Friday, April 21, 2017

New Specialty Restaurant Menus on Caribbean Princess

Salty Dog Menu

Treat yourself to "The Ernesto" burger, created by acclaimed chef Ernesto Uchimura, and named the #1 burger at sea by Cruise Critic. Or try one of our other 100% handmade Gourmet Burgers, including our Princess Burger or Triple Smoked Burger. The Salty Dog Grill also offers new Street Tacos—a Princess first—featuring a choice of grilled chipotle-lime chicken or roasted sweet potato-green chile. And don’t miss the Classic Hot Dogs, plus loaded fries in tempting varieties including chili cheese and bacon & cheese.

Steamers Menu

$12 Cover Charge

Steamers: "Our new family-style seafood restaurant offers dinner served by wait staff for a nominal fee. Choose from Black & Blue Mussels or Classic Clams “Steamers” or the Broiled Platter which includes scallops, shrimp and crab-stuffed flounder. All come with generous sides and dipping sauces as well as starters and dessert. At lunchtime, help yourself to a buffet that includes Gourmet and Ramen Bowls with regionally inspired broths—all at no charge. And join us for breakfast, also at no charge, for specialty egg dishes like omelets, fried eggs and eggs Benedict".

Planks Menu

$12 Cover Charge

Planks BBQ: "Drop by for a classic American-style dinner, served by wait staff for a nominal fee. Our casual BBQ restaurant gives you a choice of "Planks" loaded with four meats, chili, coleslaw and seasoned fries along with starters and decadent dessert. Planks BBQ also serves a buffet-style lunch at no charge, with signature soup and freshly tossed salad, as well as regionally inspired fork-and-knife sandwiches. Buffet-style breakfasts, also at no charge, include savory breakfast bowls customized for you".

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Wednesday and Disembarkation

We open our eyes at 730!  Wow I don’t think we have ever had such a restful sleep the last night. We both can't believe we slept so late.

We need to vacate our cabin by 8 so we quickly shower and dress and leave just before 8.

Breakfast in the dining room is a must and it is open until 830 so we have time.  I get the egg/asparagus scramble and a cappuccino.  But what they bring me is not a cappuccino. 

Not sure what it is.  It is not in a cappuccino cup, nor does it have much milk. He hands it to me and apologizes. Says it is made with a machine.  Okay… but I have had cappuccino in the dining room before and they are better than this.  He says he did not punch my card.  Well that is good, and I will get one later.

After breakfast we notice a lot of people have disembarked already.

We stop by Michael’s office to say goodbye.  The office is full and we are lucky cause we get to say goodbye to so many.  Chef David is going home after a very very long contract.  Bug hugs to him and we look forward to seeing him in sept.  Pierre is finished today too as well as his partner Chris.  Hugs for Michael and a big thank you for all he has done for us.

It has been great getting to know his family too.  We are family… family we choose… our cruise family.

We are not in a rush so we head to Vines to sip our coffees.  
Dylan stops by and we chat for a while.  Elkie is going home today too, but she is running around doing her job on this busy morning. She is excited and ready to head on vacation. She will be heading to the Sapphire in June.

Well time to get off the Royal.

We walk off at 1025.  We are trying out the mobile passport app.  We also have Nexus (global entry) but today we are using the mobile app.  So there is no need to fill out the declaration form. But you do need to download the app and register.  Then within four hours of getting off open the app and follow the steps.  You do need wifi to process the form but once it is processed you will get your codes and then you don’t need wifi.

Once you have collected your bags there is a line for global entry, one for mobile passport and the regular line.  There were around a 100 in the regular line (note most had gotten off).  Around 6 in the other 2 lines.

When we got to the custom agent he says did we fill out the declaration form.  No we said we used the app.  He says the form is faster.  Hmm he tells us to scan our codes, which we do, which took no more than 10 seconds each and we showed our passports and we were on our way.

I just kept thinking, well why have the app if you don’t want us to use it.  But I am sure if people are not technologically inclined and don’t have the codes ready it could be a pain and slow.

So use what is right for you.

We were in a taxi right away and on our way to the airport. Cost was $12.50 plus tip.

At the airport we are still too early to check in and wait about an hour before we can check our bag.

Once we do check in we find out our flight is delayed, but no reason is given. We are a little nervous as our layover in Chicago is only just over an hour.  I am suppose to work tomorrow at 520am.

