Crown Princess Cruise Review by paul8: The month of January 2012 on the Crown Princess
Overall Member Rating
The month of January 2012 on the Crown Princess
Destination: Western Caribbean
Embarkation: Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades)
Why I Took This Cruise:
On a previous Princess Cruise I purchased a future cruise for $100 and was told that some of the less expensive cruises are right after the holidays, so I decided before Jan. 2011 to take these 4 cruises.
For me this went smoothly as I was Platinum and along with the Elites & Suites we had separate lines for embarkation. I took my bags with me, went to my cabin, left the bags there, then went to the International Cafe for lunch & unpacked after lunch & before muster.
This went quite well. I chose Princess EZCheck for $20, left my bags outside my cabin on Friday night and picked them up in Boston on Saturday; I took my carryon luggage. Sat I was off the ship by 0745, sped thru customs but had to wait more than an hour for the bus to fill up before we went to Fort Lauderdale airport.
BOTTICELLI DINING ROOM TRADITIONAL:
This is More used for early and late dinner sitting as well as special Princess events.
DA VINCI DINING ROOM (TRADITIONAL AND ANYTIME):
This is used for breakfast, lunch and dinner; I had 5:30pm dinner here. It is also used as a meeting place for the muster drill & various Princess events. The dress code here is not enforced.
MICHELANGELO DINING ROOM (ANYTIME):
This is used for traditional dining, a muster meeting place, and various Princess events.
SABATINIS (authentic Italian cuisine):
This is a specialty restaurant with a $20 cover charge.
CROWN GRILL (steaks & seafood):
This is a specialty restaurant with a $25 cover charge.
ICE CREAM BAR AND PIZZZERIA:
These are self-explanatory as the Ice Cream Bar serves ice cream and the Pizzeria serves pizza.
HORIZON COURT BUFET & CAFE CARIBE:
These are buffet areas; both are open 0600am -- 1200 midnight. As with the Da Vinci dining room, there is a dress code but it is not enforced. When the head waiter was informed of a dress code violation by the passengers he just ignored it.
Sushi is served here, the Vines staff said there was a charge for food but the Patter said the sushi was
INTERNATIONAL CAFE (coffee, pastries, & paninis):
When I cruised the Crown in April 2010 this closed at 11pm; now it is open 24 hours and has a $49 card that is good for coffee, tea, hot chocolate and non-alcoholic drinks. There is also a $29 card for carbonated drinks.
Hot dogs, hamburgers, & cheeseburgers are the specialty.
I asked several parents & children about the kids program & got a positive feedback every time.
I do not have this at home so enjoyed this treat while watching Movies Under the Stars; actually could not get enough.
When I go to the Casino I play the slots & allow myself $10 per night entertainment; on this cruise of 28 nights I played only 2 nights. On the last Friday of the cruise I went to the Casino to get rid of some quarters & ended up winning $44.25. This is the place where smoking is still allowed but Princess did have some smoke free nights. Also the Speakeasy Cigar Lounge is located here.
I took my cell phone along for emergency use only; had no use for it but kept it charged just in case; turned it off when not in use.
Although I was given 150 free minutes for a 7 day cruise because of my platinum/elite status I used this only on the last Friday night to check my boarding pass. Internet rates were (in minutes) 500-$175, 250-$150, 150-$75, 100-$55, pay as you go .75 a minute, printing $0.50 per page, activation fee $3.95.
I only used these as a meeting place for cruise critic events, Mason get together events, to read my nook, or as a venue for different Princess events.
ODOR -- SMOKING POLICY:
These being four 7 day cruises there was no odor. It's going to be interesting to see how the Princess "no smoking in cabin rooms" policy instigated on Jan 15, 2012 works; smoking was still allowed in the casino & outdoor areas. My first cruise Jan 7-14 was ok but for Jan 14-21 the cabin next to me (E711) stunk; the smell even bothered the steward. I complained to the front desk & was told they couldn't do anything about it as smoking was still allowed. For the other two 7 day cruises, smoking was not a problem unless you went to the outside areas.
GOLF DRIVING NET, BATTING CAGES, SHUFFLE BOARD, BASKETBALL/VOLLEYBALL COURT, BODY WAVES
I had no experience with these.
SPA & BEAUTY SALON:
I used the Thermal Spa here and also took advantage of a package that included a shave, haircut, and 2 other things for about $89. Free showers are here for non-spa use; a good deal for tall men and women plus the shower doors close; no shower curtains to worry about.
GALLERIA SHOPS, SHOPPING ARCADE:
I found these ideal for killing time as I had no intention of purchasing anything.
Passenger Services informed me that the specialty restaurants charge $20-$25. The specialty restaurants on NCL Sun started at $10 so that being the case I didn't feel the urgency to try them. The free restaurants & buffet were adequate for my taste buds.
This went well, my muster station for E717 was Club Fusion which was convenient as it was 1 deck below the cabin; muster for cabin E303 was not required as I had already been to a drill.
I receive OBC's for owning 100 shares of CCL stock and being a veteran.
Princess does have a dress code but it is not enforced as they don't want to offend. In the Da Vinci dining room on casual nights I saw men & women in shorts and even women in short shorts. On formal nights I saw men without jackets and ties.
LAUNDRY: I washed then air dried as my clothes were wash and wear & drying took less than 6 hours. The only thing I had cleaned was my jacket as when I got to Elite status laundry was free. Laundry fee to wash & dry was $2 for each machine.
I enjoyed myself for the month and would rate this about 90%. I especially enjoyed EZCheck & sat with a passenger the end of the 1st week who spoke highly of EZCheck so I thought I would give it a try.
