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Old January 8th, 2006, 02:29 PM
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Default 1ST SEA DAY

– Island Princess – First Full Sea Day

Most of the ship seems to have recovered from yesterday’s embarkation experience. The mood on the ship seems generally quite happy; a nice attitude turnaround by all concerned, particularly with a chilly sea day keeping most everyone indoors, or in the enclosed Lotus Pool area.

I have to mention that amongst all the information and advertising awaiting us in when we first entered the cabin yesterday was a wonderfully useful sheet of paper called the “Cruise Planner?.
A full sheet, broken down like a calendar listing the major events planned each day, along with their times, and the suggested dress code for each evening for the entire 15 night cruise.

After our morning CruiseMates get together, where we distributed the Get Lei’d 3.0 T-shirts, onboard phone book, and magnets for everyone’s cabin doors, everyone went off to various scheduled activities that might interest them. There were NUMEROUS options, with everything from naturalist lectures, to pottery or dance classes, to a slot tournament and the ever present bingo.

Mrs. Kuki and some of the group headed off to pottery class. The Island Princess has wheels and a kiln for firing the pottery onboard, and the classes are held on every say day. I’ll just have to hope she isn’t making something heavy enough to do damage when she throws it at me.

I enjoyed breakfast this morning at the Horizon Court buffet. The physical set up of this area on the Island Princess is vastly superior to the Grand Class ships (where at peak times it can look like the land of lost lemmings). And the breakfast menu variety was excellent as well. There’s standard breakfast items; i.e. breakfast meats, pancakes, French Toast, and a made to order eggs/omelets station. However one could also have eggs benedict, smoked salmon, etc. Some of these offerings suffered from “chaffing dish syndrome?, but that’s not unexpected at a buffet.

The 4 deck high Atrium area on the Island Princess is quite beautiful! It’s not as overwhelming, with “wow? factor as some of the 10 deck atriums on Carnival or Royal Caribbean ships, but it is very elegant, and sets a rather rich ambiance that runs through most of the public rooms on the ship.

The weather turned cooler as the day progressed, and with it being our first full day many took advantage to unwind, reading in the enormous library, in clubby leather chairs, or just take long afternoon naps.

Tonight was our first of three formal nights, and there were a great many tuxedos in evidence, in a relatively well dressed crowd. And dinner was again a huge hit! Our dining team, of Elena and Marius, both from Romania, proved to us again that we’d made a wise choice sticking with our assigned dining time, rather than “anytime dining?, and staying with them to serve us. The service is simply superb! Tonight we were even asked if we’d like the pace of the meal slowed down, or speeded up. I can’t ever recall being asked that question by wait staff on any previous cruise.

Last night Elena had overheard someone say it was my birthday, and they’d brought us a cake and sang Happy Birthday. I told her, though I was having a birthday later in the cruise, last night was in fact not my birthday. At the time, she told us that we would just have my birthday every night.

Well… true to her word, they brought out another birthday cake tonight, and once again Happy Birthday to me.

Talking to other members of our CruiseMates group, it seems everyone we’ve spoken to so far is delighted with their service.

After dinner tonight there was a “Vegas style? review, featuring Broadway tunes in the Princess Theater, as well as Yacov Noy, a comedic “visual artist? in the alternate theater, the Universe Lounge. Some of the cruisemates chose the broadway tunes show, while others attended Yacov Noy’s show, while I saw yet another group of cruisemates in the Explorer’s Lounge giving Kareoke a try. This was most certainly a something for everyone kind of night, entertainment wise.

Since meeting most of the CruiseMates group this morning, we’ve found we’re running into many of them frequently when wandering around the ship to do different things. This proves that the ship is a good size, because we can see the same people coincidently in passing. And on the true Mega ships those coincidental meetings are rare.

The weather forecast for tomorrow (Sunday) is not particularly wonderful, with highs near 68 F (20C), and we have no “group? events planned until our late afternoon cocktail party in the Wheelhouse Bar. So, after a leisurely breakfast, my plan is to get a closer look at the ship’s interior and public rooms… and maybe sign up for the BlackJack Tournament in the casino.

I see in the Princess Patters for Sunday evening, there’s a pre-dinner comedy show scheduled in Universe Lounge, and a post dinner Cabaret Show Time, featuring Country to Classical Via Comedy, in the Princess Theater… so sounds like another busy night of entertainment awaits us.

I do have to admit that previously I haven’t been a devout fan of Princess, from past experiences on the Grand and Golden Princess, though we had quite throuroughly enjoyed the Diamond Princess in Spring ’04.

It is only 1 full day into this cruise, so there’s still time for thing to turn… but if this is the “typical? Princess experience that Princess devotees have touted to us over the years… we are finally getting to appreciate their loyalty to Princess. One full day, and two wonderful nights of everything good one could want in a cruise have passed, other than fairly rough seas life onboard is very very good!
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