Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Wow One Million Hits

Some time yesterday the number rolled over and I have now had over one million views to my blog!

Really who would of thought a million times someone clicked to read what we were up to?  

I sometimes wonder if anyone is reading, then I see the numbers.  I now usually get around 2,000 hits a day when travelling, and around 800 a day when not posting.  

If I don't post for awhile I get personal messages wonder what is up and when will I post again.

Although I love doing it, it is beginning to be more of a chore.  It takes up a lot of time while travelling.  Most of our internet minutes are dedicated to the blog and sometimes I find myself doing something on board in the name of research for the blog.  

Although I am a very positive person, and prefer to write about good experiences, it is hard when things are not perfect and I have to be critical and write what I really am experiencing.  

Of course I don't write everything we experience and I try to focus on the necessary things but trust me a lot goes into each blog post and every trip.  I am not compensated at all except for ads that I recently put up on my page (within the past few years) that I make very little from. Certainly would not cover a drink (or half a drink) a day on board.  

I also don't really know what to write many days and then I start a blog and it flows.

I know I won't be blogging in the new year when we head out on my lecturing position.  I want to focus on the job and plus I won't have personal internet to use either.

So I want to thank everyone who has clicked and read a blog post of mine.  I appreciate it and I love hearing from you all.  I especially love when I am approached while on board a ship and told they love my blogs.  It means a lot and reinforces why I do it.

I have made many friends from those encounters and I look forward to meeting more.

Thanks again for following.

Let me know what you like about the blog and if you have any questions.

Departing the Crown Princess and My Final Thoughts - the Good and the Not So Good

As we wake to my alarm going off at 7 am we quickly shower and throw what is left in our carry on bag.

Our departure is 8 am and we want to get breakfast.  We head down to Botticelli dining room.  We are sat at a table at 7:45 but sadly we had such poor service.  The first time we have had such bad service in the dining room this entire voyage. 

Our waiter seems completely out of it.  I ordered juice, a grapefruit an half a bagel with cream cheese.  Bernie got mixed fruit and oatmeal with tea.

We did not even get our drinks until 15 minutes after we sat down.  Then trying to get milk for his tea was a real test of patience.  People at other tables got their food before we got ours and they were sat later than we were. 

It was not a good end to the cruise.  But we know better than to let it cloud our judgement and plus almost all our meals in the dining rooms have been very good.

We left the dining room at 8:30 and walked right off the ship.  Collected our bags, went thru the very non emotional customs agent and jumped in a taxi.  All within 10 minutes. 

A taxi ride to the airport was $14 and we were there very quickly.

Checked in and we are on our way home as I write this.

It is a time for us to reflect.

The views below are my own and are based on being on board for 24 days as seasoned cruisers.


We love the trans Atlantic cruises and again this one did not disappoint.  All those sea days and going West enables you to gain an hour every other day. 

The ten day Caribbean is one we have done so many times I can't even count how many.  I love that it brings us far enough south that we visit ports that are a bit different than the usual 7 day itinerary. 


This is usually a huge challenge for the cruise staff on board.  But again these guys shone bright.  Every day the Patter was packed with events.  I especially loved that because of so many sea days we got activities that you either rarely see - like The Quest, scavenger hunts, movies in the theater, etc. 

Angela the Cruise Director and Emily were a delight to watch each morning on their Wake Show.  It was just the right length and their quirkiness played well off each other.

I attended more enrichment lectures than I have ever done.  Maybe because the topic was of interest to me - Hollywood.  But Mr. Weimer made it interesting and fun. 

Once we started on the Caribbean itinerary with five straight port days I did notice a drop in events, but that is natural.

Also since the ship has changed their dining times to reflect the earlier traditional dining times the production shows were moved up to 7 pm and 9:15.  But the events in the other lounges like Explorers were not changed.  This caused a major issue for us.  We are anytime diners and we did not change our normal dining time.  We did not make it to any of the four production shows on the ten night sailing.  Considering that a much larger percentage of passengers are anytime diners you would think they would just leave the times alone.

Note they also changed the Platinum Elite Lounge from 4:30 to 6:30 instead of 5:00 to 7:00 pm again way too early.  The demographics on this sailing also did not warrant these early times.  We went only twice to the elite lounge the last ten days.  Loss of revenue.


For both sailings we had an inside cabin.  Selection was minimal when we booked only a few weeks prior to sailing.  Our first cabin was was B203 and our second was P330.

We much prefer an inside cabin for its quietness and especially for the savings in money.  What we saved on the first cruise by going in an inside paid for the added ten day cruise.

