Showing posts from April, 2014

Platinum / Elite Lounge

If you have attained Platinum (5 cruises or 50 days) or Elite (15 or 150 days) status with Princess' loyalty program, or are in a full suite you will receive a card from the Captain circle host that outlines the days the lounge is open (usually every day except the nights the Captain Circle Party is).

Here is what we had for a drink special and complimentary pre-dinner canapes while we sailed on a 10 day Emerald Cruise.  Drinks are now $5 fleet wide.
Beef Steak Tartar with Melba toast - Chivas Regal Rob Roy

Smoked Salmon with Toast Points, Onion rings, capers and lemon - Chairman of the Board

Authentic Mexican Salsa with tortilla chips - Mojito

Wheel of Stilton with port wine, walnut baguette - Sandleman's Port

Herb-Marinated Goat's Cheese with Crisp Rosemary Flat bread and Tomato Bruschetta - Brezza Marina

Shrimp Fountain with cocktail sauce - Cosmopolitan

Assorted Sushi with soy sauce, wasabi and pickled ginger - Japanese Slipper

Note there are usually cheese, veggies, crackers a…

Ordering Wine On Board

Do you enjoy wine?  I know I do.  And because my job day-to-day requires me to be alert as I drive for a living I rarely drink anything at home.  But boy when I get on a ship I sure enjoy my wine every night at dinner.

Princess recently updated their wine list and there were quite a few of my favourites that are no longer there, but I can say now after sailing recently I have many new favourites. 

A great place to try a glass of wine is Vines (if your ship has it).  Vines will sometimes even let you sample a bit of wine before you buy, especially if you are a regular and you want to try something new before you buy.  Note this only happens if they already have a bottle open.  

Then if you want buy a bottle of wine in Vines and then enjoy a glass and they will store it there with your name and folio # so you can enjoy it the next night.  I love doing this, nothing better than a nice glass of wine on an afternoon at sea while reading a book.  

For dinner I ask my waiter or head waiter for a…

How Do I Book A Cruise

People ask me this all the time.  Probably at least five times a week.  It isn't a easy question to answer.  

How do I book a cruise, is easy, but how should you book a cruise could be very different.

For me I book thru an online travel agency I have used for a long time.  

I have a specific agent I use all the time.  Connie knows me and takes very good care of me.  I have cruised over 60 times and know the industry quite well.  I know the cruise line I want.  I know the type of ship I want.  I know the type of cabin I want.  And I feel very comfortable navigating the web to find and answer most of my own questions.  

So the answer I give on How Do I Book A Cruise is easy.  I book with Best Price Cruises.  

But before you go and search out Best Price Cruises make sure you are like me and can answer many of the reasons above with yes.  

If you answer no to more than two of the above reasons I recommend the following:

Find a reputable travel agency that knows cruising, trust me not all of …

Planning for Future Cruises - Care to Join Us?

The one downside of doing such a large cruise this year is that it used up almost all of our vacation time this year.  So what is a girl to do?  But plan a future cruise.

We really missed the Caribbean this year so I discussed with Bernie, do we go back next year?

The one good thing is that the Royal will be doing the 10 day itinerary instead of the Crown.  Now is that good or bad, well I guess it depends who you ask.  

We haven't been on her and I really want to see her, but there are some things I will miss from the Emerald (Skywalkers, Oustide cabins, wrap around promenade, oh and the Explorer's Lounge).  But there are quite a few things that I am looking forward to on the Royal (Champagne Bar, Fondue dinners, the aft area of the ship, the bigger showers, the new Live Theater, the larger Horizon Court and well a ton of other things).

Bernie's birthday is the 18th of January so it is a given we have to be away then.  But the ship is scheduled to leave on the 18th, so it look…

Disembarkation - April 5, 2014

We prepared for the worst - and boy it turned out a lot better than we expected.

When we disembarked two years ago in San Francisco after our South America trip, and last year's Grand South America trip both experienced horrific disembarkation.  This was mainly because after visiting so many foreign ports where drugs can be an issue and first port back into the US after almost two months sometimes draws a red flag.  Customs agents last time came on board and we all had to clear customs before getting off.  Sniffer dogs were all over checking bags.

This time completely different.  

We were assigned a disembarkation time of 9:00 in Da Vinci.  Of course there was a Platinum Elite Lounge.  But with so many in that category they actually had two lounges.  Club Fusion and Explorers, your location was based on your cabin location.  

We stayed clear of those two lounges as they were packed.  We agreed a quick breakfast in Horizon Court and then we would head to Da Vinci.

Horizon Court was quit…

Last Night of Cruise - SAD, VERY SAD

Can you believe it!  This is the last evening.... 

We decided to tackle the packing just prior to dinner and amazingly we did

it together and we had only a few stern confusing looks at each other but we did it very well and we still loved each other at the end of it.  

We got everything in the three bags and the carry on.  We left one small roller bag to store my camera stuff and then store the necessities for the evening.

The hallways are filling up with lots of suitcases but they seem to really be on top of things and are collecting the bags constantly.  

A last drink in Crooners to toast the cruise.  Of course the place is busy, many others have had the same idea as us. Here is my last Bramble drink.

We wander around the ship to say goodbye to all our new friends.  A few tears are shed, lots of hugs, and promises to keep in touch.  It is easier to say goodbye tonight than to say goodbye tomorrow in the midst of all the craziness.

