Sunday, November 24, 2019

Sea Day, November 24

As the ship has turned and we’re making our way to the Strait of Hormuz
today’s sunrise, like last night's sunset, is also at the back of the ship.
Today’s blog post is more about some FYIs than anything else…

Today started just as every other sea day has. Early breakfast. Time on Promenade Deck. 

Sunning and swimming. Blog posting. Probably a nap. But today I had to add time to get ready for tomorrow. We’ll be in Abu Dhabi tomorrow and have a Princess shore excursion planned. We’re fond of hop on hop off tours so we have one booked.

Camera and phone charged? Check.
Tour tickets? Check.
Conservative clothing? Check.
Laptop charged? Check. (I’ve heard the terminal has WiFi so after our excursion I hope to get back out there.)
Passports and passport copies? Check.
Abu Dhabi immigration letter? Check.

A few days ago we received a questionnaire asking about our plans for Abu Dhabi.

Why did they need all this information? Because every person on this ship – passenger and crew members, excursion or not - is required to have a face to face meeting with immigration officials in the terminal tomorrow. If you don’t want to go into to Abu Dhabi and plan on just staying on the ship? Tough cookies. You still have to leave the ship to go through immigration in the morning. We were told at the Abu Dhabi immigration presentation it should take 1 minute to be processed. How much you want to bet the line itself will take 50 times as long? 

Some other immigration FYIs for this trip…
At the port in Civitavecchia at the beginning of this cruise, we had stickers placed on the back of the passports with our cabin number on them. We have a lot of countries this trip and lots of processing to be done with them so the cabin numbers helps make sure they get to and from the right place. Thankfully the ship takes care of most of our immigration processing, including our visa for Oman. (We did have to get our own visa for Sri Lanka which was super easy.) 

When we got to the cabin on embarkation day we received information about immigration in all of our upcoming ports. It spelled out clearly when we could keep our passports (Italy), when we needed to hand over our passports to the cabin steward so the ship could get them processed for immigration (Greece, Suez Canal/Egypt, and Jordan), when we were required to have a face-to-face meeting with immigration off the ship (Abu Dhabi), and what happened after turning them over to the UAE authorities. (They’d go back to the ship for processing in Oman, Sri Lanka, and Malaysia.)

Some other Princess excursions FYIs…
As tomorrow's hop on hop off company is contracting with the ship, the price you pay onshore independently is the same price Princess is charging. But if you had purchased the ticket online through the tour company you would have paid less. Now here’s another but...Princess has a price guarantee for their excursions. If you’ve booked a tour with Princess but find a lower price for that same exact excursion they will give you 110% of the difference in the form of onboard credit. Hop on hop off tours are easy to match online ahead of time and we did so for three different ports on this trip. We each received $20.63 for one tour, $5.39 each for another, and $7.04 each for another. It’s not a whole lot, but every little bit helps! (The paperwork for the price guarantee is easy to fill out. If you want to know more, let me know.)

Tonight is formal night and since Princess no longer is doing the balloon drop (for environmental reasons, of course) there is a Captain’s Farewell Party. Some folks will be leaving the ship in Dubai so the first leg of this cruise is almost over. So glad we’re sticking around for another one!