At the gate we start boarding late and then once on the plane we are delayed even longer.  Apparently our routing needs to change and they have to confirm they have enough fuel.  What! I have never heard this before.  But hey enough fuel is important.  We finally take off an hour late.

The 4 year old boy at the window is testing Mom’s patience but I have to hand it to her she did a great job.  The little boy had a Spiderman Action Figure so I knew we would be safe on board this flight with a Super Hero! But that boy was ready to get off in Chicago.

We arrive in Chicago and thankfully the flight attendants asked people to sit to allow those with tight connections to get off first.  Well some listened, but we were still slow getting off.

We ran like crazy to get to the gate.  Thankfully it was not too far and I even had a stop at the washroom.

Phew our flight to Vancouver is delayed too.  And again once we board we sit on the tarmac for over 45 minutes. 

So we should be arriving just before midnight Vancouver time, hopefully earlier if the pilot puts the petal to the metal.  That will be 3 am Florida time.  A very long day made much longer.

Normally I have Thursday Fridays off but not this week so needleless to say I can not safely drive the bus on so little sleep so now I lose a day’s pay as well because of all these delays.

We are currently still in the air as I write this.  All I want is to be home.  Worst thing about travelling is flying…. Just glad the baby behind me finally fell asleep.
Thanks for following along.


Today is another noon arrival.  It seems everyone needs a sleep in after so many port days.

We are no different, except I wake at 630 and read for quite a while then fall back asleep.  Apparently it was rough seas last night but I found it quite good, sure there was movement but not as bad as I thought it would be.

We relax and watched the movie Bad Moms which was good for a laugh.

I head up to the Horizon Court for a late breakfast and as I am sitting there I see a familiar face.  At the same time looks at me and we immediately are shocked.  Giovanni! 

We first met him two years ago on the Crown Princess when he was Mark’s assistant.  We all went out in Victoria where I showed them around.  You can read that trip here.

We hug and catch up.  We can not believe we have not seen each other until today, but that is how ships are.

He has just gotten on and will still be on in September when we return.

I head out to the open deck to watch the sail in.  It sure is a nice sail in.  And boy kudos to the Captain.  He basically turns the ship around and backs in.  Heck most people could not back their car up like he manages this ship.

We are at the furthest away pier.  Disney Dream is in port along with an RCL ship and a Carnival ship that leaves early. Not too crazy but still busy.

We haven’t been here since our first Princess cruise 20 years ago.

We are just about to dock and everyone is crowding the stairs to the gangway.  For me I head back to the cabin and layer on the sunscreen as the Sanctuary has 2 chairs for us.

Yes again today we are not going ashore.  So for the first time ever we basically did not get off the ship the entire ten days (except for a short stop in Aruba to get wine).  At first we felt a little guilty but we both said we needed this.

With a great cabin, and a stunning ship, and trying to limit spending we did what was right for us.

The Sanctuary is not busy at all.   We stare out at the port and enjoy the sunshine.  A lot of people stayed on board.

Departure is 630 but we are late leaving, and I can not recall why.

We had signed up for EZ check but we get a call in the cabin to say we can not use the service because of the international flight we are on.  Okay… we go and get luggage tags.  We take the latest tags we can get (1025). 

That is odd though, since we have used the EZ check service a few times now, all times from, Florida and all have been international flights.  Oh well, who am I to argue.

So we begin the task of packing.  Having the couch in the cabin helps with the packing.  We really did not bring that much and since many of the items we brought were gifts for friends we are a lot lighter going home.

We dress for dinner and head out for our final evening.  We are sad.

As we sit in Vines enjoying our last few glasses of wine we reflect on the voyage.  We both feel so blessed and grateful.

Tonight I suggest Alfredos for dinner and Bernie is agreeing before I even finish the sentence.  So yummy.

Now there really has not been anything that I had noticed that could use some improvement until tonight.  The head waiter in Alfredos. 

Each time we have been here I have noticed him. He seems to pace the entire place and just outside Alfredos.  Bernie thinks he is trying to get his steps in. The guy never smiles. In fact it seems like he is really not happy here. At first I thought oh he must be at the end of his contract. Nope he just at the beginning apparently.

Tonight it seems even worse.  I comment to Bernie that this guy looks bored to death.  Why doesn’t he come around and see how people’s meals are? Nope, he does not approach a single table.  

Okay my rant is over. I will put this in the survey. 

