Saturday, September 29, 2018

World Fresh Marketplace Buffet on the Caribbean Princess


It's Cruise Ship Saturday and today we're talking about one of the updated buffets on on a Princess cruise ship. There has been lots of chatter about the new buffet on the Caribbean Princess. While it's not as amazing as the Royal and Regal Princess, the menu is still pretty innovative. Having spent a month on the ship it was nice to have something new and different to eat. It was also nice to have several food stations to choose from. Being able to avoid the cafeteria-type line on a cruise ship is always a plus for us!

Chicken, lamb, soups and hot sandwiches, chips and quesadillas.
Pasta bar, Ramen station, salads and smores.
Cold sandwiches and a section just for cheeses.
They also have cereal and milk 24/7 for those folks (like hubby) who likes it for a before-bedtime snack.

Seating areas have been updated. If we could climb onto those tall chairs we'd be picking those seats all the time. Who wouldn't want a straight view out to the ocean?
World Fresh Marketplace is currently only available on the Caribbean Princess.

Ocean Medallion™ on Princess Cruises

Check out the progress of the Ocean Medallion™ on Princess Cruises here. Click on the photos or videos to find out more!

Here are the newest updates from 2019:



From 2018:

Friday, September 28, 2018

The Friday 15

15 more out the door! Can't wait until the end of the year when I can add up all the things we've gotten rid of since January. It's a lot. Not as much as I would like to get rid of, but it looks like another good year for downsizing.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Maho Beach, St. Maarten

It's Wanderlust Wednesday and today we're talking about Maho Beach on the island of St. Maarten.


You may have seen photos and videos of people standing on a beach with planes flying right overhead. That beach would be Maho Beach. Princess Juliana International Airport, on the Dutch side of the island of St. Maarten, borders the beach. Only a narrow two-lane road separates the beach from the runway.
The end of the runway comes with a warning.

Unfortunately, not everyone listens. There are plenty of people who purposely run underneath the planes. If you are standing on the beach when a large plane arrives or departs, you're guaranteed to be sandblasted. We prefer keeping at a safe distance. Our preference is to hang out at a nearby bar with food and drink while we watch both planes and people.

It's difficult to tell how low the plane will be flying.
Until it gets closer. 
And is right on top of you. 

And the smaller planes? Scary close.  

After Hurricane Irma the flights have been greatly diminished. However, afternoon is still the best time to arrive if you want to watch the airport's coming and goings. If you hang out at the Sunset Beach Bar you can check their surfboard for arrival times so you aren't spending all afternoon searching the skies.
Maho Beach is about a 20 minute taxi ride away from the cruise port. Plan on spending your morning elsewhere and be sure to hit Maho in the afternoon.

Just be sure to stay safely out of the jet blast.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Tutorial Tuesday - Scrap Fabric Trivet Project

It's Tutorial Tuesday and today's project is a trivet. It's made with fabric strips and a cotton clothesline.

Looking for more sewing and crafting projects? 
Click here to see all my tutorials!


In addition to your regular sewing supplies, for the project you will need:
*1" wide fabric strips. I had a pile of scraps to use up so mine were all different lengths and designs.
*Glue stick

You can find the video tutorial of this project here:

While my patterns, templates, and videos are absolutely free, if you feel so inclined please consider a donation for their use. Every little bit helps! Your donation helps support the blog and allows me to continue to provide free content to crafters and cruisers all around the world.  

Rather not donate? No worries - go ahead and use them for free! If you do donate, thank you for your support!

Monday, September 24, 2018

Yummy Monday - Orozco's Restaurant in San Juan, Puerto Rico


When we visit San Juan there is one restaurant we hit up for breakfast, lunch, and dinner every single time.

Orozco's.

Located in the Condado Beach area, it's an easy walk from some of the nearby hotels. It's also close to the bus stop so wherever you are in San Juan you can make your way there. Believe me, it's worth it. They are right on Ashford Ave.

Their specialties are numerous.

*Mofongo, made with mashed plantains. Trifongo made with mashed green plantains, sweet plantains, and cassaba. Throw in some meat - pork, chicken, beef, octopus and more - and you've got yourself a filling and tasty meal. (Sorry, no picture - we ate it before grabbing the camera.)

*A Cubano Sandwich full of meats and cheese and pickles on delicious crusty bread.
*Their homemade hot sauce rocks. It kicks everything up a notch. Just look at the spices in there! My mouth drools just looking at it.

Then there is the tres leches cake, white or chocolate. Oh. My. Goodness. Both are amazing. Occasionally they have some other special flavors that are just as yummy.

Unfortunately, since Hurricane Maria they've reduced their hours. No more breakfast is served and they are closed on Wednesdays.

But if you are in San Juan (not on a Wednesday) and are looking for a great meal for lunch or dinner, check out Orozco's!

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Medallion Class™ and Ocean Medallion™ Updates on the Caribbean Princess

Today the video covers the Medallion Class™ and Ocean Medallion™ Updates on the Caribbean Princess from August 18 to September 18, 2018.




