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Princess always has great sailaway parties, and Crown Princess kept up the tradition.  A live band always make it more festive, and they had a terrific one.  Tickets were given out to all who danced, and of course we were right in there!  They did a few line dances and a few freestyle.  There was a small group dancing, but more dancing than watching, which is unusual.  I was the first one to win a bottle of champagne when they drew the tickets, so that was a fun start to the cruise.
The next day was a sea day and so many activities the day flew by.  It was cloudy and cool, not many people in the pools.  We do all the dance classes for exercise.  This cruise they had party line dances, country line dances, cha cha, merengue, rhumba and jive.  Oh, and I took a tap dance class, minus the taps, while he did a golf putting contest. Princess offers free Zumba classes, but they were too early for us!  We seem to be out late and sleep in.  The cruise director’s staff did a terrific job on all the activities. A big thank you to Andrew,  Alex, Maddy, Sasha, Bernie, Kim and DJ.  Billy Hygate was the cruise director and we had some conversations when he had a few minutes free.

We like late dining so we don’t have to rush from a shore excursion or other activities in late afternoon to get ready for dinner.  We had a table for 2 in an alcove with another table for 2, and we enjoyed their company.  There are always other options besides the main dining room like the buffet, two specialty restaurants, room service and the International Cafe.  Also pool grill and pizza.  Pizza on Princess has been rated number one at sea several times.

Our first port will be San Francisco.  It has been along time since we have been there and we don’t have big plans this time.  This is a relaxing, restful cruise for us.

Eddie’s turn for festivities!

We boarded Crown Princess for a California Coastal cruise in late September.  It was our first cruise on this ship.  About 40 years ago, we drove from Las Vegas to San Diego and up past San Francisco in an RV. This time we did it in style; no cooking or cleaning, just relaxing and having fun.

Crown is an elegant ship  with a beautiful atrium area that they call Piazza.  There are several pools and hot tubs, lots of bars and lounges and places to eat.  We especially like Crooners Bar as it is  good for people watching.  They have delightful olive trays with huge olives stuffed with blue cheese, almonds, and other goodies.  There are cooking demos near it and martini making classes, napkin folding, and a great trio kept us entertained.  The International Cafe is in the Piazza and is open 24 hours.  They serve pastries, sandwiches, salads, desserts and fresh-baked cookies in the afternoon.  We had a balcony cabin on deck 10, which has bigger balconies that are half covered and half open.  There are small differences in ships even in the same class, and this one had plenty of storage space for 7 days.  Sotero was our terrific cabin steward and took good care of us.  Princess still puts a chocolate on your pillow at night, and it is a nice touch. They no longer have assistant cabin stewards except on turnover days, and he had 18 cabins to take care of.   All crew members work hard, but cabin stewards have an extra-hard job.

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This post disappeared when we lost our server, so this is a second try. What a fun afternoon we had at the Red Dog Saloon in Juneau.  Thanks, Chuck!  The piano player was a blast, and we were all singing along.  He had us yell “look who’s here!” when people would come in. Sometimes they waved and found a place to sit, but a lot of times they just left.  Seats did not stay empty long. The Glacier margaritas were delicious as was the reindeer sausage pizza.  It’s always good to sample local specialties.

St Maarten/St Martin is an interesting island.  It is half Dutch and half French. The island is 37 square miles, with 37 beaches.   On this trip we visited the Dutch side, walking downtown, and along the beach, enjoying the sun and breeze. Philipsburg is picturesque and nice to walk around.  Get Wet Beach Bar had been recommended to us, but we had a hard time finding it.  We walked all the way down the beach and missed it.  Coming back again, we found it.  The reason we missed it is because the signs are angled so that you only see them from one direction.  We had the greatest ribs there, cooked by Randy in the picture above.  He was cooking right out on the sidewalk in front of the bar. They were so good we had seconds.   We met some people from our ship there, and had fun talking to them.

grnhseThis is our hangout in St Thomas.  After walking around and looking in shops for awhile with a couple from the ship, we all headed here for lunch.  Doug, the manager, remembered us from last time.  We always have the Bang Bang Shrimp appetizer and this time we also tried the Crab Rolls.  There is a fun atmosphere here and the food was delicious, as always.

