My wife and best friend of 35 years and I are avid cruisers. We believe that cruising is the best vacation in the world. How good can it get - spend days cruising the oceans on a Princess Cruise luxury ship and then every day or so, ... Read More
My wife and best friend of 35 years and I are avid cruisers. We believe that cruising is the best vacation in the world. How good can it get - spend days cruising the oceans on a Princess Cruise luxury ship and then every day or so, disembark to explore and shop in an exotic land and experience another wonderful cultures first hand; guided by the daily flyer ‘The Princess Patter’ you can enjoying a myriad of wonderfully organized on-ship activities and shore adventures targeted to a variety of individual ‘likes’ and age groups; enjoying an exquisite dining experience with an international cuisine and menu to tantalize any discerning pallet; romantic evenings filled with entertainment galore ranging from quiet, romantic interludes in a luxury ambience to-die-for while being fussed over by an attentive, detail focused staff who call you by your name after the first visit; and partaking in an extraordinary menu of cocktails that include more than 57 different martinis! How good can it get?
Paying attention to the Princess-provided, online cruise personalizer checklists, and indicating your choices for a copious number of tailored experience choices e.g. suite bath robes or a mattress-topper to enhance your sleeping comfort, dining choice to name a few of many, all designed to ensure your tailored personal comfort, is sure to contribute to an exceptional cruise experience. To ignore the cruise personalizer opportunity to tell Princess of your likes is sure to detract from the cruising experience and means that a robes will not be waiting for us upon our arrival in the cabin.
We have cruised with Princess for a total of 161 days, on 20 occasions in the past 7-years, experiencing 37 ports on 10 Princess ships. A testament to how much we have enjoyed the Princess pampering experience is exemplified our 3 future cruises already in the cue for 2015/2016 and we’re planning yet another for the holiday season-2016, all with Princess. Our 2015 Princess Holiday Cruise will make 168- days total sailing with Princess and we have 14 more days on 2-future cruises already in the cue.
We have enjoyed the Princess luxury cuisine on a number of ships in the Princess fleet. The Crown Princess (4), Caribbean Princess (2), Ruby Princess (2), Emerald Princess (2), Island Princess (2), Royal Princess (1), Sapphire Princess (5), Golden Princess (3), Star Princess (1), and the Diamond Princess (1), qualify us to speak with some credibility to Princess hospitality and service across a major part of the fleet.
Loyalty counts and on Princess that means a lot as part of the Captains Circle. We have enjoyed a privileged sailing status on Princess from our second cruise when we became ‘Gold’ Captain’s Circle members for our 2d & 3d cruise with Princess, with reduced deposit benefit. It just kept getting better and more tangible with each cruise. As ‘Ruby’ Captains Circle members (4th & 5th cruise) we experienced all ‘Gold’ benefits plus Princess Platinum Vacation Protection, exclusive Captain’s Circle Help Desk, a Discount off the Purchase of the Reflections DVD, for our 6th through 15th cruise (or 51 to 150 cruise days) as ‘Platinum’ Captains Circle members, we experienced all of the benefits of Gold & Ruby Captains Circle members plus an annual complimentary Princess Cruise Atlas, Preferred Check-In when we arrive at the port, no waiting in line for ourselves and our family or guests that are traveling with us to help expedite embarkation, a Platinum Disembarkation Lounge to make our last morning more enjoyable, while we await disembarkation and complimentary Internet credit based on the cruise length. With the next and highest level of Captain’s Circle member benefits – Elite, from our 16th cruise on, or 151+ cruise days, we enjoy a multitude of perks that includes all of the perks of the previous Captain’s Circle levels plus a Princess Preferred Services Package that includes priority ship-to-shore tender embarkation that lets us travel ashore quickly and without waiting in line at a tender port by simply presenting our Elite cruise card at the tender embarkation area; Priority Disembarkation at the end of a cruise; complementary shoe polishing service upon request; complimentary laundry and professional cleaning services where the stateroom steward organizes our laundry to be cleaned – all compliments of Princess Cruises Captain’s Circle! Additionally, we’re entitled to an Elite Stateroom amenities package that includes a complimentary Mini Bar Set Up, a deluxe canapes selection upon request specially created by the Chef and delivered to our stateroom on formal nights. Complimentary afternoon Tea served in our stateroom; upgraded bathroom amenities normally reserved only for suite guests and regardless of our stateroom type; a preferred discount package of 10% Boutique Discount; complimentary Grapevine Wine Tasting; finally, a higher tier on our next cruise.
When we talk of our cruises, some questions are always asked, like, “What was your favorite cruise?” Or, “Do you have anything from a cruise that is particularly memorable?”
My wife and permanent cruising companion and I have disagreement on what was our favorite cruise. I found a Panama Canal Cruise to be most enjoyable whether it was a Ft Lauderdale to Ft Lauderdale itinerary or a Ft Lauderdale to Los Angeles – coast-to-coast itinerary. Getting off in Lake Gatum and taking a dugout canoe into the rain forest was just the ultimate – all arranged by Princess. On the other hand, the Mexican Riviera/Baja is my favorite traveling companion, my wife’s, favorite for the variety of ports, shopping and Mexican cultural experience. I have to agree that Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan, Cabo San Lucas and Encinitas Mexico are all exciting to visit but the Panama Canal is my favorite.
Thanks to our Princess cruising, we’ve added a couple of favorite cocktails to our frequent patio get togethers presented here for your edification:
Grand Grapefruit Cosmopolitan or Red Grapefruit Cosmopolitan served at the Empress Hotel in Victoria British Columbia:
Fill a shaker with ice. add:
2 oz. grapefruit Vodka
1-1/2 oz. lime juice
½ oz. Grand Marnier
1-1/2 oz. cranberry juice
¾ oz. simple syrup
Shake and serve in an frozen, icy martini glass straight up.
Comment: The Empress Hotel in Victoria British Columbia, Canada charges $14.95 for this cocktail. In our opinion it’s well worth it.
Fat Stan's Bloody Mary served at Stan’s in Ketchikan, Alaska
In an ice-filled glass that doubles as a shaker, add:
½ tsp. black pepper
½ tsp. granulated garlic Powder
½ tsp. celery Salt
2 oz. Worcestershire Sauce
2 Shakes Tabasco Sauce
2 oz. Vodka
1 oz. pickle juice
½ teaspoon horseradish
3 oz. Mr. T’s Bloody Mary mix
Shake to mix; garnish with a skewered pickle wedge, a green olive & sweet pepper to produce the best Bloody Mary you’ve ever tasted!
Having sailed with Princess 3-times during their 2015 50th Anniversary year-long celebration, the Princess expert mixologists served up some special libations to temp our taste buds:
Regal Occasion - Ciroc, Grand Marnier, lemon juice, orange bitters topped with Nicholas Feuillatte
Royal Celebration - Ciroc, Apple Schnapps, Dry Vermouth, mango puree, lemon juice topped with soda water and Grenadine
Half Century - Ciroc, Limoncello, lime juice, simple syrup, orange bitters and grapefruit juice
50 Years More - Don Julio Reposado, Blue Curacao, White Creme de Cacao, Galliano and lime juice
Anniversary Bliss - Bulleit Bourbon, Peach Schnapps, Frangelico, Simple Syrup with mint leaves
Bottom line: Princess Cruises has inadvertently created a monster in us. Princess meets every requirement for an upscale vacation package and tops it off with a staff that anticipates our vacation cruising needs and is sensitive to creating the most enjoyable getaway we can imagine. In Princesses own words, their cruise itineraries help us to, “Escape Completely”. Read Less