Thursday, August 30, 2018

Caribbean Princess in Cozumel

Hello from Cozumel!

Man, I love this itinerary and I love Cozumel. It's one of my favorite ports, for sure.

It was a pretty sail in.

We didn't get to dock right away. The current was strong and the Captain had to stop the process and attempt again. Cozumel is a port we've had problems with before with wind and cancelled excursions and multiple attempts at docking so we weren't too worried about hearing his announcement. One more crack at it and he had us in.

The worst part of Cozumel is the walk through the Dufry duty-free shop, of course. You must walk through the length of the entire store to get anywhere. (Although today they are doing construction in one end so it wasn't the whole store. Woo hoo!) If you're a crew member you get to bypass the store. If you're one of the first folks off the ship you can sometimes bypass it, too. When a ship first gets into port the store can't handle the hundreds of people all at once so they let you use the outside sidewalk. But soon the gate closes and you're stuck going through the store again.

If you are having to go through the store here are a few tips:
*Don't dawdle or you'll either have a crowd pushing you from behind on their way out the door or you'll have a store worker making a bee line to you to try and get you to make a purchase.
*Walk with a purpose
*Be prepared to say no more than once.
*Be ready to dodge the throngs of people making their way through.

But once you get through it is a bit better, but not totally. The folks working in the stores inside the port area will also be calling you over to buy again and again and again.

And one more thing to know about Cozumel - you must present your bags, backpacks and purses to the dogs to sniff. So don't bring fresh foods off the ship. You will be caught!

Cozumel is a port we've been to a lot. I mean A LOT. Enough where I even have a top 5 list for Cozumel. That list is here. Hubby's limitations keep him from experiencing everything the port has to offer but we have two things we do again and again that work for him.

Our first stop is always the Money Bar. Snorkeling for me and eating and drinking for hubby. (Their menu is here.) I spent several hours in the water today finding all kinds of things to look at. I wish I had a new underwater camera so I could share everything I saw. So amazing!

Instead you get two of my best photos of the day from Money Bar.
I'm planning on doing a separate write-up for Money Bar and their facilities for one of my Wanderlust Wednesdays so I won't add a ton of water and lounger and food pics yet.

Our other must-stop is Pancho's Backyard.  Their banana leaf wrapped tamales are to die for! All aboard wasn't until 8:30 tonight so we ate there for dinner. Unfortunately, the tamales we love were on their lunch menu. Darn. But we sure love being able to stay in port late and come back after dark.

The umpteenth perfect day.

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 restroom at the Money Bar.

Tomorrow is a sea day on our way back to Ft. Lauderdale. Boo hoo. So glad we have another week to go

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

If you're looking for Medallion Class™ and Ocean Medallion™ Updates on the Caribbean Princess for the week of August 25-September 1, 2018, here ya go!

August 31

I don't know why but the Medallion Internet is still letting me run two devices at once. So totally awesome! I can work so much more efficiently.

And the area beside the photo gallery is looking pretty darn nice.

Tomorrow a new cruise starts so it'll be interesting to hear the feedback from the new passengers.

August 30

My Medallion is consistently letting me into the cabin without having to place it up to the sensor. I'm so happy about that!

While right now it's a glorified cabin key, in the future the plan is to have it provide more timely cabin service for passengers. According to John Padgett, eventually the cabin steward will be able to see if you're on your way to the cabin or even if you're off the ship. You know those times when you show up to your cabin and the steward is still cleaning it? Well, with the Medallion the steward will know your proximity and be able to prioritize the cabins depending on your location. Interesting, huh? I'm not sure on the timeline for this feature.

August 29

We're not purchasing anything from the bar this trip, but one of the things we like about bar stewards and bartenders is how quickly they get to know you and know your preferences. When I met a few days ago with John Padgett, the Chief Experience and Innovation Officer for the Carnival Corporation (the guy heading up the Medallion experience) he mentioned one of the plusses of the Medallion will be the speeding up of the get-to-know-you back and forth with bartenders. It usually takes a couple days for them to get to know you and your drink preference, but with Medallion your drink preferences and photo and name will pop up on the bartender/bar steward's tablet. John said they will know who you are and what you like from day one.

It's worth mentioning this again too...I love this fast, unlimited Internet! We have a three ship-hop trip coming up in November and December (the Crown Princess, Royal Princess, and Grand Princess) and I am sure going to miss what we've experienced here.

