Sunday, January 10, 2016

All Aboard the Royal Princess

The ship is at pier 2 and we wake and relax for a bit.  I had a great sleep last night and feel rested.  The weather is beautiful today.

Our plans today is to head to get some breakfast and a coffee at Starbucks somewhere and then drop our bags off at the pier.  We will then drive the car back to the airport and then take the free shuttle to the pier that Alamo offers (note not all car rental agencies offer free shuttle so check).

Well as I write this on board the ship the very first morning at sea I need to back track a bit to fill you all in on the embarkation and the ship.

The morning did proceed just as we had planned.  

Starbucks, gas for the car, and then to Port Everglades.  
We arrived at Pier 2 and the Royal Princess around 12:30 and long queue of cars snaked around the parking lot.  Not sure why this pier seems to be so bad at traffic flow but it does.  We have gotten on in Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco and it flows much better than here.  Anyways no big deal after about 20 minutes waiting to get to the bag drop we quickly hand over our bags to the porter and we leave via the Port to the airport to the rental car drop off.  

Remember the airport is very close and after ten minutes we had dropped off the car.

One nice thing about Alamo/National Car Rental is they have a shuttle for free from the airport to the pier but we are here at a prime time and there are a lot of ships in port so the queue for the shuttle is long.  But since we dropped our bags off first we ask the driver if there is space for us just before he leaves and he says yes because we have no bags.  YEAH!  Everyone on the bus is either going on Oasis or Navigator, we are the only Royal Princess passengers and he states we will be the last stop as we are the furthest away – no problem.  We chat with the driver on the way and he fills us in on how busy it is and how his job is.  We share that we too drive bus but at least we don’t have to schlep suitcases, but then again we don’t get tips – hmmm there may be an idea there for my cruise fund.

Once at the pier (around 1:30) the line isn’t too long for security.  We declare to the wine table that we are bringing on two bottles.  The guys take note that we have brought our wine allotment and we are directed to the line for check in – oh and we filled in our health forms here too.   

My reflection on the check in is that it is simple but the lines for it are kind of a mess.  They have two reps to check you in at each station and once you have seen them you have to turn around and weave yourself back thru the bunch of people waiting behind you.  Again this is messy and I am not sure why it is done like this as it is not like this at other piers.  Normally the queue is a single one and someone directs you to a specific agent then once you have seen them you walk freely to the area to board.  The staff here were very nice and helpful and have so much patience certainly something I may not have if I did their job.

Well this is really minor but something you observe and critic if you write a blog or cruise a lot I guess.  But truly Princess needs to work on the flow for pier 2.

Okay we are on board!  We head to our cabin on Emerald deck, which is E515 – midship.  Because it is midship and only one deck above the Promenade we do notice that we are missing the midship stairway.  We are forced to take the elevator down one flight or go forward or aft to walk down.  Again we will survive but it is something to take note when booking a cabin.

We have a Deluxe Obstructed View Balcony.  This cabin has a small couch in it in the place where there is normally a desk with drawers.  So we have the couch and on the other side is a fridge with a small desk with only one drawer.  

only one desk with one drawer above the fridge - really  missed those added drawers and small shelves in regular cabins

on the Regal the upper shelf has duck work so you don't have as deep a shelf or another top shelf in closet like other ships

Oh we are missing those drawers and small shelves that are in a normal balcony cabin.  Also for this cabin there is some enclosed duct work that makes the closet top shelf shorter and also runs thru the shelf/closet near the washroom taking away the top shelf.  I will post pictures later in the blog to show you cause it is hard to describe.

We head down to Alfredos for a pizza – of course Bernie’s suggestion as he LOVES Alfredos.  And guess who was on board!  Corporate Executive Chef Alfredo!  Bernie sees him and Alfredo comes over and we both get big hugs from him.  
He was just on the Island with us!  He fills us in on what he has been up to…. Which is a lot of different ships.  So that is cool we are in Alfredos and we see the man it was named after.  

I will add our pizzas were fabulous and of course I had the litre of Sangria – great deal.  

Muster Drill is just about to happen (3:15) so we head back to the cabin to get our life jackets and see our bags have arrived.  That was very fast.  So we do some unpacking until the general emergency signal sounds.  Our Muster Station is Concerto Dining room and we are able to go down the center stair case that is normally closed and for crew only. If only we had access to it all the time.

Back after Muster Drill and we finish our unpacking.  Now you know we are not heavy packers.  In fact we only brought a 25” suitcase each and a small roller carry on each.  But we are having some issues with where to put things.  Mainly things like the electronics, cables, paperwork, hair products – the stuff I usually keep in those drawers by the phone.  We will certainly manage but take note if you get a Deluxe Balcony there is a bit less storage.  

We are only in this cabin for this leg.  Next leg we move to a mini suite.

So where was I --- oh yeah --- sail away.  We head up to the open deck where we spot Anthony behind the bar there.  It has been a while since we have seen Anthony.  We keep in touch via Facebook and this is his last sailing before going home.  He has been on since just after we got off last year!  
We are very proud of Anthony he got promoted to Bartender this contract and I can say the drink he made for us was very good.

We meet up with Barbara and George and low and behold Bill and Sue are with them.  Originally they were only going to do the last cruise and head home after that but they decided late last year to also do a back to back with their friends.  Alice finds us and we all have a great sail away dancing to the sounds of the Atomic Party Band.  

We see Lisa Ball the Cruise Director up there dancing away too and hosting the event.  Very impressive – she is always out and about and a real “hands on” Cruise Director.  We saw Lisa earlier and had our hellos then.  This is her last sailing before vacation too.  Just glad we got to sail with her again.

We stop in to see Dylan and deliver a box of chocolates for him and his staff.  Again it has been a year since we saw Dylan and we are happy he is still here.  We hope to spend some time with him and his partner, who is also on board.
Bernie is back in the cabin resting and will get ready and meet up with me later.  I walk thru Club 6 and see Dave and Cindy so I stop in for a drink.  Happy to report that the Royal is allowing you to order any of the featured drinks for the Platinum Elite Lounge.  Well I guess I should get a drink then.  Now if you are counting (and I should have been) the drink count is adding up.

I get showered and dressed and meet up with Bernie in Vines before heading for dinner (oh another glass of wine in Vines – still I should have been counting). We see Ronnie is back on board and serving us.

We head for dinner around 7:30 and have no problem getting a table for two.  We had hoped to see MaĆ®tre D’ Hotel Federico but sadly he was busy.  I will try and catch up with him today (meaning first sea day).  I am hoping to coordinate a Wine Maker’s Dinner for the last day of this cruise for Bernie’s BIG birthday.  We did see his wife Monica.

I know someone on my Facebook page asked me to put up the menus here is a link to many of the menus we had on this trip.

I really wanted to try one of the new Curtis Stone items that I have heard so much about.  I had the pork tenderloin and I was very impressed.  It was very moist.  I loved the mash potatoes it was served with and the apple chutney. But the dish is very bland looking and really lacked colourful veggies. 

Bernie had the Mahi Mahi with the plantains and he too loved it!  Both were very good and would definitely order them again but I can see how some may not like them cause of the unique flavors but give them a try.

We did buy the Silver Wine Card for 12 bottles and ordered a bottle for tonight – so add a glass of wine to the number of drinks.  To learn more about the wine package check out my blog on the subject.

We met up with our friend Sanja for a short while and caught up with her and what she has been up to.  We are just so blessed, our Princess family means the world to us.

Off to bed and boy am I feeling no pain, but trust me when I wake up at 3:30 I feel the pain of a headache.  I need some aspirin and some water!  Oh I have a hangover!  Why oh why do I do this?

Ships officers:  Captain Bob Oliver, Staff Captain Gennaro Arma, Chief Engineer Fabio Braccelli, Hotel General Manager Micahel Prasse, Cruise Director Lisa Ball, Senior Doctor Dylan Bleton, Food & Beverage Director Ferdinando Vinelli, Customer Services Director Antonio Romano, Staff Engineer Gaetano Guida, Executive Housekeeper Vitor Silva, Executive Chef David McDonald, Maitre d’Hotel Federico Arcos Cantos.


  1. glad your first day went so well ,

  2. Sounds like you're off to a great start!! :) Enjoy....