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Monday, August 20, 2018

Caribbean Princess Sea Day, Aug 20

Today was a relaxing sea day, especially for me. Loading up with Tylenol PM tackled the hives but also tackled my energy level. I've been spending the day going between the balcony and the bed. No better place to recoup, for sure!

Hubby is pretty much out and about most of the time. He's got a spring in his step and plenty of coffee in his belly. He comes back ever so often and reports things to me. He has been pretty frustrated with the lack of service in the buffet and the lines at Coffee and Cones. But then again, hubby is, as he calls it, "passionate" about things. (I call it something different, but whatever.) He did feel sorry for the guy having to work both the coffee part and the ice cream part with about 15 people in line. Clearly they were understaffed.

I did make it out of the cabin for some lunch. There were good choices today at the buffet. Just look at all the different pre-made sandwich selections.

 Hubby said the Moroccan lamb leg stuffed with fruits, nuts, and quinoa was quite tasty.
I went with a warm Cuban Sandwich that was pretty darn good.
A few things about the buffet:
  • You might as well grab your own drink before you sit down. Because if you are waiting for a server to take your order you're going to go thirsty. I timed it today and it was 20 minutes before I was approached about anything to drink. 
  • The station set up is nice in that you aren't being forced to enter one side of the buffet and exit out the other. But it also creates some problems having to do with cleanliness. There is no longer anyone standing there requiring you to use hand sanitizer. There are sinks and hand sanitizers a little ways away, but many folks just stroll on by and walk into the buffet. Ick. I've gotten into the habit these last couple years of cleaning my hands before and after going through the buffet. I certainly don't need anyone else's tong germs! Without having anyone monitoring the entrance I saw two more things today that I found a bit, uh, gross... a guy was eating watermelon inside the buffet. He was even leaning over and letting it drip onto the floor as he was biting into it. Another ick. And two women in their swimsuits with no coverups. So I guess we're now ok with dirty hands, eating next to the food, and swimsuits in the buffet. It's time for me to work on my tunnel vision again. Or for someone to monitor the situation inside the buffet area.
  • During breakfast and lunch, go to the back of the ship and eat in Planks or Steamers. In the evening there is a charge but not during the day. At breakfast Steamers has an omelette station and Planks has more buffet. At lunch today Steamers had ramen noodles and Planks Tex-Mex buffet. Plenty of empty seating back there as people assume they can't sit there. 

Medallion Class Update: First, thank you to the person who got me the I could copy. Otherwise, no new updates. Still a glorified cabin key. I talked to the steward about whether he could tell if we were in or out of the cabin based on where our Medallion was. He said they will be getting tablets at some point in the future and he'd be able to know that. As of now, the steward has nothing to do with the Medallion. Other than helping folks trying to get into their cabins.

Ocean View, the new on demand TV system is pretty nice. For someone who doesn't watch TV or go to the movies back home, it's nice for me to have so many choices to watch. And the Movies Under the Stars movie pops up the next day on the in-cabin system. While I didn't take photos of each of the movies and TV shows available, I did snap photos of each of the screens. Just in case you're interested.

Encouraging Words Money Pockets:
Today it will be dropped off somewhere in the Piazza before the Champagne Waterfall. So if you're on the ship and you come across it you'll know who it came from!

I've posted today's Princess Patter here. This will be the go-to spot for the Patters this week. I've also posted the room service menu there. And today's dining room menu is here. I can't guarantee I can get all the dining room menus as we don't eat there so I'm hoping someone else can fill in there for me.

Until St. Thomas.

Here are a few seconds of evening bliss:

Caribbean Princess Patters August 18-25, 2018

Patters and Paperwork for the Caribbean Princess
Eastern Caribbean sailing August 18-25, 2018

Day 1 Embarkation Day
Day 2 Princess Cays
Day 3 Sea Day
Day 4
Day 5
Day 6
Day 7
Disembarkation Day
Room Service Menu
Room Service Breakfast Door Tag

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Caribbean Princess in Princess Cays

Today should have been our walk to the end of Princess Cays so I could snorkel past the pavilion.
But hubby is a bit worried about walking so far and getting too tired and falling again. And I worry about going by myself because I don't have a snorkel buddy. He doesn't swim, he doesn't snorkel, but at least he is on shore and can alert anyone if I'm gone way, way too long. 

So we stayed on the ship today. And hung by the pool. Nice and quiet.
I got my swim on. But then I got something else.

Hives started on the inside of my arm. Went up my sides and down my legs. And they are itchy.
I haven't eaten anything I don't usually eat and haven't worn anything I don't usually wear. I figure it is from one of two things: the pool or the bathroom towels.

We have some new super-soft bathroom towels in the cabin. So new that the fuzz comes off on your body after showering. It could be there were still some latent chemicals in them that didn't yet wash out. Since I need some Benadryl, I guess I'll be using the Tylenol PM, too. (The PM kind has Benadryl in it.)

Not much else was accomplished today. I got myself dressed long enough to get to lunch and dinner but otherwise tending to my hives. I did run into a fellow blogger and her husband at lunch today and got to visit a bit. Her name is Vickie and you can find her blog full of posts about Princess cruises HERE. Hers is one of my go-tos when I want accurate information. (Side note on the buffet at dinner tonight - there was nothing at the carving station. Zip. Nada. Never seen that before.) 

Medallion update:
My hubby has decided he loves the Medallion because he can keep it in his pocket and it'll unlock the door for him. Still not for me. He checked out how to use it in the casino. At the cage there is a pad you can place the Medallion on a pad instead of swiping your card. At the slot machines you can either place your cruise card or Medallion up again the blue sensor instead of inserting it into the card reader. He said the cruise card was ready quickly but it took it a while to recognize the Medallion.

My take on the Medallion at this point? It's a glorified room key. 

Unfortunately our mailboxes outside the door are gone because of the Medallion screens. Cabin stewards are having to put the papers in the door handle or slide them under the door. I knew about this ahead of time so the day before we left home I whipped up a super quick little magnetic mailbox holder for our cabin door. I had started with pretty fabrics but then realized if it looked too good someone might take it. (Door decorations are known to disappear.) I went with something without visual appeal. It works and that's all that's important. The cabin steward seemed pleased to be able to just drop papers in it instead of having to balance them in door handle.

The Medallion Internet: 
MedallionNet is amazingly fast. I did a speed test and came up with some great numbers, especially for a cruise ship.
Best thing to come along on a ship since I don't know when.

Encouraging notes money pockets:
For the last several years I’ve been giving away dollar bills with notes of encouragement. (I did a tutorial on them last month. You can find that here, if you're interested.) I’ve left them in restrooms and airplane magazines and sugar containers. I’ve left them in windowsills and tip jars and hotel room drawers. I’ve left them on buses and taxis and trains. Sometimes I place one somewhere once a day and other days I drop them off multiple times.

Today's money pocket was dropped off in a sugar container in the buffet.
Princess Patter:
I was planning on posting menus, but they are no longer posted in the buffet area. I wasn't up to traipsing down to the dining room to snap photos today. Sorry about that.

I'm sure I'm forgetting something about today but my mind is more on scratching right now. If I think of something else I'll add it to the post later.

Tomorrow is a sea day and formal night.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Caribbean Princess Embarkation Day

You know about my Tutorial Tuesdays .
You know about my Wanderlust Wednesdays.
You know about my Cruise Ship Saturdays.

But did you know this particular Cruise Ship Saturday I am doing my writing from a cruise ship?

Yep, today we boarded the Caribbean Princess for our umpteenth cruise. We have a week of ports we've been to before, but a week of new things, too.

Hubby's recovering nicely. 24 hours of Tylenol PM and rest and ice and ice and more ice (thumb, knee, elbow, and that poor now-purple eye) made him feel well enough for us to walk to the pier this morning. We stayed at a hotel less than a mile away from Pier 2 so it was an easy walk.

Pier 2 at Port Everglades was updated last year with new decor. Unfortunately some of the folks working at the pier seemed to be in need of an upgrade on the information they were doling out. More than one contradicted something someone else had just said. It may be they were a bit frazzled having to explain every single thing to all the new cruisers. Hubby thought we needed t-shirts with some kind of saying on it. Something like, Hey, we're experienced cruisers. Leave us alone. Or We already know. Or We aren't stupid. 

Caribbean Princess is a Medallion Classship and our deck (Lido, also Riviera) are running the Medallions this week. We received the Medallions at check in along with our cruise cards and a lanyard.
 We also received some paperwork specific to the Medallion.
 And had a 2:00 meeting with John Padgett who is heading up the project. While the presentation wasn't all that informative, one of the staff stayed afterwards for some questions and that was a bit more helpful.  

Some things to know:
*This week Lido and Riviera decks are Medallion Class cabins. Next week (or even later this week) they will be adding Aloha and then Baja. The plan is for this ship to be the first one for full deployment.

*I've heard the term Ocean Medallion plenty, but they haven't used that word on this cruise so far. They are just using the term Medallion Class.

*There are 7,000-8,000 sensors around the ship.

*Medallions are completely optional. If you want to only use your cruise card it's completely fine.

*Your card can also be used in places the Medallion is used. For example, the shops have a machine you tap to pay. You can tap your Medallion or your card. Same for the casino. There are no longer spots to insert your cruise card in the slots.
We haven't ordered any drinks so I don't know if the bartender can call us by name before we ever order. We might check that out another day. Actually, the Medallions haven't done much for us yet. Here's a video of how it works (and doesn't work) when trying to get into our cabin.

Other things to know:
*MedallionNet is awesome. Fast and free for Platinum and Elite passengers (at least for now). 
*If you're not Platinum or Elite there is a Voyage package you can purchase. You have to buy it for the entire cruise and it evens out to $9.99 a day. If you need to purchase just a single day it is $19.99. Everyone who pre-purchased plans this week had to go to the Internet Cafe to get it added to their account. 
*Free wifi on Princess Cays for everyone. We will be there tomorrow so I'll check it out.

And a couple random things:
*Lifejackets for kids were available at the pool.

*We have an amazing cabin steward. He offered to change out our mini bar for us - that's the first time we've ever had that offer.

