the hallway and tried to get his attention but he just walked right by.  Oh well…. No big deal and we are okay with it but it is surprising, we will try and thank him for the wine tonight.

However service was really not good in the Crown Grill.  Oh he tried, and he was a good waiter, it was just he was too busy.  We often waited for our champagne to be filled, we often waited ten minutes for the plates to be cleared.  The table beside us had to fill their wine glasses themselves too, thankfully they had a bottle of red and it was on the table.  Things that occurred just two days ago on the Grand when we dined there did not happen tonight.

For example, the head waiter never came by to see how things were.  The waiter never cleaned off the table of crumbs and excess cutlery.  Of course none of these things ruined our night but it is noticed and if you are going to dine at the specialty restaurant you do expect a higher level of service.  It really comes down to staff levels and they really could of used one more waiter tonight.

In the end we did tip extra cause we know how hard they work and the meal was complimentary from the Captain Circle in lieu of the Most Traveled Party.  But I think if I was a passenger dining here for the first time (as many are) this evening would not leave a good memory.  Sadly this seems to be the case about 50% of the time when we dine at Specialty Restaurants on board. 

After dinner we are just a bit too late for the British Invasion show happening in the Princess Theater (shows were 8:15 and 10:15). 

We wander into the boutiques and I buy a pair of sunglasses and check out some of the new 50th Anniversary merchandise they have gotten in.  They are expecting more items as the end of year approaches.

We stop into the Explorer’s Lounge where Liars Club is happening and listen for a bit.  Crooners Bar is packed.  Luke Yates is performing in there.  This is a happening ship with so many younger people and they are drinking.  There are quite a few intoxicated folks and it is only 9 pm.  Oh well they seem to be having a good time.

Bernie wants me to mention the dress code.  For the entire voyage there are only smart casual (no formal nights). But boy tonight is a full array of dress.  Tonight in the Crown Grill many people are dressed smart casual (docker type pants with nice shirt, or dress pants for the ladies with a nice blouse even a few lovely dresses).  But many are in jeans and t shirts or sweat shirt.  We even saw a guy who was wearing track pants, a green t shirt with a white dinner jacket ???  Although we are not ones to really care too much about dress code, or at least I try not to let it affect me cause I can’t control others it is odd to see such a radical change.  And rather sad that many can’t make a bit of an effort to just put on a nice shirt.  No excuse really… most had carry on luggage.

Later on when we are back in the cabin we sit out on the balcony – love the big balcony and so far it is quite usable.   I had worried that we would find it way too windy, because once we had the very first cabin on Dolphin Deck and the balcony was pretty much useless cause you could barely stand out there when the ship was at sea.  Even the chairs had to be tied down.  This balcony has the wind break in front and it is open at the aft.  Very nice.

When we crawl into bed tonight we notice that the steward did not put the requested top sheet on the bed.  I page housekeeping and request top sheets for our two single beds. A while later there is a knock and the guy hands us the sheets and leaves.  We giggle and say “guess we have to put them on ourselves, which will help us ease into our return to normalcy and being at home”.  But I again was surprised cause normally they bend over backwards to ensure you don’t have to make your own bed.
The seas are a little more rough today, certainly nothing major but you can feel the movement and it is chillier than it was just a few days ago when we were travelling here. 
The beds are so comfortable we curl up and we are out soundly very soon afterwards.

Other things you may be interested in: 

  • We received two Drink Coupons to be used for a drink in any bar in lieu of the Captain Circle Party.
  • Cut off for shore excursions for Ensenada is 6:00 pm tonight.
  • They are working on the big door that self closes right near the aft elevators on Dolphin deck.  Because they are not working correctly they close the door at night and we have to go on a detour down the port side to the midship elevators then back track along the starboard side to our aft cabin.
  • I again tried to call the dine line all afternoon and evening but it went to the on hold music and no one very picked up.  Seems to be a regular thing on Princess… we will attempt to exchange some of our mini bar tomorrow then.
  • Uber Rossi is on the ship and he did a short performance in the Atrium tonight.  He was just on the Grand.  He will have a full performance Ensenada night in one of the lounges.
  • Maleficent is playing on Muts tonight. 

The officers on board are:  Captain Vincenzo Lubrano, Staff Captain Damiano De Pinto, Chief Engineer Antonio Di Biase, Hotel General Manager Michele Castiglioni, Cruise Director David Cole, Senior Doctor Liesl Kohlmeyer, Customer Services Director Deidre Doyle, Food & Beverage Director Anil Kumar, Executive Housekeeper Russell Cuaresma, Executive Chef Dirk Daumichen and Maitre D’Hotel Giuseppe Castino. 

They had a special on Internet the first day:  An additional 40 minutes free when you purchase a plan today.  Ultimate Kids Package is $7 per day plus gratuity.  All Inclusive Drink Package is $49 a day plus gratuity.  

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