But I do have a little fluke happening with my Internet login. A great fluke, for sure. The unlimited is one device per person. When you log into the second device, it boots you from the first device. But these last couple days it has been letting me keep the connection on both devices. Yay! With me uploading videos and doing the blog and uploading Princess Patters and photos as well as checking email (and with some of those things happening all at the same time) it just simply ROCKS for me. Hope it keeps up for me!

August 28

I can still get in my cabin without having to put my Medallion up to the sensor. Two days in a row. Yay! And last night I was able to use it on slot machines. The only place I can think of where I'm still using the key card is for getting on and off the ship. Otherwise it's all with the Medallion. The working Medallion. Progress!

We now have cabins on Lido, Riviera, Aloha, and Baja decks with Medallions. See a pattern? From the top on down. Caribe, you're up next. The roll-out is now happening mid-cruise for each deck instead of at embarkation. I'm sure it's saving time for them to be delivered to cabins instead of having the check-in folks on shore trying to explain them to passengers.

And a bit of construction news. Last night I was down at the construction section of Deck 7. Last week it looked like this:

Then this:
Now this. Screen are lit!
On it's way to look like this, right?
Nope. I talked to the contractors working on the area (nice guys, by the way) and they said there has been a change to the design. Instead of the blue background it will be changed to some type of big photo/picture background. They tell me I should be able to see the new design soon. 

August 27

It worked, it worked! When we came back to the ship I was able to get into my cabin without holding it up to the sensor. Lanyard around my neck, walked up to the door, and (surprise!)  it unlocked. Woo hoo! On other ships when there is a problem with the door lock someone is dispatched to come and look at it. But when I spoke with John Padgett over the weekend he shared that all the door issues can be handled off-site. They can even program how far away from the door you need to be for it to unlock. By default it's programmed to unlock when you are six feet away. But if you'd rather it be two feet away it can be adjusted for you. Amazing. Anyway, thank you to the person fixing my Medallion issue, wherever you were located!

August 26

One of the things I talked with John Padgett about yesterday was the construction happening in the area between the photo gallery and Club Fusion.

Last cruise the area looked like this:
And today it looks like this. Looking pretty fancy.
 Last cruise the wall opposite the windows by the photo gallery looked like this:
And now looks like this:
I was so excited to see something besides construction panels!

Those areas will eventually turn into this:
So here's what I (kind of) know about that area. Currently there is an app that can be downloaded onto your device called Play Ocean. 

On this app you can find casino-type games that can be played for free. It's my understanding that these newly installed screens in the photos shown above will also have these type of casino games available. Passengers will be able to play for free, and when the casino is open, be able to wager real money. A gaming experience without going into the casino. Sounds interesting.

Not so interesting is the problem I continue to have with my Medallion. I was hoping by now to be able to get into the cabin without having to place it up to the sensor. If you remember, I suspected it had to do with my titanium knees and shoulder screws. John Padgett said nope. So I've gone to wearing the lanyard (and boy, I dislike lanyards) to see if having it out and around my neck would help me open the door. I still have to hold it up to the sensor and rub it and hold it up again and wave it around before it recognizes me and unlocks the door.

But as soon as hubby comes down the hallway, BOOM, it unlocks! I spent a frustrating chunk of time at Passenger Services desk trying to explain the issue but to no avail. The gal kept asking if I needed the distance shortened, and I kept explaining I don't even have any kind of distance right now. I explained I have to place it on the sensor and hold it and move it to even get it to recognize me. In the end my name went on a list with other passengers with issues. I still can't figure out how it works great for hubby and sucks for me. No fair.

Yet it worked when I bought hubby two of the 2 for $20 tshirts. The gal did have to look at my card as well to confirm I was Elite and then manually enter the 10% discount before I could place the Medallion on the sensor.

August 25

Right now we have Lido, Riviera, and Aloha decks with the Medallions. Decks will continue to be rolled out one by one over the next few weeks. Currently we can use the Medallion to open our cabins, pay in the shops and bars, as well as wager with in the casino. (Those without Medallions can do the same, but just with the cruise card instead.) Soon, the Medallion will be able to be used for embarkation and disembarkation. They are working hard at making it a thoughtful and seamless roll-out so they aren't rushing to make it all happen at once. Stayed tuned and I'll get more info to you as the week goes along.