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35 Princess Pacific Princess Repositioning Cruise Reviews

We had always wanted to try a Trans-Atlantic. Even the 5 Sea Days in a row weren't bad, as there was a lot of choices to keep you busy. We loved the intimacy all-around on the Pacific Princess. The "Old World" theme of ... Read More
We had always wanted to try a Trans-Atlantic. Even the 5 Sea Days in a row weren't bad, as there was a lot of choices to keep you busy. We loved the intimacy all-around on the Pacific Princess. The "Old World" theme of decorating made the entire ship very elegant. Our cruise director Lynn, was the most personable and energetic we have ever been around! The captain came by dinner several times just to stop an visit. The excursions were all Princess - and they were just what they promised! We could not have asked for better food! I have special dietary restrictions and they took excellent care of me - in the dining room, up top on the grill, or in the buffet. All Ii had to do was mention my problems, and they catered to every need. The waiters were so friendly. One, Alfred, gave you a hug and smile - no matter where you ran into him - even on shore! We loved every minute of this cruise and the scenery was just breathtaking as well! Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
This cruise met my husband's desire for an eastbound trans-atlantic cruise and my desire to visit Iceland and Shetland. It was lovely! The seas were surprisingly (to me) calm. The Pacific Princess is a lovely "small" ... Read More
This cruise met my husband's desire for an eastbound trans-atlantic cruise and my desire to visit Iceland and Shetland. It was lovely! The seas were surprisingly (to me) calm. The Pacific Princess is a lovely "small" ship, very different from the bigger Princess ships like the Regal, but it was great. The ports were all interesting and could easily be explored on one's own if one chose not to take a tour. There was plenty of entertainment and often the entertainers visited the Casino (Crooners) bar for some impromptu singing---not something I've seen on the bigger ships where it's a lot more impersonal. We enjoyed the Pacific Lounge on the top deck for amazing views while sailing and while in port. The food and the service in the dining room and the bars was all quite fine. The Casino is small but seems to do the trick. I highly recommend this ship and this itinerary. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
Princess was doing the Panama canal ... we had been on the sister ship Ocean Princess, so were happy to go on the Pacific Princess. Loved the cruise....weather just o.k. service, food, entertainment great......except for the dining ... Read More
Princess was doing the Panama canal ... we had been on the sister ship Ocean Princess, so were happy to go on the Pacific Princess. Loved the cruise....weather just o.k. service, food, entertainment great......except for the dining room. We were told that princess had changed there dining hours to 5p.m. early and 7:15p.m. for late. Since we like early dining and felt 5 was too early, we chose 7:15..... SURPRISE......each ship can decide on their hours.......5:30 and 7:45. We tried late dining......still at the table at 9:30. We requested early seating, a large table and was given table 34. The next night there were 6 people at a table for 8 including us...and were told that no one was at the other 2seat the previous night. We requested that friends be put at our table and again was told no....the table was full....... we spend 10 nights alone at a table for 8. The Matre De Albert Noversa would walk by each night and ask the diners how everything was. He could see we were alone.....did he not think.....I should try to put them at another table. Or just to lazy or could care less... certainly Not doing his job. I put a note in the suggestion box on board. I HOPE SOMEONE READS IT and that it does not happen to another couple. Makes me question going on another Princess cruise. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
We, recently, got home from the Dec 5th Transatlantic on the Pacific Princess. This itinerary started, for us, in Civitavecchia (Rome) and included the ports of Naples, Palermo, Gibraltar, Cadiz, and Santa Cruz De Tenerife before the ... Read More
We, recently, got home from the Dec 5th Transatlantic on the Pacific Princess. This itinerary started, for us, in Civitavecchia (Rome) and included the ports of Naples, Palermo, Gibraltar, Cadiz, and Santa Cruz De Tenerife before the crossing to Fort Lauderdale. We arrived in Rome the morning of Dec 2nd and had a wonderful three day stay at the Palazzo Naiadi near the Roma Termini. The complete staff at this hotel was very courteous and helpful during our stay. While in Rome we saw the Colosseum and the Vatican on Monday and Tuesday with a considerable amount of walking the entire time. We booked our transfers from the airport to Rome (VIP transfer) and Rome to port (Countryside Tour) with Rome Cabs. I would recommend them as your first choice as they were very, very, easy to work with. Our Driver, Rosselina, was our driver for both transfers. She was on time, very knowledgeable and was a great companion as well as driver. She showed us many sites on the way into Rome. On the way to the port the tour was to Lake Bracciano and the Bracciano Castle where we toured the castle and spent some time in the small town enjoying an espresso and had time to purchase some cheese, meats, and bread for the ship. After this stop we went to the small town of Ceri for a nice lunch in a local cafe. While eating, Rosselina arranged for us to purchase a bottle of local olive oil before the store closed and we were able to pay for it with our meal. During the rest of the drive, Rosselina shared much information on the area and the port. We arrived at the port in the early afternoon and were the only passengers boarding so the process was as easy as any we had experienced. We were on the ship and in our cabin within 15 minutes. Our luggage arrived soon after. We were in cabin 8069, an aft cabin just below the Panorama Buffet. We, rarely, had any excessive noise from the deck above. For the most part, we had a quiet cabin. The cabin was suitable in size and the bed was very comfortable. The bed was lower than we’re used to, and we could not fit our large hard side luggage under the bed as with previous cruises. Although we had issues with where to put our luggage, we had plenty of space to place our clothes and other items. For your reference, my suitcase is 12” thick. Our cabin steward, Ronaldo, was very busy with many cabins, at least 12, and he did his very best to take care of all the cabins. He was, also, very good at keeping our bucket filled with ice and the cabin in good order despite his hectic schedule. We did grow very fond of him during the cruise. Our experience in the dining room was very good. Our Maître d was Luigi Pascale who was very entertaining and managed the dining room with precision. Our head waiters were Vincenzo Del Santo and Joao Serra Da Costa Santos who took very good care of us. One of our table mates needed a special menu and Vincenzo was there every night to provide him with his special menu for the next evening meal. The menu was more than sufficient, and we had many choices every evening, although there was some repetition of menu items. Overall, the food was very good with only a couple things I would not have ordered again. The Panorama Buffet had good variety of choices for breakfast and lunch. The food was always fresh and there were ample places to sit. A few times we would be joined by random diners who were, for the most, very engaging and enjoyable. We very much appreciated eating in the outside deck area. The only downside is that when we brought our fresh coffee the service staff would tend to assume we didn’t need other things like juice and water. We, frequently, had to get those ourselves. We ate in the Sterling Steakhouse once and found the steaks were only average. This is subjective though as we can get excellent cuts of steak where we live, and our expectations are high when it comes to steak. That said, the services were fine in the restaurant. After a premium wine tasting I was offered attendance at a special “Super Tuscan” wine and food tasting lunch in Sabatini’s. This was put on by the chef Alessandro Carrer and presented by the maître d and head waiters. This was a 5-course tasting menu with wine pairing and was excellent. For me, this was one of the highlights of my cruise. The entertainment, especially the ship’s production staff, was outstanding. The band was very good and played a variety of music genres. The singers were very entertaining and, again, very diverse in what they presented. The six dancers were all top notch and talented. I would have to say they were the best of any ship we have sailed. In addition to their amazing performances, the dancers also worked at the deck activities and other venues such as dance instruction and trivia, to name a few. The other entertainers who were booked during the cruise were good as well. The bars on the ship were good but our favorite was the Casino Bar. This is where we, and some of our new friends, would meet for drinks before and after dinner and after some of the evening shows. The two main people here were David and Mickey, who took excellent care of us during the entire cruise and were always there for us. Their service was probably the best during the cruise. We looked forward to seeing them daily. Naples - We took a ship excursion NAP-310, Pompeii, Sorrento, and Cheese Tasting. The tour was 9 hours and well worth the time. The first stop was to a place that produces Limoncello where we were able to taste and/or purchase the product. After, we stopped at a farm that produces handmade cheeses and we were shown how different cheeses were made. We were then treated to the cheese and wine tasting room where we tasted their fresh cheese and local wine. We, also, spent a couple hours in Sorrento, where many people wandered and shopped. After, we drove to Pompeii for the remaining time and explored the ruins. This was the highlight as Pompeii was number one on my bucket list. Palermo - We took another ship excursion PMO-210, Capuchin Catacombs and Mysteries. This was wonderfully enlightening tour that gave some insight to modern mummification was administered. After we toured the catacombs, we were taken to the historically private Oratories of Santa Cita and San Domenico where we learned of those practices and saw the magnificent artworks in each oratory. Gibraltar - We left the ship and walked to the cable car which took us to the top. Our tickets allowed access to many attractions on the walk back down such as St Michael's Cave, the Siege Tunnels, and Moorish Castle to name a few. After our walk down we stopped at Grand Casemates Square for a late lunch at the Lord Nelson Pub where we enjoyed a couple Guinness beers and a lunch we could not finish. All very reasonably priced. Cadiz - We went on a private tour with fellow roll call members to Seville that was organized by a roll call member through Spain Day Tours. The main attraction was Alcazar of Seville which was, in my opinion, more enlightening than a previous tour to Alhambra in Granada a few years ago. Alcazar was also a setting for some of the filming of Game of Thrones. Fun to see that if you're a Game of Thrones fan. Santa Cruz de Tenerife - We walked to the main downtown area, shopped and returned to the ship. The Ship - The ship is well maintained although she is still showing her age to some degree. Captain Spinardi, and his crew were remarkable and the service was very top notch, for the most part. Many thanks to the crew, in particular our waiters, bartenders/bar servers for their most attentive service. That made the cruise very enjoyable. The entertainment staff was, also, second to none. The six main dancers were exceptional in their talent and visibility during the crossing. Our, primary, reason for this cruise was to test the ship to determine how we wanted to accomplish sailing around the world. The fastest would be on the Pacific Princess but there are other options within the Princess fleet but on different ships. What I found was that, while I loved the ship and crew, it may not be of sufficient size to keep us occupied and physically active enough for a 111 day world cruise. That said, we will probably circumnavigate in segments sailing on bigger Princess ships. It's nice to have those options with Princess because we, very much, love this brand. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
We chose this cruise just 2 weeks after returning from a land trip to France. We went online and instead of choosing a cruise for 2019, we chose this 29 Night Mediterranean cruise from Venice to Ft Lauderdale because our Princess agent ... Read More
We chose this cruise just 2 weeks after returning from a land trip to France. We went online and instead of choosing a cruise for 2019, we chose this 29 Night Mediterranean cruise from Venice to Ft Lauderdale because our Princess agent found us a great, super low one-way air fare to take us from Orlando nonstop to Frankfurt then nonstop to Venice with only a 3 hour layover. After being booked for one month, Princess offered us an upscale to a mini suite from a balcony on this sold-out cruise, and we accepted. Embarkation - We were the only ship for the cruise terminal, as November is low season in Venice. Very easy. Cabin- 8009 was just gorgeous. We used both US and European outlets as we brought our adapters, there are 4 outlets at the huge desk/dresser. The lamps each have USB ports at the bedside. We took an 18 foot regular extension cord and definitely used it as we settled in to 4 weeks at sea. Our cabin was the most spacious, and is comparable to HAL's Oosterdam signature suite we stayed in Nov 2016. The cabins had been totally refurbished in 2017 and looked like new to us. The room was at least 15 feet wide at the balcony, so we had lots of room and seating to invite other guests to visit with us after dinner etc. Dining was the greatest as far as food is concerned comparing it to the Veendam (which is 2nd place, and other yearly cruises since 2013 on HAL, Princess, and Scylla River cruises. Our 2 servers were excellent, and I enjoyed the 2 wine tastings that were offered by our waiters for afternoon diversion on sea days. The other cool thing, unknown if serendipitous or planning on their part, but we were assigned to a table of 8, and 3 of us women were raised in California, 3 of us were born within 12 months of each other, and our men were all within 10 years of each other. We got along great for 29 nights! Excursions - Our private train ticket plan from Civitavecchia to Rome was cancelled due to some problem, so our excursion lady suggested Orvieto as I didn't want to go on a long bus ride to Rome. Orvieto is a place NOT TO MISS! That tour was fantastic! We also bought wine and olive oil and its great too. The other wonderful excursion was to Seville and we were on our own there but it is an easy, beautiful city that has all the initial great cathedrals and palaces located within 0.25 mile and very near our departure point. On our own, as we met nice people at lunch, and at dinner, we did venture out and rented taxis (negotiated first and split the fare) in Naples, Catania, Athens, Santa Cruz de Tenerife instead of relying on Hop On/Hop Off bus lines. In ports of Athens and Naples, the Archaeological Museums tours were not offered as excursions by Princess and we thought these 2 were among the best in world (including the Louvre and British Museums). The taxi driver in Athens made a new negotiation when we arrived at the Athens Museum and proposed we keep him for other sites and he would drop us off at a wonderful open air restaurant in the Plaka, and we accepted. He waited from us the whole time - with driving about 30+ miles roundtrip in traffic - about 5 hours total (4 of us split the fare plus tips totally about 75 Euros per couple). Wonderful day in Athens! The taxi driver in Naples took us to the Via Duomo (avenue) and dropped us off at the Naples Cathedral/Basilica. It was breathtaking, and we decided to use our feet to take us the 3/4 mile to Archeological Museum (with all the riches and treasures from Herculeneum and Pompeii that was turned over to the Duke of Naples when found over 200 years ago). We then walked downhill on the Via Toledo from the museum, and its an easy walk to the ship but about an hour if you don't stop to shop and eat. I think the itinerary was great, especially for first time travelers, and we were 2nd time travelers except to 6 new ports. We stayed 3 nights in Venice before the cruise. Stayed at Allogia Barbaria which is only 200 feet from the vaporetto stop on the Alilaguna blue line from Marco Polo airport. Then when we left the B&B for the ship, we took the Alilaguna direct to the ship. We didn't have to go through the People Mover or Piazzale Roma, etc. It was easy as we didn't have to lug suitcases over bridges and lots of cobblestones, but was able to visit Venice easily us - an older couple. We want to go again to Venice, and stay a whole week before leaving. Venice in November is quiet. Never colder at night than 50 F. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
