Saturday, February 8, 2020

Royal Princess Sea Day

Yet another beautiful day, albeit one with some marine layer clouds floating around.
Unfortunately we thought our plan of spending the day basking in the sunshine on our balcony wasn't going pan out like we'd thought. Today was balcony maintenance so we wouldn't have access for a chunk of the day. We were instructed to keep our curtains drawn and our doors locked, and the dividers between all the balconies were opened. 
When someone tells you the Royal Class ships
have narrow balconies you can believe them. 
So we spent extra time on the Horizon Court Terrace. You know we loved this quiet outside spot in Alaska and we love it here off the coast of California. Fresh air, ocean views, and very few other people.
But step through the doors and you'll be confronted with this kind of crowd.
These two pictures were taken at the same time today. Huge difference, right? If you're looking for peace and quiet, head outside instead. (But shh...don't tell anyone else about it.)

We also wandered the halls looking at the 49ers decors. E liked this one the best. Being a big time sports guy, I think he probably wishes we had a door looking like this one.

I was pleasantly surprised to find the balcony was washed down and the dividers put back in place by 10:30 am. Woo hoo. Sunshine on my shoulders, here I come! But brr, was it cold. Since I couldn't shirk responsibilities like I did yesterday (which, by the way, felt so darn awesome) I stayed in the warmer cabin and spent a chunk of the day on the computer. I have my next Cruising with Confidence class coming up on March 2 and needed to get moving on revamping it. 
Only four spots left! Class is full. Waiting list is available.
Tomorrow we're off to Ensenada, Mexico. We were supposed to be in port with the Grand Princess and treat one of our dearest crew member friends to some food and drink and have some great conversation. But the Grand had to turn around and go back to Honolulu to disembark a sick passenger so they are now heading straight to San Francisco instead of making the way to Ensenada. We're so totally bummed.

We may instead take a walk down to the fish market and grabs some tacos at one of the places nearby. Or we might not. One thing to rule out is the balcony. We got yet another notice telling us tomorrow the balcony will again be unavailable because of another round of maintenance. Two balcony maintenance days in a four day cruise? Seems weird to me.

Flexibility might just have to be my middle name.

Friday, February 7, 2020

Royal Princess in Catalina

As we saw it, we had two choices today.

Take a tender AKA water shuttle into the town of Avalon on the island of Catalina.
Walk a ways to the Mexican restaurant.
Spend 60 or so dollars for some food and a couple drinks.
Do some people watching.
Walk back to the dock.
Take a tender AKA water shuttle back to the ship.


Sit on the balcony where one of us gets this view from a chair.
 And the other person gets this view from their chair.
With both people sitting in the warm sunshine, out of the wind, getting a nice big dose of Vitamin D. Since it is winter, the sun was in the southern part of the sky and was shining on the balcony all day long.

Where we could grab a taco salad and chips and beans for lunch. Add that to a quesadilla off the kids room service menu and we had free Mexican food.

Couple it with free drinks. No Captain's Circle parties on short cruises = one free drink voucher per person.
Instead of people watching, throw in some people listening. You'd be surprised the conversations you overhear from surrounding balconies when you sit quietly in the warm California sunshine. 

Then take a little nap with the sunshine splashing across the foot of your bed as you breathe fresh air and doze off to the sound of the water lapping against the side of the ship.
We've been to Catalina many times before and really have done all we need to do there. (Other than eat.) So of course, we chose B.

It was absolutely blissful. Couldn't have asked for a better day on a cruise ship, for sure. It's the great thing about cruising - you can do as little or as much as you want. And boy, did we do little today.

Tomorrow is a sea day and I have no idea what our plans are yet. If we had a repeat of today I'd be just fine with it. 

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Embarkation Day - Royal Princess Cruise to Catalina

Our first cruise is a short one. Off to Catalina, throw in a sea day, find our way to Ensenada, and back to San Pedro.

I realized last night I really am ready for this. Ready to leave the crap on TV behind. The junk on the Internet behind. Leave the world behind and live a joyous life, free of negative distractions. 

But not so fast getting away from the Coronavirus concern. For the first time in many years, at embarkation we had to fill out a health questionnaire. This one is specific to the new virus. 
Other than the extra paperwork, so far we haven't heard or seen anything any different than the typical precautions. 

Now let's talk about that joyous life onboard. 

I tried a little experiment at embarkation this time. If you remember, each time when we checked in with our Medallions in Vancouver, Canada and Whittier, Alaska, and even here in San Pedro, California I wrote about how long the lines were for the passengers who already had their Medallions. I think each time I even swore I would never pre-order my Medallion again. Finally this time I did it. (Or, should I say, didn't do it?) We showed up at port with our boarding passes instead of Medallions in hand. And the result of the experiment? A joyous success! It was super easy and super quick to get our Medallions at the port - with no lines whatsoever. In fact, the person at the check in counter told us he tells his family and friends not to order theirs either. That it's faster to wait and get them at the port. And he was right. So from now on in San Pedro I will not be ordering those Medallions ahead of time. (Boy, I like being right.)

Just as fast as picking up our Medallions was our wait in the Elite boarding lounge. The seating area was practically empty. Boarding started just a few minutes after 11 and was so quiet and calm with so few Elites boarding. I don't know how it turned out later, but our group was just AWESOME and so different than we've seen it here before.

