Tag Archives: Norwegian

Tuesday, March 4 ~ Panama Canal Cruise

ft-lauderdale

 

What a day!  I spent most of the first part being nervous that we would miss the ship.  There were phone calls from employees that weren’t sure what to do while we were gone, emails…

At 11:00 we were supposed to check out and housekeeping came by to check on us and I told her  “soon”.

My sandal broke, the part next to the heel separated from the sole.  <sigh>

Finally, we checked out at noon and set off to find the place to return the rental car that we never really used.  A wrong turn or 2 and we finally got there about 1:00.  Tom called for a taxi.  We waited and waited.  Tom called again.  Finally, the driver got there and we reloaded our luggage.

Fortunately, the port was only about a mile a way but there was a lot of traffic to the port and all cars had to stop and everyone had to show IDs.  That slowed everything up.

Dropped off our luggage and finally got in the terminal building.  It was nearly 2:00.  Tom had been thinking we had until 4:00 to get onboard – I reminded him that this ship sailed at 4:00.  We had to be on by 3:00.

Fort Port Lauderdale Embarkation 

Weather Forecast:  Sunny High 77 / Low 69

Sunrise 6:41 am / Sunset 6:23 pm

From the Navigator: As soon as all the passengers and crew are onboard and all pre-departure checks have been completed, the Captain will give the order to let go our mooring lines.  Once clear from the berth, Coral Princess will make her way out of the harbor before disembarking our pilot and altering our course to starboard.  We will then set southwesterly courses through the Straits of Florida toward the Old Bahama Channel, as we make our way towards Aruba.

A hustling, bustling port – not just cruise ships.  As far as I could tell, we were the only cruise ship there.

A lot of people got there about when we did but the lines moved fairly quickly…until it was time to actually board the ship.  That’s when you swipe your new card and they add your picture to the record for to be sure you’re who you say you are when you come back from port.

We got on the actual ship and were directed to the left.  We followed lots of other folks and ended up at an elevator.  Up to our cabin and our first 2 pieces of luggage were already there.  The third was only a few minutes later.  Very speedy!

I like this ship – Coral Princess!

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The cabin is (or seems) bigger than the one on Norwegian (NCL).  There is a desk instead of a couch (NCL).  The couch wasn’t very practical – the desk really is.

We have a walk-in closet which is really nice.  We haven’t even filled it halfway up (yet).  It’s at a right angle to the sleeping area which makes it seem like a separate room.

The bathroom is small.  I think the shower is smaller than NCL’s but I don’t spend that much time in there.

The end tables by the bed have actual drawers instead of open shelves.

The chairs on the balcony recline.  They’re fixed on NCL.

No coffeemaker, though.  NCL had one in the cabin.

We have a TV guide telling us what is on for the whole trip.  The new Hobbit movie will be on later.  Glad we didn’t see it in the movies.

Pool/Beach towels are in the closet.  We return them to the cabin and the steward brings us new ones.  We didn’t have to check them out and return them to the pool each day.  Hooray!

This ship has a self-service laundry on each deck.  I’ve never seen that on another ship.

We went off for muster  Here, we had to take our lifejackets and put them on at one point.  NCL, we didn’t take them.  They showed us how to jump off the side, if necessary.  Um, no.

I noted for future reference that many women on here wear white long pants.  Not likely!

Tom went off to a meeting, I did some church work – uploading Sunday’s sermons.

I took a little video of the sail away and some regular pictures.

http://youtu.be/snOVmXcPO-0

 

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The sheriff’s boat, acting as pilot

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Tom came back and wrote some emails.  I think I napped.  I didn’t feel like getting dressed for dinner so we went to the buffet.  It seemed smaller than NCL but then I realized that they didn’t have the pizza and burgers mixed in.  The buffet was all real food.  Among other things, I had prime rib.  Yummy!!!   We got to sit right ”up front” in the center of the stern.  Very impressive!

We walked around a bit, trying to get our bearings.  This ship has a lot of wood on it, more “real” than the mostly metal ones I usually see.  Teak tables, wooden doors.

I understand that this ship line used to be P&O from England before they became Princess.  There are British hints all over, from the afternoon Tea Time, to the huge selection of teas at dinner.  There are also pictures from the P&O line on the walls and 2 grenadiers guarding the casino.  Tom thinks that P&O might have stood for Pacific and Orient – I’ll look that up when we get home.  (Note – it is Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Company)

I had wanted to go to the 7:45 Welcome Aboard show but there was some email to be sent.  I think I rested my eyes.

Then, we went out and walked around some more – by Movies Under the Stars (MUTS) which seems to mostly be showing a variety of things.  There are 2 movies later this week that I’d like to see.  They put cushions on the deck chairs and give out blankets, popcorn,  cookies and milk.  It’s also right by the ice cream, pizza and grill so not too much chance of hunger.

We walked all around a couple of decks.  It seems like we’re nearly alone on this cruise.  Except for embarking, we’ve seen very few other people.

At 9:30, we did see  the show.  I thought that they would do snippets from upcoming shows but the singers/dancers did a “welcome to Princess” type song and dance and the comedian told some jokes.  The cruise director, Susan Rawlings,  told us a bit about what was coming up.