B203 was the first forward cabin on Baja deck with only crew officers and cruise staff cabins forward of us.  It was an extremely quiet cabin.  Yes we felt movement all the way forward but I really did not notice any difference than being midship and lower, especially on those rocking sea days.  The cabin did have some pipes on the left side that you could hear running water going down.  I am guessing that they are pipes that went up to the Bridge area that was just above us.  But I am only guessing.  But the water was not an issue.

Our second cabin was P330 and loved the location.  Again only a few steps from the IC and quick to get to if you forgot something.  We did hear noises from below which is a crew only area with steel floors.  We sometimes heard the sounds of high heals clicking or the occasional heavy walker above us in the Casino.  But overall it was extremely quiet. 

Overall the cabins were well taken care of.  Yes there is some wear and tear.  The ship is showing its age.  The cabin chairs had marks on it, the light shade had a stain on it.  Wires on the phone where it connects with the wall were exposed (yes Deb our second cabin was similar to yours).  Showers were great - but I sure miss that ledge that the newer ships have. 

Two big drawbacks are the pillows that they are using now with the new bedding.  They just don't offer support.  We tried on both sailings to try and foam pillows or something with some form but they said it was not possible.  Both of us often woke up with stiff necks.   Hmm maybe we need to buy a pillow each time we sail.

The second drawback is the archaic television programming.   Come on this is 2018!  Why are we watching looped shows!  Now for some this may not be a problem but when you are on for a 14 night cruise and even we added ten days it can be almost a game changer.  I know I know, first world problems, but I am giving you my thoughts on what I liked and did not like.   I am so tired of seeing only a portion of a movie and can't wait to board a ship that has on demand again.

The positives of the cabin are we had great mattresses and the bedding (minus the pillows) we really like.  Our steward in our first cabin was good, but our second cabin steward was outstanding and we made sure to reward him with extra tips a few times.

I especially appreciated when he quickly came to my aid when I accidentally knocked over the wine glasses over with the cabin binder, and they both broke.  He came to my aid and vacuumed it up and replaced the glasses (note he provided the glasses without our asking for them when he saw we had wine in the cabin).  Ice was always filled and we always got the four towels we wanted.


Food was quite good about 80% of the time.  Sure there were items that were a miss but mostly it was very good.  I loved when they did the Curry in a Hurry meal for lunch on one of the sea days on the crossing for a price of $12 in the Crown Grill.  Would love to see that more often.

All the meals in the dining room we enjoyed.  Service was pretty good but staff are noticeably running around and seemed to be so busy and not the personable self we use to experience.

A big issue on this class is getting a table for two.  There just are not enough of them.  We would normally head to the dining room around 7:45 and often we had to wait a bit for a table for two.  What is worse is you feel guilty for asking for a table for two.  The first thing the hostess asks is how many in your party.  When you say two they say "are you willing to share" --- no I want to dine with my spouse not with a large group of people.  We were fortunate that on the second voyage we decided to seek help with a head waiter we knew on board and he insured we had a table for two each night if we wished around 7:45, but for the average cruiser they may not have that perk or know of that option.

A big shout out to the chefs on board for coming up with great meals for 14 different days on a long voyage like we were on.

We dined twice at the Crown Grill and twice at Salty Dog.  The Crown Grill was a nice treat and we were very happy with the meal and especially the service.   The staff there treat you special and I feel it is well worth the added $29 feel. 

The Salty Dog Pub that is held in the Wheelhouse at night is a nice change of scenery and the music is an added bonus.  The servers are actually bar staff and even though they get the job done they just don't know the ins and outs of service.  Often we had to ask for water refills, and cutterly and wait for plates to be cleared.  I still would go back because the ambiance and the food is great but wish they would dedicated one or two actual wait staff to work here instead of bar staff.

Dining upstairs was the biggest disappointment.  I usually love the pizza up on deck but the two times I tried it was horrible, cold, messy and tasteless. 

The burger bar is now the Salty Dog grill and we love the chicken tacos up there and they still were very good but the long queues on sea days was an issue.

But sadly the biggest disappointment was the buffet.  For those that have been following my blog for a long time you know that our cruisers are a mixture of all dining venues.  But lately we have really focused on dining in Horizon Court.   We have been spoiled with the Royal/Regal and the Caribbean recently.

The Crown has the old style buffet.  The choices are good but minimal. There is the old fashioned carving station, some hot vegetable items, usually three dishes that represent their theme and then potatoes, rice, and a hot dessert.  There is also the soup station, salad bar, bread station, dessert station, and fruit station (which we really took advantage of). 

After a few days we were bored with the buffet and the quality was just not the best. 

Sure we did not starve, but if it comes down to ships I won't pick one that has the old buffet.

We both really were impressed with the International Cafe.  Staff here were attentive and helpful and we rarely had to wait for someone to come by to take our order.  They were also very reactive.  When the crossing forced a lot of people indoors the Atrium was busy.  Extra tables were added to the Atrium to accommodate these people.


One of the things we love on board is using the Sanctuary as our little piece of heaven. Sadly this was probably the worst experience we have ever had on a Princess Ship with very little service.  Plates/glasses not being cleared.  Tea service was a big disappointment.  We disliked it so much that after the first day we cancelled all other reservations we had for her.  You can read that blog post here.


The best thing about this ship is the Crew!  They are phenomenal.  Friendly, helpful and proactive.

They seem to be problem solvers too!  If there is an issue they are there trying to work it out.

Of course a big shout out goes to Amel and Sidney in Vines who are some of the best we have ever seen.  Then there is also William, Jazz, Rocky, Elsa, Veronica, Wilmer, and so many more who really added to our trip.

In the end the cruise was lovely but we have come to terms that the Crown Princess is not the ship for us.  We have had issues with her before and even though some things have been repaired there are still a lot of things it needs before we sail with her again.   

For now we are happy to sail on the Caribbean or Royal in the new year and look forward to it.

For those booked on the Crown you will have a great time, and you are especially lucky to be sailing with phenomenal crew. 

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Grand Turk

It was a later arrival and this meant we could have a guilt free sleep in.  

I didn't even get moving until 10 am.  And even then I made it just a few feet away from my cabin to the Atrium to get my espresso.

Now as many of you already know the coffee cards with expiry dates of December 31st expiry soon.  We have one left and it still has a few punches left.

The woman in front of me is ordering a brewed coffee.  She is a first time Princess cruiser.  The staff ask her if she has a drink package or coffee card.  She does not and was not aware that there was a cost for the brewed coffee here as she always gets her coffee upstairs.  The crew member (who I will not identify but is someone we don't know that well) as her if she would like to buy a coffee card!  A whole card.  He told her the price and then she asked how much was just the coffee.  I was appalled that this guy would try and sell her a full coffee card on the second to last day.

I immediately put my card forward and said take her coffee out of my card.  She thanked me and I said no problem.  The card was actually given to me by a person who reads my blog who wasn't going to be cruising anymore so I am paying it forward.  But shame on that guy.

Surprisingly it is not too crazy here.  I really had anticipated that it would be busy with people wanting to get off the ship as soon as possible.  But nope, in fact even when the ship got clearance there were not the hundreds of people crowding the stairs and hallways trying to get off.  

The dining room was also open for lunch today.  I guess since we are technically at sea until 1 it is open.

The funny comment I heard this morning at around 11:30 was a woman who leaned over to ask me what island that was we were passing.  I politely responded "Grand Turk".  We were so close you could see the buildings and the lounge chairs.  

It is a pretty sail in and it is always nice to get out and enjoy the sail in.

Today we are heading ashore to celebrate a friend's birthday.  We were a large group and we had a great time.  And what an amazing view.  

We are the only ship in port and we don't leave till late so we take our time going back on board.

It is around 4 pm when we are back in the cabin and we are both tired and those drinks at lunch are making us very sleepy.  We sleep until 7 pm and we shower and dress casually and head up to the Horizon Court for Mexican Meal.  It was okay, it normally is one of our favorites but this ship just does not do buffets well.  

One thing I really enjoy is the salad bar.  Even though this ship has lots of options for the salad the lettuce mix is often not rinsed dry enough and often is very damp and watery.  I hardly put any dressing on my salad and good thing as the tablespoon of water residue at the bottom of the bowl is just gross.

Both of us do not feel like drinking or even being very social.  All I feel like doing is walking.  We head up to the sports deck and I do 16 laps around while Bernie putts.  We then grab a seat in the aft area and enjoy the peace and quite and the views.

Overall it was an amazing day.  Tomorrow is our last day on board.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

St. Thomas

I think I was awake until 4 am!  But I am awake at 8 am and I quickly shower.  Again they are shutting down the water at 10 until 1 pm today.  This is the third time we have had a water shutdown since boarding.  Maintenance is always necessary and today is probably the best day for them to do it.

So I shower while Bernie heads out.

I walk around the ship. I especially love the open Promenade deck and being able to walk all away around.  I see we are in port with a NCL ship who is docked right behind us.

Around 11 I meet up with Bernie in the International Café where we sit and enjoy our hot drinks (yup you guessed it espresso for me). 

The ship is quiet.  A lot of people have gone ashore.  It is a big change from last sailing when the demographics were mainly couples and the average age was older.  Here there are a lot more larger groups travelling together and a more families.  Not that many kids but a few.  Also a lot of newer cruisers.  It is a good mix of people on board.

We sit and watch the happenings on board and catch up and discuss what we have to do when we get off.  We also discuss what has to be done before we head out for such a long period in early January.

We talk about cruising and are we getting bored with cruising – we determine we are NOT.  And laugh that when we were touring around prior to getting on the ship for ten days we were tired of land vacations and the issues with that and couldn’t wait to get on the ship.  Now after 20 some days we are saying are we tired of the routine on ships?  Yeah a little but I am thinking we need to change it up a bit.  I am trying to get Bernie to try some other cruise lines.  We have done Carnival and Royal Caribbean and enjoyed them but we know they are not right for us and our needs.  I am trying to get him to try Celebrity and Holland America.  I know it will not be a long term change but maybe one of the other lines to fill a gap or to add some variety.  I even would like to see what NCL has to offer (but one of their newer ships) Stay tuned. 

My only goal today was to visit one of our favorite shops ashore (Local Color) and to eat some chicken wings at Beers and Tap or is it Tap and Beer.  Either way it is right at the pier and I love their chicken wings. 

Today it is not as crazy in port so I we sit and share a table with a couple from the NCL ship.  Then when they leave a group of four (2 couples) from our ship joins us.  It is always lovely to sit and get to know others.

We end up only being ashore for 1.5 hours but we are okay with that, it is just what we wanted. 

Oh and I love the Christmas decorations – I had to pose with the large Christmas Tree!

Back on board both of us are tired.  We have an earlier departure so the decision is made to return to the cabin and nap. 

After so little sleep last night the one hour cat nap is just what I needed.

Tonight is the Most Travelled Guest Party.  It is being held on a Formal night and we did not bring any formal wear so we dress the best we can and the Captain Circle Host said it would be totally fine.

The event is being held in Adagios.  I like this lounge and it is hilarious that when we are queuing up to get in this woman walks past us on the right to enter Sabatinis and she gives a bunch of us the finger.  Wonder what she is upset about, but I don’t take it personally she obviously is upset at something.  Or maybe she was just exercising her fingers. 

It is fun to enjoy a cocktail – or two, or was it three in the end.  The small foods were very good but for us we are skipping dinner for this and it was a bit too minimal – but for most it is perfect as many have finished dinner or are going to dinner.

It is fun to catch up with our friends.  Sandra the F&B Director, and Angela the Cruise Director sit with us.  We have a lot of laughs!  It is so fun seeing them both again.  

We are all still hungry so we agree to meet up at Vines for sushi and tapas and of course wine.  Diego joins us too.  He is from Uruguay and we talk a bit about his beautiful country and how we can’t wait to go back.

The event Dancing with the Princess Staff is happening tonight and I missed it last sailing and really wanted to see it this time. 

It is where two male passengers and two female passengers are teamed up with a cruise staff and they dance and they are voted on and it is determined who is being let go until we have a winner.  It is cute – I especially liked the behind the scenes shots that Angela hosted with the loosing teams.
Off to bed. Tomorrow is Grand Turk.  Haven’t been here all year and looking forward to heading ashore and celebrating Sandra’s birthday with her.

Cheers everyone.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

St. Kitts

I am awake early and a quick shower get me moving.  I am ready to take on the day.

Bernie heads up for breakfast and I grab a latte and my computer and I take up residence at my little table in the Wheelhouse Bar. It is quiet here on port days and I can hide out until our steward cleans the cabin.

I take the time to update my presentations for Barbados with the new pictures I got and then I continue working on my Falkland Islands presentation.  I am writing about the four different types of penguins you can find here and adding sounds/video and trying to make it FUN.

I meet up with Bernie in the cabin at 12:30 so we can go ashore.

There are a total of three ships in port today.  Us, the Carnival Fascination and a Royal Caribbean ship is off to the right. I believe it is docked at an industrial pier but I can’t confirm.  I know I did not see any tenders. 

There is a sign at the pier stating that they are building a new pier but no date listed for when it will open.  Not sure if it the pier the RCL ship is at or a new one.  The pictures looks different that what is currently there.  Maybe someone can confirm more details – and I will look into it more when I get home.

Our main goal today is to get lunch ashore.  We are needing something different than the buffet and I love the Indian restaurant here called Tamarind.  You can find it in the second big building on the left upstairs.  They have air conditioning, wifi and great food.

We do stop in at a few stores but we don’t end up buying anything.  After having moved across the country and getting rid of almost everything we own we really are in no rush to buy trinkets that will clutter up the house.

