Tuesday, April 2, 2019

San Pedro, California

Today we docked in San Pedro. Not Long Beach and not Los Angeles. Even with the notification we received in our cabin last night about today’s actual port and pier, crew and passengers alike were confused. We had some flexible plans for both San Pedro and Long Beach so we were good either way.

We’ve been to San Pedro several times over. (We’ll even be back again next month.) It’s an embarkation port for Princess Cruises so if we’re going to Mexico or Hawaii with Princess we usually join the ship in San Pedro. We even join in San Pedro on some of the repositioning cruises like next month’s. On all our San Pedro visits we have a typical pre-cruise routine. Check into the hotel, hang at the pool, grab some dinner, get a good night’s sleep. Occasionally we arrive on a market day and we’ll head down to take a look and grab some food from one of the food stalls. We don’t do much else, but each time we wonder about a couple things.

1. Once we get onto the ship, we sit on the Promenade deck and look out at the walkway and benches across the water, wondering how to get there. We tell ourselves someday we’ll check it out. Well, that someday never, ever happens.

But it did today. We took a little jaunt over to the benches and got a different view of the ship.
Check that one off the list!

2. When leaving port, the ship traverses a canal. A canal that has this place along the waterfront where lots of people are gathered around tables. It always has looked like a fun place to hang but we never made our way there.

But we can check that off our list, too. We took a free hop-on, hop-off bus down to what's left of the Ports O' Call Village. That’s where we found the San Pedro Fish Market.

Fresh fish can be found there...

as can lunch and drinks. (Nonalcoholic for us.)

A day near the water in the sunshine? Yep.
Those two adventures took up most of our day. It was a great day.

It was also an introspective day for me. The encouraging word pockets I’m dropping in the Wake Show box aren’t making an appearance on the Wake Show. I talked to the cruise director last night about them just to be sure they are making it to him. (He’s the one on camera for the Wake Show.) They are getting to him, he knew after seeing them that I was back on the ship, but he's still not reading them. I’m still not sure he understands the purpose and importance of them. As I’ve told him before, I believe in my heart we can change the world through positive thoughts, words, and actions and we need to share those things as much as we can. I’ve been dropping them off with him in hopes he would read them and help spread the positivity and encouragement. I know not everyone is ready to, as today’s encouraging word pocket said, Spread love everywhere you go so I'm guessing he's not there yet.

Just when my frustration and disappointment wants to kick in because encouragement isn’t being shared around the ship (actually that could be a whole other story in itself), I made a difference on shore. After hearing an interaction between the hop-on, hop-off bus assistant and some not-so-pleasant cruise passengers, I gave the helper one that said, Always walk like you deserve to be right where you are. I saw the same helper later and she told me it made her day and she had even shown her boss. Clearly the encouraging word pockets make a difference in people’s lives. I just wish I could see a difference on the ship. (Okay, off my soapbox.)

Tomorrow we’re off to San Diego where we’ll head to hubby's San Diego Padres baseball game. He is so darn excited.

If you’re interested in what is happening all around the ship today, you can find it in the Patter right here.

Monday, April 1, 2019

Grand Princess in Santa Barbara

Hello from Santa Barbara!

Actually we’re technically anchored off the coast of Santa Barbara. While we do like Santa Barbara, we have a different priority today.

A crew member.

Like I mentioned yesterday, today is our bartender buddy’s last day on the ship so we are spending it with him. He is scheduled to work all day and into the evening so we scheduled our time so we could plant our bums on his barstools every moment he was there. It’s always hard to say goodbye to people we consider family.

While he was on break we hung out at the pool - all by ourselves. Unfortunately the pool has been drained since the first night but it actually works out better because it limits the number of people (and kids) hanging around it. 

Sun + warmth + a closed pool + everyone off the ship + screaming kids in the covered pool area = pure bliss.

Not much else to report from the day. This morning I watched the Wake Show to see if the cruise director mentioned the encouraging words money pocket. We were on with him in December and sometimes he read them off so I was anxious to see if he would. He didn't. (I do like when kind and positive words are spread, but oh well.) Tonight we have the Most Traveled Guest cocktail party  in the One5Lounge. Other than eating breakfast, hanging out at the bar, sitting in the sun, and heading to the Most Traveled party tonight we pretty much didn’t do anything else.

Tomorrow we’re off to San Pedro. Maybe. Or maybe Long Beach. San Pedro is usually the embarkation/disembarkation port for Princess Cruises. However, many times when it’s just a port stop (like with us tomorrow) the ship docks in Long Beach. But…
  • the San Pedro port schedule shows us in San Pedro.
  • But the itinerary showed only Los Angeles without a mention of San Pedro or Long Beach. 
  • But the itinerary in the first day’s Patter showed Long Beach.
  • But the excursion list show tours leaving from San Pedro.
  • But the crew says we’re docking in Long Beach.
  • But the ship announcements only mention Los Angeles.
So we have no idea where we’ll be tomorrow. It’s fine for us because we had some loosey-goosey plans anyway.