Cabin E717 non obstructed (measurements are approximate)
Room: 14' x 9' & includes 2 beds, 2 tables, desk w/ 1 chair, sitting chair, refrigerator, glass table, and plasma TV
Bath: 4' x 2' includes toilet but dimensions do not include counter, sink or shower.
Bath Counter: 3'7" x 1'1" includes sink & side storage areas
Hall/Entry Way: 7' x 3.
Closet space: 6' x 4' includes shelf area given below.
Shelves: 1.5' x 1.5' includes 6 shelves plus 1 safe
Cabin E303 Handicap Cabin obstructed (measurements are approximate)
Room: 14'x 13 includes 2 beds, 2 tables, desk with 2 chairs, sitting chair, refrigerator, glass table, plasma TV
Bath: 7' x 6'
Bath Counter: 3' x 1'
Hall/Entry: 6' x 6'
Closet Space: 7' x 2'
Shelves: 8 (approx.)
Both cabins were located on starboard side; E717 was to aft or rear with a small shower, E303 was towards bow or forward with a large shower. The advantage of E303 is it was right near the elevators. Cabin E717 was a short walk to the elevators and very convenient to Horizon Court. The TV's in both cabins was one of these plasma deals, new to me because at home I'm still using a 13" tube type.
MEET & GREET ACTIVITIES:
Informal M&G: These were held on each of the four 7 day cruises right after the muster. Only a few Cruise Critic members showed up but those who did had a grand time. Among other things we got to see the ship leaving port from the outside bar.
Meet and Greet: All 4 Meet & Greets were attended by Captain Nick Nash, other officers, & about 25-50 Cruise Critic members. The get-togethers were very informal & provided us question & answer about the Crown Princess & also the sinking on Jan. 13, 2012 of the Costa Concordia. About the only comment the Captain made was that 4000 people were saved in 1-1.5 hours. He told us that Princess has its own simulator in Amsterdam, & the Bridge is now connected to an engine room.
This problem has been around for years. Apparently Princess is doing all it can do without offending passengers. There are always those passengers who refuse to wash their hands or use sanitizers for whatever reason & these are the people who probably spread the virus.
I strongly advised giving this a try if you are flying as it costs only $20; you put your bags outside your cabin Friday night & do not see it until you arrive at your destination.
Most of the comedians mentioned here can be found by doing a search on a web browser like Google. I liked the comedians the best as some of them lasted 2 weeks or less and there was new blood so to speak.
REQUEST AN EVENT BE PRINTED IN THE PATTER:
You can request but it is not guaranteed so be prepared for a disappointment. All my requests were granted. My requests went to Passenger Services who forwarded them to Cruise Director Lisa Ball for approval. She called me about the Cruise Critic Cabin Crawl and said she would put the Crawl as a Cruise Critic Activity.
Most of the shows on the ship I had seen before and one gets tired of seeing the same thing; at least they could have changed the scenery although the Crown Princess Singers and Dancers were truly professional.
GRAND CAYMAN: Walk to town or take a taxi; there is plenty to see around the dock area. Bring your laptop as Wi-Fi is available.
ROATAN: Walk up the hill to the taxi area where there are tours available. We had a tour with Hanno of Bodden Tours, his company is Island Tours, and he gave us a tour of the island stopping at Arch's Iguana & Marine Park & Foster's West Bay for swimming and snorkeling. Then we took a ride through the capital and back to the ship. I would highly recommend this company.
BELIZE: Tours are available here.
COZUMEL: Tours are available here also
PRINCESS CAYS: This is Princess' private beach. The 1st week was nice as I shared a clamshell.
CURACAO: This was my favorite port. Walking to the pontoon bridge you pass many restaurants, a casino, and various shops; some have Wi-Fi availability. There also is a free ferry for use when the pontoon bridge is not working. Curacao can get rather warm, to put it mildly.
ARUBA: Regarding the downtown area, perhaps the best place is the Renaissance Marina Hotel. There is a boat launch that takes guests to a private island owned by Marriot. Regarding cruisers, there is plenty of window shopping & it is inside, away from the heat. Beware I was heard the casino near the hotel doesn't pay well but it still is crowded. For tours try the $20 taxi tour, takes about 2 hours.
PRECRUISE Thursday Jan 5, 2012:
Weather: cloudy in Boston; clear in Ft Lauderdale. Got to the airport about 5:30am for a 7:30 flight & it was a good thing because it took quite a while to go thru security. As the airplane came in to land at FLL I saw two liners at the cruiseport which I later found out belonged to Carnival and HAL. At FLL registered at Holiday Inn Cruiseport then went to the Harbor Cafe on 1396 SE 17th St (actually right around the corner from the hotel) for lunch. It may be a good restaurant or dive for a sandwich as the clerk at Holiday Inn told me, but they need a lesson in sanitation; gloves are just not worn. For supper I went to Joe's Restaurant near Publix Supermarket then purchased some last minute items at Publix and noticed they make sandwiches. So now I know where to go for lunch. I went to the Dollar Store & picked up some more last minute items.
PRECRUISE Friday Jan 6, 2012:
Weather: light winds, sunny, 65, Fort Lauderdale. Free breakfast at Holiday Inn then walked across A1A without getting killed (I swear the drivers would rather kill you) to Marina Deli. At the Dollar store (which is in the same mall) more last minute items plus 2 ponchos for $1 each. I felt the ponchos were a bargain, sure you use them once but for $1 you don't mind throwing them away. The check-out clerk saw my green beads; I informed her I was going on a cruise, so she gave me some free party favors. Back at the hotel I gathered my laptop and went downstairs & was on the thing until 5pm when I finally went upstairs & saw M.A.S.H. then went to eat supper at Kelley's landing. I crossed A1A without getting hit again until I realized I forgot name tags for the M&G, so re-crossed A1A & went to Office Depot for the tags and Walgreens for other last minute items.