While returning to the gangway this man quickly jumps in front of us at the gangway and I am fine with that, they must really want to get on. But when he shows his cruise card to security it appears that he is actually at the wrong ship – he is on the Carnival Fascination.  I always wondered if people got ships mixed up but had never seen it.  Both hulls are white but that is where it stops.

I actually sailed on the Fascination a long long time ago.  I think it was my second cruise, my first being on the Carnival Ecstasy.  It was an amazing ship back then.  Big cabins from what I remember.  Today it looks old and sad.  Very few balcony cabins – only suites have balconies, and those suites look like rust buckets from the pier, they should at least paint.

Back on board I head up to the top deck to get something at the Cups and Cones shop.  I never did get anything here on the Caribbean and wanted to try it out on this ship.  I ask for a Mexican Chocolate milkshake but they said they don’t have it.  So I opt for a Espresso Mocha Milkshake. Cost is $4 or add a shot of liqueur for a dollar more.  I did not add the booze.  The drink was yummy and was the added boost I needed.

I was able to finish my Stanley Falkland Islands presentation.  Yeah – I have now completed all the presentations I had prepped for the trip.  12 done – 12 more to do!  

I finished up at 5:30 and we both shower and dress for dinner and evening activities.

Dinner is again in the dining room.  It doesn’t take us that long to eat – only 45 minutes.  It is quick because we are just two and we only get a starter (usually a soup or salad) and a main.  We don’t get dessert, coffees or teas, or added cocktails.  We do usually have wine.  

We grab the sparkling wine we have and take it to Vines to enjoy.  It is our time to reflect on the trip and we spend the next hour and a half discussing the past month.  The good and the bad, the fun, the boring, the highs and the lows.  

What is next – Christmas!  

This will be the very first time we both have Christmas off in the 28 years we have been together (except two times when we took vacation time).  And this time we are not working.  It was always the worst time of the year to drive a bus and I am not missing it at all.  

We discuss what we want for our first Christmas in Cape Breton and we both know we want it simple.  We never buy presents.  First we don’t need anything and second I would rather share experiences instead of things.  Third we don’t have any Christmas decorations anymore and don’t really want to spend tons of $$$ to replace either.  We agree we will get a small real tree and then add lights and then popcorn garland.  I can’t wait.  But hey if you want to send us an ornament go for it! 

It was a lovely evening and we are not wanting to go to bed just yet.

Tonight is the Love Boat Deck Party – yup this ship is still doing the Love Boat Deck Party.  I love this party but it is getting a bit old.  Heck it has been going on for almost four years now.  I did enjoy the Gold Party on the Caribbean and wondering if it is going fleet wide?

On the Crown they have the bad set up on the Sun deck port side.  The Sun deck is closed off except for the starboard side only but to get up here is hard as they have both stairs roped off – you have to go to the staircase forward or aft.  They need to do it here as they need the MUTS screen.  

It really is not busy – not sure why.  The demographics are perfect on board for it to be busy.  Not sure where everyone is?  We watch the dancers perform and then it seems to have lost steam and so have we.  

Back in the cabin we watch the Wake Show and we go to sleep.  Or at least Bernie sleeps I stay awake for a long time.  My mind is not wanting to shut off.

Friday, November 23, 2018


Another early docking and I wake to the announcement that we are clear to go ashore.  Trust me you don’t want me to go ashore right now with the way I look. 

I shower and rush up to the Speedy Sudoku where I sit with Julie and try my hardest but don’t win.  Always fun to get the brain moving early in the am.

Oh I forgot to mention that the ship’s power went out while I was in the shower.  Now remember we are in an inside cabin and I am in the shower.  Complete blackness.  I shrug and say to myself “I don’t need light to know how to wash my hair” so I continue.  Bernie brings me my phone with the flashlight on so I at least can dry off.  A few minutes later the electricity is restored.

There are four large ships in port today and a small Club Med ship.  We are docked the furthest away.

We done our running shoes and we are off.   We usually walk to the port building as we find the bus just too confining and very hot, plus we are able to walk and we enjoy walking.

We spot both Amel and Sidney heading ashore.  This is Sidney’s first time in the Caribbean and Amel is making sure he sees it the right way.  They are off to the Boatyard.  Boatyard is a fun place – but not for us. Just too noisy, busy, and way too geared to the cruise passengers. 

Instead we are off to get information.  Barbados is one of the ports I have to lecture on and I want some up to date prices for taxis, entrance fees, maps, and pictures of some sites that either I have not been to or my pictures are lacking.