chose cruise because of the ports of call & the fact that it was transatlantic. because of the bad weather [fog, rough seas, etc.] we missed St. Pierre, Dundee & Scrabster. even though it was not Princess's fault- it was a big ... Read More
chose cruise because of the ports of call & the fact that it was transatlantic. because of the bad weather [fog, rough seas, etc.] we missed St. Pierre, Dundee & Scrabster. even though it was not Princess's fault- it was a big disappointment. those were the ports we were looking forward to [because we hadn't been there]. Princess did add Belfast as a stop & refunded some monies. while that was correct & the right thing to do, still missed those ports. getting to the ship=she is old & in need of refurbishing from cabins to theater to other public spaces & decks. cabin was adequate with plenty of closet space. the halls on all floors are not wide enough, especially if one has mobility problems & requires a walker or chair. dining started off not well=had requested gluten free dining-couldn't find or communicate with head waiter for 3 days [he said he had been looking for us since Ft. Lauderdale (we got on in NY)], then it became order the night ahead for next day. other problem was the food for the first week-overcooked meats & fowl with a very dark heavy sauce on everything. we spoke to the head waiter-and it did get better as time progressed. no offer of any wine packages [makes no sense]. entertainment is limited, it's a small ship, with a old theater that resembles a night club [floors sloped very little, almost level] makes it hard to see from the rear & the lighting techs sit at the railing so anyone seated behind them can't see well. absolutely no handcap seating or section. the production numbers were decent-some of the single acts were bad. service was not the best, it seemed haphazard-some was good & some not [like they didn't know what or how they were doing]. shore excursions were pricey on board. probably would not sail on this ship again. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
We chose this trip because of the itinerary which, because of high seas and storm Hector, was not all it could have been. We missed three ports and substituted one with a $250 credit for all three missed ports. Considering the ship did ... Read More
We chose this trip because of the itinerary which, because of high seas and storm Hector, was not all it could have been. We missed three ports and substituted one with a $250 credit for all three missed ports. Considering the ship did not have to pay port fees for these missed stops and the two in Scotland were especially important to many on board, we felt this was a very small credit. Also, while ship upkeep seemed fine, carpets were bumps in certain places, especially in the dining area and Club Lounge, which could be quite dangerous. Crew was fantastic, as usual, but food was subpar from what we have experienced on Princess ships in the past. Fewer selections in main dining room and more esoteric, although staples were offered every day (My husband got sick of salmon and he loves it!) and we went to Specialty Dining many times and ate upstairs as well, which is not usual for us. Entertainment was first rate for the most part, especially the guest lecturers=as were Shore Excursions (we took two, another break from past practice). As I said, very good with some caveats, but not excellent! Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
We chose this cruise for the itinerary and small ship cruising experience. We have been on a few cruises on ex Renaissance ships and know these well, but a first time for us with Princess. The itinerary was great despite losing 3 ports due ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary and small ship cruising experience. We have been on a few cruises on ex Renaissance ships and know these well, but a first time for us with Princess. The itinerary was great despite losing 3 ports due to weather issues (Belfast was added). Some may complain that Princess only provided $250/person but we found it to be fair compared to other lines policies (see my Oceania review...) We were very pleased with the quality of the service. Everybody was very nice and helpful. The food at the Club Restaurant was a pleasant surprise. We expected 3 star dining from this large cruise line and we rate it closer to 4 stars. Panorama buffet was OK and the poolside grill was very good despite limited selections. Princess offers wine packages although they do not communicate it on their website or even told us they did not offer it when we called they said we can only get $60/day beverage packages. Ask your waiter for the 7 bottle or 11 bottle cards, it provides a saving of about 25%. We only took 5 excursions but most were pretty good and reasonably priced (all things being relative...say if you compare with Celebrity or Oceania) We love small ships but this one needs TLC. Some areas have been refreshed, some not. Rooms refurbished (very nice). Balconies are bad (see cabin review). Public spaces are a bit of a mix. By far the worse is the Pacific lounge which is the large observation lounge on deck 11 forward. The view forward is 50% blocked by permanently pulled down blinds, orchestra stage and big plastic plants. To top it off the decor is seventies vintage tahiti decor with seventies vintage furniture. If a good observation lounge is a priority you may want to book a different ship. Enrichment lectures were all done by a gentleman fixated with 1950s american pop culture and completely unrelated to our journey to Iceland, Norway and the arctic circle. Overall a great itinerary, great service and a pleasant culinary experience, but the ship needs updating. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
Two main reasons were only flying one way (transatlantic crossing to Dover) and Norway. Embarkation in Ft. Lauderdale was the fastest of any cruise (only ship in port). This was the first small ship we have sailed on and completely ... Read More
Two main reasons were only flying one way (transatlantic crossing to Dover) and Norway. Embarkation in Ft. Lauderdale was the fastest of any cruise (only ship in port). This was the first small ship we have sailed on and completely different from large ships. You get to know most passengers and crew on a long cruise. Besides the production shows, the entertainment is scarce. The stateroom was a little small but not tiny. A nice feature was a small love seat by the balcony door. The closet was small. The bar staff and dining servers were outstanding. Shore excursions were similar to all ships and over-priced. We booked two excursions on line from local providers. Same or better than the ships excursions for about half price. Hop on/ Hop off buses in most ports were a good value. The only real negative, no fault of the ship, was the rough seas. The North Atlantic was not kind and I think a large ship would have been better. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
This review includes information on our May 31, 2018, Fire & Ice Explorer transatlantic cruise on the Pacific Princess. We combined this cruise with the Pacific Princess’ June 18 Midnight Sun, Spitsbergen & Summer Solstice ... Read More
This review includes information on our May 31, 2018, Fire & Ice Explorer transatlantic cruise on the Pacific Princess. We combined this cruise with the Pacific Princess’ June 18 Midnight Sun, Spitsbergen & Summer Solstice cruise; I have written a separate review for that cruise. CRUISE ITINERARY: FIRE & ICE EXPLORER (18 DAYS) Port Everglades, FL; New York (Manhattan), NY; St Pierre et Miquelon, French Overseas Territory (canceled); Reykjavik, Iceland; Isafjordur, Iceland; Akureyri, Iceland; Scrabster, Scotland (canceled); Dundee, Scotland (canceled); Belfast, Northern Ireland (added); Dover, England We had previously visited all of these ports in 2009, except Scrabster and Dundee, on other cruises. Unfortunately, those two port calls and also the port call in St Pierre were canceled due to bad weather. Belfast was added to the itinerary to replace the Scottish ports; we had been there previously on a British Isles cruise in 2010. Our reviews of those ports can be found in these cruise reviews: Isafjordur, Akureyri: www.cruisecritic.com/memberreviews/memberreview.cfm?EntryID=58425 Reykjavik, St Pierre et Miquelon: www.cruisecritic.com/memberreviews/memberreview.cfm?EntryID=58427 Belfast: www.cruisecritic.com/memberreviews/memberreview.cfm?EntryID=515338 ABOUT US John and I (Carolyn) are retired Mississippi State University professors in our late sixties, who currently reside in central North Carolina. Both of us are natives of New Orleans and, as such, are interested in good food (and wine!) and good times. Our preferred souvenir is a small regional or national flag. On this itinerary, I would not need to acquire any flags. We enjoy both cruises and land tours; often our trips combine the two. We have cruised to or toured all seven continents, primarily in the Americas and Europe. On our trips, we prefer nature and wildlife tours that involve snorkeling, SCUBA diving or hiking. In particular, we will hike for miles to see waterfalls, volcanoes, caves or other interesting geologic features. We also enjoy lighthouses, forts, castles and anything else we can legally climb up on for a good view. We are Elite members of Princess' Captain's Circle loyalty program, with over 600 days cruising on Princess. We have also sailed with Celebrity, Holland America, Royal Caribbean, Costa, Viking River and Commodore. ABOUT THE REVIEW Other reviews give extensive information on the ship, cabins, food etc. Our reviews are not like that; they are primarily a journal of what we did in the various ports, including web links to tourist information sites and maps. In general, we prefer DIY port tours, private tours with other Cruise Critic roll call members or shared public tours. However, we will take a Princess tour when the logistics or cost make that a better option. Tour operator contact information is included in each port review. REVIEW OF THE CRUISE WED, 05/30/18 IN ROUTE TO FT. LAUDERDALE, FLORIDA (FLL) We flew non-stop to FLL on Southwest and stayed at the Crowne Plaza Ft. Lauderdale Airport/Cruise (www.ihg.com/crowneplaza/hotels/us/en/fort-lauderdale/fllhi/hoteldetail). This is a nice place to stay, with a free shuttle to/from the airport and a $8 pp shuttle service to Port Everglades. We called the hotel to alert them to our arrival and did not have to wait very long for the airport shuttle. A grocery and a wine store are within easy walking distance. Even though it was only 9:50 a.m. when we arrived at the hotel, our room was already available. Check-in was very quick and we made reservations for the 10 a.m. port shuttle ($8 pp) on the next day. Although the staff was extremely pleasant and efficient, part of the reason may have been that it was a weekday in the slow season and the Pacific Princess was the only ship in port. The room was fairly luxurious, with a king bed, refrigerator, microwave oven and coffee maker. Bathroom amenities included hand/bath bar soap, shampoo, conditioner, lotion and mouthwash. Small samples of relaxation products were left in a packet on the bed. There was also free WIFI. After dropping off our luggage, we headed out for a nice long walk to the beach. As we walked over the SE 17th Street Bridge across the Stranahan River (Intracoastal Waterway), it was strange to see Port Everglades devoid of any cruise ships. From the beach, we walked over to the Bahia Mar Marina in a fruitless search for slip F-18, where the fictional houseboat, the Busted Flush (home to Travis McGee, the hero of John D. McDonald’s detective novels), was docked. At one time there was a plaque marking this slip but the slips have been renumbered over the many years since the stories were published. We did find Pier F but that was as close as we got. Although it had been raining for three weeks in Fort Lauderdale, today was sunny with a high of 86°F (30°C). As we headed back toward the hotel, sweating profusely, we decided that some cold beer was in order. We were passing the Pier Sixty-Six Hotel & Marina and saw that there was a bar and grill, Pelican Landing (www.pelican-landing.com), on a breezy, shady deck overlooking the Intracoastal Waterway and the yacht harbor. Once there, we decided to make lunch our main meal and have a small snack later in the evening. A specialty of the house is fish tacos, which were made with grilled mahi-mahi and an unusual red cabbage slaw topping. The service was quick and friendly and the food was excellent. We also enjoyed two local beers: a hoppy lager from Islamorada Beer Company and an IPA from Cigar City. It was fun to watch the boats going up and down the waterway, especially the large yacht that docked right next to the restaurant. On the way back to the hotel, we stopped at a dive shop in the South Harbor Plaza shopping center to buy new dive logbooks. While at the dive shop, we realized that we had forgotten to turn “Map My Walk” back on after leaving the restaurant, so we turned it on then. In the Harbor Shops mall nearby are a Total Wine, where we bought some wine for tonight and two bottles to take on board the ship, and a Publix, where we bought a small brie for our evening snack. Estimating the distance between the restaurant and the dive shop, we walked about eight miles today. THU, 05/31/18 FT. LAUDERDALE, FLORIDA (DEPART 03:30PM) The forecast for today was a bit cooler—73°F (22°C)—and it was mostly overcast with scattered showers. While we were getting ready this morning, there was an announcement that a fire drill was about to be held, so we should ignore any fire alarms and flashing lights. Unfortunately, the drill was still going on when we tried to go downstairs to check out and catch the shuttle. The fire doors on our floor were stuck closed (!) and we had to call someone from the front desk to force them open. We were the only people on the 10 a.m. port shuttle, which we were happy to see was operated by All Stars (www.ftlauderdale-airportshuttle.com). We have stayed at other hotels that use All Stars before and they are excellent (as opposed to our miserable experience with Fort Lauderdale Shuttles on our last cruise). Our driver was quite entertaining and we were quickly deposited at the new Princess terminal. Even arriving at the port so early, we were not the first—there were already some bags in the stevedores’ luggage cages. Once inside the terminal, there were plenty of Princess personnel around but no other passengers waiting to check in. We were quickly ushered through all the formalities and directed to the Elite Lounge to await boarding. Passengers were allowed on the ship starting at about 11:30 a.m. and by noon we had dropped our hand luggage in our room and were enjoying a slice of pizza on the deck outside the Panorama Buffet. While we were walking around the ship after lunch, we were a little concerned to see divers in the water around the ship. The last time we saw that (on this same ship!), a mooring line had gotten wrapped around the propeller and melted; we spent two days in Dominica until it could be repaired well enough to limp to the next port. Fortunately, this time the divers were merely inspecting and cleaning the hull. We had originally booked a category BY obstructed balcony guarantee stateroom and, due to various promotions, were later guaranteed a category BE balcony. Six days before sailing, we were assigned a category BB cabin on Deck 7 starboard near the aft stairs/elevators. Back at the cabin, I called Room Service to exchange some of the items in the Elite minibar setup and request two wine glasses. After awhile, our luggage arrived and we met our cabin steward, Ivana from Serbia. We only have a few special requirements for our cabin steward: robes to use in the cabin, a top sheet for the bed (apparently now standard with the new bedding installed during the last drydock), and a steady supply of laundry bags and of bar soap for the shower. There was a note in our cabin that, due to the number of Elite passengers, we should expect the next day laundry service to take 72 hours. We had anticipated this delay with the laundry service and packed a few extra clothes. Ivana returned later in the afternoon to bring the coupon books that were part of our booking promotion. We had hoped that those books would include a two-for-one offer at a specialty restaurant on embarkation night but they did not. On further inspection, all of the coupons had expired at the end of 2017. A couple of the coupons looked useful, so we decided that we would try