Some options upon boarding:
Need to drop your carry-ons? They've got a place for that.
The best part of today's joyous life came right after boarding when I was in my swimsuit and in the Retreat Pool before 11:30. I am not passing up a chance to swim on a cruise ship in a deserted pool. While the water was quite chilly, I did enough laps to get my blood pumping and warm me up a bit. 
Mine. All mine.
After a chunk of swimming and sunning we decided to grab a bite to eat in the dining room. Scored a table for two right before they closed. Yay us.

Decided to head to our cabin for a bit to check on our luggage. 
Couldn't get an elevator up or down as they were so very packed. (Sapphire Princess, where are you when we need you?) 
Walked down the stairs to deck five so we could get an elevator going up from there. Ran into this crazy line at the Internet Cafe. Oh my. Glad I'm not in it.

Received a letter congratulating us on being one of the Most Traveled Passengers on this voyage. As there is no Most Traveled Guest party of this trip we are receiving a meal in one of the specialty dining restaurants. Sabatini's, we're happily coming for you tomorrow night.

Couldn't figure out why there were so many people dressed in San Francisco 49ers gear. 
Found out this is a 49ers fan cruise. They have players on board, autograph signings, special shows and dinners. Only those purchasing the special group cruise package are participating so we'll miss out. They sure are a happy bunch of 300+. 
Lots and lots of these signs on doors. I think it's the 49ers group.
Tonight we went to the Elite Lounge for the first time in forever. Our bar steward buddy is working there this cruise so it's about the only time we'll get to see him. 
Deep Sea Martini. Pretty and yummy. Happy, happy, joy, joy.
Platinum/Elite/Suite Drink Menu
Dinner was the buffet, as usual. The nice thing about these short cruises is folks typically go to the dining room instead. It held true for this cruise, too. The buffet was empty. Love it.
Mongolian Buffet anyone? No lines tonight.
But it wouldn't be a cruise without one non-pleasant thing happening. During Muster Drill we had two little kids from the same family throwing tantrums. Screaming and crying and more screaming and crying. It lasted most of the drill with no parent or staff intervention. So on this ship we now have a whole slew of cruisers who have no idea what to do in case of an emergency because they couldn't hear a thing. Please - if your children are disrupting others from listening to something super-important like Muster Drill, please remove them. Somebody - or a whole bunch of somebody's - lives could depend on it.

Tomorrow we'll be in Catalina, a whole 26 miles from San Pedro. We'll be meandering our way there. May even get some circling in. Our plan was to go ashore and grab some Mexican food and drinks at the restaurant we always go to. But E's just as happy staying onboard. Plus, we're on the Royal Princess who has Mexican food onboard every day. And we have our bar steward buddy working the Elite Lounge where the drinks on the list are only $6.50 during the lounge hours. So it looks like we'll be staying onboard, saving our money, and hopefully spending the day at the Retreat pool. We shall see.

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Off We Go Again

I had no intention of sitting in an airport hotel by LAX right now.

After our amazing month-long cruise on the Sapphire Princess, I was quite content to come home and stay home for a bit. I wanted that cruise to stick in my memory for a while. I wanted to remember the friendly passengers and relaxed atmosphere. The adventurous ports and eye-opening learnings. The empty elevators and quiet pools.

But yet here we go again.

It started with the schedule E pulled out around Christmas time. The baseball schedule. (Seriously, who talks baseball in December? He does.) He was willing to give up a trip to San Diego and another one to New York to make a February Arizona baseball trip happen. And if the man wants a baseball game, you can bet I'm going to try and squeeze a cruise out of the same trip. While I would have preferred Hawaii or the Caribbean, the one he was most comfortable with (meaning less rough water and fewer flights) was one to Mexico. Since we don't do just one cruise, we had to tack on another. And another.

Guess it wound up being good timing on our part. Because wouldn’t you know it, a few minutes before we left for the airport this morning the snow started coming down. Hard and fast. We were more than happy to skedaddle at that point.
The view out the airplane window.
After de-icing. Yep, still snowing.
So after a Boise to Phoenix to LAX flight, (don't think I didn't consider leaving him behind in Phoenix!) here we are, spending the night in an airport hotel before making our way to the cruise port tomorrow. We're heading back to the Royal Princess for a while before we're off to Arizona for Mr. E's baseball trip.

I probably won’t sleep much tonight but I will be back tomorrow from the Royal Princess!

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Valentine's Day Heart Candy Pouches DIY Craft Project - Tutorial Tuesday

Make Homemade Personalized Candy and Treat Bag Cards for Valentine's Day

Today we are making personalized homemade Valentine's Day candy and treat bags. A fun handmade sewing and crafting project idea for Valentine's Day!
Homemade Personalized Valentine's Day Candy and Treat Bag Cards

Looking for more Valentine-themed projects?

For this project you will need:
Disclosure: Deb's Days is a participant in affiliate advertising programs designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to affiliated sites. This means that, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you click through and make a purchase. Your purchase helps support my work in bringing you new sewing and crafting content.

Looking for something else? 
Check out some of my other Valentine's Day sewing and crafting projects!

Ready to learn how to make them? You can find the how-to step by step tutorial video for the Valentine's Day heart candy and treat bags right here: