Saturday, January 30, 2016

January 30, 2016 - At Sea

Probably my favorite days -- sea days.  And after a good sleep - only woke up once and managed to get back to sleep.  Woke up at 6:30 and felt rested.  Bernie heads up two decks to Lido Deck - at the Pastry Shop - to get our coffees. 

I shower and dress and head to the Atrium to write my blog.  But shortly after I arrive Brian and Timothy arrive.  

We have sailed a few times with them.  It is lovely to see them again.  They are a lot of fun and hope we can get a chance to do dinner or something with them this voyage.

The guys leave and Bernie shows up and it isn’t long before Louise and Brian stop by.  We catch up with them and plan dinner with them tonight.  They both look very relaxed!

I give up on writing the blog as it is now 11 am and I want to do the Super Tuscan Wine Tasting (cost of $40) at 11:30.  We did it last year and really enjoyed it, you can read more about that experience last year here.  Bernie isn’t going though, but Simon joins me at Sabatinis.

We are sat at a table for six and Federico the Maitre D’ welcomes us.  He introduces the two Head Waiters who will be introducing the wines as well as Chef Lee who prepared the food pairings.

Our waiter is Milos who pours us the Princess 50th Anniversary Prosecco.  We have had this Prosecco quite a few times this year and really enjoy it. 

Head Waiter Constatine is introduced to the Star Wars Soundtrack and he enters with a table cloth draped over his shoulders.  Well he is discussing Super Tuscan Wines.  He introduces Remole (bin 222) which sells for $27 a bottle and is served with carpaccio with a lemon dressing.  Second wine is Bin 218 Pietraregia Dell’ Ammiraglia at $29 a bottle and is served with a duck terrine with cranberry relish.

The next Head Waiter (sorry didn’t get his name) discusses Lamaione (bin 204) at $89 a bottle and is served with a risotto ball with a tomato sauce. Next wine is Luce Della Vite (bin 141) at $115 served with a chicken skewer.

Federico comes back and finishes off the wine tasting with the piece de resistance Solaia (bin 204) at $230 a bottle and is served with a lamb lollipop.

Have to say this is the best wine tasting I have ever been to on land or sea.  At a cost of $40 it is a steal.  The wines, the food, the service and the education make for a wonderful event. If you like wines try the Super Tuscan Wine Tasting. 

It is held only one time per voyage and it is only on the Royal and Regal. 

After the wine tasting we join Bernie and Angelique and Joan and go to our first Pub Lunch this year.  Now this is not my favorite but it is a nice change.  Plus the company is delightful.  The fish and chips were okay, my fish was very very salty for some reason.  But it was hot and the fries were yummy.  And of course at my age eating greasy foods never seems to agree with me and I know I will regret it later.  So with a full tummy from the food pairings at the wine tasting and then pub lunch I am stuffed - good thing I skipped breakfast.

Back to the cabin to change into our swimsuits and head down to the Enclave.  This is located at the spa on deck 5.  The ten day package is $229 per person for unlimited use.  Make sure to ask for a tour of the spa area and check it out.
The Lotus Spa on the Royal is the most beautiful at sea in my opinion.  The whole area is a sense of calm, with soothing colors, flowers throughout, calming scents in the air, stunning procedure rooms with ocean views in some.  Even the change rooms are well appointed.

To learn more about the Enclave, here is a link to Princess' site all about it.  

We arrive at the Lotus Spa desk and there are quite a few people waiting.  The two staff behind the counter are attending the people at the front, discussing procedures and appointments.  We wait patiently and was impressed to see that after about five minutes more staff came out to see how they could help.  When we said we were here for the Enclave she took us aside and took our cards and gave us bracelets.

Now these bracelets are made of rubber and have a chip in them that give you access to the Enclave.  But not only that, once in the change rooms the lockers are locked by placing your bracelet to the chip reader that locks and unlocks the lockers.  No more remembering combinations or carrying a key. 

In each locker is a robe and sandals to use.  The robes are plus and so comfortable.  I change and go to enter the Enclave where a staff member says to me “enjoy your relaxation”.  Ahhhh I can feel the stress leaving - who am I kidding I am not stressed but if I was this is the place to go.
The Enclave consists of three steam/sauna rooms with different scents and temperatures.  Go in one then come out and use one of the four showers (each has a different shower head experience and temp to enjoy) to cool off.  

Head into another steam/sauna room.  And repeat.  I giggle to Bernie and say “do you think all the toxins from the wine are leaving my body?”