Walking around some more.  We decided to get some pizza but they were just closing up.  Back to the buffet – Horizon Court – and I had some fruit (and another egg roll)

There was a note on our bed after dinner that they would be happy to deliver whatever fruit we wanted to our cabin.  Nice touch.  Also, a Princess tote bag.

We had chocolates on our pillow!

Just a bit of church work, should have taken about 2 minutes, tops, but it took 11, thanks to this s-l-o-w internet connection.

I think I fell asleep almost immediately.  If anything, I read one paragraph in my book.

Day Five, George Town, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands – November 21

I woke up at 7:00 am and saw that we were getting close to shore – and there were a couple other ships close to shore.

Grand Cayman is a “tender” port, so we’ll anchor a ways out and take small tender boats into port.  Last time I did this, in January, it looked like a parking lot of boats out here.  We’ll see how it looks here later today.

People going on excursions go first, then we can get tender tickets.  I imagine if we go later in the day we won’t need those, but if we do, they’re in Topsiders on 12, mid.

The show tonight looks good – The Fantastic Flying Fingers of Piano Showman, Stephen Kane.  The description says “Forget your old piano lessons!  Stephen pushes the keys to their limits:  Jazz, ragtime, classical, the hits of Billy Joel and Elton John.  Exuberant playing and soulful vocals plus a few good laughs.”

Unfortunately, we’re going to miss that since it’s at 8:30 pm only.  Tonight is the night we have dinner with an ship’s officer in the Tsar’s Palace.  It might seem rude to say “Gotta Go!” in the middle of the meal.

(Note on 2/21/2014:  I just found out that Stephen Kane will be on our next cruise so we’ll get another chance to hear him!)

As predicted, after breakfast in the Great Outdoors, tender tickets were no longer needed.  We gathered up our stuff to take shopping and waited in line for the next tender.  On shore, we avoided “pirates” and other photo ops.

5 other ships in port today – 3 Carnivals, one other Norwegian (Pearl) and a Royal Caribbean.  All tendering folks to and from town.

We looked in the windows of the terminal stores, then kept walking out the gate to the main road along the harbor in George Town.  We looked in a couple jewelry stores and a Swatch store – Tom is still looking for a watch – but found nothing appealing in our price range.

We found the “Cariloo” store where everything is bamboo and Tom got another shirt.  He had bought one onboard the first sea day.  It does feel nice and soft but I didn’t want to get a Tshirt.  We ran into the “hot tub vet” and her mom and Tom mentioned Cushing’s again.  Maybe we’ll email later.  Or not.

Up the street to a Scotiabank where Tom enquired about opening a bank account.  Their dollar is more stable now than the US.

Back down to shopping – into DelSol.  I got another hat, this time with a butterfly that adds color when it is out in the sun.

A tshirt somewhere else, a bathing suit for Tom, some trinkets.

It was very hot and there were just too many people from all these ships so we crossed the street to go back to the ship and came across a small park.  The lookout station was in a small treehouse.

Back inside the terminal, we got a tote bag to carry all our swag, plus some wind chimes.

We had our first lunch onboard when we got back.  We took it to the Great Outdoors again.  Much nicer than sitting outside than in the Garden Cafe.

Walking, reading, writing, napping… tI had thought we might go in the hot tub/pool again but the afternoon disappeared.

Time to get ready for our dinner with an officer.  Dressed up and hustled down the Photo Gallery on 7, mid.  I thought we were going to have our picture(s) taken but it was really just a meeting place.

2013-11-22 18.05.04We got to our table in Tsar’s Palace.  Two others were already there, another Thomas and a Dr. Julie.  We had assigned seating so it was Sandra Franklin, Human Resources person, with a Tom on either side.

On my other side were 2 women who had been best friends since second grade, for about 50 years.  They talked about once a week but this was their first cruise without their families and their first non-Princess cruise.  The more talkative of the 2 was a photographer.

Dr. Julie was – oh yes – a veterinarian.  She seemed surprised that people got Cushing’s so we had more discussion about that.

This will be known as the Educating the Vets cruise.

It was an excellent dinner and we learned a lot about ship operations, NCL and more from Sandra.  Much of the crew here is from the Philippines but none had lost family members in Typhoon Halyan.  NCL offered support to all and made phone calls to check on family.

Sandra was originally from Guyana and now St. Lucia.  She has a daughter in college in NYC and thought that this would be a good job to have as an empty nester.  Sounds good to me, too!  I wonder if there’s much call for piano teachers onboard…

Walking around, changed clothes.

Chocolate Buffet night.  People lined up waiting.  We went in, got some pictures but it was just too crowded.

On our way out, we found the “Sugar-Free Chocolate Buffet”  Much fewer stuff by way fewer people.  So we got a few “healthy” items and went out to the Great Outdoors to indulge.  Maybe no sugar but I think that there was a bit of fat.

Walking, sitting by the pool, a bit of reading/writing.  I finished my book and started The Ocean at the End of the Lane: A Novel by Neil Gaiman

Today’s Stats:

Thursday, November 21st, 2013

Today’s Forecast:  Partly Cloudy 88F/31C

Sunrise: 6:38 am

Sunset: 5:48 pm

Arrival: 8:00 am

All Aboard: 3:30 pm

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