Thankfully all the wait staff there are top notch and don’t seem to be affected by this guy.

After dinner we head down to Ben and Dylan’s cabin for our final goodbyes.  We have really gotten close to them this year and we have a special bond with them (they are the 2 we went to Peru with)  Love you guys.

Back to the cabin around 11 and we do our final packing and put our bags out.

We sit out on the balcony for the last time.  Oh what a nice cruise.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Sea Day

It is hard to figure out where the time has gone!  We are at sea today and we have only today and tomorrow then it is back to reality.

I take the chance to sleep in and relax in the cabin while Bernie is out doing his own thing.  Another great thing about ships, we can each do our own thing and not worry about the other person.

I shower and meet up with Bernie down stairs in Vines which is rather quieter than other areas in the International Cafe. 

So much happening today:  Outlet sale, Culinary Demo, Art Auction, Pub Lunch, Mardi Gras festivities, Easter Fun for the family, Line Dancing, and movies.

Last night it was a little rough but nothing for those use to sailing. There was movement and it just rocked us. But for many of the newer cruisers it was really moving!

Bernie and I agree to have lunch in the dining room and I am so glad we did as they had the Baja Fish tacos on the menu, one of my favorites.

After lunch I find a quiet spot outside Wheelhouse to write up my blog from the other day and Bernie is watching a movie in the cabin.

We got our disembarkation information today.  We are taking advantage of the EZ Air service for $25 per person and our flight is not till late in the afternoon so this will be perfect.  We won't have to worry about bags and we can maybe do something in Fort Lauderdale first then make our way to the airport later.

Tonight is the first night we don't have anything scheduled. It is a formal night.  Production show Spectacular is in the Princess Theater tonight.  Ray Coussins is performing in Vista Lounge. A new game called Tricky Twisted Trivia in Princess Live.  The Flyboys (who performed yesterday) are in the Atrium later.

I am sure our evening will be filled with lots of laughs.

St. Thomas and Most Travelled Guest Party

We awake and again we are already docked.  We are at Havensight and shockingly we are the only one here.  There is a RCL ship at Crown Bay so that makes a total of two ships in port.  I don't think I have ever seen it so quiet here.

I don't recall this before but there is a spot for independent tour pick up spot at Havensight

But it is Easter Sunday and so many things that normally would be open are not open because of the holiday.  However everything at Havensight is open due to a ship being in port.

It is a bit overcast and a few showers pass but nothing that is horrible in fact it is quite refreshing.

One thing we have both commented on is that we thought the weather would of been much hotter than when we normally travel in January/February but nope it is very similar.  Winds, high humidity, high temps (high 20s) and overcast.  Very similar to what we are use to.

Seas have been very calm, but Captain does announce that we will get a bit rougher weather tonight.  He did announce at the Captian Circle Party the other night that the Atlantic crossing's weather could encounter some bumps as they are tracking a storm.

Princess has put right on the front page of the Patter information about Easter Sunday Mass at St. Peter and Paul Cathedral at 10 am in English and 12:30 in Spanish.

For us we are really enjoying the ship and we don't get off again. We are staying on board the ship for the entire trip.  We have never done this before but we feel this is right for us this time. And we are LOVING it.

We both change into our bathing suits and head down to the Enclave for some pampering.  We spend about an hour and in the entire time there was only one other couple in there.  So nice.

I shower and dress for the day and it starts with a latte and writing and reading in Vines. 

I also get to say goodbye to Michael's wife and kids who fly out from St Thomas today. I am so glad we got to meet them and get to know them.  We hope that they will come to Vancouver soon and we promise to look them up when we visit Britain.

I forgot to add that last night before dinner in Sabatinis I was able to sit down with Franklin and I showed him how to play the Rummy block game.  He was quite good at it and with some practice he may even be able to beat me.  So practice up Franklin!

I wander around the ship taking obscure pictures for my game I am playing on my Facebook page (Cruising Princess Cruiseline with Vickie) by posting a pic of something and having others try and figure out where this is on the Royal Princess.

Back in the cabin we watch the movie Lion in the cabin.  We both really enjoyed it and totally understand why it was nominated so much at the Oscars.

For sailaway I head out onto the balcony and chat with my neighbour while sipping wine and enjoying a stunning sailaway.  St. Thomas is perfect for a great sail away and drinks on the balcony.  Ironically the balcony for mini suites has a footstool but there is no room to put that stool out without taking up all the space.

