Up early again to make the most of our last day on board.
Heather, Penny and I had signed up earlier in the week for the "Walk for the Cure" to benefit Breast Cancer research.
I have participated in this walk on two previous cruises and always had fun, all for a good cause.
We met in Club Fusion Lounge at 8:30 a.m., and I must admit I was disappointed to count only about 30 people in attendance.
On both Carnival and Princess previously, I had walked with well over 200 passengers, and their energy was infectious.
We were given instructions and a pep talk by Tim from the cruise staff, and by the time we started, there were maybe 40 people.
We walked 5K, or 8 turns around the whole ship on Promenade Deck 7, including up and down a flight of stairs at the bow of the ship.
Since we were on our way back to L.A. the weather was cooler, and actually quite windy, but pleasant enough for walking.
We were joined by Tim, who asked about the sign I was carrying, reading "WE’RE WALKING FOR JUDY".
I explained to him about CruiseMates, and our friend Judy and her recent diagnosis, and how we wanted to do the walk in her honour.
We traded stories about friends and family touched by cancer, and then talked about Tim's life and experiences on board the ship.
It was a fun and interesting conversation and kept us going for a couple of laps!
Tim, young, fit and energetic, kept up a pretty fast pace for the first 4 or 5 laps, but after he left us to go help set up the refreshments, our pace slowed down considerably!
We did manage to complete all 8 laps, and on our return, got high-fived from Tim, and helped ourselves to fruit juice, yogurt, and fruit kebabs that were set out for the participants. Tim graciously agreed to some photos with us.
A very enjoyable morning, out walking in the sea, great exercise, and all for a good cause as well!
The rest of the morning was taken up with last minute shopping, photo-gallery purchases, and errands, before I had to return to my cabin to get dressed for lunch.
For most of the week, lunch meant the buffet on Lido deck, in a bathing suit and cover-up, but today was different.
I was to be the honoured guest of CruiseMate Frank, who's Elite status with Princess entitles him to be invited to a special luncheon with the Captain. He was allowed to invite a guest, and with my husband's permission, he chose me!
The luncheon was held in the Oriental - themed Pacific Moon Dining Room, where we were greeted at the door by a live Mariachi Band, and met and had our photo taken with Captain Pickford.
Our hostess showed us to our table, where we met two other frequent-cruiser couples, and our table's crew member, Dr. Deon Vetner from South Africa. I told the doctor that I was very pleased to make his acquaintance socially rather than professionally on this cruise!
The lunch itself was absolutely wonderful! The appetizer was a “Potpourri of Seafood Cinderella”, including Maine lobster, King Crab, Sea Scallops, Shrimps and Florida Citrus Segments, conveyed in a Cinderella Carriage, which appeared to be made of pastry.
I passed on the appetizer, since I am not a fan of seafood, but our waiter replaced it with a delicious fresh green salad.
There were two entree choices:
Sunrise Chilean Sea Bass Filet, drenched in succulent Oriental silky sauce, presented over wilted spinach leaves and Enoki Mushrooms
Mignonette of Veal Tenderloin, enhanced by a balsamic scented demi-glace, accompanied with premium fresh vegetables a mascotte potatoes.
I chose the Veal Tenderloin, and it was delicious. I marvelled at how they carved out the little pieces of zuccini and tucked tiny pieces of other vegetables inside, topped with parsley!
All through the meal, circling waiters were there to meet our every need; a re-filled water glass, a top up of wine, more bread or butter, the service was impeccable.
Conversation of course, turned to cruising, past cruises, future cruises, places visited or dreams of places to visit. I spoke with the doctor a bit about life on board a cruise ship. He had only been sailing with Sapphire for 4 months, but still had some interesting stories to tell.
Finally, our dessert arrived, and I think I found something to rival Princess' Love Boat Dream!
It was called "A Princess Fantasy Delight", and in essence, was a Lemoncello Flavoured Sponge Cake arranged with a delicate Sabayon coating, and served with fresh berries on the side. It was to die for, and when I saw that there was one left over at the end of the meal, I asked permission to take it back to our cabin for James, as he is a big fan of anything lemon!
As if that weren't enough, coffee and tea were served with tiny Petits Fours Elizabeth. I couldn't eat another bite!
Time was taken after this wonderful meal, to take photos with the doctor, with our CD Josh Dayboll, and of each other.
In fact, the photo we had taken with the Captain as we entered the dining room, was printed and handed out to everyone before we left the dining room! This, along with my personal invitation, name card and menu, are wonderful souvenirs of a very special lunch.
Thanks so much to Frank for giving me the opportunity to share this experience with him!
After lunch, I changed into my bathing suit and went about the serious business of soaking up every last ray of warm sunshine before returning to the cold tomorrow. I laid out by the aft pool most of the afternoon, and it was quite comfortable, as the temperatures had dropped considerably since Mexico.
By 3:30, I wanted to try Trivia one last time, and so I met my sister and another couple to make up a team. Much to our surprise and delight, we actually won this time with a score of 16/20!
My sister was thrilled to win her Princess luggage tags, since hers had broken just after we had arrived, and she had been playing Trivia all week trying to win new ones!
By late afternoon, it was time to do the dreaded packing, something I hate, and always put off until the last minute.
Our final night’s dinner with Frank, Don and Shirley was fun, full of laughter, good company and excellent food.
Towards the end of the meal, we were serenaded in the dining room by the roving Mariachi Band, who sang one of my favourites, “Bese Mucho”. We had seen this trio perform around the ship during the week and they were very good.
James and I said our good nights to everyone and then wandered the ship looking for something to do.
What few entertainment shows there were this evening had taken place while we were at dinner, so we wandered from club to club, catching the last song by each of the various lounge performers. This was the one area we found lacking on Sapphire Princess. Although the main shows in the theatre were spectacular, the rest of the entertainment on board was mediocre to say the least. At least two bands who were not very good, and a lack luster piano player in the Crooner’s Lounge had us missing Bert Stratton from the Caribbean Princess!
It seemed that everything was closing up by 11p.m. and passengers were nowhere to be found, so off we went to bed, to be rested for the long travel day ahead tomorrow.
Read each one of your reviews and they were great. So gald you had a great cruise. My wife and I sail in April of 09 and can't wait. This will be our frist cruise on Priness. We also are aft in the owners suite and seeing all that food in your room in the morning had to be nice. One reason we came to Princess were the suite perks. Thank you Randy and Tami... PS Great Pictures...
__________________ 1986 USS Constitution / Hawaiian Islands 1999 Royal Caribbean / Ensenada, Mexico 2005 Carnival Paradise /Ensenada, Mexico 2006 Carnival Pride / Mexican Riviera 2008 Carnival Conquest / Western Caribbean 2009 Sapphire Princess / Mexican Riv