The pool in here is, well how can I say it - to die for - the steps lead you down and under a large rain shower head.  On each side of the steps is a pulsating head with three jets that focus on your back and neck.  Also on each side is an area to focus on overall body jets.  Then that isn’t the end, at the back of the pool are more jets where you can lay back and let the aches and pains leave your body. 

But that isn’t all  -- lay down on the tiled beds. At first I thought now how comfortable can these be?  Really the guy next to me is sound asleep!  How could someone sleep here.  Well let me tell you - very easily.  Apparently I was asleep and snoring according to an unreliable source - also known as Bernie.   

After about 15 minutes on the bed I move over to the water bed that is warm but not hot, just right.  I lay down and bam!  I am asleep again.  What are they doing here - are they piping in relaxation gases?  Nope it is just the environment.

They also have chilled flavoured water for you to enjoy.  Lots of towels including chilled facecloths. 

Now the experience is lovely.  I did notice that there are speakers but no sounds.  I think it would be lovely to have some relaxing sounds in the Enclave.  

There were not enough hooks for the people in the Enclave, Bernie and I shared a hook.  Then Bernie noticed his wrist band had lost it’s cover and the chip in it.  Who knows where it is, probably at the bottom of the pool.  So when he exited he had to go to the front desk for a master key.  But that didn’t work on his locker either, back for another but that didn’t work either.  Finally they got a male attendant to come in and help Bernie open the locker.  None of these things were a big issues just my observations.  I can’t wait to go back.  In fact I have been back in the cabin for an hour and I am ready to go again.

Bernie is napping -- see that relaxing has put us both in a trance.

I am writing the blog and pondering a relaxing bath and a facial - gee life is tough. 

We are meeting up with Louise and Brian at Vines at 7 pm for drinks then dinner.

We have both encountered some interesting - okay who am I kidding - some complainers today.  Again this is the ebb and flow of the first few days on board.

I witness one of the paramedics getting his coffee in the Atrium.  The woman beside him was having difficulty accessing the Royal Princess Account and intranet.  He must of spent a half hour helping her set up her account and access the patter.  Now that is service and I want him to know that it was noticed and appreciated.  Princess Crew go the extra distance.

At breakfast Bernie sat with a couple who complained for a long time about how they showed up at the pier at 10:30 and felt Princess did not treat them well by making them wait to board.  That they felt like second class citizens while in transits, then preferred boarded and that they had to wait till noon to get on.  Bernie tried to explain that even your boarding pass says boarding starts at noon.  But they were not happy.  So how do you answer that.  Not sure why they thought they could show up an hour and half early and be able to get on.  Crazy.

My experience is going up the elevator after my blissful time in the Enclave feeling like jelly.  I board on deck five and then a woman gets on on deck 6.  I ask “how is your day going?”  Her response “well it is cloudy!  I am going to go up on deck but it could rain!  I just had lunch and I am full!  And I am bored”. 

“oh” as the doors open on my floor “well I feel GREAT, hope you have a better afternoon” and left. 

People you have saved up for a long time, your vacation is precious, you are with loved ones, this ship is magnificent.  Now you can choose how your day goes, good or bad -- you decide.  Go with an open mind and be open to what comes to you and embrace it.

Lots happening today:  Zumba, Trivia, Majhong, clay pigeon shooting, bible study, line dancing class, Nikon Camera Sale, MUTS is showing Minions and then Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol, Gaming Lessons, Basic Digital Photo Seminar, Enrichment Lecturer Bill Rickett presents The Real Pirates of the Caribbean, Book Club, Spa Seminar introduction to Acupuncture, Enrichment Seminar 30,000 years of art history in 30 minutes, Lawn Bowls challenge, fruit and vegetable carving demo, bingo, shopping spotlight show, Super Tuscan Wine Tasting, Pub Lunch, Brunchtime Trivia, Ballroom Blitz Dance Class: The Merengue, Afternoon Movie Ant Man, Princess Pop Choir, Art Auction, Pitching Cage, Future Cruise Presentation:  The Caribbean, Knitters and Needlepoint gathering, Mardi Gras Dance Class, Afternoon Tea, Zumba again, Culinary Academy Specialty Showcase, hole in one competition, and Watches and Scotches.

Now if you can’t find something to do…. Well -- no comment.

Clocks will be set one hour forward at 2 am tonight.

Tonight Hawley Magic is performing in the Princess Theater, the Yes No Game Show, Martini Demo, Karaoke Hour, MUTS is showing Bridge of Spies, Orphea Quartet presents from Argentina with Love in Vista Lounge, Perry Grant in Crooners, Big Band Sounds with Sarah and the Royal Showband in the Piazza, Steve Mehaffey sings and plays in Wheelhouse.  

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