to use them and complain to Passenger Services if they were not accepted. One excuse for taking this cruise was to celebrate our 45th wedding anniversary and we had hoped to have a table for two at dinner. Although the Princess Cruise Personalizer claimed that we were #1 on the wait list for that, John wanted to make sure; while I unpacked, he went down to the Club Restaurant at the time designated for dining inquiries. Dining inquiries were handled very ineptly, with only a few requests addressed in the 1.5 hours before it was time for the Passenger Safety Drill. The many people (including John) still waiting in line were told to come back at 5 p.m. and their previous place in line would NOT be honored. Although we were irritated at the time, we later learned that the reason for this slip-up was that the Maitre d’ was having health issues (he would later leave the ship mid-voyage). After the Passenger Safety Drill (which no longer requires passengers to bring their life vests to the muster station), we went up to the open decks for the sail away. In the past, a cruise ship exiting Port Everglades was the occasion for a party in the apartment buildings along the channel to the Atlantic. Alas, the air horns, banners, waves and cheers seem to be a thing of the past; many of the apartments were already shuttered in anticipation of the start of Hurricane Season tomorrow. We usually prefer Anytime Dining but that is not available on the Pacific Princess. Instead, we selected second seating (7:45 p.m.), which is later than we really like to eat but would accommodate the late port times on this itinerary. When we went down to dinner, we found that we were assigned to a 4-top with no sign of another couple. Our waiter was Tiwari (Tee) from India and his assistant was Simona from Macedonia. Quite some time later, after we had purchased a wine package and placed our wine and dinner orders, we were joined by an affable Australian couple. They had requested a table for two because the husband was ill. His cold was so severe that he had visited a doctor in Miami; we fervently hoped that we would not catch it. Tonight we tried some new dishes: John had Chef Curtis Stone’s pork belly as an entree and I had a roast pork dish with white beans. The wine was Oberon 2015 Merlot. [Note: The wine packages offered were Silver (wines up to $31) 12 ($240), 10 ($210) or 7 ($161) bottles and Gold (wines up to $45) 12 ($336), 10 ($290) or 7 ($217) bottles. Note that a 15% gratuity is added to the price of each package. Also note that either package can be used to purchase more expensive wines: the list price of the wine is charged to your on board account (no gratuity added) and your account receives a credit for either $31 or $45.] FRI, 06/01/18 AT SEA Our normal sea day schedule consists of waking up, showering and getting dressed, finding a spot to read that gets us out of Ivana’s way so she can make up the cabin, having a slice (or two) of pizza for lunch, relaxing and reading on our balcony (when it’s warm enough), enjoying an afternoon drink or ice cream, going to a show, having dinner and reading until it is time for a good night’s sleep. Occasionally we vary that busy program by attending a port or enrichment lecture, watching a movie, going for a walk or participating in some other activity. This morning we attended a “Pop Culture” enrichment lecture by Mike Raick on “The ‘50s—the Decade of Elvis, Hula Hoops and 3-D Movies.” Most of the references to the early Fifties were lost on us but he did have some entertaining clips from TV comedies. His future lectures would touch on an eclectic assortment of topics, mostly nostalgia and outer space. In the afternoon, we watched an interesting movie, “Molly’s Game,” about a former Olympic skier who later ran illegal high-stakes poker games. In the afternoon, we walked for a half-hour on the Pacific Princess’ tiny (13 laps equal one nautical mile) walking track. Later, while reading on our balcony, I saw a large fish (tarpon?) jump out of the water near the bow of the ship. John soon spotted some flying fish and we saw a surprising number of them after that. This evening, the show was held before dinner for second seating guests. The performer was David Meyer, with his synthetic xylophone. He plays the instrument both with mallets and his hands and can produce a wide variety of musical effects. He also plays a bank of laser beams—when his hands interrupt a beam, a musical tone is emitted. Part of his act was accompanied by his wife, Dawn, who danced while twirling LED batons to create intricate patterns. This was an energetic and unusual performance. Right after the show, we had reservations at the extra-charge ($29 pp) Sterling Steakhouse. Because the Pacific Princess is so small, three open nights at the Steakhouse alternate with two nights at Sabatini’s Restaurant (also $29 pp). Both of these venues feature floor-to-ceiling windows with excellent views of the ocean from all tables. The shrimp appetizer was very good but the Black and Blue onion soup was a little strange—it had a very thick bread cap and very little broth in the soup. The steaks (NY strip for me and rib-eye for John) were quite good, especially considering that they cannot be grilled over an open flame. The meal was accompanied by Hogue 2011 Genesis Cabernet Sauvignon and finished up with crème brulée for John and a chocolate peanut butter bar (one of Master Chocolatier Norman Love’s Chocolate Journeys) for me. SAT, 06/02/18 AT SEA When we checked our email this morning, we were surprised to see several posts on Cruise Critic by roll call members who would be embarking in New York. They had just been notified yesterday that the Pacific Princess would no longer be docking at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal at Atlantic Basin in Red Hook but instead at Pier 90, on the Hudson River at W 50th Street in Manhattan. This would affect about 100 people, who had to revise all their plans at the last minute. We later learned that at least one couple was in transit and did not get the message about the change. They went to the terminal in Red Hook and then had to make their own way over to Pier 90 at a cost of $450. First thing this morning, we did another boring half-hour on the track. After getting cleaned up, we went to a talk on New York by the destination lecturer, Deb Fraioli. The lecture was moderately helpful in helping us adjust to our new docking location. She also had a couple of maps to share; Passenger Services made copies but those were hard to read. Later in the morning, we went to Mike Raick’s “Pop Culture” lecture about “America’s Journey to the Moon.” While we were reading this afternoon, the Bridge announced that there was a pod of three orcas off the port side. By the time we got over there, they were gone but we later saw several groups of dolphins swimming quite close to the ship. The evening entertainment was again held before dinner. It was a two-act “Variety Showtime.” The first act was a comedian, Tony Daro, followed by the synthetic xyolphonist and his wife. The Australian couple did not show up for dinner tonight. John and I both ordered seafood dishes: his was rockfish and mine was diver scallops. We enjoyed those with a Hartford 2015 Chardonnay. Dessert was molten chocolate pudding cake. SUN, 06/03/18 NEW YORK CITY (MANHATTAN), NEW YORK 7AM – 8PM This morning, we got up at 5 a.m., just as the ship was passing under the Verrazano Narrows Bridge. We quickly dressed and went up to the open decks to enjoy sunrise over the city as we sailed past the Statue of Liberty and up the Hudson River. We even ate breakfast to fortify us for a day without a pizza lunch. As we approached the pier we saw the Norwegian Escape docked at Pier 88; next to her, the Pacific Princess looks like a toy boat. Also at Pier 88, just downriver from the Escape, was an Italian anti-submarine frigate, the Alpino. The Intrepid Air and Space Museum is at the next pier downriver. In addition to the aircraft carrier, the Museum features the Space Shuttle Enterprise, a Concorde supersonic jet, many other aircraft and the Growler, a cruise missile submarine from the early Cold War era. John and I have visited New York (www.nycgo.com) several times before, primarily when we lived in Connecticut during the late 1970s. I had made extensive plans for our day here under the assumption that we were docking at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal. We kept part of that plan, expanded another part and abandoned the rest. Our son had emailed us an estimate of 2.6 miles for the distance from Pier 90 to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, as well as information on the Intrepid Museum and the location of the High Line. (Thanks, Alan!) We decided to leave the ship at about 8:30 a.m. and take a liesurely walk in Central Park before the Metropolitan Museum of Art opened at 10 a.m. Although rain threatened all day, it held off and the low-to-mid 60s (°F, 15-17°C) temperature with cloudy skies made for perfect walking conditions. When we went down to the gangway, we were surprised (lots of surprises on this trip!) that passengers still were not being allowed to disembark. However, we only had to wait a few minutes before we were on our way. We later learned that there had been an unannounced sanitation inspection but I am not sure whether that had anything to do with the delay. We were happy to hear that the Pacific Princess made an excellent score on the inspection. In any case, we walked four long blocks down W 50th Street to 8th Avenue, turned left and walked another nine blocks to the Columbus Circle entrance of the Park. Along the way we saw a number of small blue-and-white floats that looked like they were part of a Mardi Gras truck parade. When we saw one up close, we saw that it was adorned with a Star of David and the letters UJA. We later learned that the floats were heading to the "Celebrate Israel Parade" on 5th Avenue. Central Park (www.centralparknyc.org) was designed by Fredrick Law Olmsted, who also designed City Park in New Orleans. As expected, the Park was full of New Yorkers walking their cute dogs, pushing their darling babies in strollers, jogging and biking. There was also an enormous number of food carts selling everything from hot dogs to halal foods. We made our way past the Chess & Checkers House to the Dairy Visitor Center and bought a map ($2) to help us navigate the Park's 843 acres. From here, we wandered down the Literary Walk through The Mall to the Naumburg Bandshell. As we walked, we encountered an increasing number of people wearing race numbers on their chests. An enormous number of port-a-potties was lined up along the west side of The Mall and there was a concert going on at the Bandshell. We had stumbled on a five-mile "Italy Run" with a lot of people (7,983) participating! We had to go under the Terrace Bridge to avoid the tail end of the race and reach the Bethesda Terrace & Fountain .From there we ambled along the Lake and through the Trefoil Arch to the Conservatory Water. The Park is full of fountains, memorials and public art. Two of the statues in this area are Hans Christian Andersen and Alice in Wonderland. We continued on to the impressive Egyptian Obelisk, which is over 3,500 years old. It was now time to head over to the entrance of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (www.metmuseum.org/visit/met-fifth-avenue) on 5th Avenue. A ticket ($17 pp, senior rate) to the Museum is valid for three days and includes the Met Cloisters and the Met Breuer. As part of my planning, I had downloaded a map of the Museum and marked the locations of artists we especially like and exhibits that are particularly noteworthy. Even with this approach, we could only sample a small portion of the Museum’s vast holdings in the 3.5 hours we were able to spend there. Starting on Floor 1, we passed through the Egyptian Art section to view the impressive Temple of Dendur, saved from the waters of Aswan High Dam and reconstructed here. In the American Wing, we viewed two large semicircular paintings that form a “Panoramic View of Versailles” and the family room from a home designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. Next we moved through a huge choir screen in the Medieval Art section into the amazing Robert Lehman Collection. The upper level of this collection included works by Raphael, Botticelli, El Greco, Renoir, Monet and Matisse that I had highlighted. However, we were especially pleased by the exhibition on the lower level, “Public Parks, Private Gardens: Paris to Provence” that included works by van Gogh and other favorites. This exhibition even featured a short black-and-white film of Monet painting in his garden! In the European Sculpture and Decorative Arts section, we viewed a room from the Paar Palace in France, as well as sculptures such as Perseus with the Head of Medusa and the tragic Ugolino and His Sons. Moving on, the Modern and Contemporary Art section yielded works by Picasso, Miro, Chagall and Matisse on Floor 1; Pollock, Kandinsky and others were on Floor 2. Also on Floor 2, the 19th- and Early 20th-Century European Paintings & Sculpture section included Picasso, Matisse, Cezanne, van Gogh, Renoir, Manet, Degas and Rodin. We made a quick detour into the Art of the Arab Lands section to view the Damascus Room (Moroccan Courtyard). We worked our way back to the Floor 2 American Wing, primarily to see the actual gigantic “Washington Crossing the Delaware.” This section also included portraits by Stuart and works by Homer, Whistler and Sargent. The last big area we toured was the European Paintings 1250-1800. We particularly wanted to see the works by Vermeer and El Greco but also sought out Caravaggio, Goya, Rembrandt and an exquisite small Botticelli. Before we left the Museum, we used our last bit of energy to visit the Arms & Armor section. By now suffering from museum knees (John) and museum back (me), it was great to get back outside into the fresh air. We angled toward the west side of the Park, passing ball fields full of Little Leaguers at play. Near the Turtle Pond (definitely full of turtles), we stopped to watch a father using a rope wand to create humongous soap bubbles, which his two children delightedly chased. We continued along the west side of the Park to Strawberry Fields, where the flower-strewn “Imagine” mosaic honors musician/composer John Lennon, who was murdered across the street in front of the Dakota Apartments. We angled back along the east side of Sheep Meadow so that I could see the early 20th-century carousel with hand-carved wooden horses. We exited the Park at 7th Avenue and walked down to Broadway before turning west and heading back to the ship. Along the way, we encountered many families apparently leaving the “Celebrate Israel Parade” and festivities. Dinner this evening was open seating from 5:30-8:30 p.m., so we took the opportunity to eat dinner (starring Veal Cordon Bleu and Wild Horse 2016 Pinot Noir) early and be ready for the sunset sail away. The sail away was delayed by 40 minutes, ostensibly because a crew member was not aboard yet. That was actually an advantage because the city lights and the illuminated Lady Liberty were more impressive in the dark. As we left the shelter of the harbor, the weather conditions started to deteriorate and would only get worse over the next few days due to a low pressure system. During the night the ship’s clocks were moved ahead one hour. MON, 06/04/18 AT SEA (EDT+1) Even with all the stabilizers deployed, there was quite a lot of rocking and rolling last night. The skies were overcast and the temperatures had dropped into the 50s (°F, 10-12°C). The Promenade and upper decks were closed off and barf bags were placed prominently on the staircases and elsewhere around the ship. Fortunately, John and I have never (yet) been troubled by motion sickness. Today was the date I had chosen to celebrate our 45th wedding anniversary, which actually occurred the weekend prior to the start of the cruise. This morning our door was festooned with a congratulatory poster and two balloons. We also received an anniversary card with best wishes from the Captain. The “Pop Culture” lecture this morning was “Titans of Industry or Robber Barons? You Decide.” Although Mike Raick claimed to be presenting an unbiased (fair and balanced?) picture of John D. Rockefeller, he conveniently left out many unsavory details of Rockefeller’s life, like hiring thugs to beat up striking workers. Nevertheless, this was an interesting talk about the origins of the Industrial Age in the US. In the afternoon, Deb Fraioli gave the destination talk on St Pierre et Miquelon. This was not very useful; her main piece of advice was to visit the Tourist Office. Many of her slides were about Newfoundland, Canada, and we weren’t even going there. She did say that the ship’s Zodiac shore excursion had been canceled because transportation could not be arranged to the starting point. Ivana stopped by today to collect