After four hours ashore I accomplish all this and again we are hot and sweaty.

I will add that one of our goals was to buy some spices.  There is a nice sales cart in the port building that sells spices/sauces/etc. But they wanted $5 US each for a package of Cinnamon sticks or a package of nutmeg. 

Instead we walked into town and into a grocery store where we bought – ground cinnamon, 2 packs of cinnamon sticks, 2 packs of nutmeg and the total price was just under $5 US.

We also wanted to eat ashore here and get a corn-n-oil drink. We knew the place we wanted to go too – Rollies just in Pelican Craft Strip Mall near the pier.

However when we arrived it was full and we grabbed a table that had just left.  We sat for 15 minutes without a single person attending to us and no menu.  We were starting to grow impatient – being hot and sweaty did not help either.  I asked if they had corn-n-oil drink (which they always use to have) and she looked at me all confused.  Well that was our sign to just leave.  It is sad when a place that has always held a special spot in our memories of Barbados is no longer special.  It has obviously changed hands and sadly I no longer can recommend it.

We therefore head back to the pier and I sit outside the terminal trying to get wifi.  But the signal is not good at all and Bernie is having no luck trying to buy beer at the small bar at the terminal so we give up again. 

Having five ships in port has made the terminal an absolute zoo.  So we once again head back on board and enjoy the comforts of the ship.

Neither of us wants to tackle the Horizon Court so we order two clubhouse sandwiches for the cabin.  When the lovely lady arrives with the food she warns us the fries are cold and tells us to call room service again and she will deliver new ones right away.  Yes they were cold and yes we called and ten minutes later we had hot fries.  She was great – and I bet she told them that the fries were cold but the chef probably said just deliver it.  Oh I remember waitering thru college and the chef did this type of thing often.  They don’t seem to care as they are one person removed from person eating the food and they don’t receive the criticism.   

Then as much as I should work on my Falklands Presentation the bed is calling. I am so tired.  Did not sleep well last night and I woke up early. 

So a quick two hour nap – interrupted by announcements looking for passengers, Captain coming on with his daily announcement, then shortly after announcing they are having some issues with the thrusters and it should be repaired so, then another announcement saying all is good. 

Okay, my nap was good but sporadic but I believe it did the job. 

At 5:45 we wake up fully and our Captain Circle Party is 6:30 tonight so we quickly shower and dress and we are walking out the cabin at 6:15!  Wow that was quick.

The party was nice and it gave me the chance to meet Joyce and Julie (who I met the day prior).  Julia has been on my facebook page for a while and she knows her stuff – so it is great to put a face to a name.

Dinner again was in Da Vinci.  Yes we have been dining in the dining room!  We just needed a change from the buffet choices, but we are both missing the buffet option – just wish it was the Royal’s buffet.

Today is also Thanksgiving and the ship is decorated beautifully.  Of course there is the large set up of all things harvest in the Atrium.  Decorations are up in all the bars and restaurants. 

It is not our Canadian Thanksgiving but it is nice to partake in the US Thanksgiving!

They had two trees set up in the Atrium with a basket of leaves and string that you could write what you are thankful for and add it to the tree.  I wrote out mine – I am very thankful for all the amazing crew on board.

So back to dinner.  Of course I had the turkey dinner and it was good, but sadly half my turkey serving was gristle and rubbery skin, also for some reason I am finding the food extra salty this trip.  Might be me.

After dinner we head down to Vines to catch up with the boys who share with us their fun day in Barbados while we sip our glass of wine.

At 9:15 is the Yes No Game Show.  I needed to redeem myself and I was chosen again tonight.  Emily got me last cruise I was determined to try and get her tonight.  And I am proud to say I survived the three minutes and got a prize (a wine stopper).

Around 10 pm we head up to the top deck to walk and it is a beautiful night.

It was a good day!

Martinique Afternoon and Evening

Sidney and Amel - Best bar staff on the Crown

I like Martinique.  It is not one of my favorite places, but I like it.  Probably because it is not all things touristy. You are not going to find all the fancy jewelry shops here, you are not going to find all the touristy bars and restaurants with their flights of beers, blaring music and staff going around with shots.

French is spoken here and many don’t speak English.  It doesn’t shine like some islands.  Like St. Thomas, Aruba, St. Kits.  It doesn’t have the fancy pier with the port with all the shops.

Instead it is a hub of activity.  The city is busy with just average folk doing their average day to day thing.  They don’t seek out the tourist dollar.  They are not begging you to come into their store, or to take a taxi, or to visit their restaurant.  Like it was the day prior in Antigua.

This afternoon as we walk up and down the streets of Martinique, we just enjoy the sights and sounds of the city.

