Thursday, January 14, 2016

Curacao January 13, 2016

We wake to the sounds of us pulling into Curacao.  It is a beautiful sail in.  Arrival is 7 am and we hear the clearance to go ashore but we are not in a big rush.  No set plans so we take our time getting up and ready.
First stop is the Horizon Court for a breakfast.  It is not too crazy we have beat the rush.  One downfall of eating when it is quieter is often some of the food like the bagel I picked up has been sitting for a while and is basically a hockey puck.  I could of easily have gone back and asked them to toast a new one and they would of but I found the Christmas Stolen in the Pastry shop.  I read Pescadillo’s blog and I know she loves the Stolen so I grab one to try it out.  OMG it is like raisin bread but even better.  Thanks Jeannie for the recommendation.

I also have a small almond pancake and some chorizo sausage - both were very very good. I order a fresh squeezed orange juice that is squeezed right away and is $2.75 a glass but so good.  It is included in the All Inclusive Drink Package so don’t forget to try it out.  I have only half of it and return it to the fridge to save for a screwdriver with the vodka from the mini bar.

We head ashore around 9:30 and it is warm.  I see that a few things near the port have been built up since we were last here.  The hotel right near the pier was just being built the last time we were here.  Right behind it is the bus terminal and there is a Starbucks there too, for those that need their fix.

But we walk along the water (some great photo ops) up to the fort and thru the fort Amsterdam area (some nice shops/restaurants).  Right up to the floating bridge across to the downtown Willemstad.

Once in town we walk along the water called Gouvernementsplein to the end and walk by the floating market.  It is a bit different this time, the boats are still floating alongside but they have set up stalls on the sidewalk now all in a row with all kinds of fruits/vegetables.  Still nice but definitely not as interesting.

You will walk past a bridge and you will come across this large round building, walk in.  It is like a flea market but this is where the locals buy many of their products for everyday use.  Remember that the local currency is the Netherlands Antillean Guilder also called the Florin.  You are able to pay in US currency but be prepared you will usually get Florin back, especially coins.

While walking around we run into Lynne and her husband Dave.  I had been chatting with Lynne on my Facebook Fan page for a long time and it is so nice to meet her and put a face to a name.  They comment that this is the first time they have seen us.  Well guess what we ran into them two more times today, funny how that works.

I really want to see if the old market building is still there and if they still have restaurants in there.  I finally remember that if you walk past the market building you will see this really non-descript building with a blue roof - king of looks like a warehouse.  There are food vendors to one side and picnic tables for sitting.  The smells are amazing as we walk past. This is where you are going to find authentic foods of Curacao.  Prices are reasonable and large (easy to share). 

We talk with a man who owns one of the restaurants called Grasias di Dios.  He told us all about his place and what they offer and how fresh the items are.  If we wouldn’t of recently eaten we would of definitely eaten something.

We wander around a bit more for around two hours.  When we get back to the floating bridge it has just opened.  Note when it is open you can just walk down and catch the complimentary ferry across to the other side.  We spot Dylan and Ben, with Gina who are out for a quick bite before heading back to work. We decided to wait for the bridge and as we wait as we see Ken and Darlene from the roll call and we chat with them.

Once the bridge opens (took about 20 minutes as a large freighter goes by).  We travel en masse across.  I wanted to take a picture of the traffic jam but were afraid to stop and cause an accident by banging into someone.

We are back on board at 12:30, all aboard is 1:30.  The dining rooms are closed for lunch as it is a port day so we decide that Alfredos would be a great option.  Obviously others are thinking the same thing as there is a line to get a table. But it moves fast and we are sat at a table for two.

The place is hoping!  It is nice to see two head waiters down here and they have brought in extra waiters and buffet stewards to help out.  Today we decide to start with a salad for Bernie and I get the marinated roasted vegetables (which were amazing).  We share a Calzone which was so darn good! 

After lunch we head to the Purser’s desk as Bernie received an on board credit gift from someone but we don’t know who.  Normally you get a card with the gift item on it but we hadn’t received one.  Vicky who works there was so helpful and informed us that Ted and Nancy sent Bernie a credit for his birthday.  How sweet of them.  Thank you both, we enjoyed some wine tonight with it. 

Vicky taking care of us at the Purser's desk 

Bernie recognizes some of the Beatle Maniacs - the Paul and John and we tell them what a great show they did last night.  I ask about their schedule and if they will be back before Feb 8 when we get off and they say yes!  Excellent - as I know our friends Simon and Angelique will love the show.  We see the Paul character later in Vines before dinner and talk some more - and we had to buy him a drink cause we truly appreciate the show they did and how difficult it must be to be away from home for so long.

The sail away is a party up on deck called Jamaican Me Crazy with the band Atomic Party and DJ Shea.  The cruise staff are there, including Lisa the Cruise Director -- she is truly everywhere and a great face for Princess.  So helpful, so approachable and sincerely cares that you enjoy your trip.  We are dancing when she comes up to say hi, and we pose for a picture cause I we look so much alike.  

