Sunday, February 12, 2017

Embarkation Day - Last Cruise on Ruby

Today is the end of our second leg and the begining of our next and last leg of our trip.  We dock early and the ship is cleared and the first group of passengers is allowed off at approximately 7:20 (self assist disembarkation).

Of course it is impossible to sleep in on turn around days as cabin stewards get their carts ready and filled with supplies for a busy morning of changing everything in the cabin for the new passengers.

Then passengers are up early and lots of banging of doors/closets/drawers as the last items are packed away. 

We gather our items that we want to wash in the laundromats and put a wash in.

Today I agree to go with Bernie to breakfast in the dining room.  Da Vinci on deck 6 is the dining room that is always open for breakfast and lunch.  We ask for a table of two and we are told are you sure you don't want to share.  Nope we want a table for two.  Gee it feels like we are being reprimanded for wanting to sit just the two of us. 

The head waiter - Antonio (not the friendliest guy) shouts out a table number to a waiter and we are lead to a table for two.  Now the ironic thing is the dining room is empty - it has just opened.  There are a lot of tables available so not sure why we are made to feel like we are bothering them. 

Now I will add that the head waiters I am sure are pushed to their limit as there are fewer tables now because of Club Class and they are trying to accommodate all the passengers the best they can.  It is a real struggle and it is not their fault - but it is affecting how they present themselves to the passengers.

Breakfast was very very good.  I had that yummy crusted french toast and it was very hot and fresh - not an easy thing to do on a busy ship.  Our servers kept our coffee and tea refilled and service was some of the best we have had.  But it was not a full dining room, but this is what we expect in Princess with regards to service.

Bernie wants to head ashore but I really don't so he heads off on his own to get some items ashore.  He did return saying he had issues at the customs.   A lot of question -- where are you going, when did you enter, what do you do for a living.  When he told them he was getting right back on the ship they responded how come you have so many holidays?  Boy talk about third degree - it is not like he is staying in the US he is coming right back.  We are Canadian and are quite happy with staying in Canada.  But I do know they do question singles a lot more than couples as it happened to me once when I travelled by myself with a friend.  Anyways he got off finally and returned shortly after noon.

For me I met all the in transit people in Wheelhouse for 10:15.  They did have to call three people who were not there at 10:15 but around 10:30 we were all walked off and directly to customs where they took my customs form and looked at my passport then directed out.

From there we are lead out the door of the building and to the port entrance, up the escalator and then thru security.  ARGH I have my Princess tote bag that I carry with me often while on board.  I also have my stainless steel water bottle with water in it.  This security won't let us bring water on (don't want us to smuggle alcohol) so I pour out my water.  Then when my bag goes thru the scanner they ask if they can check it.  They find my small mini bar vodka that I carry in it sometimes to add to soda.  They tell me I am not allowed to bring it on. I say it is from my Princess Mini Bar!  I am in transit, I just got off and going right back on.  Nope they take it.  Oh well I should of known better and just left my bag.

Once we clear security we are lead to the intransit seating area where we sit for only about ten minutes.  We are directed back on board around 11:20 where I take a seat in the IC and enjoy another cappuchino and a salad and sandwich.

I am pleasantly surprised to see Caroline aka Frenchie walking by - she spots me and we hug.  It has been a long time since we saw her.  She is on board to replace Lisa Ball as Entertainment Director but for the next few weeks she is doing some head office stuff on board.  We catch up with her about what she has been up to and how she is.  Hope to get a chance to sit down with her over a drink this week.

By 1:30 it is getting busy with all the passengers getting on.  We agree to go hideout in the cabin, where Bernie quickly falls asleep.  Me I am not so lucky - just too much noise from bags being delivered to people arriving and cabin stewards knocking on doors and checking in.

Muster Drill and All Aboard is 3:30 and we relax in the cabin while it is going on.  Again because we are in transit we do not have to attend the Muster Drill.

Our friends Barb and Craig are on board and we head down to their cabin B750 (aft facing cabin) for sail away and drinks and to catch up.  It is lovely too see them both again and to be at sea with them again.

Their balcony cabin is all the way aft - so it is quiet and the balcony is as long as the ones on Caribe deck.  Their view is of the wake which is quite soothing.  There is a beam on the balcony but it is no so bad but it does impeed the view.  However it does come in handy if it is windy as it does shelter you from the wind. People either love or hate wake views.  I don't mind them as it is quite soothing but it is very noisy and hard to talk on the balcony.  Note that because the balcony is pretty much entirely enclosed with side walls almost to the ceiling noise bounces and is amplified when talking.  For some this many not be an issue as that wake view is worth it but it is good to be aware of it.

We agree to meet in Vines for a drink and then to go to Salty Dog for dinner. 

We arrive at Salty Dog and there is only one other table (another shows up later).  Edward shows us to a table for four and we place our order.

Today I had the macaroni and cheese with lobster and then the short rib poutine.  Both were very good but again we were served both courses pretty much at the same time.  We have been here four times and two times they served each individual course and two times they served the two course together.  Ironically we have had the same waiter each time.

The biggest issue with Salty Dog is the servers are actually bar staff.  And even though I love them and they do the job they are not servers.  There is no offer of salt/pepper, no check in to see how the meal is.  Also we often have to flag them down to get things including the bill.  I feel they could improve the whole experience if they put experienced servers in place here.

Off to bed, we are tired - okay I am tired and I am asleep before 10 pm.

Couple things to report - Hotel General Manager is now Riccardo Capraro.

Comedian for opening show is Phil Tag.

Thermal suite is $238 for a couple $139 for a single.

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