Tonight is the Most Travelled Guest Party (yes it is now called Guest Party instead of Passenger Party or at least here it is called that).  It is a cocktail party in Club 6 that starts at 7:30.  We arrive and pose for pictures with Captain Nash and it is lovely as we know almost all the officers. 

I take a seat and Ben and Dylan join us.  The food here is outstanding, what a difference from the Ruby and the four appetizers they offered.  Here there is a whole table for sushi, then another for cold appetizers, then a table of hot finger foods, and then another for dessert. 

There is so much food that we just skip dinner and enjoy the party.

For those interested, this trip we are #10 and #11 Most Travelled Guests.

After the party the four of us head down to Vines where we enjoy wine and time just flies.  Up to Crooners to enjoy the piano player Ray Coussins and all is right with the world.

goofing around in Crooners by taking a picture of us in the mirror above

We love getting to spend so much time with Dylan and Ben again and we reflect on our Peruvian trip and future trips back (something is in the works).

We are back in the cabin around midnight and Bernie is asleep before I am even in bed.

Another great day on the Royal Princess.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Super Tuscan Wine Pairing Dinner at Sabatinis

This is a relatively new feature on Princess, but is sadly only available (as far as I know) on Royal and Regal.

The cost of the experience is $60. Now I say experience because it really is. You dine in Sabatinis with very attentive service. The whole restaurant is closed for just this event. In fact you feel like you are royalty with someone there to meet all your needs.

We are sat at a table of 7 - all friends - Bruce and Sharon, Ben and Dylan, and Amanda and us.

Maitre D' Silvio welcomes us and explains a bit of what we are going to experience.

A glass of champagne is delivered to us.

On the table is a basket of Italian Breads (I especially love the salted foccacia).  Our side plate has Aged Balsamic and Segesta Olive Oil.  In small dishes a blend of Aubergine Caviar, Potato and another of Broad Bean and garlic paste.

An Amuse Bouche is served along with a glass of Il Bruciato.  As Silvio explains the wine and it's history and we taste it.  Then we are told to enjoy the Cappellacci Ripieni di Patate (cappellacci - kind of like tortelini with potato inside) served with Ossobuco and Saffron Potatoes.

Tasting the wine before and after really changes the tastes.  So lovely.

Next is the Appetizer of Fennel Crusted Tuna Loin with fresh Chili, Olives, Tomato and Arugula Tomato Vinaigrette infused with Basil Puree.  This is paired with one of my favorite wines -- Anthilia Donnafugata.  Again taste the wine before and after.  I loved this dish the most. The tuna was perfect.

Second course is Pumpkin Risotto with Mascarpone Castelrosso Cheese and pumpkin puree - sounds odd but it is very good.  It is served with Il Borro wine.  Okay by now we are feeling good.

Beautiful Sharon

The main course is paired with Ornellaia ($240 a bottle).  This is probably the only way I would get to enjoy these wines. 

Main course is a beef fillet wrapped with herb crust and prosciutto with an Ornellaia reduction and Tuscan bean salad and garlic foam.  OMG - I know I need more amazing words to describe some of this food but I am speechless.  The steak is probably one of the best I have ever had. 

You know as I am writing this I keep thinking of David and Janice from Halifax and boy you need to try this dinner - they are huge foodies and would really appreciate it.

Dessert is Zuccotto alla Caterina De Medici which is a Ricotta Cheese Cake with Stracciatella Ice Cream.  And of course it is served with a lovely limoncello. 

Coffee and tea and we are good! 

The whole event was made extra special because of the wonderful people we were with, thank you.

So if you enjoy great food, and amazing wines look into the Super Tuscan Dinners at Sabatinis where they close the entire restaurant for the evening for this meal and you are treated to a gift of the senses.

So if you get on the Royal or Regal - seek out this offering and enjoy.

Saturday, April 15, 2017


As I wake I can not believe how rested I feel, how relaxed I feel, how stress free I feel. As we lay there chatting about everything that comes to mind, which is often hard to do at home with all the pressures of work, home, and schedules.  Somehow on a ship we have the time to chat about whatever enters our minds and share.

How do you explain that to people (well I guess like I just did) but the fact we have time to sit across from each other and have a glass of wine and just talk. It is the same with friends we make on board.

It has been lovely sailing with Bruce and Sharon again. Even though we have not sailed with them in a long time, the fact we can catch up with them just by passing their table in the International Cafe and converstaion flows says a lot.  A ship brings that out in you.