DAY 1 - Saturday Jan 7, 2012:
Weather: light winds, clear, 72, 1022.5hpa // Fort Lauderdale // dress casual. The hotel bill was under my door this morning for $400 & while this is expensive on the one hand, on the other the hotel is near shops, malls, restaurants and the cruiseport. I had the free breakfast, packed then took the bus to the cruiseport. Embarkation was rather smooth for Platinum, Elite, and Suite passengers, but you would think that Suite passengers would get extra service since they are paying so much for a cabin. Before the muster I went to the International Cafe where I met Ray. He was a piano player & comedian aboard several cruise ships until he retired; now he teaches piano. My room steward was Romeo & he was superb for the 2 weeks I was in E717. Then it was time for Muster (see above); after muster was supper and my table was near a window as Sue (my Princess consultant) said it would. Stewards for my table 512 were Kateryna from the Ukraine & Grisama from Thailand. At the table were 4 Russian emigrants from the Ukraine; Agnessa (retired accountant), Simon (her husband), Lina, & Efim (husband of Lina). Next at 7:15pm was Showtime with Cruise Director Lisa Hall, the Crown Princess Singers and Dancers, & comedian Rollin Jay Moore; I was not impressed with the comedian. The leader of the orchestra appears to be the same gentleman that was on the Crown when I was her in April 2011. After the evening's entertainment I went to the Laundromat & while my clothes were being washed, I was reading my Nook; air dried the clothes in my cabin.
DAY 2 - Sunday Jan 8, 2012:
Weather: winds SE 3, mostly sunny, 78, 1021.7hpa // SEA DAY // formal. I rose early, had breakfast, and then returned to my cabin to get ready for the day. The M&G was scheduled for 11am so I went to Skywalker's with my laptop. Before I knew it time had come and about 25 people showed up. Then to my surprise Officers showed up and finally the Captain. It seems the Captain spent more time this cruise than he did in the April 2011 cruise. For lunch I was at a table with 9 other people & the conversation was interesting; then I strolled back to my cabin. Tonight was Formal Night & I noticed that less and less people are formal. Formal to me consists of pants, shirt, jacket & maybe a tie. Well for men the tie appears to be taking a siesta which is surprising because a tie takes little room to pack. By mistake I took 2 ties & although I have ties to throw out, these two I wish to keep. Supper for me was 5:30pm dining in Da Vinci but I noticed a line so a stopped in at Passenger Services to request 2 meetings in the Platter. Next Showtime at 8:30pm with Cruise Director Lisa Hall and the Crown Princess Singers & Dancers with the Production show Motor City which I have seen before.
DAY 3 - Monday Jan 9, 2012:
Weather: winds NE 5, 79, partly cloudy, 1017.3hpa // GRAND CAYMAN // 7-4 // tender // casual. After breakfast and getting ready for the day I proceeded down to Deck 5 & the Michelangelo Room but the tender line was so long and since I have been here before, I decided to go back to my cabin, grab my laptop and work. At first I tried outside near Adagio but ended up inside Horizon Court where I was waited on for coffee and orange juice; this probably due to the fact that most people were ashore. Then it was time for lunch so I went to Da Vinci only to find it closed; walked to Passenger Services & was told only Horizons Court is open on port days. So I went up & met Ray (whom I met on Jan. 7th); as NE Style Clam Chowder was being served I just had to have some but the soup did not compare to that at Legal Seafood's in Boston. Supper was casual dress & this is the 2nd night I arrived at the table 1st. It seems that both Russian ladies are on a no salt diet so they get tomorrow's menu today in order to choose what they will have. This is an advantage for me as it is difficult for me to make a decision. I found out tonight that we will have escargot one of the evenings and Thursday night we will have lobster.
DAY 4 -- Tuesday Jan 10, 2012:
Weather: winds E 5, mostly sunny, 83, 1014hpa // ROATAN // 9-6 // docked // casual. I met Debbie & the other 3 people at the International Cafe then we proceeded to disembark and walk to our meeting location. We met Hanno of Bodden Tours, his company is Island Tours, and he gave us a tour of the island. First we stopped at Arch's Iguana & Marine Park next we stopped at Foster's West Bay for swimming and snorkeling. Then we took a ride through the capital arriving at the ship about 2:30pm; time was allowed for shopping. As I did not have breakfast nor lunch upon returning I went to the International Cafe for some shrimp and chicken salad. At Showtime with host Lisa Ball was the production show What a Swell Party. Then I went to Movies Under the Stars & saw Moneyball with Brad Pitt.
DAY 5 -- Wednesday Jan 11, 2012:
Weather: light winds, mostly sunny, 79, 1013.2hpa // BELIZE // 7-5 // tender // casual. We were in port with a HAL ship, the Carnival Star, another Carnival ship, and a few others; it was crowded. I took the 25 minute tender from ship to shore; there really was not much to see so after walking around a bit I took the tender back to the ship. The one back was also a high speed tender but a larger capacity boat. After lunch I saw Movies Under The Stars then went back to the cabin. After supper was Showtime with Cruise Director Lisa Ball & Comedian Rollin Jay Moore & Comedy Magician James Michael. Jay talked to fast & he was only funny when he talked about the over 55 people and the noises they make; James was much better but I didn't like his tattoos. I stayed up to see the International Crew Show because there was a skit that was there in 2011 but wasn't there this time; instead there was a harmonica player that was just great (wonder why he is working for Princess?).