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We walked around some more after lunch, then headed back to the ship for some hot tub time.  Most people were still ashore, so the hot tub was not crowded.  We enjoyed the quiet in the solarium after the hot tub.  It was a relaxing day.

 

cocoaAfter a rainy trip from Orlando to Cocoa Beach, it was just drizzling in CB.  We used Happy Hour shuttle service, and they are terrific.  No waiting to fill a van; Ron picked us up at baggage claim at the airport, and we were off.  We stayed at LaQuinta, and found it pleasant with nice landscaping.  I love the palm trees.  We headed to their Time Out Sports Bar for a sandwich.  We are not sports fans, but at least we know the Gators.  There were 4 or 5 people there when we went in, but in 20 minutes, the bar was full with fans waiting for the Gator game to start.  There was a lot of teasing going on between all the customers and Eddie joined right in.  A young man next to me said $1 shots start soon.  He said he was going to have a Fireball, so I asked what it was.  He bought us both one to try, so then we had to reciprocate.  It is a cinnamon flavored liquor.  He told me it tastes cold at first then hot, but it didn’t taste hot to me.  Most of the customers were locals, and that always means you’ve found a good place.

Ron was back the next morning to take us to our ship.  The predicted rain was gone and the sun was out.  It was a beautiful day.  We had a short ride to the pier, and then we were on Freedom of the Seas again. Walking on board a ship is a wonderful feeling.

breezeBahama Breeze, Las Vegas, is a great start for a trip.  We made it for Happy Hour and enjoyed our usual Pineapple Coconut martini to toast our trip. The inside bar was full, so we headed to the patio bar.  They had the windows open and the guitarist was playing great music.  We sang along and had a dance or two.  Then we ordered appetizers and called it dinner.We visited with the guitarist on his break.  We ran into the son of a man Eddie worked with years back in LV, so there was some catching up going on there.

Saturday we flew to Orlando to spend a night in Cocoa Beach before boarding our ship on Sunday.

inspWe just returned from four days on Carnival Inspiration.  The ship is maintained well and the crew were some of the best. We missed having a balcony, but thought we could stand it for a short cruise.  It only has balconies in suites.  They recently added Serenity, an adults-only retreat on the stern.  Between the noisy air ducts and the constant scraping of chairs from the buffet above, it was not very serene.  We chose this cruise because we did not have to fly, and wanted to see Catalina Island after 30+ years.

 

Tracy Arm was beautiful, so calm and serene.  Our ship was the first of the season to get all the way in.  Just the week before, ice prevented it.  There was a naturalist describing how the glaciers formed and what wildlife was there.  At certain places she would have to turn off her mike, as it is considered a disturbance.  We did not take one picture.  First off, we are not good photographers and nowadays we only use our phones for pics.  We met a cute young couple who are great photographers, and they were going to email us some pics that I could put here.  However, two days later they both became ill and I guess they forgot to send us pics when they got home.  We chose to stay inside, as we are wimps.  Really. though, we have been there before and didn’t feel like getting out the coats this time.  The Crow’s Nest is a wonderful place for viewing if you don’t want to go out on deck.  It was full, but people were friendly and let you get in front to see for a minute.  When it was time for happy hour, the Crow’s Nest was very crowded, but this happened every day.  At 3 45 there was one bartender and a few guests spread around.      At 3 59 there were 4 bartenders, 4 servers and every seat in the room taken.      Next stop Juneau.

 

 

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                                                                                     ms Oosterdam

Embarkation day is always exciting to me, every time.  We woke up in Seattle to rain,but that didn’t dampen our spirits.  We only had carry-ons to deal with, as Holland had picked up our check-in luggage the night before.  We met in a lounge in the hotel, and soon boarded out shuttle to the pier. It was a short ride, then a short line and we were once again on MS O (Oosterdam).  A quick trip to cabins to get rid of carry-ons, and off to explore the ship.  This ship is so elegant and easy to get around.  One of our fave places is the Crow’s Nest on deck ten.  It has lots of windows around for great views.  Happy hour happens there at 4 every afternoon.  First up is muster drill, which is now done before sailing.  It was fast and we did not have to drag life jackets.  They had good music (but not live) at the aft pool, and a special drink of the day, but no activities staff to get some dancing going.  We enjoyed sailaway anyway.  It is a great feeling to be on a cruise ship.

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