Friday, September 21, 2018

The Friday 15

15 more are gone!

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

5 Things to do in Ketchikan, Alaska

It's Wanderlust Wednesday! Since Idaho has welcomed us home from our month-long Caribbean cruise with fall-like temperatures, let's talk about another location with cooler weather, Ketchikan, Alaska. 


Since Ketchikan is one of the most southernmost cities in Alaska, it's usually the first port of call for northbound cruise ships. Ketchikan has been dubbed the Rain Capital of Alaska. We've been to Ketchikan over a dozen times and have been lucky with the weather. But rain or shine, there is plenty to do in port.

1. Take in a lumberjack show. Lots of strength and skill on display with a hefty dose of audience participation. The cheering and rooting kind, not the axe-throwing kind.

2. Ketchikan has the largest collection of totem poles in the world so visit one of the totem pole parks. There are several to choose from. Depending on the park you may be able to do a self-guided tour, enter a clan house, view carving in action, or watch Native dancers.

3. A seaplane to Misty Fjords National Monument provides plenty of opportunities for oohs and aahs. Flights are weather-dependent.

4. Visit Creek Street. The historic boardwalk was a Red Light District during the Gold Rush.You'll find shopping, food, and salmon-watching spots along the way.

5. Ketchikan is also known as the Salmon Capital of the World, so head out to catch your limit. The fish are abundant so there is no need to go into deep, churning ocean waters. And the fishing charters work with a local cannery to process your fish and send them back home for you.

Look at the pretty salmon we had shipped home.

Enjoy Ketchikan!

If you'd rather watch the video, you can that version of the post here:

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Tutorial Tuesday - Lobster and Stingray Towel Animals

Our cabin steward Smit is up with two more towels animals this week.

A lobster and a stingray. Enjoy!

Monday, September 17, 2018

Caribbean Princess in Nassau

Hello from Nassau!

I know many cruisers don't like getting off the ship in Nassau. The hawkers and hustlers can make it not a fun experience. I totally get that. They are pushy and today I think they were even worse than our past visits. But we put our heads down and pushed our way through them to get to a new spot for us, the Bearded Clam.

We like the Wet Lizard bar in Belize, so it only made sense to go to another bar owned by the same person. We started out with drinks, of course. A Wet Lizard (on the left) and on the right a, um, uh...Monkey F***er in a color changing cup.
Hubby had a nice, spicy jalapeno burger.
It was empty in the morning but got super busy as the day went on. The place had a good vibe and it was a great place to people watch. And they hand out permanent markers so you can add your own graffiti to the walls and tables.
They had interesting names for their menu items.

They also had free wi-fi. Can't ask for a better last day to a 31-day long cruise.

Back to Fort Lauderdale tomorrow and then a flight home to Idaho. I'll do a trip wrap-up on Saturday as part of my Cruise Ship Saturday series. If you're interested in following along with our next adventure, I'll be starting another "live from" at the end of next month. Our cruising year is far from over!

Medallion™ Update:
To make the progression of the roll-out more clear I've grouped the posts by week. You can find today's post here.

Want to see how we got here with the Medallion? I started on Caribbean Princess back on August 18. Check it out:


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

Encouraging Words Money Pocket Drop Off:
Left somewhere in Vines.

As usual, if you have any questions or comments, please click on the envelope icon at the top right of this screen.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Caribbean Princess Sea Day, Sept 16

Hubby is an International Cafe guy. When on the ship a Red Eye is his choice. An espresso with regular coffee, just as strong as can be. But he does hear (and see) lots of specialty coffees being ordered. Salted Caramel Mocha Frappuccino. Iced Skinny Cinnamon Dolce Latte. Caramel Macchiato Frappe. And passengers get frustrated by the order they receive.

More than likely your specialty coffee won’t taste like the one you usually get at your local coffee shop at home. The baristas in the International Cafe may have been internationally trained in Italy, France, Europe, or the Philippines. They follow ship recipes, not the big chain coffee house recipes. Remember, the word “International” is in the name of the ship’s cafe for a reason.

For the best service and highest likelihood of your order being accurate, don’t stand in the long line at the counter. The lines are about speed and getting you in and out. If you have a somewhat-complicated beverage, have a seat. The server in the area will take your order and clarify what you are asking for. Ask for a to-go cup (sometimes called a take-away cup) if you need to grab and go. And if you’d like to sit and stay awhile you might be lucky enough to learn about life in Montenegro, Romania, Peru, or the Phillipines from your server.

And remember...at the International Cafe all coffees and teas – both plain and specialty – carry a cost. (If you want a free regular cup of coffee head to the dining room or buffet.) Since most people like one or more coffee beverages a day, many people choose to purchase a coffee package. For one price it entitles you to a certain number of specialty coffees and teas per cruise. Previously, paper punched cards were issued. However, Princess is transitioning to an electronic system where the package is loaded onto your cruise card. You can still pay per beverage if you’d rather not purchase a package.

Baristas can show off their skills when it's not too busy.

Tonight is formal night and the balloon drop. We'll be in bed long before the balloons fall, but here is a video that Amela (one of the dears working in the International Cafe) filmed for us last week. Take a look if you're interested. Thanks, Amela!

