Monday, April 4, 2016

This isn't Your Granddaddy's Cruise... Oh Wait, It Is- Sea Day #3

Anniversary Cruise 2016- Caribbean Princess

Free as the Wind Blows 

Sea Day #3 

Saturday, March 19, 2016

It seems like the past 6 days have come and gone by so fast and we are already on our 7th and last day of this cruise. The theme of this entire cruise has been rest and relaxation and today would be no different. We did not want to be tied down with schedules and events but rather just sit back and enjoy our time together. We were as “Free as the Wind Blows”.

We had another restful night’s sleep and slept in until nearly 8AM. Chris quickly got up to jog as we wanted to make the morning interdenominational church service. I went to the aft to do my quiet time and reflect on the cruise thus far and give praises to my Lord for His continued blessings. We decided to meet at the breakfast buffet since our time was shortened since we slept later than we wanted to. I was able to somewhat “reserve” us chairs in the aft under a shaded area for our return after the church service by placing beach towels and magazines on them. I know this is frowned upon but I was still feeling my sunburn and really needed some shade coverage and we were only going to be gone less than an hour so figured it would be OK.

We went to the church service which was hosted by our Cruise Director, Lee C.. This was something TOTALLY different for us as we have never been to a church service, or even seen a service offered, on a cruise ship. The service began with the lovely hymn “In the Garden”. Lee did a fantastic job of bringing a sermon based off the “Hebrews Hall of Fame” as he called it where he brought to our attention the faith of biblical characters such as Abraham and Noah. The service ended with “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms”. Those of you that know me know that my family and I are VERY faithful at our Baptist Church. But even after going to church on a ritual/ routine Sunday basis, I really felt like I needed that sermon (from a cruise director nonetheless) at that moment and time. Isn't it just amazing how God can speak to us even when we least expect it! Thank You Lord for these words!

Preach it brother!

Chris and I did find the interdenominational part of the service to be interesting as after the prayer Lee said “AMEN” and us Baptists took that as a cue to sit down and then we realized everyone else was still standing up. I guess that is just a Baptist thing! The service itself was very well done and very classy. This was a definite “point for Princess and we thoroughly enjoyed it. Plus we were finally able to get our picture with the actual cruise director.

Our traditional Cruise Director picture with Lee C. of the Caribbean Princess!

After the service we went back to the aft to see if our chairs were still available and much to our surprise they were. We sat in the upper 16th deck in the shade watching the wake go by and seeing storm clouds forming near us. Soon an announcement came on from the bridge warning us about rain and very strong winds. Soon everyone cleared out from the aft decks and the deck attendants even came and pulled up the deck chairs. We waited a little while but soon enough the winds were so strong and the heavy rain came so we ran inside quickly.

A view from my deck chair around 10:00AM. 

The clouds were just gorgeous! 

The Captain did a great job of trying to steer away from the storm! 

If you have ever been on a cruise where it rains you know that the inside of the ship gets real crowded REAL quick. Now all 3,500 passengers were trying to crowd into inner parts of the ship. We wanted to go on the tour of the galley so we went to the opening part of this which was a cooking demonstration. This was held in the Princess Theater which I thought, at the time, was too big of a location but since the rain kept people inside this theater was nearly full with guests. The head chef and Maitre’D cooked some Italian pasta and wonderful seafood which was followed by the head Pastry chef making a Black Forest cake. This was a delightfully entertaining demonstration and we enjoyed it very much. If you enjoy learning about cooking, be sure to attend this.

Thomas, the head chef, was hilarious! 

We really enjoyed watching him cook but only wish we could have tasted his dishes!
Carnival offers cooking demos where you can actually taste what they cook! 

Once the Head Pastry chef arrived it became even more funny! 

Shortly after that we got in line for the Galley Tour which started at the theater and went back to the actual Galley on deck 5. We ended up being one of the 1st groups to get through the Galley which turned out to be a huge blessing. In all reality the Galley Tour was more of a “walk-thru” as it was literally just 40-50 feet in the galley. This was not the extensive tour we have taken on Royal Caribbean but it was neat nonetheless.

The beginning of the Galley Tour. 

I really loved all of the pastry creations they made throughout the cruise!

Some gorgeous melon creations! 

Cake was one thing they never really offered so as good as this looked... All I wanted was to EAT IT! 

More of the melon creations. 

This was the pastry side of the galley and we saw many chefs (over 10) working on ALL of the pastries on board. 

After this tour ended we were already in the Island Dining Room so I decided to check out the “Outlet Sale” featuring lots of items from the boutique shops on board. This sale featured lots of clothes and t-shirts as well as common souvenirs like magnets, pens, coffee cups and more. If you shop for these things on a cruise be sure to wait until the last sea day for the best deals.

It was now after 12PM so we headed up to the Lido deck for a light lunch of Pizza. The rain and storms had blown by and while the deck was wet, it was not miserable. Oddly enough, when we got to the Prego Pizza, it was not crowded at all and they had just taken a pizza out of the oven. This became my downfall of the cruise and easily the best “Non MDR” food of this cruise and perhaps some of the best ever on any cruise ship. We took our pizza and found 2 chairs in the shade and enjoyed the quietness of the Lido deck for as long as we could.

The calm BEFORE the storm... 

We began to notice the deck attendants bringing the deck chairs back since the rain had passed so we hurried to the aft to see if any chairs were available. The attendants had not made it back that far yet so Chris took matters into his own hands and got us our own deck chairs and we took them up to deck 16 where we spent the next 4+ hours in the shade just resting and relaxing as much as we could before this glorious cruise was over.  The storm had passed but it brought with it MUCH cooler temperatures and crazy “Oklahoma” style wind. We had to go back to the room and change clothes and get hoodies and even socks. We spent those 4 hours tucked into beach towels but it was worth it.

The wind was CRAZY!

We wanted to be sure and enjoy our evening so we opted for an early dinner so we went back to the room around 4:30PM to get ready for dinner. We had brought 2 bottles of wine on board and oddly enough still had 1 bottle left so we opened it and took it with us to dinner. Princess, like Carnival, mandates a corkage fee if you open your bottle of wine in the Dining Room. However; you can open the wine yourself in your room and take the wine with you to dinner without having to pay a fee. Royal Caribbean took away their corkage fee completely in early 2015 and we like the way they do it MUCH better. Either way, we had our favorite wine and enjoyed our last dinner at sea. 

Coincidentally I had only eaten seafood as my main entree so I wanted to be sure I ordered red meat at this meal. Unfortunately, the meatloaf was not as good as I would have hoped. I guess I should have just stuck with the seafood! During our dinner the waiters and Maitre’D did a parade of the Nations and Parade of “Baked Alaska” which as a lot of fun. Not the singing and dancing you would see on Carnival but we enjoyed it. They usually do this on the last night of the cruise around 6:45PM so be sure to plan your dinner around this!

This meatloaf was interesting... I was not a fan! 

Parade of Nations and typical napkin waving!

We loved Cecilio and Melissa! Our best waiters to date!

After dinner we headed towards the Promenade deck to watch the sunset again but the winds were so strong that we were not able to go outside. By the time we got up to the Lido deck the ship was swaying so bad we felt like we were back on the MAGIC during Tropical Storm Bill. The swimming pools were a good example of how much the boat was swaying. We enjoyed our PERFECT calm seas the previous days so we were due to feel minor waves. Not only was the wind crazy but the temperatures had dropped at least 20 degrees from the afternoon. It was COLD! We only stayed outside for about 20 minutes before going back inside to the warmth.

Our night ended with live music in the Explorers Lounge and Flag Trivia in Club Fusion. Once again, we did not do as well as we would have hoped in this trivia but it was fun and FAST! We went back to the room and finalized our packing. Since we were walking off we did not have to place our bags outside our room but we wanted to get it all organized before morning. We went to the last show with Steve Moris and it was much better than his previous show and we enjoyed him very much. We were back in our room and sound asleep by 11:30PM.

Tomorrow… It’s back to the Real World!

Thanks for following along,.. I hope you have been able to get some tips, tricks and great info to help you plan your next cruise vacation!

God is good…All the time! 

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