FREE First Time Cruiser EBook September 22-23

As a reward to all those following along with my travels this year, I'm offering my Cruising with Confidence eBook for free on Amazon this weekend. Click on the book below on September 22 or 23 and it's yours for free!
If you like it and have the time, if you could please leave a kind review I'd certainly appreciate it. 

Month-Long Caribbean Princess Cruise Wrap-Up


Whew. 31 days consecutive days on the same cruise ship. It was something we've never done before and something we will ABSOLUTELY do again. From the day we stepped on the ship on August 18 until we left the ship on September 18 we visited 11 different places, with a few of them several times. (Sorry, the elementary teacher in me just had to put them in alphabetical order.)
  • Amber Cove, Dominican Republic
  • Belize
  • Cozumel, Mexico
  • Ft. Lauderdale (x5)
  • Grand Cayman
  • Grand Turk
  • Nassau, Bahamas
  • Princess Cays, Bahamas (x2)
  • Roatan, Honduras
  • St. Maarten (x2)
  • St. Thomas (x3)
  • San Juan, Puerto Rico
It's hard to decide what day was the best. Was it Orient Beach in St. Maarten? Being in San Juan again? Eating and drinking at the Smoking Rooster in St. Thomas not one time or two times, but three times? Going snorkeling in Grand Cayman? Or being able to come to the ship after dark in Cozumel? Was it the naughty menu in Nassau? The beautiful pool in Amber Cove? Knowing where to find the less-busy part of the beach in Roatan? Or finding out the bartender we love at 5 O'Clock Charlie's in Ft. Lauderdale had been keeping one my the encouraging word money pockets from a long time ago in her wallet?

Couldn't tell you. There were so many perfect days. For a last-minute (and cheap) trip we couldn't have asked for anything better. (Although we certainly could have skipped hubby's two falls. He's still not put back together.) I couldn't even tell you what the favorite thing I drank or ate was. Even my favorite picture can't be whittled down to one.

What did we not like? After 31 days on a ship it would be hard to not find something that sticks in your craw. We came away with two things.
     1. Passenger behavior. The ladies who kept smoking on the balcony next to us and also left dirty towels and dishes near our door. And the couple at the most traveled guest party who harshly and loudly ripped into the pastry chef for a lengthy amount of time.
     2. Certain crew members working the seating area of the buffet. Consistently nonchalant, non-engaging, kinda-sorta going through the motions of doing their jobs. They proved that sometimes a job is just a job and that working for Princess doesn't mean it's always about providing passengers with a good onboard experience.

And what did we like on the ship? All the rest of the crew.
  • Smit, our cabin steward on Lido deck. Best cabin steward ever.
  • Joseph, the cabin steward on Baja for the last leg of our cruise. He and Smit teamed up on the towel animal demonstration. So talented.
  • The vibe in International Cafe. Alexa ran a tight team, but had fun along the way. Dancing, singing, and super service. Also kudos to the ladies and gentlemen who took good care of hubby every day. Who had enough patience to listen to his stupid jokes over and over and over.
  • The Salty Dog Grill chef (he was so much more than just a hamburger flipper!) from Sri Lanka. Talented, friendly, and knew how to cook up special burgers.
  • The bartenders at The Mix. We didn't drink on the ship, but they were just as friendly and fun to hubby every time he stopped by to get a glass of ice water.
  • The officers we visited with at the most traveled guest parties. We're very fortunate to always have good conversations with these folks.
  • Whoever kept sending us fresh flowers. We suspect we know who it was so thank you for sending them to us three times over.
  • The chefs of the new buffet, the World Fresh Marketplace, for being innovative in their approach to buffet food. We know it's a work in progress but we did appreciate having something new and different to eat. And I sure loved having items already divided up into cardboard food trays. It made it easy to grab and go without having to touch the tongs.
  • And I've said this before, but a big shout out goes to John Padgett, the Chief Experience and Innovation Officer for the Carnival Corporation (the guy heading up the Medallion experience) for allowing me insight into the inner workings of the Medallion roll-out process and for the support given me as I worked at delivering an honest account of my experiences on the ship. And thank you for allowing me access to the team - from Vicki and Francois to Korli and Andrew. All of you have been extremely helpful and supportive as I've asked my dozens and dozens (and dozens) of questions. I hope you've found my coverage fair and factual. 
Speaking of the Medallion roll-out, when I looked back at my photos I realized I saw and learned A LOT. Want to see the progression of the roll-out over the full month?

I did a wrap-up video of the Medallion here. 

Check out the other weekly updates:

I hope you've enjoyed tagging along on my month of cruise ship living. I'll be starting up again in a few weeks, so stay tuned.

Now, as a reward for following along with my travels, I'm offering my Cruising with Confidence eBook for free on Amazon this weekend. Click on the book below on September 22 or 23 and it's yours for free!
If you like it and have the time, if you could please leave a kind review I'd certainly appreciate it. 

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

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.