The only people trying to get us in their store is the guy with his microphone outside their store telling everyone what the sales are, what is good today.  Sounds like a French rap and just like English I can catch a few words – chicken is on sale today.

I do check out a few stores – mainly clothing stores.  Why I ask myself!  It is hot and humid and my bra is wet and my shirt is sticking to me.  Do I really want to try on clothes like this – no not really.

There is a nice mall not from the ship and I swear I could live in here right now because of the air conditioning. 

We get a few small items that we are needing.  But the mall is busy with locals as well as tourists. Here you can find little bakeries selling all yummy French pastries (I pass), a bistro for a nice lunch, a grocery store, a pharmacy, a book store, clothing, shoe and so much more.

Our original goal was to have lunch ashore but like I had mentioned earlier I am trying to get over this cold and all I really want is a something small and to get some air conditioning. 

So we both agree to return to the ship. 

Once back on board we head up to the Lido and the queue for burgers (we want the tacos here) is so long, so we head to the Horizon Court.  Selection choice just are not grabbing us. So I grab a slice of pizza (unfortunately it was not the best pizza – normally I love their pizza on board). 

The Crown still has the old style Horizon Court (not the new one like the Caribbean that offers great flow with more stations and no pinch points). Selection here is minimal (boy I miss the Royal).  Yes there are still lots of option for something to eat.  But because we have been on now for 19 days we are getting rather bored with the limited choices.  We both agree that for longer trips of ten days or longer we need to stay away from this class of ships that have not improved their buffet.

I sit beside a family of four with two teenagers.  I could not help overhearing their conversation.  Mainly it was the parents talking trying to pull information out of the kids. 

The whole time I was there the two kids were on their phones.  Now I don’t have kids, but I wonder if they are having fun.  Doesn’t look like it.  I wonder “would Mom and Dad have had a better time if they came by themselves”. 

I will say there are a few kids on this cruise.  Certainly not what we would see on a 7 day cruise but there are quite a few teenagers and younger ones.  But I am very impressed with them.  Very polite, friendly, kind and respectful.

I will inject here that today was the day that Bernie hit the wall. It happens every cruise. That day when everything is getting to you – the people, the noise, the heat, the food, the ship…. You name it.   So he grabbed a quick bite and I insisted he head down to the cabin and just hang out there for the afternoon enjoying some peace and quiet and alone time. 

I went up to Adagio and started on my Falkland Island presentation.  I spent five hours working there and got half of it done.

Our evening was a pleasant one.  We started with drinks in Skywalkers – which is the Platinum Elite Lounge.  It was busy up here today.  There are not that many Elites on board but there are a lot of Platinum members. And many are travelling with friends and family and so they bring them to the lounge making it a busy. 

We stop by Crown Grill to see Elsa.  Elsa is the hostess and she is from Nicaragua.  Today she informed me that it was her birthday two days ago!  When she tells me her age I am shocked, she tells me she has a 20 year child and I again am shocked.  She looks like she is 24 herself. 

Today when we were ashore we picked up a pretty birthday card for her and I wanted to make sure she knew we wanted to wish her a happy birthday.  Note the next day she came over and hugged me again and said she loved the card and it is up on her wall in her cabin. 

It is about the connections you make on board not just the places you see.

The dining times have switched on this cruise to the earlier traditional dining times.  Which is not an issue for me as we do anytime.  However for some reason they have moved the times other events earlier too.  Production shows are earlier – heck the late show is 9:15!  Way too early for us.  They also moved the Platinum Elite Lounge hours from 4:30 to 6:30 again!  Why so darn early.  So we have not made it to the lounge much because it closes soon after or when we arrive. And we have not made one production show as it too is early. 

We had a nice meal in Da Vinci tonight and then we took part in the 70s music trivia and then of course we ended our night in Vines with our favorite bar staff – Amel and Sidney.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018


Again we are docked early (8 am) and I wake to the sound of the announcement in the hallway saying we are clear to go ashore.  Well I am not cleared to go ashore, I am still in bed.

I need to get some work done today.  I want to update my Antigua presentation and notes and find a quiet corner in Wheelhouse to get it done.

I did attend the speedy Sudoku and won!  Although there were only four playing so the odds were good but the one couple there are good too. 

A woman comes over to introduce herself – Julie is her name. From Texas and she follows my blog and Facebook page.  I love it when people come over to say hi.  I really enjoy hearing about their cruise travels and I always learn something new.  We chat for over a half hour. 

We do plan to go ashore.  We were here twice in January/February when we were on the Royal but the second time I went off and explored on my own.  This time Bernie wants to check out some things too and we agreed to go ashore and have lunch.