Last night as we sat at dinner, Michael's son Franklin loves playing rummy and I mentioned Rummy Block and we both walked over to the library where I showed him the cases with the Rummy Block game.  I promised that we will get together today and I will show him the game.

Again the fact that families have time to sit down with their kids and play games is priceless.  I will advise later on how the Rummy Block game turns out.

But back to Dominica.  I wish I could say we did something exciting but for us we did what we needed to do and we just stayed on.  I do love this island but a few things are in play this cruise.  First this is an added trip and one we squeezed in and just being on board is the best relaxation for us.  And heck this ship is beautiful so why not enjoy it.

Second we are at the industrial pier in Dominica and it is about 2 miles to the town center.  Shuttles are available for $2 per person one way. And the beaches here are great (black sand because of the volcano) but they are a distance away.  Our favorite thing to do here is River Tubing but again since it was booked so last minute we had to be conscious of spending and so tours were sort of out of the picture.

Instead we donned our bathing suits and headed to the Enclave.  Only one other couple was in the Enclave - actually I have never seen the Enclave so quiet.  This may be because we are in port and it is the morning or it may be the demographics of the ship (much younger, families and newer cruisers) oh heck who knows why but it is lovely.

After showering and dressing we ended up in Alfredos for lunch which is so busy.  Guess people have figured it out now. But it is still a nice change and today I had a bowl of minestroni to start which was very good and then I had the calzone, again very very good.

La La Land the movie is playing in the Vista Lounge and Bernie wants to watch the Star Wars movie in the cabin so I am sitting in the International Cafe sipping a kiwi limi cooler (one punch on your coffee card) and writing my blog.

Ship is decorated for Easter and it is fun to see the decorations. I have lots of pics of the decorations that I will put up in the blog when I get home.  This is the first time we have sailed over Easter.

Grenada and the Sanctuary with Crown Grill

We pull into Grenada a little later today so there is no rush to get up and get going and we find ourselves relaxing in the cabin for quite a long time.

When we finally get moving we head to the International Cafe for tea and coffee and we are shocked at how many are dressed and ready to get off the ship and are queuing up.  

Wow the ship is decorated for Easter! 

It is only 10:30 am and we don't dock until noon and it takes a bit of time to get clearance. But people are anxious, but I would rather spend my time not in a line. One beautiful thing about arriving in Grenada is it is considered the spice island and they say you can smell the spice as you come in.

We are docked with another ship and as we look across we get the lovely sight of laundry on a clothes line - kind of tacky.

So we done our bathing suits and head up to the Sanctuary to enjoy the sail in. The upper decks are quiet and the sail into port is stunning.

But today we are going to hang out at the Sanctuary.  As we melt into the thick cushioned chairs we both agree if we were any more relaxed they would have to throw dirt on us.

We enjoy lunch up there in the Sancturay ($3 fee per person for delivery). It is quiet, not crowded and well worth it. 

Sure there are many times we manage just fine sitting out on the open deck but we also enjoy the Sanctuary too.  For a nominal fee it is worth it for us.

Bernie leaves around 3 and our friend Vida comes up to join me and we enjoy afternoon tea up there together. So civilized.

Back in the cabin to shower and dress for drinks and dinner.

We are in the Wheelhouse Bar for pre dinner drinks and it is very busy in here.  The Liberty String Quartet is playing and they are very enjoyable.

Tonight the buffet is featuring German buffet which would definately be where we would be going but we have reservations at the Crown Grill with Dylan and Ben, and Michael and his family.

It is so lovely to enjoy a dinner all together and I have especially enjoyed getting to know Michael's kids much better.

Service was outstanding and we were not an easy table.  She (the server) had to serve champagne first, water, red and white wine and mocktails for the kids but she handled it like a pro. 

Tonight I changed course starting with the lobster/crab cake, then the spinach salad, then I had the prawn dish served with a fried rice.  Dessert of course was the chocolate molten dessert.

Franklin goofing around acting like a wine snob

We were all stuffed after our meal and such great company.

I think Bernie was asleep within ten minutes of putting his head down.

Lots happening tonight though: Night Sky Lounge, The Movie Jackie in Vista Lounge, Master Illusionist Hawley Magic in Princess Theater, Who Sang What, Where in the World Am I game show, Hot Latin Nights Disco Deck Party and more.