the expired coupon books (we had already used two of the coupons) and replace them with the 2018 edition. Those books DID include a two-for-one offer at a specialty restaurant on embarkation night. I called Passenger Services to explain that we would have gone to a specialty restaurant on embarkation night (instead of the second night) if these coupons had been delivered in a timely manner. After consulting with the Assistant Maitre d’, Roberto, we were informed that we could either take our coupon to one of the specialty restaurants for a $29 credit or use the coupon on our next visit there. That was a very satisfactory solution! In general on this cruise, we found whenever there was a problem, the crew always worked quickly to find a solution. Tonight was the first of three formal nights and the Captain’s Welcome Aboard Party and Champagne Waterfall was held between the two dinner seatings. Apparently, this was held successfully despite the lurching of the ship (we saw the photos in the Photo Gallery). Reportedly, the Pacific Princess Dancers carried on valiantly during the production show, “Do You Wanna Dance?” We did not attend either of those events, choosing instead to celebrate our anniversary at Sabatini’s. (We had also had some Roderer sparkling wine with some salmon and caviar hors d’oeuvres this afternoon.) There was a special entree tonight, Veal Milanese, which we paired with a Giordano 2012 Barolo. We learned that this special dish alternates with Osso Buco, known to all readers of my reviews as one of our all-time favorite Princess dishes. The Restaurant Manager confirmed with the chef that the Osso Buco would be offered on June 14, so we made a reservation for that date. The ship’s clocks were again moved ahead one hour during the night. These 23-hour days get to be a drag but they definitely beat severe jet lag. TUE, 06/05/18 AT SEA (EDT+2) The weather continued to get worse: the ship was experiencing 45 knot winds, with gusts to 55, and the Sea State was 8—30 to 46 ft (9 to 14 m) high waves. Today occasional showers were also added to the mix. The outer decks were still closed and the temperature was now in the mid-40s (°F, 7-8°C) I have noticed a lot of people examining the jackets and sweatshirts strategically displayed outside the on board shops; perhaps they did not realize how cold the weather would be in June at these latitudes. This morning John went to a “Pop Culture” lecture on “Great TV Moments,” while I went to the Cruise Critic get-together in the Sterling Steakhouse to meet some of the people we would be touring with in Scrabster (we thought). Although we were not a very large group (30-40 people), five officers (Cruise Director, Hotel General Manger, Food & Beverage Director, Executive Chef and Executive Housekeeper) stopped by to welcome us aboard. As the meeting was breaking up, Captain Andrea Spinardi arrived and apologized for the rough ride. This was another lazy afternoon: reading, finishing the Roderer and working on this review. The pre-dinner Cabaret Showtime was violinist Chris Watkins, “Fireworks on Four Strings.” He is Princess’ #1-rated guest instrumental musician and we have enjoyed his act on several other Princess cruises. Before the show, Captain Spinardi announced that we would skip the port call at St. Pierre, reduce speed and adopt a more southerly course in an effort to reduce the ship’s motion and improve the guests’ experience. Tonight we were back in the Club Restaurant after two nights away; no Australians here tonight either. I hope that they simply got another table assignment and are not just too seasick to come to dinner. There was a bit of a contretemps at an adjacent table when a couple who had not come to the dining room for the first five nights arrived and found that their chairs had been removed; they were eventually moved to another table. John tried a new entree of Austrian-style braised beef with red cabbage and I chose veal scallopini with mushroom sauce and barley orzotto; the wine was Vall Llach Embruix Priorat Grenache. Last night Tee had received a card about our anniversary and, over our protests, wanted to celebrate it tonight. However, he was very busy around the time that we finished our dessert and cappuccino, so we were able to leave without causing a commotion. John really does not want the singing and neither of us needs extra cake, so he hoped that Tee would forget about it by tomorrow. WED, 06/06/18 AT SEA The Cruise Director really had to scramble to come up with activities to replace the port call in St Pierre et Miquelon. We had visited here in 2009 aboard the Tahitian Princess and explored the downtown area rather thoroughly (www.spm-tourisme.fr/1/practical/brochures/). After our DIY walking tour, we had hiked several trails in the countryside; we had planned to devote this visit to hiking too (www.spm-tourisme.fr/1/things-to-do/nature/sentiers-de-randonnee-saint-pierre/). Although SP&M is not the most exotic port of call, I think those who have not been here before would have enjoyed it and I am sorry they had to miss it. Mike Raick had a spare lecture to offer, “The Astonishing Computer”; there was really nothing new in it for us. After the lecture, the weather had improved enough that the upper decks and Promenade were opened. We bundled up and did our half-hour on the track, which felt good after two days of inactivity. We are planning to do a lot of hiking on the Norwegian Fjords cruise (immediately following this one) and we don’t want to get too much out of shape. The Australians were again MIA tonight. This was Italian Night in the Club Restaurant. The menu was a bit different than in the past and the usual delicious Brasato (Italian pot roast) was absent. We had a light dish of scallops and shrimp in a garlic sauce, along with Siverado 2013 Chardonnay. Unfortunately, Tee had not forgotten about the anniversary celebration, so John had to endure the singing and attention. We had the cake sent to our cabin to eat sometime tomorrow. The after-dinner Comedy Cabaret starred comedian Dan Horn, who was quite funny. THU, 06/07/18 AT SEA This morning we were awakened by the romantic sounds of the fog horn. For the next couple of days, we would continue to have overcast skies and occasional showers as well. The seas had calmed somewhat and the temperatures held in the in the low 40s (°F, 5-6°C). Mike Raick’s “Pop Culture” presentation was “The History of Early Rock & Roll.” This was interesting to us because most of our exposure to this era came from the movie “American Graffiti.” We were not really aware of rock and roll music until the very late 1950s and early 1960s, mostly starting with the Beach Boys. Today was the "Most Traveled Passengers" luncheon in Sabatini’s Restaurant; as usual the food was great. We often say we are going to choose the fish option and this time John enjoyed the halibut; I was seduced by the meat dish, a very nice lamb rack. We were a little surprised we made the cutoff this time because 227 of the 643 passengers aboard are Elite members of the Captain’s Circle. Nevertheless, we scored table #5 out of eight and ended up sitting with the Environmental Officer, Elio Lucic from Croatia. Going to the luncheon caused us to miss the port lecture on Reykjavik; we watched it later on the stateroom TV. Deb Fraioli is an OK lecturer but her presentations are not that well organized. How we miss such great port lecturers as the late Joe May—funny and full of useful information for the independent traveler! Later in the afternoon, we put in another half-hour on the walking track. We spent the rest of the afternoon reading and completely forgot about the early show, comedian-magician Gary Carson, until it had already started. Surprise! The Australians were still alive and showed up tonight for dinner! I guess our table-for-two days are over though. John and I were not very hungry after having a big lunch. I tried the Curtis Stone specialty, chicken and leek potpie, and John had cod. These dishes went well with Hartford 2015 Chardonnay. Tonight the clocks were set ahead another hour. FRI, 06/08/18 AT SEA (EDT+3) As the Princess Patter says, another relaxing day at sea. The enrichment lecture was about “Chrome, Metal and Glass—The Great Automobiles of the 20th Century.” We trudged another half-hour around the walking track after lunch. In the mid-afternoon, the Magician, Gary Carson, gave a Magic Workshop. He did some tricks and then taught us how to do a few for the amazement of our friends. We enjoyed this very much and really regretted that we had missed his show yesterday. The pre-dinner show was a Production Show, “What the World Needs Now,” which featured love songs from the 1960s and 1970s. Shows in the Cabaret Lounge are much different from those in the Princess Theater on the larger ships. The experience is more like an intimate nightclub as opposed to a Las Vegas review. As usual, the featured female singer (Clarissa Spiller) was better than the male one (Matt Bauer) but he was pretty good too. For dinner tonight we both had Coq au Vin with Estancia 2012 Meritage. SAT, 06/09/18 AT SEA This was a very busy day. The “Pop Culture” talk was on “The Space Shuttle, Space Station, Hubble and Other Awesome Telescopes.” After that, we upped our commitment to the walking track from a half-hour to 45 minutes. After lunch, there was a combined port lecture for Isafjordur and Akureyri, followed by the “Princess Grapevine” wine tasting. The five wines were: Asti Spumante, Rosemount 2014 Chardonnay, Duckhorn 2015 Decoy Merlot, Pacific Bay 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon and Giordano 2012 Barola. This evening we attended one of two Captain’s Circle parties. Eight-nine percent (535/643) of the passengers on this voyage have previously sailed with Princess. The most traveled couple had 1,138 days and the 3rd most traveled couple had 707. Our cruise friends, Paul and Jeannie (paul929207) were not only the 2nd most traveled couple, with 737 days, but also were recognized for attaining 750 days on this cruise. Dinner tonight featured Steak Dianne, which was a little overcooked because the meat was so thin; it had good flavor though and went well with the wine, Segheso 2015 Zinfandel. Tonight the clocks were set ahead another hour; that would put us on the correct time for Reykjavik. SUN, 06/10/18 AT SEA (GMT = EDT+4) We had finally reached the last of seven straight days at sea. The winds had calmed somewhat and the temperatures were slightly warmer—in the mid-40s (°F, 7-8°C). The sun even broke through the clouds occasionally. It was much more pleasant spending 45 minutes on the walking track. The entertainment lecture today was “Great TV Commercials”: some of these were truly hilarious. Later was a Matinee Showtime with another excellent, if short, performance by Magician Gary Carson. We were sorry to hear that he would be leaving the ship in Reykjavik. However, we were very happy to hear the Captain’s announcement that we would be arriving two hours early in Reykjavik. Tonight was the second of three formal nights on this leg. The Club Restaurant served the traditional lobster tails, married with crab cakes. We paired this dish with a Simi Chardonnay. MON, 06/11/18 REYKJAVIK, ICELAND 9AM – 6PM We have visited the capital of Iceland, Reykjavik (www.visitreykjavik.is), twice before: in 2001 and in 2009. The first time was a one-night stopover during a flight to Copenhagen. We rented a car and drove the “Golden Circle”, stopping at the Blue Lagoon, Kerid Crater, Haukadalur Valley Geysers (home to the Great Geysir), Gullfoss and Thingvellir National Park. The second visit was on a port call, where I arranged a private taxi tour for us and three other couples from our roll call with Hreyfill (www.hreyfill.is/en/). That “South Coast Spectacular” tour took us along the coast of Iceland to the southernmost town of Vik. On the way, we saw lava fields, waterfalls, glaciers, sea stacks/arches, the Skógar Folk Museum and a thermal field in Hveragerdi. On this trip, we decided to take a trip into the empty magma chamber of the dormant Thrihnukagigur (Three Peaks Crater) volcano with 3H Travel (insidethevolcano.com). The Pacific Princess docked in Sundahöfen harbor at the Skarfabakki cruise terminal, which is roughly two miles from the city center. We had to be waiting outside the terminal at 9:30 a.m. to be picked up by a Gray Line Iceland shuttle bus and taken to the bus station. There we boarded the “Into the Volcano” minibus for the 30-minute drive to Bláfjöll, the Blue Mountains Country Park. Our first stop was at a visitor center, where there were toilets and rain coats for those who needed them. We were divided into three groups of six; John and I were in the second group. Then we hiked 2 miles (3 km) across the lava field to the base camp. Our lead guide was Bryndis, with Victor following up in the rear. The trail is narrow and rocky in places, so this activity is not suitable for people with mobility issues. During the walk, Bryndis pointed out several lava tubes and a crack where the North American and European Tectonic Plates are separating. It took about 45 minutes for everyone to reach the base camp, which has toilets, WIFI and a gift shop. We were each given an “Into the Volcano” bandanna as a souvenir. There was a short safety briefing before each group, in turn, was outfitted with a hard hat (with headlamp) and a safety harness. From there it is a short walk uphill to the top of the crater. Bryndis went with the first group and stayed at the bottom to explain the features of the magma chamber. Our group followed with Victor, who then returned to the base camp to bring up the third group. There is a narrow bridge from the lip of the crater to an open elevator, similar to the cages used by window washers, that is suspended from a crane. Before you walk across the bridge, your safety harness is clipped to a cable attached to the bridge; the clip is unhooked only after you are clipped inside the elevator. Then it is time for the 400 ft (120 m) descent, which takes about six minutes. It is not a straight vertical drop, however; there are wheels on one side of the cage that allow it to slide around a lava outcrop that is in the way. Once we were at the bottom of the crater, Bryndis pointed out the tunnels where the magma had drained from the magma chamber. This is the only known volcano where the magma drained out, leaving the chamber empty; in other volcanoes the magma filled up the chamber and solidified. The walls of the chamber are not black but vividly colored by the minerals that were in the hot gases emitted by the volcano: yellow from sulfur, red from oxidized iron, green from copper. The only black places are where pieces of lava had fallen off the walls, long after the eruption. The chamber is illuminated and there are three trails for exploring its various parts; like the trail to the volcano, these are rocky and uneven in spots. We had about 30 minutes to explore the magma chamber and take lots of photos. All too soon, we had to re-board the elevator for the trip back up to the surface. On the way up, the elevator operator pointed out additional features on the crater walls, such as different lava flows and white bacteria (the only life in the cave). We also noticed that the lava had solidified into some drapery formations, similar to those found in limestone caves. Back at the base camp, we shed the safety gear and were served a bowl of traditional Icelandic lamb and vegetable soup (there was also a vegetarian version). When a new tour group started to arrive, those of us who had finished eating could return to the visitor center at our own pace. That was great news for John and me; we took full advantage of finally being able to walk briskly on land after seven straight days at sea. Once the rest of the tour group returned to the visitor center, we re-boarded the Grayline shuttle for the drive back to Reykjavik. We were taken directly back to the cruise terminal and the others continued on to their hotels. The cost of the tour (ISK 42,000 pp, about $400 pp) includes round-trip transportation but some people drove to the visitor center on their own. At first I had a little sticker shock but this is a unique, once-in-a-lifetime experience. Also, there is a proposal to build a road to the base camp and drill a tunnel into the magma chamber so that it would be easier to visit. Although that plan is unlikely to be approved, personally I think that it would destroy this geologic treasure. Incidentally, one reason for the high cost is that all the infrastructure (crane, bridge, elevator) must be removed at the end of each summer and re-installed the next summer—all by helicopter. We had dinner tonight at the Sterling Steakhouse, where John enjoyed a filet mignon and I had the double lamb chops. The wine was an Oberon Merlot. As we go further north, the nights are getting shorter. Last night, there were only 3.5 hours between sunset and sunrise; after tonight, the sun would not set again until after we