We are docked early.  In fact when I woke up I thought we maybe had missed the port as I had not even woken up for the docking – a hard thing to miss when your cabin is on deck five but I did.  In fact I am loving this cabin on Plaza deck.  Very quiet, great location – close to my priorities.  International Café and Vines!

I end up turning on the tv to the bridge cam to see if in fact we did dock.  Yup we are docked and it looks a little overcast.  Ends up it is the “normal” Caribbean weather.  

Humid, hot, with a chance of showers.  Which we did encounter a few times while here but they quickly pass and then it gets even more humid.

Bernie and I agree to just wait a bit to get off.  There are four ships in port and we know it is going to be busy.  We are not in any rush and we don’t have much planned.

Upstairs in the Horizon Court we grab some oatmeal and some fruit – boy I am going to miss all this great fruit.

For some reason the Horizon Court is off this cruise (or at least what we have noticed the first few days compared to the crossing).  Last night we dined here and plates were rarely cleared and sat at the table beside us for a good half hour.  We also had to get our own beverages as there really was just not much staff.  I find this can happen when it is quieter.  When it is busy staff are buzzing around and there are more of them.  Tonight it is just not happening.  

Also it is Mongolian stir fry night (which we love).  You pick your veggies, your meat, your sauce and they stir fry it for you and come and deliver it to you.  Our friend we are sitting with made up a bowl with just chicken and veggies and the plate she got back had beef, shrimp and no chicken at all.  Obviously she got the wrong plate but this does concern me, especially if you have allergies.  I got what I ordered but I had not Teriyaki sauce at all for which I had asked for.  It was good though.

Okay back to today.  You can feel the excitement in the crew because this is the first port that some of them are going to be able to get off at since leaving Ponta Delgada in the Azores 11 days ago.  No one got shore leave in Fort Lauderdale.

We stroll off around noon and my main purposed today was to check out some things for my port lecture for Antigua.  I need some current pictures of the Cathedral as the last time we were here it was closed.  I also am determined to get the taxi prices to the major sites.  It is hard here, the taxi drivers are reluctant to provide it normally.  But I find a nice taxi driver who helps me with all the details.  

Right away we spot Amel and Sidney enjoying their time ashore.  They sure earned it.  We share a drink with them and then we are off.

I manage to get all the pictures and information that I was needing and I am heading back to the ship.  Bernie stays out and wanders around some more.  He ended up grabbing a meal from a local vendor close to the market and crossed the street to the store and bought two local beers and sat on the step and enjoyed his jerk chicken and his beer.  He chatted with a local guy for a while and then slowly made his way back on board.  Meghan he was thinking of you!

I should let you know that I too got that cold that was going around on the crossing.  Heck it was at home, it was on the plane, it was in London, it was in Rome and it of course made it onto the ship.  I tried really hard to not get it by washing my hands all the time but heck Bernie got it so it was inevitable that I too got it.  It is not a bad one, in fact Bernie said he really suffered from it for only 3 or 4 days.  I started feeling bad on turn around day and today I am feeling better but I feel drained and enjoy some quiet time in the cabin to just rest.  Thankfully neither of us had it go into our chest.  No worries I am feeling almost 100% again.

We got our invite to the Most Travelled Guest Party.  It will be held in Adagios on St. Thomas day – which is also a formal night.  We will not be dressing formal as we don’t have formal wear but we will look as good as we can.  I am sorry I don’t know what the cut off is.

Tonight our goal is to go to the dining room.  We first start with wine in Vines and catch up with Amel and Sidney and hear about their time in port.  

We head to Da Vinci for 7:15 and are sat at a nice table for two.  I ordered a bottle of wine (our wine package is finished) and our server pours our wine.  Later he comes over to apologize as he assistant poured a glass of wine to another table from our bottle.  He says he will bring us both of glass of wine from the bar to compensate.  I notice that not much is gone and say only one glass will be needed and thank him for being honest.  Mistakes happen, it is how you handle them that makes the difference and Joaquin handled it very well.

Blame it on the Boogie is performing tonight in the Princess Theater and I would love to go, but they moved up the show times and the late show is at 9:15 and that is just way too early for us so we pass.

We do attend the 70s music trivia and faired quite well but no where near wining.

Back to Vines for a nightcap and we are really enjoying the time we are getting to spend with Amel and Sidney.  We first met Amel on the Royal at the beginning of the year.  

This trip we are able to really cement the friendship and we are honoured to call him friend.  Sidney we have know from before too – the Grand but we really only got to know him on board now.  A great guy and he is so great with the crew.