DAY 6 Thursday - Jan 12, 2012:
Weather: winds SW 3, mostly sunny, high 84, 1013.9hpa // COZUMEL // 7-5 // docked // formal. We are in port today with Oasis of the Seas (Royal Caribbean's 6000 passenger canoe), and the Carnival Paradise. Not as crowded as one would expect because the Oasis used the International Pier. After visiting the shops I went across the street and did not see anything of interest. There appeared to be several Wi-Fi's in the shops area. Back to the ship by 11:30am I went to lunch then to Movies Under the Stars and saw Moneyball with Brad Pitt. After supper I saw comedy Mentalist & Illusionist Wayne Hoffman in the Explorers Lounge; he was great and you can check him out by doing a Google search. Then I went to Club Fusion to get a front row seat for The Newlywed, Not So Newlywed Game Show with host Deputy Cruise Director Chris. One couple had been married 12 days & when asked what condiment he liked, the husband thought he heard condom. Next I went to Horizons Cafe for a late night snack.
DAY 7 Friday Jan 13, 2012:
Weather: winds NNE 4, mostly cloudy, 72, 1018hpa // AT SEA // casual. After breakfast I went to the Explorers Lounge for the Cruise Critic Cabin Crawl but no one showed up so I went to the boutique, ended up purchasing nothing, and then went to Horizons Grill for Lunch. Next I went to Movies Under the Stars where Dolphin Tale with Morgan Freeman was playing. At supper I gave the Russian's my card and they gave me their address. After supper I went to farewell ShowTime with Piano Vocalist Kory Simon in the Princess Theater; he was excellent probably because he included a yodeling song. Then I went to the Laundromat & next a midnight snack.
DAY 8 Saturday Jan 14, 2012:
Weather: winds WNW3, partly cloudy, 67,1026hpa // FORT LAUDERDALE // casual. Breakfast with 3 couples from CT, FL, & Canada; the couple from Canada & myself are on the next leg to the Southern Caribbean. At 10:25am the B2B cruisers met at the Michelangelo Dining Room & proceeded to customs then back to the ship. This is necessary, takes about an hour at the most so I would suggest you take something to pass the time. I made the invitations to the officers & delivered them to Passenger Services. Last night I purchased 2 T-shirts at the boutique and returned them today for a larger size. Supper tonight was at table 486 with Larry, Pat, Diane, Gladys, Walter, Virginia, and Tony. Then I went to Passenger Services & inquired about Princess EZCheck; my return flight is by Jet Blue & that is one of the airlines Princess recognizes & if I give Princess the necessary information, I leave my checked bags outside my cabin door Friday night and pick them up in Boston. Then I went to welcome aboard Team Trivia Challenge where I joined couples from the UK & the states. We got 16 out of 20 correct which is not bad considering the winner got 17. Next I went to Horizons for a snack & spoke with Sara from the UK who is part of the cruise critic group. She told me that the Captain of the Costa Concordia (that sank off Italy) was arrested for various charges. At movies under the stars was Denver vs. Boston in the NFL playoffs and in the 3rd quarter, Boston was 40 to Denver's 10.
DAY 9 Sunday Jan 15, 2012:
Weather: winds NNE 6, partly cloudy, 70, 1026hpa // PRINCESS CAYS // tender // casual. I had breakfast in Horizon Court as I was going to meet Judy (part of the cruise critic group) to share a clamshell with her. I found her at the International Cafe where we agreed to meet. We took the tender ashore and spent several hours in the clamshell, had lunch & returned to the ship about 2pm. The day turned out to be much better than expected as the clamshell had a Southerly exposure which baked us but the water was cold (at least to me). The Captain announced that it will be quite windy, more tonight than last night & we might hear creaks & other noises which is quite natural for this craft at this time of the year. It all was quite humorous & I was thinking that it might have been better if the Captain did not say anything. At the dinner table tonight one couple raved about the rooms on RCC being bigger & the bathrooms larger; that's fine but you are probably paying more. After supper evening activities included Comedy Magician James Michael, Mentalist & Illusionist Wayne Hoffman, 50's & 60's Rockin Dance Party, Piano Man Kory Simon, and Jazzio in the Adagio with the Jazz Cats. Then I went to deck 15 for a late night snack & when I got back to my cabin I noticed tomorrow's meet and greet was mentioned in the patter as requested on Jan. 14.
DAY 10 Monday Jan 16, 2012:
Weather: winds NE7, partly cloudy, 81, 1024hpa // SEA DAY // formal. After breakfast I asked Passenger Services if there was a dining room that did not allow shorts for supper on casual nights. The clerk told me that in all dining rooms shorts are not allowed & this rule should be enforced. For formal nights as long as the gent is wearing a long sleeved shirt a jacket & tie are not required. I mentioned to my room steward that the people in the next cabin stunk up the hall with their smoking about the smoking; he told he will get some disinfectant. About 50 people showed up at the M&G, Captain Nick Nash, Hotel General Manager Richard Harry, and Cruise Director Lisa Ball stopped by. When asked to comment on the Costa sinking, the Captain said that 98% of the people were saved; other than that he had no comment saying that the accident will be investigated. At the dinner table tonight Larry said that if he knew there would be so many sea days he never would have taken this cruise. Following supper was the Captain's Champagne Waterfall the Captain welcoming passengers from various countries & at the end recognizing the Cruise Critic group. We were wondering about the waterfall because tonight was rough with the ship dancing quite heavily. This evening's entertainment was Comedy Magician James Michael and the Casino where I donated $10.
