Day 3 at sea

After our lovely day at Princess Cays, we went back to the ship, enjoying a great meal in the Michelangelo dining room, and going to the Princess Theater for a great show. As night fell, however, the seas got really rough, and our sleep was serenaded by huge groaning sounds below our cabin. The ship rocked and rolled and groaned all night and into the next day. All day Tuesday the skies were stormy and we watched waves that were classified as “rough seas” according to the ship log on the tv in our cabin. In fact, the seas were so rough that all the water sloshed out of the swimming pools and they closed them down. The photo on the left here shows what a fully booked cruise ship can look like on a rough sea day. Not a soul in sight! Everyone was inside, enjoying spa treatments, shopping, eating, and casino fun. We had most of the outside decks completely to ourselves.

By evening, when it didn’t get any better,they canceled the show that involved dancing by the Princess Dancers and substituted a comedy show instead. Turned out great, actually, because the comedian was hysterical. It felt great to laugh so hard that my cheeks hurt. He was truly funny, and without being one bit dirty either. It was so much fun.

As any cruiser knows, it takes almost the entire length of the cruise just to find your way around the ship. On this day we discovered that the hallway outside our stateroom led to one of our favorite little places to hang out on the ship, the International Cafe on the edge of the central part of the ship called the Piazza. Our cabin was on deck 5, toward midship, and that turned out to be really handy. Lots of activity centers around this area, and the spiral staircases wind up 2 more floors to the Promenade deck 7 where there are more shops and bars and restaurants.

This little cafe, however, was a nice place to be, especially since the seas outside were so rough. I’m glad I finally decided to put on my patch. Last night I tried half and this morning I added the second half. Now I don’t have to fight that seasick thing all the time. I had a great cappuccino, a pretty one with lovely swirls in the foam, and some kind of delectable chocolate dessert. Across from our little table, the chefs did some demonstrations of ice and vegetable carving. Hmmm, so when I get home I will create cute monkeys from pineapples? Maybe not. LOL.

We spent a few minutes on the internet, which isn’t cheap on board, and not always a reliable connection. They have packages, and I settled for one that gave me 100 minutes for 55 bucks, but it was amazing how fast that went. Not sure it is really worth it, but having my own laptop was much nicer than trying to use the Internet Cafe across the piazza which was almost always very busy.

All in all, it was a nice day,with time to actually relax a bit and explore the ship. The Crown Princess is huge, and has many levels, and we discovered, many steps and hidden nooks. It isn’t quite as straightforward as the RC ships we have been on in the past. In order to really get around, you have to be willing to do a lot of climbing. Especially when my favorite place on board was usually the very top of the ship on the Sun Deck number 19 I think. It was fine for us, but we thought about people we know who might not like all that stair climbing.

Day 2 Princess Cays

Princess has their very own private beach here on this island in the Bahamas. The water really is truly turquoise and crystal clear. Amazing. We anchored at 9 am and were on the beach before 10 for a perfect clear day, 80 degrees or so and gorgeous.

I can’t believe I actually bought this thing, but it really did the trick. A perfect, icy pina colada that stayed cold for at least a couple of hours on the hot beach. It was great down time, and I didn’t even get a sunburn.

Perfect water, perfect sand, perfect weather. My first Caribbean beach day was perfect.

Day 1 Cruising the Caribbean

Mo and I decided that waiting around at my house in Jamestown wasn’t much different than waiting around in San Francisco so we left home around noon for the bay area. The weather was nice in California, sunny and partly cloudy with no smog anywhere thanks to the lovely rain from the day before. We traveled west on 120, our usual route to SF and then crossed the San Mateo bridge. Mo thought it would be fun to have dinner at very well known Italian restaurant she and her friends would visit back in the days when she lived in Montara. Bertolucci’s has been around since 1928.

We managed to find the restaurant, found the hotel park and fly lot, checked in, and then decided to go to the City for some entertainment. Strybing Arboretum is one of my favorite places, so we headed for Golden Gate Park.

The sun was nice, and walking in the park was a fairly popular thing to do on this Saturday afternoon, even though the air was still a bit chilly. The tulip trees are in bloom right now, and some camellias, but most of the gardens were fairly subdued at this time of year. Sadly, I didn’t take the camera, so no photos of all the loveliness.

We headed back through town to our restaurant for an early dinner. The food was really wonderful, and the ambiance of the restaurant was old school in a way, but totally casual as well. You could tell that many of the diners were people who came often. Interesting that even in this very fine restaurant, people were still dressed casually in jeans and such. Mo had some sole with a great dill sauce and I had osso bucco, both with polenta,which neither of us had tried before and both of us really liked. I’ll have to find a recipe and make some.

We took our leftovers, which eventually died a sad death in our stateroom fridge, and parked the car, deciding again that waiting at the airport wasn’t much different than waiting in the parking lot, took the 7 pm shuttle and only had 4hours to wait for boarding. It all gets a bit convoluted for these red-eye flights. Where do you wait? When do you drive there? So we took little naps hidden in the corner on the floor of the gate area, I knitted a bit on my shawl rather than my sweater, and finally boarded at 11:30 or so. Amazingly I slept through the entire flight, only waking up just as the plane was beginning to descend into Miami. Ahh. Plane pillow, cozy socks, no bra, and Ambien. LOL

Miami was another long wait, arriving at 8am and having to wait for the shuttle to Fort Lauderdale at 11. The shuttle service was with Princess, and was definitely a bit convoluted. They didn’t have enough shuttles,there were too many Carnival shuttles getting in the way, and we ended up with people going to two different ships on the same bus, which was crazy. We finally were dropped off at pier 2, where the huge ship awaited. Huge it is, and even though we have been on huge ships before, this one looks pretty impressive sitting there at the pier.

Boarding was amazingly efficient and simple, again a good check mark for Princess, and our stateroom was ready when we got there. This is the largest stateroom so far, even though it was just a simple outside view room, no balcony or anything, but there was lots of room, a huge closet, a nice bathroom, and a ton of storage. We didn’t have to do that thing with shoving the suitcase under the bed which is often the case on these ships.
We toured the ship a bit, searched out the Lido deck and the lunch buffet in the Horizon café and waited for our sailing time at 5. The food was fine, not particularly fancy,but adequate, and everything on the ship was really nice. The ship itself isn’t quite as dramatic in the Atrium area as our Royal Caribbean ship was, but it was still lovely. Probably a bit more classy, with lots of dark wood, and lovely art everywhere. The service was excellent throughout the cruise; in spite of some of the reviews I read saying it wasn’t that great, I was impressed.
Fort Lauderdale is a huge cruise port, and there were 5 big ships leaving on this Sunday evening,heading for various parts of the Caribbean. The parade of ships was fun, and people in their condos along the water stand in their balconies and wave at the ships leaving port. Thinking about how many people were on the sea that evening was impressive, considering there are about3000 to 5000 people on each one of them. It’s really interesting to think of what a huge industry this cruising thing has become, with so many people and cities almost completely dependent on these ships and people coming into their ports.

We had a nice supper in the dining room, appreciating our Anytime Dining option since we didn’t have to make small talk with a bunch of strangers, went to the evening show in the Princess theater, before we settled in to our cabin and looked forward to the coming days with a lot of anticipation.