Thursday, May 25, 2023

A Couple More Days at Sea

Another couple warm sea days again found me either out by the pool or on the balcony. 

Since we'll be heading north tomorrow I'm taking advantage of every bit of warmth I can get. I even was around to see the ice carving demonstration, something we stopped going to long ago.

ice carving by the pool on Princess cruises

Since we're ending our first cruise tomorrow I thought I'd give a little wrap up of things I've seen so far. First, while cruising is back and ships are full, in many ways it isn't the same as it was before Covid. We saw it on the Royal Princess and I'm seeing it here on the Island. While the crew has been great as always, there just aren't enough of them to go around. While it hasn't impacted my experience too much, as a longtime cruiser I do notice it. 

The Medallion experience: The Internet has been pretty decent so far, but the Medallion ordering system is problematic. It seems to be one of the biggest service issues, especially for those with drink packages. Even with my little dinky room service orders I'm having a heck of a time. Again and again the app tells me the order has been delivered. A couple nights ago it took three phone calls over almost two hours for the order I placed on the app to be delivered. 

Speaking of room service…Every single order (except the pizza) has arrived cold - and many times wrong. How can an app order for a hot dog with mustard show up as a cold hot dog covered in salsa with pickles on it? According to crew delivering orders, the coldness has to do with where my cabin is. There is no bellbox for food preparation on this deck so it has to run through another deck and those orders are delivered first. (Pizza is picked up at a different location so it is still warm when it’s delivered.) As for the incorrectness of the orders? Who knows. I even had a hard time getting my mini bar and the bottled water package I ordered before the trip. It took multiple calls over multiple days to finally get any beverages in the cabin. I've hoarded some of my waters and Diet Cokes in case I wind up beverage-less in my new cabin.

The Buffet: It's where I eat all my meals and has been great. They are happy to see me in the early morning and are most helpful in carrying my plate while I'm scootering around. The breakfast chef lets me know when the second side is open and once he even went and ordered my omelet for me. Food choices throughout the day have been great as well and each night they have a theme like Italian, Bavarian, Brazilian, and French. While I don't like pasta, I do like that the crew member running the pasta station gives me some of his tasty garlic cloves for my meat. And the person running the carving station always makes sure I have the best of what he's cutting. Albeit sometimes he gives me way too much!
prime rib with garlic and horseradish on Princess cruises
Both guys went overboard on portions.
I must have looked hungry!
Passengers on board: As this is a longer sailing and falls during the time of year kids are just finishing up school the age skews older. Lots of canes, walkers, wheelchairs, and scooters (me included), but there are a couple little girls (under 5 maybe?) and a couple teenage boys but no other kids that I've seen. The ship feels full with 2,087 people onboard so once we get the third and fourth berths filled and everyone is crammed inside because of the cold I'm sure it'll feel over-filled.

My Cabin: I figured out the reason my balcony feels so big is because it is the actual Promenade deck. Crazy to think we used to walk in this space years ago when we were on this ship. You can even see the outline of the previous windows.
There is some vibration in here, and clearly the previous guests took it upon themselves to address some noise issues.
All kinds of papers shoved in the metal piece in the ceiling
A wheelchair accessible cabin where you can't 
get out to the balcony but you can get back in?!
Accessibility: The age of this ship definitely shows when it comes to heavy doors and high thresholds. It's tough to get around the ship and in and out of the spaces. I've learned to get off the scooter, open the door, pull the scooter through until I'm clear and then climb back on. Sometimes a crew member is in the area and will hold the door, and most passengers are helpful as well, but it's those other times that have turned the outside of my lower leg black and blue from bumping the scooter and doors as I try and drag it through. I say most passengers because there have been a few instances where they just watch me struggle with it and wait until I'm done so they can use the door.

Movies Under the Stars: The screen definitely needs some panels replaced

but it hasn’t stopped me from being out there - even in the rain.
Tonight’s rainy feature

Covid or something like it: The first part of the cruise I only saw two other couples wearing masks, but this second part of the cruise the number has increased. Yesterday and today a few crew are wearing them as well. Passengers onboard right now are coughing and sneezing all over the place. If you remember a few days ago I accidentally ran into the Covid wing on deck 8. I had someone tell me yesterday they ran into a row of tables on deck 10. Then today I heard from another they have several near their cabin, too. I don’t know how many we’re talking in quarantine, but I’d guess at least 25% of passengers are sick and still running around the ship pretending they aren’t. I’m spending all my time outside but even with that it’s getting more difficult to not be downwind from a cougher or sneezer. 
This morning’s sunrise

Tomorrow we're in Fort Lauderdale for turnaround day. Several us on staying on for the next leg but most are heading home. If the weather holds out (no rain, please!) I'll get off the ship early and head to the post office to mail off the box of coffee to hubs, stop by Publix to stock up on some supplies, and maybe even make a visit to Ross or grab some lunch. Or not. Then back to the ship where I'll head to a new cabin. It’s a special one.