For those interested today's Patter can be found here

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Grand Princess CA Coastal Sea Day

We had quite a smooth ride last night. Sometimes the first day out of San Francisco we encounter some rough seas but not this time. Maybe we’ve been on ships too much to notice movement anymore? Maybe, but waking up in the night felt just like being at home. How much like home? When I turned over in the middle of the night I told hubby I thought the electric blanket had turned off. Oops.

I guess it makes sense to get home and the ship mixed up. At this point I’m not sure our home is our home or a cruise ship is our home. We were on this same ship four months ago and when we stepped on her yesterday it was like we never left. I really did think four long months away from cruising was going to give us enough of a break to make things seem new and different, but instead it was again the feeling of like we were coming home. We know our way around, we know some of the crew, we know what we like and what we want to do. We know where we like to store things in the cabin, which one of us is in charge of what, and who gets the bathroom first. We know to take the elevators up to get down, know when to turn our tunnel vision on, and know where to find the quietest seating at the buffet. (Speaking of the buffet, it was super-quiet last night. Plenty of empty tables, no screaming kids, and people using inside voices. It was so nice and relaxing.) 

I was trying to rack my brain to figure out something new we did in these last two days that we didn’t do before. I could only come up with a couple things 1. We switched out mini bar items for different ones than we usually do. 2. We went to the dining room for lunch two days in a row. If we were being honest I could probably add in a number 3. We had enough drinks to turn both our cheeks all rosy. Otherwise everything is the same. 

As usual, we:
  • got our Most Traveled Guest invitation. (It’ll be a cocktail party.)
  • booked another cruise for May. ($299 per person for a week in Alaska? Oh, yeah.)
  • skipped the $10 sale in the dining room.
  • didn’t go to the art auction.
  • skipped tonight’s formal night and Champagne Waterfall.
  • stayed away from the crazy pub lunch line.
  • dropped off the encouraging words money pockets around the ship and into the Wake Show box. 
  • hung out with our bartender buddy.
  • visited with our assistant waiter “son”.

Dang, we’re boring.  Actually, we feel calm, relaxed, and comfortable. Just the way we like it.

While nothing is new with us, the ship does have some new things. The Grand was in dry dock a couple weeks back and came away with a revamped hamburger/hot dog place. It’s now called The Salty Dog Grill and here’s the new menu:

The pizza place is also revamped and now called Slice. Here’s that new menu:

Mermaid’s Bar is now called The Mix. They don’t have any new signs up yet, but I did grab a picture of the bar menu they now have for all the bars out on deck.

The ship also has some new carpeting, upholstering, and new screens in preparation for the Medallion. The screens aren’t activated and we don’t have Medallions, but all mailboxes are gone.
One more new thing –on embarkation day at check in we were given this paper with all the locations for lunch. 
Usually on embarkation day the dining room is a nice, quieter place to eat. Now that everyone is giving that paper – with the dining room on the top of the list – the dining room was packed that first day. Like, really packed. There were very few empty tables in the whole place. It was loud and hectic and definitely not the relaxing experience it was in the past. Might as well go to the buffet if we want that kind of craziness. 

We’re off to Santa Barbara tomorrow, but we’ll be treating it as a sea day and staying on the ship. Our bartender buddy leaves for the home day after tomorrow so we are squeezing out every last minute with him that we can.

For those interested today's Patter can be found here

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Grand Princess Embarkation Day

You know it's going to be a good day when your favorite bartender makes you a purple concoction without you even asking.
 And a view of San Francisco on a beautiful day like this one?
Yep, it doesn't get better.

Only one bummer item so far today...since we were on this same ship a few short months ago in a cabin two doors down from this cruise's cabin we have the same cabin steward. The same cabin steward who was pretty dang bad last year.  I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt, but by the mess in the cabin we found when we arrived (an empty water bottle in the safe? hairs on the bed? sticky substance on the desk?) I don't know how much benefit of the doubt I should be giving him. 

Otherwise all is good with the world. A sea day is up tomorrow.

Today's Patter can be found here, for those interested. 

Grand Princess California Coastal Cruise

So where are we headed this time? Nothing too exciting, but hey, it's a cruise!
Map showing the port stops for Classic California Coast. For more details, refer to the disclaimer below and the itinerary port table on this page.
We've got a San Diego Padres game thrown in there, plan on getting some fish tacos in Ensenada, and ???

If you're looking for the Patters for the week you can find them here: