Sunday, November 4, 2018

Livorno and Pisa, Italy

We purposely scheduled an afternoon tour for today so we could sleep in and sleep in we did. Boy, we slept last night. As soon as I hammered out yesterday's blog post on my phone I went back to the cabin and took some Tylenol PM and was sound asleep by 7 pm. Other than a couple nighttime bathroom trips, I didn't wake up until this morning when room service called to see if they could switch out our mini bar. (Hmmm...privacy sign on the door has room service calling to ask if they can come in, but on Caribbean Princess the privacy sign on a door meant the ladies on the balcony next to us could keep smoking on their balcony undisturbed. Seems there is a bit of inconsistency in policy there if you ask me.)

By the time hubby got dressed (he's a super slow dresser) we barely had enough time to grab his coffee at Coffee & Cones and make it to the buffet before breakfast was over. Something to know about Coffee & Cones - they don't have regular coffee there, only specialty coffees. And something to know about the buffet - they don't replenish food when it's getting close to the end.

Since we weren't sure how we'd be feeling after Rome we waited until we got onboard yesterday before booking this tour. We decided we needed easy so we chose the trolley tour of Pisa. Knowing we won't ever get back to Italy we needed to see the Leaning Tower of Pisa. And needed very little walking. This is the first time hubby has used a cane and he is having a hard time getting used to it.

Livorno is a working port and you can't just walk off and do your own thing right from the terminal.
Today we had a Looney Tunes ship nearby.
You must take a shuttle to get out of the port area. It costs 5 euros for the round trip ride. Since we had a purchased tour we didn't need the shuttle as it picked us up at the terminal. I use the word "terminal" but it's more like a warehouse from the outside.
We were picked up outside the terminal/warehouse and rode the coach for the half hour ride to Pisa. That is where we were transferred to the trolley for a ride to a restaurant for some snacks. Coffee ice cream and choice of beverage. Red or white wine, water or soda. (If you wanted to purchase an extra bottle of water it was one euro.) Restrooms were free for our group.
Look at the size of the lemons!
There were a few minutes to shop in their gift shop before heading on a walking tour. The walking tour was optional and some stayed behind. We joined the tour for a little while but then decided we weren't sheep and peeled off from the group, took some photos, and headed back to the meet-up spot to sit and wait.
From one side it almost looks straight.
Nope. It really is the Leaning Tower of Pisa!

We then all boarded a trolley for a little tour of Pisa. While the tour description from Princess didn't match our actual tour today, it was still a good day and we had spectacular weather. Our trolley wasn't open air so the pictures aren't perfect. But still a beautiful city.
Beautiful sunset on the way back to the ship.
The terminal had free wifi so once we got back to the ship I grabbed my computer and headed back out  to get to work. All aboard is at 6:30 and with the tour arriving back at 5ish I had to get busy fast Thanks for your patience as I work at adding pictures back in for yesterday's post today. I don't like not being able to add photos as I go but that's how it looks like it'll need to work this trip. Again, thanks for your patience.

Off to France tomorrow!

Found out the number of Platinum and Elite passengers on this ship: 1700! Whew.

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Crown Princess Transatlantic Cruise, Embarkation Day

When we got out of the car at the port today I only had one thing to say to my hubby. 

I didn't know we were driving on the Autobahn. 

Our driver, the one the Princess rep at the hotel recommended, was a speed demon. At one point I glanced at the speedometer and saw he was driving 150 kilometers per hour. I do believe that equates to around 90 miles an hour. And he spent most of the time on his cell phone. And for a while it was raining hard. But we made it to the port with no injuries to us, any pedestrians or animals, and no vehicle damage. So I guess it was a good day. 

And now I can say hello from the Crown Princess!  We have two weeks ahead of us on the ship. 

Our Itinerary

Embarkation was super fast. Pull up to the port, hand off the luggage, walk into the new terminal, go through security, head to check in and board the ship.
Beautiful view from the ship.
We had a Superman ship nearby.
There are 800 in transit passengers so the lines were short, the buffet was relatively empty, and muster drill seating was plentiful.

Speaking of muster, they dismisssed the rows one by one. We've seen that on some but not all of the other Princess ships. But this one was a bit strange. Usually when ships dismiss row by row disabled passengers are allowed to leave first. Not here. Disabled passengers were the last to be dismisssd. Hubby and I were the very last ones allowed to leave the theater. I'm not sure how that will work in a real emergency. And yet again at this muster drill we had people on their phones and tablets during the entire drill. Guess some folks just won't take it seriously until someone gets hurt. Muster personnel try to stop them but finally give up. We've also already seen someone vaping on deck with no concern from the crew. Like so many things, rules aren't really rules but merely suggestions.

A couple other things of note...
There is no Elite line at the Passenger Services Desk. Probably too many this cruise. My card wouldn't work so I was in that wonderfully long line. Also, the evening Platinum/Elite/Suite lounge has been moved to Club Fusion to handle the extra Elite load.

There are more kids on this cruise than I thought there would be. Maybe I am noticing them more because they are loud. We had a screamer at Passenger Sevices and a crier in the buffet.

Guess who I ran into at the buffet? None other than Vickie from Vickie and Bernie Travel. Nice to see her right off the bat.

I won't be posting the Princess Patters this time around as we have several sea days and a limited number of Internet minutes. Need the officers? Here ya go:
Pictures will also be few and far between as well until we get some good on-land internet. I'll add pictures back in as I go along.

Right now we're sitting on Promenade deck waiting to push off. What do we have on tap tomorrow? How about the Leaning Tower of Pisa?! See you then!