We're off to Princess Cays tomorrow.

If you're looking for the Princess Patter for today you can find it here.

Friday, August 17, 2018

A Ft. Lauderdale Un-Adventure

We got enough sleep on the plane to be ready to hit the town in Ft. Lauderdale. We had it all planned out. But plans don't always work out as expected.

Readers of the blog know hubby has cerebral palsy. He's not wheelchair bound, but he does walk with a limp. Most people assume he's had a stroke. He's slow moving but tries to go for a walk each day to keep things moving. He's had a good summer, and has even felt confident enough to venture around the block a time or two by himself. He hasn't had a fall in quite some time.

But that changed today. He made it through the Boise Airport and the Seattle Airport (and even down to 13 Coins). He made it through the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport. Yet at our last flight of the trip - on the way to baggage claim - is where things went awry.

Hubby fell and hit the floor. Hard. And it wasn't a carpeted floor, either. Hard linoleum with (I'm guessing) concrete underneath. When most people begin to fall they reach out to catch themselves or at least try and minimize the impact. But hubby has no use of his right side. There's no catching unless he's falling on his left side. Which he didn't.

Broken glasses. Jammed right thumb and swollen right elbow. Swollen left knee with a raspberry to boot. And the worst of all - a big nasty goose egg of a knot just above his right eyebrow. He's battered and bruised.

So our Ft. Lauderdale Adventure day turned into an un-adventure day. Instead, we checked into the hotel early, are icing body parts, popping some meds, and just taking it easy. I'm guessing we'll be ordering in tonight as he's in no shape to go anywhere.

It's times like these we know how lucky we are. We are so thankful we have this life. And we are thankful:
  • for the kind people around who always pitch in and help me get him up off the floor. It's a two person job as hubby can't help himself at all. 
  • he was wearing long pants. Last time he fell while traveling he had on shorts and really tore up his leg. Took months and months to heal.
  • he had brought a second pair of glasses.
  • I had packed some Tylenol PM in my medicine stash.
  • our room was ready for an early check-in. 
  • I had packed plenty of Ziploc bags which are coming in handy for icing.
  • things weren't worse. While he is pretty banged up, we know from experience how bad it could have been.

And we are ever-so-thankful each time we take a trip. We know each and every time it could be our last. We will keep a-goin' as long as the bodies and minds will allow us.

So if you see some guy limping on a cruise ship in the next few weeks that looks like he was in the latest Rocky sequel, it'll probably be hubby.

If you're interested, here's what our original plan was for today in Ft. Lauderdale. We had done it before and were planning on doing it again today:
*Stay at the Hilton Marina. Close by the cruise terminal and the Sun Trolley.
*Take the Sun Trolley to Ft. Lauderdale Beach.

*Head down the breezeway next to Bubba Gump's. Don't go to Bubba Gump's but instead grab a patio seat in that breezeway outside our favorite hole-in-the-wall bar, 5 O'Clock Charlies.
*Order a couple drinks.
*Get some food off their lunch menu.
*Then if we were still hungry we would head down the beach to Primanti Brothers for one of their over-the-top sandwiches.
That didn't happen today but we are feeling blessed nonetheless. Because tomorrow we are heading on a cruise ship for three weeks. Life is good.

A Pleasant Layover in Seattle

When we booked this Boise-Seattle-Dallas Fort Worth-Ft. Lauderdale flight we made sure we had a nice long layover in Seattle. We like Seattle a lot. Travel there several times a year, even. So any opportunity we have to have a flight take us through Seattle, we try and get a generous layover.

Our plan could have taken us to Pike Place Market to have delicious salmon croquettes at Lowell's, or to Ellenos to get some Greek Yogurt. If the Seattle Mariners had a home game (they didn't) we would have had enough time to get in several innings of a baseball game. We had enough of a layover we could have done at least one (even maybe two) of the things I have on my 5 things to do in Seattle list.

But we went with the simple, relaxing, non-rushed route instead.

We walked through the airport past all the Terminal C baggage claim carousels. And past the Terminal B baggage carousels and past the terminal A baggage carousels. All the way until we got to the door to the outside. From there we walked towards the scheduled shuttle service stops and the city bus stops.
We walked past all those buses and followed the sidewalk out from the airport area...
towards International Boulevard...
to where the entrance/exit of the airport and International Boulevard met. Our destination, 13 Coins restaurant, is just across the street.
It looks like it was a long walk, but it wasn't. I'm guessing from the outside door of the airport terminal to the restaurant was half a mile or so.

It was at 13 Coins where hubby had the most tasty spinach salad. Yeah, he kind of went overboard on the pepper.

And I had an even more delicious meat bites starter.

Prices were comparable to what we would have paid at the airport but so, so, so much better tasting than airport food!

After eating and walking back to the airport, we stopped at the section right inside the door. They have seating there, seating that includes rocking chairs. Hubby loves rocking chairs so we spent a good chunk of time with him rocking and me sitting with my feet up.

Definitely a nice way to spend 5 hours at the Seattle Tacoma Airport!

Here's the 13 Coins menu for future reference. Apologies for the blurriness. Not sure what happened there.