And thanks to our talented cabin steward who graced us with another towel animal today. This time a little bird in her nest.
Off to Nassau tomorrow. Last port stop of our trip.
Tonight's sunset from Lido deck.

Medallion™ Update:
To make the progression of the roll-out more clear I've grouped the posts by week. You can find today's post here.

Want to see how we got here with the Medallion? I started on Caribbean Princess back on August 18. Check it out:
Sept 1-8 updates can be found here.
August 25-Sept 1 updates can found here.
August 18-25 updates can be found here.


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

Encouraging Words Money Pocket Drop Off:
Left somewhere in Crooners.


As usual, if you have any questions or comments, please click on the envelope icon at the top right of this screen.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Caribbean Princess in Grand Turk

Hello from my favorite cruise port beach in the world, Grand Turk!

How can you not love a beach when you walk off the ship and see this? And to be the only ship in port? Oh, yeah! But we didn't get to see the beautiful water shown in this picture I took years back.

Grand Turk, along with the other islands in the Caribbean, are having a big issue with sargassum this year. So today when we walked off the ship, this is the color of water we were greeted with instead.

Instead of this...
We got this...
So yeah, it was really bad. I'm so very thankful we've been there when the sea grass hasn't been an issue. I didn't swim today; I didn't snorkel. I just took some photos and headed back to the ship, knowing the pristine Grand Turk we know and love will be waiting for us another day on another trip.
Grand Turk at its finest. Just not today.
The remainder of the day was spent on sleep (and more sleep) and catching up on the on-demand movies. I don't watch TV or go to the movies at home so I have a lot of catching up to do. Hubby is feeling a bit better so he's out and about around the ship again so I can have some much needed alone time.

Not going out in port meant we had to eat back on the ship. Yet we've had it with the horrible service in the buffet. It's unfortunate the service is so dreadful as the new menu is quite good. I don't know if the problem lies with the crew working the tables, the one supervising them, or the management. But it's the worst we've ever seen on a Princess ship. We've been here on this ship going on a month now and it has been a consistent problem. Something has to change or we won't be coming back, Medallion or not. Some people are buffet people and some aren't. The buffet is something that best fits our needs when cruising so it's important that it's a good experience for us. Now that's it. I'm done talking about the buffet service.

A few more hodgepodge items:
  • I talked to our steward about why the sheets on the twin bed configuration slip off so much easier than with the queen bed setup. The queen beds (which are really the twin beds pushed together) have a mattress topper on them. The twin beds just have a mattress protector which is a bit slick, which in turn makes the sheets slide around more.
  • The first couple weeks of this trip we had an insert in the Patter called The Crave. It listed all the food venues, hours, and special food item times like for the Tex-Mex buffet or Ramen station. Here is a copy I uploaded last month. This week The Crave has disappeared. I'm guessing they received feedback that people weren't reading it? 
  • We received our 20% goodwill credit for the itinerary change due to Hurricane Issac. I'm betting our 20% was the smallest credit issued to anyone on the ship - hubby and I each received a whopping $67.60. (Yeah, we paid only $338 for this last minute 10 day cruise. Crazy, right?) It can be applied to a future cruise or existing booking not yet paid in full. We have a December Grand Princess cruise hitting the final payment date next week so we will apply it to that one.
Tomorrow is a sea day, our last sea day of our 31 day long cruise on the Caribbean Princess. It's almost over.

Medallion™ Update:
To make the progression of the roll-out more clear I've grouped the posts by week. You can find today's post here.

Want to see how we got here with the Medallion? I started on Caribbean Princess back on August 18. 
Check it out:
Sept 1-8 updates can be found here.
August 25-Sept 1 updates can found here.
August 18-25 updates can be found here.

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

Encouraging Words Money Pocket Drop Off:
Somewhere on deck 5, of course.

As usual, if you have any questions or comments, please click on the envelope icon at the top right of this screen.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Caribbean Princess in Amber Cove, Dominican Republic

Hello from Amber Cove! First time in the Dominican Republic for us. Woo hoo! We love visiting places we've been to multiple times and we also like exploring new places. But hubby is still down and had to stay on the ship so I didn't venture far by myself. I did wander around the port area.


I sure wish I had worn my swimsuit. While there is no beach nearby, pools in the port area were just gorgeous.
With plenty of empty seats. 

I grabbed some lunch at the Coco Cana Lounge. Here is their menu.

For someone who wanted to spend a whole bunch of money (like over $1000) they had overwater bungalows. The water didn't look that clear, though.

And for those needing a ride to or from the ship, they had plenty of pedicabs. Drivers work for tips.

Tomorrow we are off to the best cruise port beach in the world, Grand Turk. 

Medallion™ Update:
To make the progression of the roll-out more clear I've grouped the posts by week. You can find today's post here.

Want to see how we got here? I started on Caribbean Princess back on August 18. 
Check it out:
Sept 1-8 updates can be found here.
August 25-Sept 1 updates can found here.
August 18-25 updates can be found here.

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

Encouraging Words Money Pocket Drop Off:
I ran out of labels earlier this week and today I completely ran out of pockets. So I jotted a note on the pad from our cabin and used the dollar bill from the cruise ship origami tutorial last week and left it at the Coco Cana Lounge in port.

As usual, if you have any questions or comments, please click on the envelope icon at the top right of this screen.