Here is the picture, what do you think?  Do we look alike?  Don’t you just love the costume they have to wear.  Must be hot.

Even the bar staff are dressed up in Caribbean Pirate outfits.  They are also having a drink feature of buy one get one free for some special drinks, rum punch, and two others. 

The party was a lot of fun and certainly more fun than just the usual sail away.

They are also doing a Stammtisch table this afternoon at 3:15.  I like that it is at this hour.  When we have done it in the past it has been in the evening and often interfered with dinner.  Having it at 3:15 is perfect, you can do this in the afternoon then you can do your evening activities.  Plus Vines isn’t too crazy at this hour and they can deal with the demo and have enough crew to deal with the passengers wanting wine here too.

We head back to the cabin for a bit of relaxation as we haven’t stopped all day.  We watch some tv and read.  We dress for dinner and head down to the Elite Lounge - which is allowing us to get any drink we wish from the elite lounge menu for $5.  I don’t want anything here tonight so at 7 we head down to Vines and enjoy the remainder of our wine we bought yesterday.

Tonight we are back in the dining room for dinner.  We are seated at our reserved table which is lovely and can accommodate four if we wish to ask others to join us.  Our waiter and assistant are very attentive and friendly.  I especially like that waiters around them help each other out.

Our Head Waiter is very helpful too.  Sorry I haven’t gotten down their names as of yet but trust me I will and make sure to report back.  Also I really like to recognize them in the end of cruise survey.

For dinner I start with the roasted beet and green salad with the Balsamic vinaigrette.  I have the pesto pasta as my appetizer and then we both get the beef tenderloin for dinner served with BĂ©arnaise sauce.  All was very good and we don’t really have room for dessert but they talk us into getting some black forest cake - which I liked but there was not a lot of cherry flavour.  After a few bites I was full!  Bernie had the cafĂ© late ice cream - so cute was our waiter asked if he wanted the decaf version!  Funny.

We have the wine card and we arranged to order a bottle to be sent to our cabin as well as a bottle of sparkling water too.  When we come back after our evening both are in the cabin.  We also ordered another bottle of Clois du Bois - note it is more than the $29 Silver Package amount but what they do is charge your account the full amount then the next day they credit your account the $29 so you just pay the difference.

We stop in to the Princess Theater to see what is happening.  The Hollywould You Gameshow is going on. Although it would be fun to participate it is kind of boring (at least to us) to just watch others play so we don’t stay long.

Wandering around we stop in the boutiques and ask if Marcin the Shop Manager could be called as we wanted to see him again and he is stuck in the office doing paperwork.  When he comes up it is big hellos and hugs.  It has been a few years since we have seen him but it is like no time has passed.

Alice is in the Casino chatting with the Louisa the Casino Host (she was here last year too) and we catch up a bit with her.  Louisa is a sweetie and so helpful for those wanting to play, but we are not gamblers and the $100 or so I use to play every cruise is not happening this voyage with the low Canadian dollar.

In fact we have decided to reconsider a tour we have planned for our last sailing in Grenada.  It isn’t that we don’t want to do it, it is just at $60 each plus tip it works out to almost $200 Canadian.  Sure we could afford it but we have been to Grenada a lot and we love the island and we would be seeing a different area but we have to be smart.  We are on for 30 days and our Med trip was the big trip where we didn’t spare any expense and did what we wanted.  But for this trip to the Caribbean which we have been to a lot it is more about relaxing.  And where we spend our money is going to be on things we really want to do.  Sad, but smart.

The Princess Theater is showing What The World Needs Now show -- there are two shows tonight 8:15 and 10:30 and they are singing all Burt Bacharach songs.  We get there at 10 and sit up front with Alice in between us.  A cute young couple in their 30s sits beside us and we chat.  When the show starts this couple are confused and ask “isn’t this the game show called the Blank Gameshow” nope that is in Princess Live not Princess Theater. They don’t recognize these songs and are not interested so they leave right away.  Yeah I officially feel old.  But they were cute.

After the show we chat with the Lisa the Cruise Director about how much we loved the show.  It is a different show, more singing and the dancers highlight the singers and  act as backup singers.  It is simple but beautiful and we really enjoyed it.  We especially love that they have live musicians playing.  This is something that doesn’t happen on many other cruise lines, sadly.  So if you get a chance to catch this show on board or another ship make sure not to miss it.  The singers on board are Willis White, Regina LeVert, Jose Rosario and Rebecca Elliott.

Other things happening tonight are:  Into the Flow water fountains that run every 15 minutes during allotted time, LGBT get together, Majority Rules Gameshow, Live Music and Dancing with Atomic Party Band in the Piazza, Movies Under the Stars:  Bridge of Spies, Karaoke, Perry Grant plays in Crooners, 70’s & 80’s Name That Tune, Evening Grooves with Tyrone Babb, Live Music and Dancing with Orphea Quartet, 70’s Party Line Dancing Class, Bing, 70’s Night, Hits from today and yesterday with DJ Shea, The Blank Gameshow, Atomic Party Band in Vista late at night and of course the Production Show What The World Needs Now. 

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