Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Grand Princess Sea Day

Hello from our last sea day of this cruise!

Well, the encouraging word money pockets made it to the Wake Show today. All seven of them were read aloud, and I found out that the dollars will be going to charity. Double score! I’m going to continue adding one each day to their comment box for this upcoming cruise as well.

Tomorrow we’ll be back in San Francisco and we will find a new bunch of cruisers showing up. There are only 20 of us in transit passengers staying on for the next voyage. I do believe that’s one of the smallest numbers we’ve seen. We originally were planning on heading home tomorrow, too. But when we realized that once we got home we’d have to shovel snow and get groceries and Christmas shop and wrap presents and put up our tree and then take it down two weeks later it all just didn’t seem worth the effort. We’re basically skipping the pre-Christmas junk this year. As long as we’re home for Christmas day (per our daughter’s orders) that’s all that matters.

As for blogging during this last cruise of the year, I think I’ll be skipping it. I’m calling it a Christmas present to myself. I spent way too much time this past year blogging live from the ships. It takes more time than you could imagine making sure I had experiences to share, searching out answers to readers’ questions, writing informative posts, and taking photos other cruisers would find of interest. While I loved every minute of it (well, most every minute of it) I’m desperately in need of a cruise where I can relax and enjoy it as a cruiser and not as a writer, reporter, blogger, or photographer. (Thanks, slow Grand Princess internet, for making that decision an easier one.)

However, if anything new or exciting comes up I’ll come back here and write about it. I will also do an end of the year wrap up sometime next week. I’ve already started on that post and let me just say this: Oh. My. Goodness. What a year of travel it was.

Just to give you an idea, here are the numbers I’ve figured so far:
11 cruises
7 different ships
90 nights at sea
12 flights
19 hotels
7 National Parks
2 NASCAR races
2 Major League Baseball games
3 road trips

Whew. Like I said, more to come on that in the next week.

Tomorrow we have San Francisco, then three sea days on our way back to Puerto Vallarta, Manzanillo, Mazatlán, and Cabo San Lucas. Then two sea days, a day in San Francisco, then home to cold and snowy Boise, Idaho. As said in Frosty the Snowman...busy, busy, busy.

For me that’ll mean busy being a cruiser, not busy being a blogger. At least for 10 days. See you soon.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Grand Princess Sea Day

We have a sea day today so it’ll give me a chance to share more about the ship:
  • Crafting sessions are held twice a day when at sea. They did do one crating session (quilling) while we were in Puerto Vallarta but it had a slim turnout so was repeated twice again today with much better participation. So far all craft sessions have been in Sabatini’s.
  • The bar staff is a bit stressed at the moment and their stress level will only get worse. They have been undergoing training this week in preparation for the bar menu changing next cruise. It’s a huge change. New cocktails are being introduced and new alcohols will be found some of the standard drinks. Wines are changing, too. Bar staff aren’t quite sure how they will be balancing (and storing) old stock and new stock at the same time. It’ll be an adjustment for passengers and personnel alike. 
  • The ship is looking old. Like I’ve said before, furnishings are worn and carpets are badly stained. The calking in the cabin and public bathrooms is looking pretty black, almost mold-ish looking. And just the other day at the pool I noticed dozens and dozens of missing tiles. It’s like they have just given up on deep cleaning and repairs. I’m guessing they are waiting for dry dock (which is several months away), but some of these things could have been better maintained than this.
  • I’ve been dropping off the encouraging word money pocket each and every day in the Wake Show comment box. It was mentioned once on the Wake Show early on in the cruise but I haven’t heard a word since. Just like every other one I place somewhere, I hope the person who needs the encouragement in that very moment is the one finding them.
  • I heard that on the Sapphire Princess unused internet minutes weren’t rolling over on back to back cruises. I checked with the internet manager here on this ship and was told they would not roll over for us, either. She even said it was always that way – you lose your unused minutes. Uh, no. We’ve done plenty of back to backs and have found they usually roll over automatically. Only when I pushed a bit about losing so many minutes did she agree to adjust it for us. Once the next cruise begins we will have to visit her again and she will add the minutes to our new cruise, but only if we had, in her words, “a significant number of unused minutes”. I don’t know what she is considering significant. 30 minutes? 100 minutes? I’m not sure if this is a new policy Princess is implementing or not, but it could potentially be a big pain. Since the internet sucks so bad on this ship, it could be an even bigger pain over the next week for me. I already blew through my allotment in the first few days of this cruise so hubby has graciously allowed me to tap into his minutes today to be able to publish this blog post. If we don’t keep a “significant” number of minutes to roll over, there may be no blog posts next week. And no photos uploaded for the rest of this cruise, for sure.
  • They are still showing holiday movies on channel 27. We’ve watched several so far, most with titles that escape me. White Christmas must be a singalong version because when the songs begin, the lyrics pop up on the screen. 
  • This morning we saw dining room waiters marching through buffet cheering with pompoms, dressed in sleeveless tuxedo tops and shorts. It looked like some kind of party but we didn’t figure it out until later. There was an interdepartmental tug of war competition at the pool today. I was at the craft class and missed it but it looked like it was going to be a fun activity to watch. Next cruise, I guess.
  • As we’ve been leaving port, they’ve had live music on the Horizon Terrace at the back of deck 14. It’s nice to have that as a secondary sail away celebration location.
One more sea day tomorrow!