DAY 11 Tuesday Jan 17, 2012:
Weather: winds ENE 7, partly cloudy, 82, 1016hpa // CURACAO // 1-10 // docked // casual. I had breakfast this morning with Hansi from Wales, part of the cruise critic group. He & his wife said they prefer an inside cabin but if the price difference between an inside & outside is not that great, they will pay the difference for an outside. Yesterday JPG1747 (Judy) said to me that she took a cruise once because the price of an inside was so inexpensive; think I might try this. When we docked at Curacao, I walked the 15 minute walk to town via the pontoon bridge & looked for thank-you cards & disinfectant both of which I could not find. To get back to the ship I took the free ferry as the pontoon bridge was open for a tanker. When I got back I went to the Captains Circle Desk & asked about my elite status; host Dicomes said I would be elite for the Jan 28-Feb 4 cruise. After supper I went to Passenger Services and made a formal complaint about cabin E711; someone in there smokes & it bothers me & my steward. The rep said that for this cruise smoking is allowed and they could do nothing about it. Then I went to deck 5, checked into the Princess website and saw that my cabin for Jan 21- Feb 4 will be E303. The steward let me see the cabin, which is partially obstructed but is a handicap cabin so in 1 way I am glad it is a new cabin but in another I would like to stay where I am. This evening's entertainment consisted of a Classical Concert with the Souvenir Quartet in the Explorers Lounge then I went outside to see the ship leave Curacao & next went to The Ultimate Deck Party on Deck 15. After the snack I stopped to see Rise of the Planet of the Apes in Movies Under the Stars.
DAY 12 Wednesday Jan 18, 2012:
Weather: winds NE 5, partly cloudy, 80, 1014hpa // ARUBA // 8-5 // docked // casual. Breakfast and lunch in Horizon Court; at lunch a man went in to Horizon Court with just a bathing suit and no one said anything. A passenger even brought this to the attention of the Head Waiter and nothing was done. Someone at another table said it was money. Apparently the dress code is very lax. I took a walk around town, saw souvenirs & jewelry then returned to the ship & went to the Spa to purchase hair spray to get rid of the smoke odor caused by E711. I made reservations tomorrow at 8:30am for a shave & haircut then walked out on deck to take a picture & noticed a man with a zoom lens so I said "that's a serious camera". We got to talking & he goes to Aruba every year. He showed me several buildings that remain unfinished & have been vacant for several years. His opinion is that they were affected by the economy. Passenger services just called me saying that I would be moving cabins; the cabin for the next couple of weeks will be E303. I was going to tell them I
Found out yesterday on the web but didn't. They said about 9am Saturday to call Passenger services and a dolly would be sent & that I did not have to pack anything. After supper I went to the Princess Theater for the Tribute Act to Lionel Richie with Marcus Jefferson followed by the International Cruise Show. The harmonica player was not present; hopefully they are saving him for next week. I later learned that he returned home, his contract was finished. Next the International Cafe for a snack & back to my cabin where I saw in tomorrow's Princess Patter at 10:30am they have the Cruise Critic Cabin Crawl as a Cruise Critic Activity; no big deal, I'm just happy it is listed.
DAY 13 Thursday Jan 19, 2012:
Weather: winds E 7, partly cloudy, 79, 1017hpa // AT SEA // formal. Up in Horizons Court for breakfast I sat with a retired teacher from CT. I told him my cousin is a retired teacher from Rockport; he said the name was familiar. I went to the Spa for my haircut, shave, and facial with Adi from England (see Jan 18). Alison from South Africa was there, I met her last April 2011 on the Crown; we greeted each other like long lost friends. Then the Cruise Critic cabin crawl which turned out to be a success; we visited obstructed, mini suite, and balcony cabins; fellow ccer's thanked me but actually they made the cabin crawl a success. After supper I went to the boutique & purchased a miniature flashlight so as to read my Nook in the dim light which exists in the bars. This evening's entertainment in Club Fusion was the Multi-Media Music Trivia & the Newlywed Not So Newlywed Game Show & In Explorer's Lounge was the comedy of Phil Tag; a great entertainer.
DAY 14 Friday Jan 20, 2012:
Weather: winds NE 6, partly cloudy, 77, 1021hpa // AT SEA // casual. At the Masons Get-Together in the Crooners Lounge on Deck 7 in attendance were Jeff from MA, Paul from MA, Leigh from Canada, and David & Stuart from UK. We talked about Masons & Shriner's. After lunch I then went to the Youth & Teen Centers to have a look but they requested I return at 5pm as it was currently being used. After supper I washed laundry then went to Showtime with Phil Tag in Explorer's Lounge & Showtime with Kory Simon in Princess Theater followed by a late night snack.
DAY 15 Saturday Jan 21, 2012:
Weather: winds SE 3, partly cloudy, 75, 1020hpa // FORT LAUDERDALE // 7am-4pm // casual. I packed my bags & Princess moved me from E717 to E303; the steward allowed me to take the easy stuff. Half of me wanted to stay in E717, the other half wanted me to move; I knew the room would be larger but believe it or not in E717's bathroom there was more storage space. Last night in Horizon a couple from the UK said that airfare cost them 7000 GBP as they flew first class because she had arthritis; I told them they could take a cruise for less than that. One lady at lunch today said that we probably would have better weather than last week (she was back to back). When the ladies left two couples sat down; I informed them that ownership of 100 shares of CCL stock gets you 100 OBC; the gentleman whipped out his phone and we saw that CCL is now down to about 30 most likely because of the Costa incident. My dining table is the same as last week's -- 486 with David, Darleen, Margi, Ade, Tony, Virginia, Paul, and Joseph. For evening's entertainment Welcome Aboard Showtime then a late night snack.
DAY 16 Sunday Jan 22, 2012:
Weather: winds SE, sunny, 79, 1019hpa // AT SEA // formal. Got up at 4am as I couldn't sleep, watched TV then went to breakfast. At the M&G about 15 were in attendance. Captain Nick Nash showed up & when asked about the ship sinking in Italy he stated again stated 4000 people were rescued in 1 hour. Besides that he made no comment but said that you never know how you will react in an emergency; you hope you will do the right thing but you never know. He said that Princess has a simulator in Amsterdam where Captains & various Officers are tested. It has been expanded now to include an engine room. After the Captain left the Hotel General Manager Richard Harry arrived & when queried about his responsibilities said that Neville Saldanha, the Maitre d'Hotel, is under him as well as the room stewards. At lunch I met Jim from Virginia who talked about religion; he is with a group of singers that number about 400. Next I went to my cabin, wrote 2 thank you notes & gave them to Passenger Services for delivery. Then I went to the spa & asked how much the Thermal Suite package would cost for 2 weeks; Alison from South Africa waited on me, she admired my red halyard I had so I gave it to her; I met Alison when I was on the Crown in April 2011. This evening's entertainment was comedian Phil Tag and the production show Motor City followed by a late night snack.
DAY 17 Monday Jan 23, 2012:
Weather: winds NE 5, partly cloudy, 80, 1017hpa // GRAND CAYMAN // 7am-4pm // casual. I went ashore, asked the information booth where I could get thank you cards & was told today is a holiday. So after walking around town a bit I returned & went to Horizon Court for lunch and sat with a couple from FLA; he ended up reading my palms. The stewards came over and wanted their hands read. He told some of them that they were married and the ages of their children. His wife told me that he can't tell the ages of the children from reading palms. After they left a couple from Nova Scotia joined me; both were in the health field & are now retired. I pointed to a person in a wheel chair and said "he's a big boy". The husband said that when they go to the buffet they take small plates. After supper I saw comedians Alfred & Seymour in the Princess Theater, purchased a DVD, then saw comedian Phil Tag in the Explorer's Lounge followed by a late night snack.
DAY 18 Tuesday Jan 24, 2012:
Weather: winds E 6, partly cloudy, 80, 1016hpa // ROATAN // 9am-6pm // casual. We did not make Mahogany Bay as the winds were too strong so the Captain tried Coxen Hole which would have meant tender but the winds were also strong so this port was aborted. Had lunch in Horizon Court then went to the Spa & used the Thermal Suite & shower. After supper the entertainment was What a Swell Party in the Princess Theater and classical music in the Explorers lounge with the Souvenir Quartet. Next I headed to deck 15 for the Ultimate Deck Party & a late night snack.
DAY 19 Jan 25, 2012:
Weather: winds E 5, partly cloudy, 79, 1014hpa // BELIZE // 7am-5pm // tender // casual. Due to the lengthy distance from ship to port, Princess used high speed boats. The boat from ship to shore was small & we felt the waves as it rocked & rolled; the one from Belize to the ship was wider with only about 20 passengers thus the ride was smoother. I noticed that when the tender neared the ship, the Captain used the engines to change direction. Later he told me that you only use the wheel in deep water. I went to Horizon Court for lunch & sat with women from CA & Toronto. After supper I saw comedians Alfred & Seymour then the International Crew Show followed by a late night snack.
DAY 20 Thursday Jan 26, 2012:
Weather: winds ESE 5, partly cloudy, 82, 1013hpa // COZUMEL // 7am-5pm // formal. Up to Horizon Court for breakfast then went ashore to Puerta Maya Pier where there were souvenir & jewelry shops; as you leave the pier area there are tour busses and taxis. In port today was the Crown Princess, Carnival Paradise, RCC's Oasis of the Seas, and Celebrity Millennium. After touring the port I went to Horizon Court for lunch where I met a couple from Ottawa that said this is their first time on Princess & they like RCC better. After supper comedian & vocalist Gary Delena then the Newlywed Game Show & finally a snack.
DAY 21 Friday Jan 27, 2012:
Weather: winds NNE 4, mostly cloudy with showers, 72, 1015hpa // AT SEA // casual. At breakfast in Horizon Court 1 couple said they did not prefer the Southern Caribbean for the days at sea. At the Cruise Critic cabin crawl only 2 people showed up including me; we saw their cabin last week but mine was new so we visited it. I had lunch in Horizon Court then to Adagio for the Masons get together, 5 people showed up, 2 from UK & 3 from the states. After that I went to the spa to visit with Alison who is leaving tomorrow. Next to the Toy & Model Train Enthusiasts Get Together with music director Gordon Hough; there were about 7 people and Gordon is into this big time. After supper I did laundry then went to the Spa to say good bye to Alison & headed to ShowTime with Kory Simon then comedian & vocalist Gary Delana.
DAY 22 Saturday Jan 28, 2012:
Weather: light winds, partly cloudy, 69, 1021hpa // Fort Lauderdale // 5am-4pm. For this week's cruise I became Elite & eligible for a myriad of perks; 150 minutes of free internet, priority ship to shore embarkation, priority disembarkation & free laundry. A stewardess came to fill my mini-bar with complimentary beverages; I declined that service but later wished it had been accepted. I had lunch with a couple from Hyannis who seemed to be knowledgeable in cruise travel as they have taken many cruises. I'm going to try Princess EZCheck which means I don't have to check my luggage at the airport; my boarding pass will be issued aboard the ship & luggage is transported from pier to Logan airport; the cost of this is $20. The only problem is that the flight must depart after 11:30am and mine is 11:45 which is cutting things a bit too close at least as far as I am concerned. I delivered the form to the Passenger Services & am going to worry about the luggage until I pick it up in Boston. Supper tonight at table 486 again, same as last 2 weeks with Sonia our waitress; at the table were George & Dorothy. For tonight only we had a couple from NYC; she raises chickens & is a realtor, he is a construction manager. Tonight I went to ShowTime to see Alfred & Seymour, The Orphea Quartet, Duo A & A, and the Elements Resident Caribbean Band.
DAY 23 Sunday Jan 29, 2012:
Weather: winds SSE 3, mostly sunny, 77, 1023hpa // PRINCESS CAYS // tender // casual. Arose before 5am, thought I had already woken and forgot to set a wakeup call for 6am, so headed for Cafe Caribe for the continental breakfast only to realize that it was 4:45am. There was a long line waiting to go ashore to Princess Cays & as I didn't think there was that much on Princess Cays I stayed on the ship (actually I didn't want to go). Sometime in the afternoon I took my suitcase out, put it on a seat, getting ready for packing and this was probably the beginning of the end for me as I should have waited for Friday. After lunch I went to the thermal suite & later in the cabin recharged my camera battery & concluded that between now & Fri I will have to recharge my phone. After supper I saw A & A Duo, comedians Alfred & Seymour, and comedian Gary Delena.
DAY 24 Monday Jan 30, 2012:
Weather: winds ENE 7, partly cloudy, 81, 1018hpa // AT SEA // formal. At the Meet & Greet this morning about 25 people showed up plus Captain Nick Nash, Hotel General Manager Richard Harry, Cruise Director Lisa Ball, and Deputy Cruise Director Chris. One of the cruise critic members said that his son talked to the founder of cruise critic & her opinion was that Princess is one of the safest cruise lines. After supper I parked myself in the Explorer's Lounge & saw comedian Gary Delena then the Liars Club Gameshow with Deputy Cruise Director Chris & comedians Alfred & Seymour followed by a late night snack.
DAY 25 Tuesday Jan 31, 2012:
Weather: winds NE6, mostly sunny, 82, 1015hpa // CURACAO // 1pm - 10pm // casual. I went ashore to meet a cruise critic group that was going to take a tour but as I was unable to locate them I walked back to the information booth, picked up a map then walked to town ending up at the Mikve Israel-Emanuel United Congregation & the Jewish Cultural Historical Museum. This synagogue is the oldest synagogue in continuous use in the new world. The Touro Synagogue in RI is the oldest synagogue in the USA. After strolling through the town I returned to the ship as that was all the sightseeing I wanted to do plus it was just too hot. I would have returned by the free ferry but it wasn't working due to the Zuiderdam being in port. There were 4 ships in port today; the Crystal Symphony, HAL Zuiderdam, Crown Princess, & another ship I saw in the evening when we were leaving port. After supper I walked the pier area then went to Dixieland Showcase with the Crown Princess Orchestra, Ballroom Dancing with Gordon & the Orchestra, Classical Concert with the Souvenir Quartet, the Ultimate Deck Party, a snack at Horizon Court, and finally Rise of the Planet of the Apes.
DAY 26 Wednesday Feb 1, 2012:
Weather: winds NE 6, partly cloudy, 82, 1013hpa // ARUBA // 8am-5pm // casual. There was a gathering for solo travelers at 9:30am but only Carol and I showed up so we went in town to the Renaissance Marina Hotel, the Crystal Casino, the Swatch Kiosk, and Pearl Gems. I have never heard a female talk so much & when she shopped for that necklace it would have been quicker to watch paint dry. Anyway we made it back to the ship on time & I was the only one that showed up at our table for supper. I told the waitress that I had to be out by 6:30pm & she had me out in time as I wanted to see Alfred & Seymour & the Yes/No Gameshow where you are engaged in a conversation but can't say yes or no or anything similar to those words for 3 minutes. Then to the International Crew Show but left early because I have seen the acts before & went to Cafe Caribe for a late night snack; tonight they were featuring German cuisine.
DAY 27 Thursday Feb 2, 2012:
Weather: winds E 8, partly cloudy, 79, 1016hpa // AT SEA // formal. Only 4 people showed up at the cruise critic cabin crawl; we saw partially obstructed cabins E303 & E109 & balcony C752. I had lunch with several people then back to my cabin to pack followed by a visit to the thermal spa & shower. After supper I saw comedian Al Jamal followed by the Newlywed/Not So Newlywed Game.
DAY 28 Friday Feb 3, 2012:
Weather: winds NE 6, partly cloudy, 77, 1021hpa // AT SEA // casual
I went to the Masons Get Together; there were 4 of us & we had a nice conversation for about a ½ hour. Represented were MA, NH, CT, PA. Then I headed for lunch at Horizons & ended up in my cabin packing & watching a movie. I purchased several magnets & a luggage identification then picked up my DVD's from the Photo Gallery. Before going to supper I played the slot machines in the casino hoping to get rid of my quarters but ended up winning $44.25. After supper I went to my cabin only to find that my luggage tags & boarding pass would not be ready until 8pm so I went to hear Kory Simon in the Princess Theater and Al Jamal in Explorers Lounge. Back at the cabin I found my luggage tags & boarding pass had been delivered then I went to the Internet & printed 2 duplicate boarding passes followed by a late night snack (my last).
Feb 4, 2012 Sat: ESE13 winds, partly cloudy, 73, 30.15 Bar, Ft. Lauderdale
----------------------NNW6 winds, partly cloudy, 38, 30.16 Bar, Boston
TOURS & BUSINESS REVIEW
Kelly's Landing Seafood Restaurant:
This is right across A1A in the Southport Shopping Center on 1305 SE 17th St. Ft Lauderdale 954-760-7009. The restaurant specializes in seafood and it is not bad but I feel that the menu is overpriced; a similar fish meal can be had at Joe's Cafe for ½ the price. There are plenty of locals here and few tourists and the place has always been crowded as I have been coming here for several years. If you do go don't expect a large establishment for the seating capacity is about 100.
This is located at 1913 Cordova Ft. Lauderdale in the Harbor Shops Plaza near the Holiday Inn Cruiseport. This is not a bad place to eat, the prices are quite reasonable, and it is not touristy. There is plenty of room and a few wide screen TV's so I always sit facing the TV while reading my Nook; however I do question the cleanliness.
H & E Marina Deli:
This is across from the Holiday Inn at the Southport Shopping Center 1453 SE 17 St Fort Lauderdale. I've been eating here for several years but something did not agree with me the last visit. The place is not mobbed but local cops like it as well as Floridians; it is not touristy and gets rave reviews in Google.
This is located at 1940 Cordova Ft Lauderdale 954-847-2844 in the Harbor Shops Plaza. When you leave the Holiday Inn Cruiseport, take a left then left again at the 1st traffic light walk straight and voila you are there. About a 10 minute walk at the most and very good for last minute items and sandwiches. I've been going there for years.
This is located in the Southport Shopping Center 1391 SE 17th St Ft Lauderdale across the street from the Holiday Inn Cruiseport. Yes Virginia, everything in the store is $1 and worth a visit for those last minute items. For a dollar what have you got to lose. I picked up 2 rain ponchos for $1; not bad, use them once then throw them out; besides have you ever tried to fold these things to their original size?
This is located at 1396 SE 17th St Ft Lauderdale 954-467-0363. This is on the same side as the Holiday Inn Cruiseport, take a left on 17th as you leave the hotel, then another left at Taza Restaurant on the same side as the hotel and walk straight. The food is American although in Google seafood is mentioned, but the sanitization leaves a lot to be desired. It does however provide restrooms which is an asset.
Bodden Tours - Roatan: We met Hanno of Bodden Tours, his company is Island Tours; he gave us a tour of the island. First stop was Arch's Iguana & Marine Park, next we stopped at Foster's West Bay for swimming & snorkeling. Then we took a ride through the capital and back to the ship. Time was allowed for shopping and we arrived back at the ship about 2:30pm. I would highly recommend him. You can check him on a search engine like Google.
If you're a beach person this is the place for you; other than that there is not much here outside of the free lunch. When we were here in January the weather was cool but hot in the sun. A good inexpensive deal is to rent a clamshell which gives you 2 lounge chairs. If you do rent a clamshell, get to the beach early to guarantee a good spot. Less
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Cabin review: OWE717 Oceanview (obstructed view)
I was on the ship for 4 weeks and had 2 cabins. E717 was for weeks 1&2, E303 for weeks 3&4.CABINS:Cabin E717 non obstructed (measurements are approximate)Room: 14' x 9' & includes 2 beds, 2 tables, desk w/ 1 chair, sitting chair, refrigerator, glass table, and plasma TVBath: 4' x 2' includes toilet but dimensions do not include counter, sink or shower. Bath Counter: 3'7" x 1'1" includes sink & side storage areasHall/Entry Way: 7' x 3. Closet space: 6' x 4' includes shelf area given below.Shelves: 1.5' x 1.5' includes 6 shelves plus 1 safe.Cabin E303 Handicap Cabin obstructed (measurements are approximate)Room: 14'x 13 includes 2 beds, 2 tables, desk with 2 chairs, sitting chair, refrigerator, glass table, plasma TVBath: 7' x 6'Bath Counter: 3' x 1'Hall/Entry: 6' x 6' Closet Space: 7' x 2'Shelves: 8 (approx.).Read All Oceanview (obstructed view) (OW) Reviews >>
Port and Shore Excursions
I might be underrating this. I should have taken the $20 taxi tour but it leaves something to do next time. The 1st week I went ashore but was not interested as all they were selling was souvenirs and jewelry. The 2nd week I went with a friend I met and she was more interested in talking than sightseeing. I would have loved to go window shop but again it gives me something to do when I return here.
People rave about the place, I don't think it is really that hot. Well the weather is hot but the place is not.
Took the 25 minute high speed tender from ship to shore, toured the pier area then returned to the ship.
This was my favorite but man does it get hot. I walked to town using the pontoon bridge, return the 1st visit by the free ferry but had to take the pontoon bridge back the 2nd visit as the HAL Zuiderdam was preventing the ferry from operating.
The first week I stayed on the ship, the next visit I strolled around town then back to the ship as it was a holiday plus it was hot.
We took a tour with Hanno of Bodden Tours. His company is called Island Tours. First we went to Arch's Iguana and Marine Park then we went to Foster's West Bay for swimming and snorkeling, then we took a ride through town arriving back at the ship about 2pm and had time for shopping. Beware though, Roatan can get hot.
Note that where Princess dock, Mahogany Bay, is right next to a beach area. Very nice but odd to see jewelry sold at that remote location!
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