89 days on the Ocean Princess (22 Sep - 20 Dec, 2015) and still married! A small ship allows you to meet more people and develop deeper friendships on a long cruise. Coming across the Atlantic in December on a small ship is not as pleasant. I have determined any cruise is what you make of it. We like a large table for dinner to allow for meeting many people from different backgrounds and countries. The eight we had from Dover were totally compatible and we never tired of each other, or their stories. What a hoot!!! Other tables always wondered what we were up to as there was always laughter and fun.
Staff members are there to serve you but need to be treated with respect and appreciation, and I am not talking just extra tips. They work 11 hours a day, and most of them work more, to please you and to keep their job. On a longer cruise, you should develop great relationships with many crew. Let them know you appreciate them, ask about their families and you will learn so much more. Tina Zagar, fitness instructor, has me on the way to better health and condiioning. She has changed my life. As a 69 year old golfer I wanted to improve my flexibility while on board, and it worked. Having not hit a golf ball for over three months, I am hitting the ball 25 to 30 farther off the tee, and my lower back no longer hurts. I am now signed up to continue yoga at home to maintain, or even better my strength and flexibility. Tina also gave my wife some exercises to hep with her sciatica, and it is now under control. She is a great teacher and an even better motivator.
Ketut, the grill cook, Selma, a waitress, our room steward, Moises Reyes, are on our list to take home. Captain Lorentzen was very visible and always kept us informed of the good and bad news. When you are kept informed it eliminates rumors and unhappy passengers. Our only gripe is that we had several ports where we arrived on holy days or weekemds when nothing was open, and things seemed deserted. Home office provides the schedule not the Captain, and many things dictate the schedule, but leaving two days earlier or two days later would have been better.
The quality of the contract entertainment was outstanding. We had singers from Broadway and West End. We had the lead from Lion King (West End), another male singer from Phantom of the Opera, and a female singer who was auditioning for Wicked in New York the week after departing our ship. These are only the ones I can quickly remember. There was a variety of muscians, comedians and what I would call "out of the ordinary" that were all good. Even if they are not what I would normally pay to see, they did expand my world.
The food was the best I have had on ship, although after going through their 14 day menu 6 times I was (unfairly) getting tired of it. Cooking 5000 meals a day is quite an operation.
Too bad the Ocean Princess is leaving the fleet and heading to Oceana. She is special, as is her other small Princess ship, the Pacific Princess. They allow you to get into ports not normally accessible to the larger ships. We will miss her, as we do our new found friends, both passenger and crew. God Bless you all. Thank you for a special trip.
Our room was over the forward thruster so we did not need to set an alarm for port arrival dates. This room was the first room starboard forward, hence there was a lot of up and down motion in heavy seas. There was quite a bit of squeaks and squaks based on the torquing of the ship. Will not get a room this far forward again.
Cabin steward, Moises Reyes, Phillipines, was the best we have had on any cruise line. He put in more that 14 hours most days.
Saw all of the major sites including the Guggenheim. Architecture was more impressive than the exhibits.
City tour with Belen and Monument to the Discoveries, along with many others.
Magnificent Seville. A come back . . .
A come back. Visited going south and when coming back after Gibraltar. Must try the toboggan ride (do not be afraid); Blandy's is the place to buy Madiera wines. Try the 10 or 15 year old Blandy Bual (better than all but the best Port wines you have tried).
Give Cape Town at least a week for a proper visit. You could give it three weeks and not be disappointed. Victoria Harbor has many good restaurants, shops and the Aquarium. VIsited Stellenbosch wineries, Cape Point and most of the coastline, and the botanical gardens. All are not to be missed. A curtain of clouds was covering Table Mountain when we were planning on visiting (our last day). So we did not get to see the flora and fauna, but the phenomena of the clouds cascading down the mountain was beautiful. Next time . . . It is a come back.