A last night with Mark and Lorelei in the dining room.... …

April 4, 2014 – Last Day of the Cruise

I awake so darn early but we had to put the clocks forward today so really it is 7 am but we are now on Pacific time.Bernie heads down for tea, I skip the latte and will head down there later for my coffee. 
Lots going on today, here is a break down:
Tango Class, basketball shootout, ping pong get together, backstage tour, book club get together, trivia, golf putting challenge, Texas Hold’em Tournament, Enrichment Lecture Neptune:  King of the Seas with Jeffrey Wolff, Zumba, Farewell and Tacky Souvenir Exchange, Battle of the Sexes Trivia, Afternoon lecture with Michael Ziegfield about Puppetry Special Effects in Film and Television, Afternoon Movie on Mutts The Italian Job 2013, The PMS Gameshow with Dan, Enrichment Lecture with Jeffrey Wolff Gecko’s From Tails to Toe Pads, Bingo, Afternoon Tea.
Tonight’s Entertainment:
In stateroom movie:  Oz the Great and Powerful, Sabbath Service, The International Crew Talent Show, Movie The Great Gatsby on MUTS, Milanga Night with Jorge y Anabel (w…

At Sea – April 3, 2014

We wake and both realize only two more days and we feel like taking advantage of doing nothing cause soon enough we will be waking and heading to work.
It takes me a long time to get moving and when I do I head down to our neighbourhood coffee shop also known as the International Café for my latte and Bernie soon joins me. 
There is another sale in the dining room for three hours but I stay away, I really don’t need anything but it is busy.
The weather is a little cooler today with a strong breeze – temperatures are in the mid teens C, we are no longer in the tropics. 
The ship seemed to have a hum of frantic business as people go about getting their last minute items done and a lot of people are saying goodbye to new friends.  Many are sad to leave but happy to go home.
People are lining up changing their disembarkation luggage tags just to the right of the Purser’s desk that never seemed to be quiet.  We are fine with our time so no need to change. 
Our cabin has not been cleaned so I w…

Evening - April 1 – 2014

We are not hungry tonight and neither of us feels like dressing for the dining room.  We still have three bottles on our wine card so we get a bottle of wine from the card from the dining room and we take it to vines.  Note you can’t use your wine card in Vines or any bar, silly I think.  You bought the card you should be able to use it anywhere. 
But we do take the bottle and sit in Vines.  Anthony is happy to get us some glasses and some sushi/tapas.  I had the tapas and sadly they were not good, except for the chicken brochette was good.  The asparagus wrapped in salmon was not to my liking but may be to others.  The Bruchetta was so salty I couldn’t even eat it same for the crab stuffed mushroom. 
I just head over to the International Café and grab a Cuban Sandwich and some orzo pasta salad and that hit the spot.A bottle of wine later and we are wandering about the ship.  The Ole Pub Night is happening in Explorers and since we missed it last time we grab some seats up front but w…

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico - April 2, 2014

Up early – WHY!Maybe my body is telling me it is time to get ready for going back to work and very early shifts?But I read for a bit and wake slowly.Bernie has gone to get the coffees and we sip and read for quite a while.
Yesterday was the first time I took out my IPhone and looked at my upcoming work schedule for next week.  So last night I was thinking about work and returning to reality.  This morning it is the same – what do we need to do on Sunday to get ready for our work week?  What routes am I doing?  What days off do I have next week? 
Also what is more tragic is we don’t have another cruise booked before we get off this one.  That hasn’t happened in a long time.  It isn’t that we don’t want to sail again.  It has more to do with this trip took most of our vacation this year.  We still have a few weeks late in the year but are hoping to do a land vacation (famous last words).  Also we will probably book the Royal for next January/February just not sure of the dates.
Both Berni…

Breaking News - Small Fire! - April 1, 2014

Thought I would let everyone know that tonight while watching the comedian in Explorer's lounge a bridge announcement came over the speaker.  First Aid attend to Incinerator Room Deck 4.  

All I thought, oh I hope there was not an injury to one of the workers.

Back in the cabin around 10:30 and announcement comes over the speaker all over the ship including the cabins.  It is the Captain explaining what has happened.

Apparently there was a small fire in the incinerator silo.  This is a large silo that holds waste before it is put in the incinerator.  The fire has been put out and they are just dealing with the smoke in the area and cleaning up the mess.  Everything is okay.

At 11:08 pm there is another announcement in the cabin from the Captain.  First Aid can stand down, meaning they are no longer needed.  

Captain Foster once again informs us that everything is okay and explains again what has happened and that they are investigating why it happened.

We are still on our way to Puerto …

At Sea – March 31, 2014

Two more sea days before we arrive in Puerto Vallarta.We wake and head out on to the balcony and it is again warm.Patter says 32 for today…. But at least we get the breeze off the water to keep us cool.
I head up with Bernie to the Horizon Court for some breakfast and the port side is very busy so I go over to the Starboard side and it is much quieter.  Cereal, toast and fruit are all I need today.
Down to International Café for a bit of caffeine, well you know the story……
Bernie goes to trivia and I head to Explorers where nothing is scheduled and relax at one of the couches and read for two hours.  Oh I finished my book yesterday and started a new one “The Replacement Wife” and can’t put it down.When Bernie joins me after trivia (they didn’t fair very well he says) he says he is craving a dining room burger so we head to Da Vinci and are sat at a table for 8 and Bernie gets his burger fix.  I had the Weiner schnitzel which was very good. 
Back to the cabin and I lather on the sunscreen…