CruiseMates, let me tell you it has been a week of sheer frustration trying to get this review off the ground. I will be eternally grateful to those who helped me with the photo gallery. Now, I hope you enjoy the reviews...
Caribbean Princess, Part 1
Saturday, May 27
After spending our one pre-cruise day in a rainy, wet Fort Lauderdale, we woke up about 8 a.m. to a dull, hazy day on Cruise Day. We went to the hotel restaurant for a $16 per person buffet breakfast, of which we may have eaten $5 worth. It was an average breakfast, highly overpriced, with the bill including an 18% gratuity, plus tax, coming to $40 for two people!! Then they have the nerve to ask if we'd like to leave an additional tip! We experienced a similar situation at the pool bar yesterday, charged $8.50 for a rum and coke that was 90% ice, and $10. for a frozen margarita!
After breakfast, we went for a long walk on the beach, towards the port area where we had seen a RCCL ship docking earlier (from our 16th floor balcony). We later learned it was the Enchantment of the Seas. As we walked along the beach, I collected a handful of tiny seashells to bring back to "my kids" at the daycare; they just love little treasures like that!
It got too hot on the beach, so we headed back to the hotel pool, and enjoyed a few dips and a sun-tanning session before heading to the port around 12:30. We learned our lesson, not to get to the port too early! While waiting for the elevator, there was another couple with Caribbean Princess tags on their luggage, so we shared a cab ride to the port, and arrived there by 12:55. Miraculously, we found ourselves onboard in about 20 minutes, after the fastest embarkation process we have ever experienced!. It was very well organized, with lines divided into decks, and everything moved quickly and efficiently, and the ground staff were most polite and helpful. And then, the true moment of arrival, the "Welcome Aboard" photo!
We then entered into one of the most beautiful atriums I've ever seen, and there were friendly and helpful crew members everywhere to help you find where you wanted to go, even manning the elevators. Potted palm trees were evident everywhere, even outdoors on the pool decks as we were to find out later, and I thought they gave the Caribbean Princess a true "Caribbean" touch.
I found the hallways clean and the carpeting plush and colourful, with recessed, lighted doorways and the little mailboxes with your names printed on them a nice lent a nice, personal touch.
Our cabin (Riviera 511) seemed spacious, clean, tastefully decorated, with a large open closet area, and a tiny bathroom and tinier shower.
James immediately noticed that our pre-ordered wine and chocolate covered strawberries had not been delivered, but that was soon rectified after a phone call to the purser's office. These were the cutest little strawberries I'd ever seen, dressed in their little white and dark chocolate tuxedos!
Our balcony had a nice bright blue mesh patterned plastic mat flooring, with a white table and two chairs. We aked our room steward for some cushions, which were provided with a smile, and it was quite comfortable sitting there later as I toasted CruiseMates with a glass of wine!
As is our custom, we also hung our Canada flag windsock from the overhead pipes on the balcony, so that we would be able to spot our room from the ports later on. (and we did!)
The first order of business: find our way up one deck to the Horizon Court buffet for a bit of lunch. The layout was quite winding and confusing at first, and lines seemed long. Only once you got used to it, you realized that you could just sort of walk up to any counter and help yourself to a wide array of choices, and traffic flowed quite freely.
The lunch choices were plentiful and tasty. I especially enjoyed a hot blueberry blintz with vanilla cream for dessert, and couldn't resist a chocolate-cream stuffed chocolate eclair also! I was to have a few more of those over the course of the week!
While enjoying lunch, we shared a table with a nice couple from Georgia, and we talked at length about our combined cruising experiences, always an interesting topic!
After lunch, we checked our cabin again, to find that two pieces of luggage had been delivered, but mine was missing! I have to admit I had an hour or so of panic before it finally showed up!
We stayed in our cabin for awhile, and I had a snooze, purposely missing the lifeboat (muster) drill. Unfortunately, it is broadcast right into your cabin, so you couldn't help hearing it! By the time it was over, it was time for the "Jamaican Me Crazy" Sail Away Party up on Lido Deck, and we couldn't wait!
to be continued...