Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Happy Holidays to all my Followers

I wanted to take some time today to wish everyone a very Happy Holidays.  This year has been an amazing journey. 

I have been blessed to have been able to explore even more of the world this year.  Our trip to South America rates as one of the best trips we have ever taken.  In fact we often think of going back but are concerned at how it will rate when compared to this year's amazing voyage.  

Being on board the ship for such a long time enabled us to make so many new friends in the passengers and also the crew.

Then to be lucky enough to get to see the Crown Princess every other week docked at Canada Place in Vancouver while it did it's Alaska run was fun.  We often found ourselves down at the pier welcoming some of the crew to the city and a bit of a tour of our city.

Because of all those great friends on board we managed to squeeze some days off work and do a California Coastal cruise in September on board the Crown.  Which we often say was a week away for just the two of us.  It ended up being a very relaxing, romantic, restful get away.

In November a trip to the Mexican Riviera on the Grand enable me the opportunity to return to Disneyland.  I had not been there since 1970 and it had always been a dream to head back.  Three days exploring the two parks was a highlight of my year.  

Then the ten day cruise on the Grand with our friends ended up being a highlight and really enjoyed it.  We were concerned about the ports and the ship but in the end they scored highly and want to do that itinerary again. Especially La Paz.

The two three day cruises that followed on the Golden were a disappointment (read earlier blog to find out why) and left us with some major concerns about the Princess product. But in the end we knew that the time of year and the length of the trip and itinerary may have played a bigger role in the results.  

Although we have not booked any further cruises, other than what we already have planned until we sail this year, to make sure we are still happy with the product.

2015 is going to be another exciting year.  As many of you know my job is unique, a transit driver in Vancouver.  Our holidays are chosen in October for all of 2015.  So we already know when we have time off and what we have planned.

The new year starts back in the Caribbean on our favorite Caribbean itinerary, the ten day.  Which is now being done by the Royal Princess.  This will be our first cruise on the new class and we are both excited about it.  We will be spending a month on the Royal and getting away from the rain in Vancouver.

In June we are heading to Las Vegas!  Apparently no cruise ships sail into Las Vegas but we are still going.  My sister in law is a huge fan of Las Vegas and when she told us she was getting tickets to Brooks and Dunn we wanted to go too. But with no vacation scheduled it will have to be a short get away but filled with great memories.  

This summer is our 20th anniversary and my 50th birthday and since it is very hard to get vacation time in the summer with my job we are moving the celebration to the Fall.  We have booked our very first Mediterranean Cruise.  We are off to Rome baby!  We will spend five days there before getting on the Island's inaugural season in the Med. and then it's Trans Atlantic cruise back to Fort Lauderdale.  This cruise excites us cause we are getting to do lots of research and learn so much.

And finally this coming year represents Princess' 50th Anniversary too and lots of great things are planned. It will also see us doing our 50th Princess cruise in January.  I look forward to reporting back all that that will entail.  

So thanks again for following, happy travels to everyone, and especially a Happy New Year.


Saturday, December 13, 2014

Flight to Rome - Too SOON?

Now you know I am organized... probably a bit too organized.  But this is the earliest I have ever booked a flight.  

10 months prior! 

Am I crazy?

We knew flying one way to Rome would not be cheap and we had been trying to get an idea on the cost when planning this trip.  

From Vancouver we were looking at $1600 per person!  So we kept looking and just this week we saw with more options opening up the price had gone down over 50%.

We scooped up a deal - I think.  

Flying out of Vancouver direct to London then a few hours in London then a short trip to Rome.

All for the price of $700 Canadian per person!  And we are flying British Airways which is a better option than some other airlines (won't name names).

I saw that Princess Air was also a good option but the airfare from Vancouver was much higher.  

Seattle is another option and the price was just under $700 US.  So when you add in the exchange rate, the three hour drive, the parking we were looking at just over $1000 each.

So my advice is always weigh out the options.  Decide what is best for you.  What you feel comfortable with.  Talk to your travel agent too cause they may have a better option.

Now I am getting excited.  But still ten months to wait!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Should I Be Worried About Princess' Product

I am finally getting around to publishing our review of the Golden Princess cruise we did in November.  I knew I needed to take some time to calm down after the cruise.  If I would of done the review right after it may of had more emotion reflected in the review.  So we decided to wait a few weeks and I am glad I did.

The cruise was actually a back to back three day itinerary that we did after doing ten days on the Grand.  

The itinerary for these three days was -- Los Angeles, day at sea, Ensenada, back in Los Angeles.  And we did it twice.

For those who don't know me let me explain that this isn't our first Princess Cruise.  In fact it was our 48 and 49th Princess Cruise and we have just over 400 days with Princess.

I am 49 and Bernie is 58.  We love to travel and we mainly travel on cruises and have been very loyal to Princess.   But I have done a few cruises with Carnival and one with Royal Caribbean.

These two trips on the Golden were a big disappointment and we left with some concerns.

I decided to do the review as a podcast cause I really wanted to get Bernie's point of view too and I knew writing it and how it was interpreted could be misconstrued.  

So take a listen and know that in the end we will still sail with Princess in the future.  But we may now look at other lines too.  

But if these issues we experienced are because of cut backs to save money, perhaps other lines are doing the same.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Reviews from a LONG time ago

Before I ever started this blog I was doing reviews of my cruises - from pretty much my second cruise.  I usually posted them on Cruise Critic but I did other sites too.

Here are some of the old ones that I found.

Carnival Spirit Mexican Cruise Nov 2005 

Golden/Grand Princess Jan 2005 - I think my 2n/3rd Princess Cruise

It is fun to read the old ones....