Saturday, September 30, 2017

Boarding Royal Princess

Today we boarded the Royal Princess for an 11 Night Mediterranean Cruise.  Follow along.

After such a late night yesterday we are shocked when we wake up and it is 10:30!  Wow.  I know we are still adjusting to the time change so I guess our body needed it.  I hear of people who come to Europe from Vancouver for just a week, how do they do it?  9 hours time change - heck I am just getting use to the time now and this is day 5.

We are out of the apartment by noon and are able to easily flag down a taxi.  One thing I should add is that it has been very easy to get taxis whenever we have needed them in Barcelona. 

The taxi ride to the pier was not that long but getting over to the right berth did take a bit longer.  In total the price was around 15 E – note there is an extra 3.50E fee to go to the port and an extra fee of one Euro per bag (all this is disclosed on the window outlining fares).  I should also add that a set price of 39E for transport to or from the port to the airport is stated in the taxi as well as a large sign at the pier.

When we met at the pier a porter comes by and offers to take our bags but we decline because really all we had to do was move them about 25 feet and hand them to the guy collecting the bags.

As soon as you enter the Barcelona check in you go thru security screening.  They are very efficient and it moves very fast with efficient queues with roped off lines.  Boy Fort Lauderdale could learn some things from this place.

We had a bottle of wine in our carry on but nothing was said about it, nor did they have a table to go to disclose the wine bottle. 

We then have to take the escalator upstairs where we are given our health forms and then directed to the check in line.  Which again is well set up and moving very fast.  As soon as we are given our cruise cards we proceeded right on board. Note there was a bit of a bottleneck here as the area was narrow and for some reason groups of people were here, but I am not sure why they were all standing around here.

In total it took us about 15 minutes from taxi to walking on board.  Very impressed.

Once on board we breathe in and we feel that all is right with the world – we are home!

We drop off our bags in our cabin and then head down to the International Café (from now it will be referred to as the IC).

I am happy to announce that they did have the soy milk for my lattes here as promised.

We take a seat in Vines at the window – our usual table and relax.  A short while later Michael comes by and we are just so happy to see him again.  We catch up with him for quite a long time and also we see Ben and a few others.  We really missed our Princess Family!

Around 3 pm we both agree that an Alfredo’s Piazza is in order as this is our go to place on board for embarkation day. And it is very quiet in there as many on board are not aware of it – yet!  We order the Capricosa minus the ham and it is delicious.

It is worth commenting that we don’t set sail until 7 pm and because of this embarkation is fluid and spread out.  Muster drill is at 1645 and we attend ours in the Princess Theater.  I sit beside a nice couple from Ontario.

But again since we don’t set sail till later we are kind of lost as to what to do.  Our bags have not arrived yet – guess they got pushed to the back.  

We do meet some lovely people on board from Prince George and we chat with them for quite a while.  Then we also run into Renee and Brian (the couple we ran into at Sagrada Familia).

The Platinum/Elite Lounge is in Club 6 and we are impressed to see the staff have a page they show us with the new drink features.  We really enjoy the new drinks in the lounge and have definitely found our new favorites.  Oh and Marc the bar staff is still here, he was wonderful in Vines when we were on in April and he certainly is taking care of us here.  

Norma and Allan along with Roy and Sandra make the cocktail hour extra special.  So nice to see our cruise friends again.  It is like no time has passed at all.

We decide to head to the cabin and unpack finally and get settled.  It is now almost 8 pm and we head up to the Horizon Court for a quick bite to eat.  Tonight they are featuring ramen noodle bowls as their theme, but of course they still have a large selection of other things to enjoy too.

I have no problem getting vegetarian items, in fact my pate was full and there were still things I wish I could of eaten.  The artichoke bisque soup was so yummy and they had really good stuffed peppers along with an Asian noodle stir fry with vegetables. 

After dinner we know we are fading and a quick stop into the boutiques on board to see if they have flip flops – Bernie forgot his at home.  Oh this is a good time to mention that even with our detailed preparation we did forget three things on this trip.  Nothing serious and we will survive without flip flops but they are a staple on Bernie’s feet while on board to get around during the day.  The shops did not have any men’s flip flops so looks like he will be out of luck unless we can find something ashore.  Note they will get men’s flip flops once they arrive in the Caribbean.

We are in the cabin by 9 pm and soon thereafter in bed.  I am even too tired to write this blog so that is why I am actually writing it the next day.

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