My sister and I are going on the Sea princess mexico cruise for our 40th birthday (twins) in early December. A few questions as this is my first cruise:
1. We are staying at Los Angeles Harbor hotel the night before. The ship sails at 7pm. What time can we actually begin boarding??
2. What is clothing on board like....I assume no jeans, no short shorts anytime, obviously no shorts for dinner, and dresses for dinner..
3. Can you/can't you bring your own wine on board?
4. Anyone been on Sea Princess recently? We are big readers, do we need to bring our own books or is the library adequate?
5. Anyone use the spa/manicurists etc? Do we need reservations in advance for this?
Thanks for any info. any recent cruisers on Sea Priness can provide.
How exciting to be celebrating your birthday onboard. In case you haven't already read through the section here for first time cruisers, here is the link, some great tips. You can wear your basic resort wear during the day, shorts, tank tops, etc., but you will need to follow the dress code for dinner every nite, they will give you a paper every evening outlining the next days activities, dress code, port info. etc.
My review is cited in the previous message. To answer you specifically:
1. We boarded around noon. That's probably as early as possible (they weren't ready then either but another e-mail I received indicated that there was a delay that morning in getting the previous passengers off.)
2.Clothing. Jeans, shorts, t-shirts are the norm during the day. There was quite a climate shift although this will lessen as Winter approaches. LA was in the 70's with cloudy mornings. Puerto Vallarta was 95 with high humidity as well as Matazlan. Cabo was hot, but not humid. The first and last days at sea can be cooler, as you are leaving and approaching LA so kind of bring layers (light layers though!) There are two formal nights. 50% of men wore tuxes, and lots of women had long dresses for those nights. There was no "semi formal" night with men in coats and ties. There were five nights of "smart casual" which was slacks and shirts for men and dresses or pant suits for women.
3. We brought our own wine aboard for use at "sunset on the balcony" time! I've seen conflicting info on this, but we had no problems whatsoever (our sailing was Oct 6, after the date that the policy had supposedly changed) but again, no problem.
4. The library on "Sun class" ships is divine. Good selection, and comfy chairs that look out on deck and have CD-players in them.
5. The first thing you want to do upon getting on board is make reservations at the spa for whatever treatments or beauty stuff you want. Appointments fill up quickly, and by the time of sailing most appointment times are already booked for the whole week.
MV Sea Princess is one of my four favorite ships, and the other three are her identical sisters. I'm going back aboard MV Sea Princess next Saturday for a cruise to the Mexican Riviera, so I'll post some updated information soon after I return.
To answer your questions:
>> 1. The embarkation process generally begins sometime before noon. I received a notice with my cruise tickets that the ship's sailing is at 5:00 PM rather than 7:00 PM due to security considerations, so you should plan to arrive at the pier no later than midafternoon. If you arrive around 11:30 in the morning or so, you can go aboard, drop your carry-on luggage in your cabins, and eat lunch on board.
>> 2. Daytime is pretty casual. Shorts (including cut-offs), jeans, slacks, or skirts and T-shirts or tank tops are acceptable. Princess does ask passengers to wear a cover-up over a swimsuit away from the pool area.
As Donna noted, evening dress does vary from night to night. According to Princess's Cruise Answerbook (which your travel agent should deliver to you as part of an information package within two weeks of submission of your final payment), a "typical" seven-night cruise will have two (2) formal nights, one (1) semiformal night, and four (4) casual nights -- but on several of my cruises, the actual distribution has differed by a night one way or another from the advance information due to some unforeseen circumstance. There have been some indications that MV Sea Princess has dropped the semiformal evening in place of an additional casual evening on recent "Mexican Riviera" cruises, but there is no guarantee that she will continue to do so. Additionally, dinner at the Captain's Table, should you receive an invitation, requires semiformal attire when the prescribed evening attire is casual and I have been on a couple cruises with opportunities to participate in "one of a kind" special events that required semiformal attire. Thus, I do recommend bringing an extra semiformal outfit.
Casual evenings are what some folks now call "smart casual." Basically, gentlemen wear a shirt with a collar (knit "golf" or "polo" shirts are okay), slacks, and dress shoes and ladies wear either a blouse or top with a skirt or slacks or a causal dress and dress shoes. Semiformal evenings call for standard business attire -- a suit or sportcoat and slacks, dress shirt, necktie, and dress shoes for gentlemen and a cocktail dress or pantsuit for ladies. Formal evenings are "black tie" -- gentlemen wear either a tuxedo or dinner jacket or a dark business suit with all the accessories, and ladies "dress to the nines" with a formal cocktail dress, a full-length dress, or a formal gown and, again, all the accessories. The first formal night usually is the second night of the cruise, when the Captain's "Welcome Aboard" Cocktail Party precedes dinner. The second formal night usually is the next to last night of the cruise, and it's usually the occasion of the "Captain's Circle Cocktail Party" for repeat passengers, to which you will receive an invitation on your second Princess cruise.
>> 3. I have never known Princess to stop a passenger from bringing wine aboard ship. OTOH, the ship's wine list is very good and the prices are quite reasonable so I have never found a reason to bring my own supply. On my last cruise, though, I did buy a couple bottles of cidre bouche and brought them aboard with no problem.
>> 4. Princess's ships do have very good libraries with plenty of books for everybody. If you want to read a particular title, though, I would recommend bringing it.
That said, most folks don't really do a lot of reading on a cruise -- partly because cruise ships are very "happening" environments where there's always something to do and partly because the sea has a very mesmorizing effect. When people do sit out on a deck lounge to read, they usually get through perhaps half a paragraph before becoming mesmorized, whereupon the books fall to their laps. When they come to, they start over -- with the same result. I skip the book and just park myself in one of those magical teak lounges on the shady side of the Promenade Deck to find that altered state of consciousness without benefit of drugs. (Yes, it's wonderful!)
>> 5. The spa and beauty salon do take appointments. The beauty salon usually is very busy on the day of formal night, so you should book appointments for that day quite early. Otherwise, appointments usually are quite readily available.
BTW, the spa and beauty salon customarily add a gratuity of 15% of the bill to the price of your services.
In my earlier reply, I forgot to mention that there's usually an "Island Night" deck party on one of the casual evenings on cruises to tropical destinations. For this party, ladies generally wear tropical ("Hawaiian print") dresses and gentlemen usually wear shirts with coloful tropical ("Hawaiian") prints.
Hi Vance and Donna Lura: My husband and I will be on the Sea Princess on 11/03/01. We are going with the Discovery Cruise Club. Where are you coming from? We live in the Central part of California (Santa Maria). So far I have communicated with two other people also going on the cruise. I found them on the Cruisecritic.com web page. We understand there is going to be a full ship and are really looking forward to it. We will be on the Riviera Deck. Hope to see you there. Margie and Lou