Monday, August 27, 2018

Caribbean Princess, Grand Cayman

Hello from Grand Cayman!

Grand Cayman is a tender port. In some ports the ship may not be able to dock at the pier. The channel may not be deep enough for the ship or the piers could be full with other ships. The ship instead anchors offshore. Passengers are then shuttled back and forth from ship to shore in tenders. The boats used to tender are typically the ship’s lifeboats and in some cases, local boats. Here is a view from Carnival's tendering today. Ours was similar.

Tendering can be a bit of a hassle but in Grand Cayman it is totally worth it.

After having been to Grand Cayman several times we've finally whittled it down. While there are many activities I would recommend for a first-timer, for us Grand Cayman now only means three things:

1. Snorkeling
The walk to the Paradise Seaside Grill is an easy one. The tender drops off at the buildings to the left and we just need to walk to the building on the right.
Look for the blue and green restaurant with the green roof (that's Paradise) and the snorkeling entrance is under the Marine Park Entrance sign. 

The view for the non-snorkelers (like hubby) is nice.

But for the snorkelers the view is even better. Apologies, my underwater camera hasn't been replaced yet but I did get a photo of the huge tarpon in the area. They look scary to snorkel with - some are more than five feet long - but they are harmless.

There are plenty of fish around, a set of cement steps with a railing, and a ladder as well.

You don't have to eat at the restaurant to use the snorkeling area. We always do, though. Here's their menu.

2. Cigar Shopping
While I wouldn't put this on my list, for hubby it's an absolute must. He watches me snorkel, drinks, and eats. And chews on a cigar. He stops at a cigar bar on the way to the restaurant and spends his day chewing on that nasty, gross thing. It's about his only vice and he only partakes when we travel. However, he never smokes it. Whew.

Today his favorite cigar shop was closed for renovations. See the green sign on the door? It won't be open again until September 17.
We did eventually find another shop for him.

3. Cayman Punch
I can't get back onto the tender and head back to the ship without stopping at the Green Parrot Bar & Grill. They make a mean Cayman Punch. Mostly rum and a little bit of punch. We sit there and wait for the line for the tender to go down before we get into it. It can be a long line!
Why not sit and wait with a nice, tasty drink in your hand...

and wait for a new tender to arrive. We won't be getting in line until this one pushes off from the dock.

Medallion™ Update:
I've combined my updates to make the progression of the roll-out more clear. 

August 18-25 updates can be found here.
August 25-Sept 1 updates can found here. 
Sept 1-8 updates can be found here.

Encouraging Word Money Pocket Drop Off:
Left in the sugar container at the Paradise restaurant.

Tomorrow we're off to Roatan and hubby is planning on some redemption. Stay tuned.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Caribbean Princess Sea Day, August 26

We've spent enough years dressing up for work that now when we're traveling we dress casually. Which means most of our meals are in casual dining areas on the ship. The buffet on the Caribbean Princess has had a makeover and is now called the World Fresh Marketplace. We can always find something tasty there. Hubby loves the ramen noodle station at lunch (offered most days) and the salad offerings at both lunch and dinner. They've really stepped up their game in the variety of foods available.
Pasta bar
But where they haven't stepped up their game is in the service department. As a little experiment I've been timing how long it takes a server to come over to offer us drinks. The times have ranged from six minutes to a whopping 20 minutes. Today I got lucky and for the first time in these two cruises someone offered drinks right away. She delivered them and we never saw her again the rest of the meal, and no refill from anyone else, either. At least we got something right away so I guess we just have to be happy with baby steps.

But they need more than baby steps in the handwashing/hand sanitizing department. People walk right by the sinks and dispensers and right into the buffet. The sinks aren't exactly welcoming. Water all over and paper towels overflowing. And no one around monitoring the situation. No wonder people don't stop and clean their hands.

Then there are the people inside the buffet. Today there was a gal in front of me who placed french fries on her plate, picked some up and ate them, licked her fingers and then grabbed the tongs for the fried mushrooms. Seriously? Even if I wanted fried mushrooms I wouldn't have touched those tongs after her. But just think of all the other people I don't see who are doing the same thing. Makes a person not want to eat in the buffet. But without those fancy clothes (and with tonight being formal night) there aren't a lot of options.

Today we found a new option, though. In all our cruises we've never taken advantage of one of the perks Princess offers their Elite passengers, afternoon tea delivered to your cabin. We ordered for two, but what they brought was enough for more than two for sure.

Oh, my.

Medallion™ Update:
I've combined my updates to make the progression of the roll-out more clear. 

August 18-25 updates can be found here.
August 25-Sept 1 updates can found here. 
Sept 1-8 updates can be found here.

A side note about the staff at the Passenger Services desk: they need medals for patience. They have to deal with so many passengers wanting so many different things, and some of those passengers are pretty darn demanding. I don't know how the staff can keep plugging along after some of the treatment they receive.

Encouraging Word Money Pocket Drop:
We left two today. One in the dining room at breakfast and one in the sugar container at our afternoon tea.

Tomorrow we will be in one of my favorite ports for nearby snorkeling and drinks at the dock. Grand Cayman.
Another beautiful sunset

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