Wednesday, April 6, 2016

This is not Your Granddaddy's Cruise... Oh Wait, It Is- Sea Day #2

Anniversary Cruise 2016- Caribbean Princess

Jumping for Joy 
Sea Day #2 
Friday, March 18, 2016
After 3 days in port and exploring what all the Western Caribbean had to offer, a day of rest and relaxation was in order. We spent the day lounging around and exploring more of the ship but the night ended with us, and an entire school (or 2) of dolphins Jumping for Joy. This was the most unique and awesome thing we have seen while on a sea day and it is a memory we will never forget!

Despite not having a full plate of excursions and activities, we must have been more tired than we thought because we did not wake up until nearly 8:30AM. This is a very rare occasion for us, even while cruising. Of course, Chris went jogging while I got ready and went and collected the juices for our afternoon drinks. I noticed when I got back to the room from getting the juices that we had a colored tag of Light Blue #2 for debarkation on Sunday. I investigated deeper and learned that this meant we were literally the LAST group to debark the ship at 10:40AM. Usually by this time we are at home and a full load of laundry is done so we were not OK with this. I went to Guest Services and asked how to get on the “walk-off” or Express Debarkation list. Supposedly there was a form I was supposed to fill out on day #2 (I remember seeing info about debarking on this day and thought “Not now… I just got on”) and then return to the room steward by Day 5. However, they were nice enough to let me get onto the walk-off list despite not turning in the form. This seemed to be a real hassle compared to Carnival or Royal Caribbean where you just did the walk-off automatically and didn’t have to sign up or acknowledge you were doing it. We ended up getting Walk-Off Group I and were to debark at 8AM. This was also a later time for us but I was satisfied with being able to walk-off. This really is the easier way to debark ANY ship if you can carry your own luggage.

My morning view... Priceless!

Once again I spent my morning praying to and thank God for all these many blessings and just admiring His beautiful creation while Chris jogged and cleaned up. We met in the Coral Dining Room for breakfast and much to my surprise they had SOFT rolls. All of the other breads were so hard and barely edible but finally (on the next to last day) they brought out the good stuff... figures, right? If you do not like hard bread, I would ask for these on the 1st night! During this meal the breakfast waitress was quite rude and tacky and this was our only poor service throughout the entire cruise. Chris asked for cranberry juice after we had placed our order and she said “Would you like for me to fetch your juice or your breakfast?” I think this was very tacky and rude and I was irritated. Naturally Chris said “Breakfast” because he was hungry but this attitude is not needed… I mean she wasn’t even American (everyone knows the American crew members are not as nice and service-minded as the others).

After breakfast we went to the “Navigation at Sea” talk where the Staff Captain (#3 in command) came and shared about navigating and the history of navigation on the sea. This was a very interesting discussion and talk and we thoroughly enjoyed it. However, unlike Carnival or Royal Caribbean, this only involved the Staff Captain and none of the other officers or the Cruise Director and the question and answer session was long and drawn out. In addition the information was more about sailing the high seas and not about Princess or the actual ship. I would still recommend attending this as it is very interesting and informative

Unfortunately, the Staff Captain was very Italian and was hard to understand at times.

This was followed by the “Behind Back Stage” tour with some of the Princess dancers and the stage producer. This was interesting but once again the question session was drawn out and repetitive. This started at 11AM and the questions alone lasted until 11:45AM before we were even able to go onto the stage. I would have preferred a shorter question session and a longer backstage tour. The backstage was small as expected but it was neat to see all the lights and the dressing rooms as well. We also learned that the singers and dancers have their cabins directly in front of the stage on the lower decks (so basically at the very tip or point of the ship). We got to speak to the Production Manager and he enlighten us on Lee C, the Cruise Director, and his lack of activeness and availability on this cruise. He also informed us he was late all the time, which would explain why so many events and activities were late this week. Needless to say, Lee C. is now our least favorite Cruise Director and further confirms that I could do a much better job ("When I grow up I want to be a... Cruise Director").  

The set of BRAVO all set-up for the evening production show.

A view of the Princess Theater from the stage. It is a VERY small theater that only holds 730 passengers and gets full FAST! Also, there is not much aisle space to pass through. Be mind of this and get there early for ANY shows! Also, the late shows are not as highly attended we learned!

After these learning events we headed to the Coral Dining Room for lunch. This lunch was fantastic and featured some special “lobster crepe rolls” that were the best lunch dish of the cruise; however, the lunch service was slower than usual and it took nearly an hour just to get out of there.
After lunch we wanted to “do nothing” again as this was the theme of this cruise so we went up to the upper decks to look for chairs in the shade. We didn’t have any luck as by this time it was the prime time for laying out and most of the chairs, if not all of the chairs, were already taken. We finally found a few in the shade of the exhaust pipe toward the front of the ship. We stay there and napped for 3 hours before getting up to get ready for formal night #2.

We got ready and decided to get our 2nd coffee of the day so we would be sure to use all 15 of our “punches” from the coffee card. We spent some time in the Piazza listening to the wonderful Duo Angels play their electric violins and then went to the promenade to walk around before our early 5PM dinner.

Formal Night #2 in the Piazza!

This formal night featured lobster as well as Beef Wellington so we were very excited to taste these delicacies. Despite it being a formal night and the dining room being very busy the service was wonderful yet again and we were in and out within 90 minutes. This was also the night that we were presented with a special Norman Love Chocolate Anniversary cake for our 10th Anniversary. This was really special and we enjoyed it very much. It was completely free and came to us on embarkation as a ticket to present to the head waiter on a night of your choice. All of this becuase we told our vacation planner it was our 10th anniversary (which it was). Thank you Princess

Melissa, our assistant waitress, performing "surgery" on the Lobster entree. It was DELICIOUS and the best lobster we have had on a ship. 

Our Norman Love Chocolate Anniversary Cake... It was VERY chocolate-y

The delicious "Irish Coffee" as an added bonus to our desserts.

This quick dinner time allowed us to go out and enjoy our 1st official sunset of the cruise on the Promenade deck. The clouds were covering the actual sun but while we waited we saw several dolphins jumping near the ship. These several turned into an entire school before we knew it. Luckily I had my camera ready for pictures and Chris got an excellent spur of the moment video of the whole thing. We have seen dolphins in Galveston Bay before and a few other times but never like this and not an entire school. This was a memory for sure.

Our sunset began at 6:40PM 




Some of our dolphin experience. 

More dolphins jumping... this was from the 2nd school we saw!

We were so lucky to see this whole ordeal.., We won't soon forget!

I still cannot believe we were able to get this on video!
Our kids like to watch it EVERY night!

I love this picture and spending time with my loving husband!

We continued to sit on the Promenade deck and watch the ocean go by for over an hour. We talked about this cruise and our past 6 cruises and we decided when to splurge on balconies and when not to. We both agreed that if you are just cruising to get away and you do not intended to do a lot in port and just want to relax then what you really need is a balcony. However, if you are doing a “destination cruise” where you focus on the ports or a very active cruise or ship then you can get by with an inside (just our advice). We booked an inside on this cruise solely because of the great deal and it was the only way we could swing it with #Alaska2016 coming up in June. This Alaska cruise will easily be the most expensive cruise we have ever taken and we are going all out. But having a balcony on this particular ship and cruise (Caribbean Princess) would have worked a lot better than an inside.

After the excitement of the dolphins we decided to go and change into comfortable clothes and check out the evening buffet options and get some yummy pizza but once we arrived at the Lido deck we decided we were just to full and stuffed from dinner so we passed and went to the casino instead. If you’re not going to stuff you face you might as well “try” and stuff your wallet, right? I took some of Chris’s winnings from a previous day and used it to play a $5 BlackJack table. Unfortunately, since it was a lower minimum table, the players did not know what they were doing and often made poor decisions (Double Down on 13 against a 10… are you kidding me?) which in turn effected the entire table so I only won $12 BUT… I will take it.

We saw a game-show called “Majority Rules” that we had played on previous cruises and went to see how it worked on Princess. It was a lot of fun and surprisingly just as wild as on other lines. We left this game early as we wanted to see the 50th anniversary balloon drop in the Piazza. As it turns out, the cruise director and his staff were late getting there so the actual drop did not happen until 25 minutes later. This was really annoying to Chris and I, especially since we left the other game early.

The Golden Balloon drop... I do find it interesting that Princess celebrated it's 50th anniversary in 2015 and in mid-2016 they are still celebrating! Yay for them! 

Chris and I with the "Deputy Cruise Director" (who calls it that) Matt... he was not all there, like at all. We BARELY saw the actual cruise director Lee C., so we figured we better get a picture with the deputy as our traditional cruise director picture. 

After this we went to the production show BRAVO which turned out to be the best cruise entertainment show we have ever seen. It was a production show about Broadway hits and other pop songs sang in a Broadway style. The singing, dancing and overall production of the show was incredible and we were both very impressed. If you are on ANY Princess ship and have the opportunity to see the production show BRAVO be sure to see it and get there early for a good seat. You will not be disappointed. After the show we were not really tired, or sleepy rather, so we walked around the Promenade and Lido decks before heading to bed around 11:30PM.

This show was phenomenal. It is a MUST see while aboard any Princess ship.

The Cast of BRAVO!

Our nightly chocolates on our pillows- I'm not even a fan of chocolate but I have to admin this was a NICE touch for Princess to add! 

Tomorrow is our last day at sea and our last day of rest, relaxation and freedom before the real world comes roaring its ugly head once again! We plan on doing a few activities listed in the Princess Patter but a LOT of resting and relaxing!

Next up… Sea Day #3 

Thanks for following along and I hope you find this blog helpful in planning your next Princess or even non-Princess cruise.

God is good… All the time.

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