left Akureyri. TUE, 06/12/18 ISAFJORDUR, ICELAND 7AM – 5PM Ísafjörður (www.westfjords.is/en/town/isafjordur), on the fjord Skutulsfjörður, is the largest town in Westfjords (Vestfirðir) region of Iceland. Although the town is surrounded by dramatic, snow topped cliffs, our prior visit was a bit of a disappointment. We had planned to hike in the morning and take a boat tour to Vigur Island in the afternoon. However, the weather was so bad that the boat tour was canceled and the steep skree slopes made the hiking trails hazardous in the rain. We walked around the small town in the hard rain for a short time before heading back to the ship. This visit, John rented a car from Europcar Iceland so we could tour on our own and hike to some waterfalls. The car was supposed to be at the dock at 8 a.m. and it was a little late. Nevertheless, we were in a Škoda 4x4 Octavia at about 8:15 a.m. and headed to our first stop, Dynjandi waterfall, about 52 miles (87 km) away. This being the Westfjords, there were naturally several fjords that needed to be traversed to reach the waterfall. This whole area is stunning in its dramatic natural beauty and would be worth viewing even without waterfalls! First we drove southwest along Skutulsfjörður on Road #61 and turned west at Road #60; there are a gas station and Bónus supermarket just before this intersection. As we drove towards the tunnel that connects the three fjords Skutulsfjörður, Sugandafjörður and Önundarfjörður, we could see a waterfall across the Tungudalur valley, above the golf course; we would visit it later. Here and elsewhere the roadsides and hillsides were covered with colorful wildflowers, especially the purple spikes of lupine. We also saw the omnipresent sheep and lambs, as well as some of the hardy Icelandic horses. The tunnel is quite interesting; it starts out with two lanes in each direction and then becomes one-way when Road #65 branches off to fjord Sugandafjörður and the fishing village of Suðureyri. Fortunately, on the one-way section, there are many pull-outs so that cars traveling west can move over when they see approaching headlights. When you exit the tunnel, you are in the fjord Önundarfjörður. Right after the tunnel is the turnoff on Road #64 to another fishing village, Flateyri. At this intersection, there is a large bird nesting area and there are warning signs that the Arctic Terns attack the passing cars. We continued on Road #60 to take the mountain pass over Gemlufallsheiði and down to fjord Dýrafjörður. We drove around that fjord to the town of Þingeyri. Here Road #60 turns left and changes from asphalt to gravel. The road climbs to the high pass (open in summer) over Hrafnseyrarheiði and descends to the fjord Arnarfjöður. As we drove inland along the north side of this fjord, we could see Dynjandi in the distance on the other side of the fjord. When we finally reached the turnoff to the falls parking lot, we almost missed the small sign! It took us 1.5 hours to drive to this point. There were a number of cars, small tour vehicles and a large tour bus parked in the paved lot; there are also flush toilets here. Dynjandi is actually a series of seven waterfalls with a total height of 328 ft (100 m). The upper fall is the largest and is about twice as wide at the base as at the top, giving it a distinctive trapezoidal or wedding cake shape. There is a good trail along the side of the falls, with rock steps in some places and viewing platforms at some of the lower falls. We climbed up to the base of the upper fall where it is possible to get quite close to the cascade. We spent about 45 minutes here enjoying the waterfall before retracing our path back toward Ísafjörður. Before leaving the parking lot, we made the unpleasant discovery that the electrical outlet in the Škoda is not compatible with our Garmin Nuvii and the Garmin’s battery was almost exhausted. The Garmin was not absolutely necessary for today’s driving but we were concerned that we would not be able to recharge it for use in Norway, when it would be essential. When we reached the intersection with Road #61, we turned left towards town but only for about 0.5 mile (0.8 km). We turned left again at the sign for the Tunguda river and headed to the parking lot for the falls on the Buna river in the Tunguskógur park. There are an information booth, flush toilets and signs showing the area trails. From the parking lot, there is a footbridge that leads to a paved trail along the south side of the Buna river. However, it looked like the small forest (skógur) blocked most of the views from that trail before the viewpoint at its end. We decided to take the more primitive trail (i.e., more of a sheep path) on the north side that ran right alongside the river and the falls. This trail was quite steep and muddy but it had excellent views of the falls. We climbed a bit higher than the base of the largest fall but finally became frustrated at the poor trail conditions and went back down. We spent about 45 minutes here. We returned to Road #61 and drove north along the shoreline to the tip of the peninsula, the Arnarnes promontory. We continued a little further through the short (115 feet or 35 m) but scenic tunnel through Arnarneshamar, a large basalt rock protrusion; this tunnel was Iceland’s first road tunnel. We turned around and drove south on Road #61, almost to the airport; the small parking area for Naustahvilft is on the left. Naustahvilft or the Troll Seat is a huge glacial cirque carved out of the steep mountainside across the fjord from Ísafjörður; it is a very distinctive and obvious landmark. There is a small sign that marks the start of the “trail” up; however, there is no real trail. Or rather, there are many trails that roughly follow the creeks that flow from the hollow. It took us about 27 minutes to climb the steep and muddy slope (elevation change 700 feet or about 200 meters) to the rock wall along the edge of the hollow. We found a metal box on the north side of the hollow that has a logbook inside to record one’s ascent. After taking in the fantastic views, we gingerly climbed back down. We spent about 70 minutes here. Our last adventure of the day occurred when we tried to fill up the car at the gas station near the Bónus supermarket. We have a chip-and-PIN credit card specifically to use at fuel pumps and ticket vending machines in Europe. After carefully following the steps and getting a message that the pump was ready, we got an error message when we tried to pump the fuel. After trying twice, I asked a person in a Bónus uniform, who was arranging shopping carts, for help. It turned out that he was the manager of the supermarket and was not actually responsible for the fuel pumps. Nevertheless, he kindly came over to see what the problem was. While we were trying for the third time (and getting the same error) a women tried to use the pump and the other side and had the same problem. We tried the pump behind us and that worked for us but the pump on her side did not. Out of four pumps, only one worked! Finally refueled, we drove back to the ship with plenty of time to spare. John had driven for 3:40 hours and covered about 125 miles (207 km). At dinner tonight, we enjoyed braised beef short ribs with a bottle of Ruffino Chianti Classico Reserva. During dinner, the ship crossed the Arctic Circle (we would later get a certificate) and Captain Spinardi announced the there were three icebergs in the distance off the port side. They looked particularly tiny but they were far away. WED, 06/13/18 AKUREYRI, ICELAND 7AM – 4PM Akureyri (www.visitakureyri.is/en), on the fjord Eyjaförður, was another port we visited on our 2009 cruise. Last time, I arranged a private taxi tour with Taxi 17 (taxino17.com/index.php) for us and three other roll call couples to lake Myvatn. In addition to Myvatn, we visited Goðafoss, Skútustaðir, Dimmuborgir, Hverir, the Krafla geothermal power station, the Víti crater, the turf farmhouse and the church at Laufás, the Akureyri botanical gardens and the Akureyri Cathedral. This was a very comprehensive tour! The Pacific Princess docked at Oddeyrarbryggja. The day started out sunny for a change but rain was predicted for the afternoon. As in Ísafjörður, we decided to rent a car and strike out on our own. We had a long driving day ahead and were disappointed that the Europcar agent was so late; we did not get on our way until 8:25 a.m. Today, we had a Suburu Balena, which thankfully was compatible with our Garmin. It was only a few blocks to Road #1, the Ring Road that encircles Iceland. Our destination was the most powerful waterfall in Europe, Dettifoss, on the River Jökulsá, which flows from the Vatnajokull glacier. Over the eons, the river has carved a deep canyon, Jökulsárgljúfur, through the lava fields. This area is in Jökulsárgljúfur National Park and there are other waterfalls and interesting geological features there. Along the way, we would pass by many of the sights we saw on our last visit. John had estimated that it would take 1.5 hours to reach his first way-point (the town of Reykjalið) and another hour to reach the Dettifoss parking area on the east side of the river. We reached Reykjalið 15 minutes ahead of schedule, so we felt optimistic that we would have time to see the waterfall. Shortly after crossing the one-way bridge over the river, we turned north on Road #864, a gravel road, for the last 18 miles (29 km) to the turnoff to the parking area. The entire trip took 2 hours and 15 minutes. Although there is also a viewing area on the west side of the river that is closer to Akureyri, the hike to the fall is longer and the views are not as good because of the spray from the fall and a large rock that is between the viewpoint and the fall. We had some concerns about the condition of the road on the east side but, while bumpy in places, it was generally in good condition. When we reached the parking area, we were surprised to see at least 40 cars there; this is obviously a popular sight despite the difficulty in reaching it. The trail down to the edge of the canyon is somewhat primitive and would be difficult for anyone with mobility issues. Once down, there were many places to get excellent views of the fall; it was even possible to walk close to the river above the fall and watch it thunder over the brink. Detifoss’ flow rate is estimated to be between 200 and 500 cubic meters of water per second, depending on the season; the falls are 328 ft (100 m) wide and have a drop of 144 ft (44 m). We spent about 35 minutes here. We would have liked to take the trail to another much smaller waterfall, Selfoss, that was 0.87 mile (1.4 km) away, but felt that our available time was just too short. Instead, we drove a short distance (about 5 minutes) downriver to another waterfall, Hafragilsfoss. This 89 ft (27 m) high, 298 ft (91 m) wide fall is visible from the parking lot but there is a short trail down to the edge of the canyon for better views of the fall and of the deepest part of the canyon, downstream from the fall. Following the trail a little ways downstream leads to several splatter cones. We were only able to spend 15 minutes here before we had to be on our way. It was an hour from Hafragilsfoss back to Reykjalið and another 45 minutes to Goðafoss, which we had visited on our 2009 trip. From the drive out, we know that it was about 30 minutes from the Europcar office to Goðafoss; we still had 2.25 hours until the “all aboard” time so we decided to stop there. Goðafoss is famous as the waterfall where Thorgeir Thorkelsson destroyed the statues of the Norse pagan gods when Iceland converted to Christianity; that event is depicted in a stained glass window in the Akureyri Cathedral. This waterfall forms a horsehoe 370 ft (113 m) wide and falls 39 ft (12 m) into one of the biggest rivers in Iceland. The viewing areas on either side of the falls have been greatly improved since we were here before. There are even steps down to the river at the base of the falls. We spent about 20 minutes here. After leaving Goðafoss, we drove back to Akureyri, stopping at several viewpoints over the Eyjaförður for photos of the gorgeous scenery. With those stops and one to fill up the car (no problem with the pump this time), it took about 50 minutes to return to the Europcar lot, with an hour to spare. The before-dinner show tonight was a male vocalist, Andrew Merry, who performed a medley of “Rat Pack” songs. Dinner featured Surf ‘n’ Turf, filet mignon and prawns, which we paired with Ancient Peaks Merlot. Tonight the clocks were set ahead an hour for the last time on this cruise. THU, 06/14/18 AT SEA (BST = EDT+5) The weather had deteriorated again during the night due to a low pressure system (Storm Hector) to the northwest of Scotland. The Promenade and upper decks were closed due to high (45 knots) winds and spray. During Mike Raick’s lecture on “Eclipses, Solar and Lunar, and Other Cosmic Fascinations,” the Captain interrupted with an announcement that the two port calls in Scotland were canceled and we would have another day at sea and before making a substitute port call in Belfast, Northern Ireland, on Saturday. Princess would be giving each passenger a refundable $250 on board credit to apologize for the disruptions in the itinerary. Tonight was the last of the three formal nights and the Captain’s Farewell Party was held between the two dinner seatings. The Club Restaurant would be serving one of our favorite appetizers—escargots. However, we had a date with Osso Buco at Sabatini’s. We had been asking Tee when escargots would be served, so he knew we would be sorry to miss them; he personally brought two servings to Sabatini’s so that we could enjoy them there. Perhaps he is also the one who told the Sabatini’s staff that we were celebrating our anniversary on this cruise? John had to endure another round of singing and we got another cake, which we again had sent to our cabin. Despite all the commotion, the escargots and Osso Buco were both outstanding; they went nicely with Frescobaldi Rosso di Montalcino. FRI, 06/15/18 AT SEA Today we were supposed to call in tiny Scrabster (www.scrabster.eu/scotland/), the northernmost port on the Scottish mainland. Although there is not much there except the docks for the cruise ships, ferries and the fishing fleet, there are some interesting sights in the area. We had joined an independent tour organized for 14 people from the roll call by returncruiser and paul929207. The tour (www.shoreexcursions.co.uk) was to include a visit to the Castle of Mey, (www.castleofmey.org.uk), Canisbay Kirk, John o' Groats Dunnet Head and the Old Pulteney Distillery (www.oldpulteney.com). Alas, we spent the day at sea instead. Once again, the Cruise Director and his staff had to scramble to put together a program of activities for the day. This time, however, the Shore Excursion office also had to scramble to arrange tours for Belfast. We had visited Belfast previously and had few ideas about what new things we might do, so once again we turned to our son, with his fast Internet connection, to look up some information for us. (Thanks again, Alan!) We finally decided to use some of that on board credit to book a half-day walking tour of historic Belfast. We attended the enrichment lecture on “More Great TV, Laughter Abounds. Great TV Moments, the Sequel,” in the morning. The decks were again opened, so we walked 45 minutes after lunch. Later in the afternoon. There was a destination presentation on Belfast. This was a little more helpful than the others and some B&W maps would be available at the lecturer’s desk. We also learned that there would be a free shuttle to the downtown Information Centre, across the street from Belfast City Hall. For dinner, we both had a new dish, seafood stuffed trout, with a bottle of Chamisal Stainless Chardonnay. The trout was good but the stuffing would be better with more (or any) seafood and less mashed potato. SAT, 06/16/18 BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND 7AM – 5PM John had planned our day in Dundee (www.dundee.com/visit): a hike to the top of The Law (an extinct volcano) and visits to Discovery Point (www.rrsdiscovery.com), the Verdant Works (www.verdantworks.com) and the HMS Unicorn (www.frigateunicorn.org). Unfortunately, that plan would have to wait for another visit. Although this was a disappointment for us, it was a real problem for a couple on the role call who had planned to disembark in Dundee to return home. Two of Belfast’s (visitBelfast.com) big industries are linen manufacturing and shipbuilding; one of the most famous ships built here was the RMS Titanic. There is a Titanic Belfast museum (titanicbelfast.com) that opened in 2012; it is about a 2.5-mile walk from where we tied up at the Pollock Dock on the River Lagan. There is a monument to the Titanic victims on the grounds of the Belfast City Hall and inside there is a free exhibit about events in the city’s history, including the building of the famous ship. On our prior visit, we took a shared group tour with Causeway Coast Tours (irishtourtickets.com/cruise-ship-shore-excursions-belfast/) that included the ruins of Dunluce Castle, the fantastic Giant’s Causeway, Carrick-A-Rede Rope Bridge, a drive along the Antrim Coast and a panoramic city tour. In addition to the usual type of city landmarks, the tour included a drive through the Catholic/Nationalist/Republican and Protestant/Unionist/Loyalist neighborhoods. There we saw the “Peace Walls”, erected to separate the neighborhoods during “The Troubles”, and many of the political murals the celebrate those who died in the turmoil of those times. Today’s “Walk Through Historic Belfast” avoided those areas and concentrated on the more everyday sights that are familiar to locals but perhaps never noticed by tourists. On our way to the Cabaret Lounge to meet for our tour, we saw that some local tourism people had come aboard and had maps and other information for independent travelers. We picked up a map in case we would have time to explore Belfast on our own after the tour. Before we could leave the ship, we had to go through a UK immigration inspection. When the official checked our passports, he remarked on our Irish surname. I told him that my genealogical research indicated that John’s great-great-grandfather had emigrated from County Donegal (now part of the Republic of Ireland) to New Orleans in the 1830s. He replied that the agent sitting next to him was from Donegal. Our “fine, soft day” (translation: mostly rainy with occasional sunshine and downpours) started in the Cathedral Quarter at the neo-Romanesque St. Anne Cathedral (Anglican). Our guide, Christine, first took us to a small park (Writer’s Square) across the street where we could get a good look at the façade of the Cathedral and its controversial glass and titanium “Spire of Peace”, which takes the place of a traditional tower. There is also a small bust in the park dedicated to those from Belfast who fought in the Spanish Civil War against the fascists. Inside the church, a docent from the Cathedral gave us a 45-minute tour, pointing out the major features and symbols. He explained that the earth under the Cathedral is a type of clay (gley) that is subsiding under the weight of the building, as evidenced by the undulating main aisle of the nave. If a traditional tower had been added, the Cathedral would have collapsed under its weight, therefore, they used the ultramodern spire. As we walked away from the Cathedral, we could view the largest Celtic Cross in Ireland, which is on the outside wall of the transept. Next we walked down Donegall Street for a brief stop at St. Patrick Church (Catholic). At the time it was built, non-Anglicans could not own property, so the land was leased from the wealthy Donegall family. After that, we viewed Clifton House, the Old Poor House, which was built in the 1700s and still houses a few “indigent gentlefolk.” Throughout our walk, we would see many murals with themes designed to promote community. Meanwhile, Christine regaled us with local history and pointed out many landmarks and architectural styles. For example, Christine told us about the cage around the front entrance of the Sunflower Pub; patrons were once screened to keep out troublemakers. We retraced our steps to York Street and Royal Avenue to visit the area around Banks Square. This neighborhood developed on a sand bar along the banks of the River Farset, which runs into the River Lagan but is now mostly paved over. There is a fun sign here with the former and current names of the streets, such as Squeeze Gut Entry. Also located in this area are Belfast’s oldest Catholic church, St. Mary’s Chapel, and one of its oldest pubs, Kelly’s Cellars. The oldest surviving place of worship is the nearby First Presbyterian Church, also built on land leased from the Donegalls. We made a brief stop at at the ornate Merchant Hotel, where we could enter in small groups to view the elaborate chandelier and lobby. We turned onto Hill Street to reach our final destination, the Duke of York pub. Here John and I enjoyed a pint of Guinness stout, while others chose India Pale Ale, wine, hard cider or soft drinks. At this point, we could choose to return to the ship on the tour bus or to explore Belfast further and return on the shuttle. John and I decide to seek out some of the sights that had been included in the destination lecture. Heading down Waring Street, we reached the riverfront and the “Big Fish” statue. We walked past the Albert Clock, Belfast’s own leaning tower, and zigzagged over to the Grand Opera House and the Crown Liquor Saloon, a famous Victorian gin palace. Finally, we returned to City Hall to check out the Titanic Memorial, the grand entry hall and part of the history exhibit. After about an hour of touring on our own, we decided to catch the shuttle back to the ship. Tonight was again Italian Night in the Club Restaurant. For dinner, John had the shrimp and scallops with a garlic sauce and I had grilled sea bass with a cream sauce. Tonight’s white wine was LaRocca Gavi. SUN, 06/17/18 AT SEA Today was another gloomy, foggy, overcast day; at least the seas were slight. This morning, we went to the Culinary Demonstration and took the Galley Tour. After lunch, we attended the “Pop Culture” lecture “Comedy on TV III.” In the afternoon, we packed up the items in the drawers to be moved to our new cabin while we took a day trip to Canterbury. Just before diner, the Captain announced that, because he had to slow the ship’s speed in the fog, we would dock in Dover 45 minutes to an hour later than scheduled. Dinner tonight was mussels in a white wine and cream sauce; that was enjoyed with Seignurie de Aureo Spirito Chablis. MON, 06/18/18 DOVER, ENGLAND 6AM – 4PM Despite the fog, the Captain was able to make up some of the lost time. “In transit” passengers were able to leave the ship at 7:25 a.m. and we had walked the 1.7 miles to the Dover Priory train station by 7:55 a.m. There was plenty of time to catch the 8:15 a.m. train (£9.60 pp round-trip) to Canterbury East and we arrived there about a half-hour later. [Note: For those who want to explore Dover, there is a local shuttle bus (www.ymstravel.co.uk/blue-bus-company) that stops at the cruise terminal, the town center, Dover Castle and Dover White Cliffs. An all-day pass is ₤5, €7or $8 (cash).] The Canterbury East train station is only a short walk across a street and over a pedestrian bridge to the top of the Old City walls. The Romans erected the first walls around Canterbury (www.canterbury.co.uk) between 270 and 290 AD; small fragments of those walls can still be seen here and there. In the Middle Ages, the walls were rebuilt atop the ruins of the original Roman walls. Large sections of the Medieval walls still remain, along with one of their original eight gates and 16 of their 21 towers. We started walking along the top of the walls in a counterclockwise direction and very quickly came to a ramp leading up Dane John Mound. In Roman times, this mound was a burial site. Later, it was the location of one of the first fortifications built by William the Conqueror during the Norman invasion. Judging by all the empty beer and liquor bottles, the mound is now obviously a favorite party spot; it was also desperately in need of a good mowing. Nevertheless, the short climb to the top gave good views of the town and the Canterbury Cathedral (complete with the scaffolding that obscures most historic buildings that we try to visit). We descended from the walls at St. George’s Street and walked to St. George's Tower. Many buildings in Canterbury were heavily damaged or destroyed by a German air raid in June, 1942. This clock tower is all that remains of the Medieval church where playwright Christopher Marlowe was baptized. We continued on a few blocks and turned right on Mercery Lane. This street boasts a number of historic timber-framed houses with typical overhanging upper floors; many of these buildings predate Queen Elizabeth I. There are many more of these picturesque houses scattered throughout the pedestrianized area of the Old City. Now we could see the Tudor turrets of the main visitor entrance to the Canterbury Cathedral Precinct, the early 16th-century Christ Church Gate. The gate is highly decorated with heraldic symbols and angels. A modern brass statue of Christ stands above the entry arch; it replaced the original Medieval one, which was damaged by Parliamentary troops during the English Civil War. There is a charge (£11.50, 65+) to enter the Cathedral and its grounds but the ticket allows visitors to come and go throughout the day. When we arrived shortly after nine o’clock, we learned that parts of the Cathedral (Choir and Trinity Chapel) would be closed until 11 a.m. for a special service. We decided to see what we could now and return to see the rest later, at the end of our walking tour. Canterbury Cathedral (www.canterbury-cathedral.org) is one of England's largest cathedrals and the seat of the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Church of England’s highest-ranking prelate. The Cathedral was established by St. Augustine of Canterbury in 600 and, like other European cathedrals, the original structure burned down long ago. The core of the present cathedral was built in 1174 and has been altered and restored many times since then, resulting in a mixture of Romanesque, Gothic and Renaissance styles. We threaded our way through a construction zone to the southwest entrance and into the Nave, with ornate ribbed vaulting and cluster pillars defining the aisles. Walking down the main aisle, we passed the baptismal font and the pulpit to reach the magnificently-carved stone choir screen. As the Choir was still off-limits, we turned right and followed the signs to “The Martyrdom” in the Northwest Transept. The Kings of England and the Archbishops of Canterbury did not always see eye-to-eye, with perhaps the most famous examples being Henry II and Thomas Becket in the 12th century and Henry VIII and Thomas More in the 16th century. The “Altar of the Sword's Point” marks the site where Henry II’s knights murdered Becket in 1170; the sword that delivered the death stroke (cutting off the top of his skull) broke due to the force of the blow. Allegedly, the knights took Henry’s exasperated comment, “Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?”, as a direct order to terminate Becket with extreme prejudice. After his martyrdom, the shrine of St. Thomas Becket (located in a different part of the Cathedral) became a major pilgrimage site, attracting thousands of pilgrims such as those immortalized in Chaucer’s “Canterbury Tales.” From the transept, there is a stairway down to the large 12th century Norman Crypt, the oldest part of the Cathedral; no photos are allowed in the Crypt. St. Gabriel’s Chapel is decorated with remnants of 12th-century murals, the oldest Christian murals in the country. There is also an interesting exhibit about how the Medieval stained glass windows from the Cathedral were removed and hidden prior to WWII. We emerged from the Crypt into the Southeast Transept. From here we could peer into St. Michael's Chapel, the location of many 15-17th-century tombs including those of some of the Cathedral’s Archbishops. Particularly interesting is the large triple tomb in the center, topped by the effigy of Lady Margaret Holland; the effigies of her two husbands, the Earl of Somerset and the Duke of Clarence, lie on her right and left. We had now toured all of the Cathedral that was open, so we exited from the Southeast Transept into the Cathedral Precincts. As we began our stroll, we encountered groups of students from the King's School, who were headed to the special service in the Cathedral. King's School claims to be the oldest school in Britain, based on the fact that buildings from St. Augustine’s abbey (founded in 598) lie within the school's grounds. However, the current school was established by Henry VIII in 1541. We passed a large Baobab tree (!), planted in the 1820s, on our way to the small, walled Kent War Memorial Garden. The octagonal pillar, topped by a cross, in the center of the lawn once honored those who died during the “Great War” but now memorializes the fallen from both World Wars. From here we walked around to the north side the Cathedral. The 12th-century octagonal Water Tower was built to ensure a clean water supply for the priory; some of its piping still functions. The Romanesque tower is supported by a series of interwoven arches and there is a large basin and a fountain in the center. Next to the Water Tower is a small Herbarium, planted with medicinal herbs used by the Medieval monks. Also on the north side of the Cathedral are the colonnaded 14th-century Cloisters. The early 15th-century Chapter House is in a separate building, accessed from the Cloisters. Although the Chapter House was closed for a private function, we could peek in at its Medieval stained glass windows and barrel-vaulted ceiling; it is the largest chapter house in England. Next we walked to the Green Court, which is surrounded by the buildings of the King’s School. In the north corner is the covered Norman Staircase. This is the oldest structure in the Cathedral Precincts and dates from 1100. The staircase is part of the Poor Pilgrim's Hall that once provided lodging to pilgrims. We retraced our steps to the Kent War Memorial Garden. There is a door on one side that leads through the city walls to the Queningate parking lot. The former Quenin Gate was named in honor of the Catholic Queen Bertha, spouse of King Ethelbert of Kent; in 597, they welcomed St. Augustine and the monks he brought with him to convert the Britons to Christianity. We crossed over to Lady Wootton’s Green, a small park with modern statues of the royal couple. Beyond the park is Fyndon Gate, the original gatehouse of St. Augustine's Abbey. The current gate dates to the early 14th-century, although it was damaged by bombs in WWII and had to be rebuilt. With its two crenelated towers, it looks more like a castle than the entrance to an abbey. We walked down Monastery Street and turned left on Longport to reach the Abbey’s modern entrance. The original Abbey, now in ruins, was a burial place for kings of Kent and the first archbishops of Canterbury. The admission price (£6.20 senior rate) includes an audio tour and exhibition that cover the history of the Abbey from its founding through modern-day archaeological excavations. However, we decided simply to view the ruins at a distance from the area outside the visitor center. From the Abbey, we walked back along St. Paul Church Street to the Christ Church Gate. Turning right, we head down Sun Street to Palace Street, part of the King’s Mile. Number 17 Palace Street is the Conquest House, reputedly the place where Henry’s knights met before heading out to murder Thomas Becket. Now an art gallery, its half-timbered facade is beautifully embellished with carvings. Further down, on the corner of Palace Street and King Street, is the 17th-century “Crooked House” (www.britainexpress.com/attractions.htm?attraction=3357), which tilts lopsidedly in several directions. Continuing along The King's Mile along the Borough, we came to St. Radigunds Street, site of the former Northgate and the Church of St. Mary. There is a small garden behind the church where you can see a section of the original Roman wall; parts of the wall were also incorporated into the church’s rear wall. Near the park stands the 15th-century Parrot public house, the oldest pub and one of the oldest buildings in Canterbury. We continued along St. Radigunds Street to the Millers Arms Pub; across the street is a small park, Abbot’s Mill Gardens. Here we could walk over the Millers Arms Sluice and along the Great Stour River to the modern Marlowe Theatre. Between the theater and the river is the mask statue (Bulkhead). Also next to the theater is the Friar's Bridge. The view from the bridge towards the High Street Bridge is quite attractive, with the old houses lining the river and a glimpse of a Medieval ducking stool. We walked around the block to the Old Weavers House (1-3 St Peters Street), next to the High Street Bridge. This photogenic, half-timbered building stands on the River Stour; the ducking stool juts out from the rear of the house over the river. From here, we went in search of the Greyfriars Chapel and Franciscan Garden (6a Stour Street). The entrance looks like a driveway for the Greyfriars Lodge, but there is a small sign to let you know you are at the right place. A stream runs through the small garden, which is surrounded by brick walls. A small chapel sits across the stream, supported on two arches. The chapel is the only remaining part of a Franciscan friary established here in 1267; it was the first Franciscan monastery in England. It’s worth making the effort to find Greyfriars, though; its a lovely medieval building in a wonderful setting. Returning to High Street we walked to the Westgate Towers Museum and Viewpoint (www.onepoundlane.co.uk/westgate-towers/). The 14th-century Westgate is Canterbury’s only surviving city gate and the largest surviving city gate in England. Entrance to the viewpoint (£3 pp, senior rate) is via The Pound Bar & Kitchen, which formerly was the city gaol (jail) and gaoler's house. There are excellent views of Canterbury from the 60-ft (18 m) Tower’s battlements. After descending from the Tower, we continued through the West Gate and down St. Dunstans Street. We passed the 13th-century half-timbered coaching inn, the House of Agnes. This building is named for a character in “David Copperfield” and several scenes from the novel are set here. A little farther down St. Dunstans Street is the Roper Gate (at #31). This Tudor gateway is all that remains of Place House, home of William Roper and his wife Margaret, daughter of St. Thomas More. St. Dunstan Church has links to both of Canterbury’s famous St. Thomases. In 1174, Henry II stopped here to don penitential garments and remove his shoes. He then walked to the Cathedral, where he was scourged by the monks as penance for St. Thomas Becket’s murder. After St. Thomas More’s execution in 1535 on the charge of high treason against Henry VIII, More’s head was placed on a spike on London Bridge. Margaret Roper secured the release of her father's head and interred it in her husband’s family tomb, the St. Nicholas or Roper Chapel. The chapel is to the right of the church's main altar; the Roper family vault is beneath the chapel floor, to the immediate left of the chapel's altar. Features of the chapel include three stained glass windows and plaques on the walls that relate to the life of St. Thomas More. We walked back to the bridge over the River Stour. There is some unusual public art here: two female figures (Alluvia) lying horizontally on the riverbed. They are very hard to spot with all the river grass, but there is a plaque on the end of the bridge nearer town and closer to the Westgate Gardens. Tower House stands at the north end of the gardens; the early Victorian building houses the Mayor's offices. The Gardens, along the banks of the River Stour, follow the course of the Roman city wall but there are no traces of the wall here today. We walked through the Gardens and then through the painted underpass to Toddler's Cove, a playground. We continued to follow the river until we came to a small bridge with a signpost directing us towards the Norman Castle. We crossed the river and followed the signs to the Castle. Along the way we passed through Tannery Field. There is another sculpture here—the Canterbury Bull—constructed out of rusted railroad rails. The Bull commemorated the Tannery rail line that once took workers to their jobs in the tanning industry. William the Conqueror’s original fort at Dane John was eventually replaced by a stone fortress, the Canterbury Castle (Norman Castle). This new fort was started by William’s third son, William II, and completed by his fourth son, Henry I, around 1120. The site is closed to the public due to the danger of collapse; the ruins can only be viewed from the street. From here, we walked back through town to complete our tour of the Cathedral. Now that the special service was over, we could walk around the Ambulatory and visit the Choir. There are a number of ornate tombs in the Ambulatory, holding the remains of archbishops, cardinals and deans of the Cathedral. One of the most interesting is one with two effigies of the deceased: the upper one shows him in his robes of office and the lower one, his naked corpse. Other famous tombs are in the Trinity Chapel; these include those of Henry IV and his queen, Joan of Navarre, and of the “Black Prince,” the eldest son of King Edward III. Trinity Chapel once held an ornate tomb containing the remains of St Thomas Becket. However, Henry VIII ordered the shrine to be destroyed in 1538, all the tomb’s gold and jewels were taken and Thomas’s bones were burned. Now a candle marks the former site of the shrine. The small chapel at the east end of the Cathedral opposite Trinity Chapel is the Corona or Becket's Crown; it once housed a reliquary containing a fragment of the saint's skull. The walls on both sides of the Trinity Chapel hold late 12th- and 13th-century stained glass windows known as the Miracle Windows. These are the subject of the exhibit in the Crypt and are considered the most important Medieval stained glass windows in England. The final stop on our walking tour was the 11th-century Old Palace on the Canterbury grounds, which is not open to the public. This was and is the archbishop’s residence although it also housed Parliament during the English Civil War. Before returning to Dover, we stopped at the Tesco in the Whitefriars shopping mall to pick up some wine and a couple of other items. The cost of our DIY tour was £24.10 pp or about $35 pp; Princess offered a “Canterbury Cathedral & Town” tour for in-transit passengers at $89.95 pp. We caught the 1:22 p.m. train, which is an express train, and were back in Dover about 1:40 p.m. We made a brief stop at the Barclays branch on Market Square, where I had made arrangements to exchange some expired pound coins and notes. Then it was on to the ship for the next leg of our cruise! Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
After visiting family on the west coast, we chose to sail home to Florida instead of fly. This was our first time on such a small ship. So, we viewed it as an adventure. We had been assigned late seating for dinner and wanted early ... Read More
After visiting family on the west coast, we chose to sail home to Florida instead of fly. This was our first time on such a small ship. So, we viewed it as an adventure. We had been assigned late seating for dinner and wanted early dining. We always choose "Anytime Dining"--however that was not available. On arrival, a visit with Oscar, the Maitre d' offered a compromise. He allowed us to come at 6 p.m. and he fit us in to an available space. On the 4th night, we were assigned to the best table ever! There were 8 of us and dinner became a highlight of our day. We had so much fun together and were the last table finished nightly. There are 2 big "lounges". One takes the place of a theatre, but you are seated close to the show--the dancers are on a floor right in front of you. The seating is arm chairs--like in a living room. Arrive 30" early. The production shows were beautiful, and the guest entertainers were quite good. The dancers doubled as activity staff, and were delightful. The other lounge is smaller and that is where the gameshows take place, zumba, some lectures, etc. Our room steward spoke excellent English and was very personable. The Buffet was on deck 9. Our cabin was deck 7, and the show lounge was on deck 5! It was so easy to get around--2 sets of stairs and 2 sets of elevators. And the elevators were not crowded. The buffet was small, but had a pretty good variety of food. Seating was not a problem. In 17 days we visited 5 ports. Of course, the Panama Canal was very interesting. The new ports for us were Puerto Chiapas, Mexico and Santa Marta, Columbia. We took ship tours and they were satisfactory and decently priced. The pool area (one pool) is small with 2 hot tubs--always looked to have available loungers. There is a running track overlooking the pool--also not crowded. There were the usual sales presentations in the spa area. The cruise director is humorous, friendly and visible around the ship. The ship was in good repair. Embarcation and disembarkation were very timely. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
I Chose this cruise for two reasons, I had always wanted to do a Trans Atlantic Crossing, and I wanted a smaller ship. All my previous cruises were on much larger ships. Plus i have had great experiences with Princess in the past. The ... Read More
I Chose this cruise for two reasons, I had always wanted to do a Trans Atlantic Crossing, and I wanted a smaller ship. All my previous cruises were on much larger ships. Plus i have had great experiences with Princess in the past. The staff was great. Although it is embarrassing that they have been briefed on who has ordered the drink plan, and they keep an eye on you. The ship is old, and it shows, but the staff makes up for it. Would NOT recommend this cruise for Transatlantic Crossing, due to its size, after two days and a cruise director who needs to retire, I needed a few more spaces to walk around in. You can NOT be anonymous on this ship. The rooms are basic, and clearly if you look at seams in bathroom, they keep applying quick filler for cracks, in my cabin it was chipping off and falling on floor- just was not quite sure what it was at the beginning. Staff was great. However Effie Manger very kurt and rude. Lost a big sale do to his attitude. On other ships Effie managers have been great. Don't expect a lot of whizz bang from this ship, or educational classes, as they advertise for other ships. If you are looking to just read, relax, and go across the Atlantic, this is the ship of for you. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
Venice to Rome 12 nights (23NOV to 5Dec2017) back-to-back Rome to Fort Lauderdale 17 nights (5Dec-22Dec2017). To enjoy a long cruise, you must prepare how you wish to spend the many sea days (here included 8 transatlantic sea days). ... Read More
Venice to Rome 12 nights (23NOV to 5Dec2017) back-to-back Rome to Fort Lauderdale 17 nights (5Dec-22Dec2017). To enjoy a long cruise, you must prepare how you wish to spend the many sea days (here included 8 transatlantic sea days). While there was a multitude of activities that I did not do, I participated many activities offered by the fabulous team under the direction of Sammie Baker, our Cruise Director. I was never bored as I had brought my own crochet projects, attended every performance of the Cast Dancers and Singers, and my favourite guest performer, Diane Cousins, took dance lessons by Sarah and Dillon, did arts & crafts with Brendan (Cast Dancer from New Zealand), watched the Culinary Competition and Galley Tour, watched the Virtual Bridge Tour Presentation, and most worthwhile, attended the nine Astronomy Enrichment Lectures presented by Dr. Rhodri Evans. I loved the majority of my breakfasts and lunches in the Deck 9 Buffet, unfortunately my dinners in the Club Restaurant were inconsistent and I did have several sub-par dinners. Service was generally good. We took a few very good shore excursions, but we mainly explored on our own, and took taxis and public transportation. We were in Naples twice, and we're very surprised that Princess did not offer an excursion to Caserta Palace, which is a must see heritage site rivalling Versailles (and only 35 km north of Naples). One minor complaint: I did not enjoy my foot mud bath and massage because she spent the whole 45 minutes trying to up sell products so it was not relaxing at all. Deck 3 Cabin 3015 mid-ship. Had abundant closets and shelves for two women. Love seat sofa very convenient. Vanity desk with chair. Mini-fridge. Twin beds felt narrower than normal. Porthole was not obstructed (OV is porthole). We were very happy to be on Deck 3, in winter (Dec) in Mediterranean had 4 days of rough seas (Captain ordered porthole closed). Those in higher decks felt the waves more. We missed 3 Mediterranean ports due to storms. Once we sailed out of the Mediterranean, got to Tenerife, and into the transatlantic crossing, it was very smooth sailing, and every day was sunny and warm towards Fort Lauderdale. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
Princess has so many satisfied passengers. We have cruised about 20 times, and always found cruisers who raved about Princess. So we decided to check it out for ourselves. This was a B2B Med/TA cruise.We weren't worried about the ... Read More
Princess has so many satisfied passengers. We have cruised about 20 times, and always found cruisers who raved about Princess. So we decided to check it out for ourselves. This was a B2B Med/TA cruise.We weren't worried about the smallness of the ship-we are perfectly happy amusing ourselves. We were excited about the ports, new and old, and looking forward to the 8 sea days at the end. Embarkation was easy. The ship was in Venice for two days. When we water taxi'ed out to it, no one else was in line. We got checked in and onboard quickly. Our cabin, a mini suite, was quite nice.We were hungry and decided to get burgers at the BBQ Grill on the pool deck. The burgers were awful. The meat was gristly and greasy and the buns stale. It was Thanksgiving so at dinner we ordered the turkey. Again, the meat disappointed. it was more like a Swanson tv dinner than a roast turkey. The veggies and dessert were good though. The next day when Mr S ordered the jerk chicken and the meat was dry and tasteless we began wondering if we were going to become vegetarians for the rest of the trip. This unevenness in the quality of the food continued for 29 days. Soups on the buffet were uniformly excellent, but the set up made it very hard to serve yourself. We were kind of stunned, in fact, at the self service on the buffet. Many items were hard to reach or involved hot serving utensils, and it was hard to get anyone to help. Just not enough staff. it is a small ship so a small buffet with less choices than we are used to. In the dining room and the buffet food temperature was an issue. We were very fortunate with our table mates in the dining room. this made the forced early dining time of 5:30 more bearable. Why is any ship still not allowing anytime dining? Hard to figure. By the way I would not waste my money booking Club Class on this ship. The cruisers who elected that were seated in a group of tables at the entrance to the dining room, meaning they were scrutinized by everyone and their brother as people paraded in to dinner. Some of their food was prepared at a little induction cooktop that was just after the maitre'd station. Not very appetizing. I would have thought they would have placed the Club Class area in a quiet corner, not adjacent to the thundering herds. Trivia was more lame then usual, as the cruise director staff apparently was made to use an out of date source book for the questions. Not sure why cruise ships can't get this right, but Princess' trivia was worse than usual. An exception were the trivias conducted by Robbie, who was the stand out star of the Cruise Director's staff. We don't go to the shows but we do listen to the music. Midway through the cruise the good duo was transferred to another ship and a lesser duo with a very limited repertoire brought on board. The cruise director seemed to enjoy concocting entertainments that revolved around her. We were not amused and steered clear. Numerous cruisers including us had issues-most minor-with things on the ship, and the surprise was how these things were handled. We were treated very disrespectfully and often blamed. One group of experiences Princess cruisers was given the bum's rush out of the dining room due to an impending muster drill. Being passengers in transit they were not required to participate, but the maitre'd, told them to "Just get out". This whole experience was a mess and I dearly hope there never needs to be a real evacuation of the ship. The crew is clearly unprepared. We had an issue with our prepaid drink package. Basically, they refused to honor the terms of it, said they did not have to honor what was on the internet, said that they had changed it after we bought it, etc. We never got this resolved as I became tired of dealing with it. We also made a steakhouse reservation for my birthday which they lost. When we showed up there were many empty tables, and they finally, begrudgingly, seated us, but not after blaming us and accusing us of having made the reservation for the wrong day. It was really quite extraordinary. We met so many great people on the cruise, many of whom were very frequent Princess cruisers, we don't know how to explain the way so many people were treated so poorly except to conclude that there is a major middle management problem on the ship. Lower echelon staff were generally good to great. Some of them confided they were going to try to transfer to different ships. The ship had recently gone thru a refurbishment and much of the public furniture was new and very nice. Our mini suite had new things also, and we liked it a lot. Exceptions were the balcony furniture which was kind of ratty, and the products in the bathroom. I ended up buying products in the spa at the half off sale. The paper products in the bathroom were also rough and low end. We had to skip several ports due to bad weather. The captain did do a nice thing for the first port we skipped, which was Kotor (Montenegro). they stayed in Dubrovnik an extra day and offered a bus tour of Kotor. We appreciated that a lot. For those who do not like the motion of the ocean I would not recommend this small ship. We had several days of rough seas, and some of the passengers really suffered. We were ok with it but glad when we escaped into smooth seas and warm temps on the crossing. A big pet peeve for me was the laundry. I hated the laundromat, very tight and confined and filled with hostile people arguing over the dryers. I was surprised that there was no option of a bag of laundry for $20 or so like most cruises have. I will never again spend my vacation worrying about laundry. Princess, you have many fans, but you also have problems on the Pacific. Fix it, it is too nice a ship and your loyal fans too great a group to have to put up with the disrespectful treatment dished out on this cruise. In the meantime, we are going back to Holland America for our next cruise. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
We love this small ship and usually like to leave home during the holiday season. We had a bit of weather and missed the port in Cadiz. We have done this crossing many times at this time of year and I feel 8 straight sea days is too much, ... Read More
We love this small ship and usually like to leave home during the holiday season. We had a bit of weather and missed the port in Cadiz. We have done this crossing many times at this time of year and I feel 8 straight sea days is too much, The other cruises stopped some where else like Morocco, Azores, Tunisia or the Caribbean to break up the crossing. It was nice to have Sammy as the cruise director. We had a Club Class cabin, which I have to say really did not do much for us. We had a special dining area, but could not bring friends and the food was the same except for a special dish made by the head waiter. A couple were really good, but most just OK, one was disgusting. The other Club Class benefit is you get more pillows and two half bottles of wine and priority boarding. We are Elite so really did not do much for us. The are trying to copy Celebrity "Aqua Class" but missed the mark.We got to go to a couple of special "Wine lunches" where the Chef made a lunch with wine pairings. The food was excellent and it was a great event, don't think that they are common, but if you get a chance ever DO IT. So we know the chef can cook, but their is only so much you can do with the ingredients Princess provides and we have seen the quality go down over the years. This ship will always be our favorite, very intimate and relaxed. Easy to make friends. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
Pacific Princess ,1st time on this small ship , but have enjoyed cruises on Oceania and Azamara . Ship has nice ambience and a warm and welcoming staff , some features are showing their age ,with some recent renovations . She has a loyal ... Read More
Pacific Princess ,1st time on this small ship , but have enjoyed cruises on Oceania and Azamara . Ship has nice ambience and a warm and welcoming staff , some features are showing their age ,with some recent renovations . She has a loyal following among staff and guests. Very good itinerary , sailing from Venice ( overnight) Croatia , Kotor , Greek Islands , Naples , Rome , 2 ports in Sicily , Barcelona , and Canary Islands make for a very interesting cruise . Very good production shows , guest entertainers along with guest lecturers help past the time . A relatively small ship . an easy walk fore to aft , never a line for anything , she has a loyal following among guests and staff . On this size ship , we were always encountering officers , staff and entertainment staff , a more intimate setting for such a long voyage . Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
We chose the cruise because it traveled to places we had never been. Bad time of year so storms changed travel destinations often. It was a rerouting cruise so prices were pretty good. Food was average but service was good. Even though ... Read More
We chose the cruise because it traveled to places we had never been. Bad time of year so storms changed travel destinations often. It was a rerouting cruise so prices were pretty good. Food was average but service was good. Even though Princess had arranged our airfare, they forgot about us so we were stuck at 1:30AM on a dock in Venice with no one to meet us. Police had to alert the ship. So tired we missed our day in Venice. Entertainment shows were OK. Some of the lectures were great but one had uninteresting subjects. Of course, that is very personal - others might disagree. Shore excursions were generally overpriced. One included a boat sightseeing ride. Boat was secretly canceled - ship knew about it - but did not alert us - so pretty much wasted an entire day with only an overpriced bus ride on Corfu. Princess did refund 25% of the fee but no apology. Rhodes, Sicily, Gibraltar, Madeira and Bermuda were well worth the money. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
I had heard many good things about Princess Cruise Line and I found the right itinerary and dates. Reality, a little disappointing. The Pacific Princess (a.k.a. reborn "Love Boat") is a small ship carrying 600+ passengers. ... Read More
I had heard many good things about Princess Cruise Line and I found the right itinerary and dates. Reality, a little disappointing. The Pacific Princess (a.k.a. reborn "Love Boat") is a small ship carrying 600+ passengers. Overall the ship is very nice. Few venues, public rooms elegantly appointed: Library reading room a la "Downton Abby-esque". I sailed on a back to back from Venice to Fort Lauderdale. Cabin on the first segment (6062) nice and comfortable and pleasant although Bathroom needlessly small and tight (One needs to step out to change ones mind). Second segment cabin (7033) the same. Main dinning room very nice: service excellent food nicely presented but a bit bland and sometimes insipid for my taste. Very disappointed with the food offering at the Panorama Café buffet. Breakfast & Lunch never very appetizing and I can eat most anything. Poor and limited selection and looked as if it was out far too long, perhaps because it is a small venue. The entertainment was nice, a few excellent others not so much. It was none the less enjoyable. Staff service, in all venues and areas, was very pleasant and attentive, no complaints. Although we skipped 3 ports, due to weather, the Ports and tours offered were very nice and well prepared and staffed. Price, not bad. Crossing the Atlantic was wonderful, 8 days. The sea was extraordinarily calm and pleasant weather: I enjoy sea days. The entertainment staff did a nice job keeping all entertained that wanted to be entertained. Good job!! I May, I'll be on the Regal, I will see how that goes. Hopefully better. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
This is our favorite ship... we have sailed the small ships now for 5 times. These ships are small and intimate. You get to know most everyone when you sail. Cabins are very nice, in fact the square shape of the mini suites is ... Read More
This is our favorite ship... we have sailed the small ships now for 5 times. These ships are small and intimate. You get to know most everyone when you sail. Cabins are very nice, in fact the square shape of the mini suites is different and leaves you with a spacious feeling. All the cabins feel upscale and different from most cabins. The appointments are nice and all leave you with the feeling of old school luxury. The library is truly special. it is all mahogany and comfort with wing chairs and "real" books on the shelves. There is a pretend fireplace and brings much warmth to the room. It is a great place to work a jigsaw puzzle or read a book. All the staff are nice and because of the small number of passengers, they all seem to know you. We hope that Princess keeps this last small ship and will continue to sail on her. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
I loved the cruise, only did the first half. the ship has some limitations such as lack of theater with good sight lines. It was a good ship for those with limited mobility, as not very far to walk to anything. I really prefer the ... Read More
I loved the cruise, only did the first half. the ship has some limitations such as lack of theater with good sight lines. It was a good ship for those with limited mobility, as not very far to walk to anything. I really prefer the on-demand TV system, as get tired of seeing just bits and pieces of shows with no schedule or information. They say it is too expensive to rewire entire ship. So I would not take a trip with many sea days on it, as too annoying. Otherwise, you get to know almost everyone on the ship, so feels like a familiar group. the itinerary was good and the ports good, so I was happy with that. Crew very good and cruise director excellent. they only have traditional dining, and buffet. People were able to switch tables as necessary. We had good dining companions, so no problem. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
We chose this for the itinerary and knowing the small ship (old Renaissance III). The itinerary was great and it was the perfect trip to escape the heat in the US. The ship had just come out of dry dock so there were a few things that ... Read More
We chose this for the itinerary and knowing the small ship (old Renaissance III). The itinerary was great and it was the perfect trip to escape the heat in the US. The ship had just come out of dry dock so there were a few things that were unfinished (like cushions on the deck furniture) and the seals on the sliding glass cabin doors. Embarkation and disembarkation were so fast and easy. We loved the new Club Class even though the "new" furniture was not in place in the dining room. We were blown away by the Club Class dining and service. The dining service staff and bar staff could not do enough for you! By day three, the wait staff knew your name and what you liked and disliked. We were a bit disappointed to miss one port, Scrabster, Scotland, due to storms and high seas but overall this was one of our favorite cruises. My only suggestion would be to add a few extra activities during the many sea days. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
Our third trip on Pacific and staff better than ever. Absolutely one of our best cruises - of over 90 on Princess and some 140 total. The size is wonderful, never any crowds at any time. Staff knows your wants and meets them almost ... Read More
Our third trip on Pacific and staff better than ever. Absolutely one of our best cruises - of over 90 on Princess and some 140 total. The size is wonderful, never any crowds at any time. Staff knows your wants and meets them almost immediately. Just out of dry dock and all carpets drapes etc New as well as the new princess bed that was wonderful as well. A bit more movement than the larger ships but you get used to it. Absolutely top drawer in all respects. Normally we don't eat in the dining room but second seating was half empty so waiter had us out in half hour which we loved. Did not miss any shows, dancing etc. dining captain very accommodating and allowed us to come in 45 min late which accommodated our schedule. Room steward the best, waiter top notch. Could use more activities on sea days and entertainment variety was a little less than expected. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
This ship stopped in Nicaragua and i had never been there before. This made 110 countries I have visited on 96 cruises. A trip thru the Canal is always a treat. This time we had a balcony and there was a lady from Panama on the ... Read More
This ship stopped in Nicaragua and i had never been there before. This made 110 countries I have visited on 96 cruises. A trip thru the Canal is always a treat. This time we had a balcony and there was a lady from Panama on the bridge giving a blow by blow travelogue. I had forgotten how great a small ship could be. This was one of the old R ships, just like Azamara, which I had been on before. The crew seems to be extra friendly and very happy. We had a great couple of lecturers, husband and wife by the name of Gail and Russell Lee, who gave some very interesting talks. I thought the food was very good and very diverse. Every lunch time there seemed to be a different country represented in the Panorama buffet. And it never seemed overly crowded. Our waiters in the dining room were wonderful. We had a table for 8 and we had no problem finishing our dinner in time to make the early show. We only took one tour and that was in Nicaragua since I had been to the other countries and I don't walk too well any more (I just turned 80). But we did get off the ship a few times just to walk a bit. There were 6 dancers and 2 singers for the production shows and they did a great job! The dancers also took part in a lot of other activities such as trivia, line dancing, parties, etc. I would definitely book the Pacific Princess again if it was going where I wanted to go. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
Chose this cruise because we like the small ships, and have cruised on them before, even the original Pacific, good itinerary for us because we like sea days, haven't seen the canal in a few years, and just because. Staff is ... Read More
Chose this cruise because we like the small ships, and have cruised on them before, even the original Pacific, good itinerary for us because we like sea days, haven't seen the canal in a few years, and just because. Staff is extremely friendly and they learn your name, folio number, etc, within days; you interact with staff and passengers much more quickly....wonderful. Had a balcony cabin, forward deck, 6, internet worked fine; and you just had to remember, the Pacific was going in for dry dock after this cruise, so yes, there were some frayed items around, and some things squeaked, but really looking forward to see her again after the refurbishment. Only disappointment was the "enrichment" lectures, would have preferred something more appropriate to the canal, or the history of Central America, etc, not really interested in how someone took their two small children backpacking around the world, or then decided to build an octagon house. Really do appreciate the fact that no art auctions...... Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
Ports. Ports. Ports. The Pacific Princess is a small ship that can visit smaller ports that larger ships can only tender. That part of it we really liked. We didn't like being confined to our cabin during Tropical Storm Arlene ... Read More
Ports. Ports. Ports. The Pacific Princess is a small ship that can visit smaller ports that larger ships can only tender. That part of it we really liked. We didn't like being confined to our cabin during Tropical Storm Arlene because of 15-20 foot waves. The PP I believe has stabilizers. They must be 3 feet long. People were being seriously injured because of the rough seas. I fell, hitting my head, and pulling muscles in our cabin when the ship lurched violently (add that to being sick for 3 days). A 18 day cruise turned into a 13 day one. The entertainment was mediocre with the exception of the dancers (who left the ship in Fort Lauderdale). Best dancers we had ever seen. Everything else was oh-hum. One comic was gross and we walked out. Another used sexual references that we thought we inappropriate. The tenor was excellent. The mentalist was entertaining even though he only had 3 effects I believe in his act. Food was very good in the dining room and the buffet. Princess made the buffet into a 'bistro' on sea days that had pretty limited offerings. I did not like it after the 2nd or 3rd time we used it. The desserts were outstanding. The presentation and selection in the buffet when we had one was very good. Our waiter and his assistant in the dining room were excellent. The personnel on the ship were great. Great, friendly, helpful service with just a few exceptions. One of the best cabin stewards we ever had. The ship is in dire need of a refurbishing. It is scheduled for one I understand. There isn't a chair on the ship that has a firm bottom. Lots of dings, rust, and fading paint everywhere. Carpet is dated and faded. Kind of depressing. During one show a light fixture fell out of the ceiling. Our cabin, a balcony one, was very, very small. Mattress was shot. Linens were adequate. There are few 'American' outlets to plug a computer into anywhere on the ship. The size of the ship is perfect however. Instead of walking for 20 minutes to get anywhere, everything is a short hike away from any cabin just about. The library if it had better chairs would be a delight to hang out in. Internet was adequate except that it could not be accessed very well in our cabin. We learned 3 days before the end of the cruise that it helped get service if we propped the cabin door open. Terrible. Met people who didn't understand that their free internet service extended to both people in a cabin. Sad. Disembarkation was perfect. The best we ever saw. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
Pacific Princess Ratings
Category Editor Member
Rates 4.0 4.0

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