Island Princess Cruise

Central America Caribbean
February 23rd 2008
Published: February 23rd 2008
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Thursday 21, February

An early start, as our flight to Los Angeles departs at 9.30am. We checked out of Bellagio at 7am and took a taxi to the airport. At the US Airways check in we were unfortunately charged excess baggage, as two of our bags weighed in excess of 50 pounds each, something that had not been on problem on our flight here. C’est la Vie!. Then we came across the dreaded TSA, and boy did they have attitude here! The only good thing was it did not take long. It just seems to both of us that there are so many employees, and most of them are not given the opportunity to think outside the square.

Our flight departed on time and arrived at LAX at 10.30am. We asked the Taxi driver to take us to the Cruise terminal at San Pedro, but to make a stop on the way, as Paul has hay fever and we needed to buy some Anithistamine. We reached about 1 mile away from San Pedro, then the traffic ground to a halt as at our turn off a truck had its cargo container shift and the road was blocked. Further along

Leaving Los Angelos late afternoon
the detour 2 of 3 lanes were blocked due to roadworks. We had plenty of time, so it didn’t bother us.

Departure for the Island Princess was not until 5pm, but we arrived just after 12.30pm. Check in was smooth but security tight as identification was required to be about 10 times. Our cabin, A603 Portside on Aloha Deck, is very nice and modern, and has a lovely balcony. It is on the 12th of 14 floors on the ship. As our luggage will not arrive for a few hours, we set about familiarising ourselves with the ship, and then enjoyed our first shipboard meal in the Bordeaux Dining. At 3pm we had the compulsory safety briefing, and more exploring.

We both feel young among our fellow passengers. We had previously read that the average age was around 60 years plus on a Panama Canal Cruise, but think it might even be higher. An announcement was made that sailing would be delayed until 6pm, as 10 passengers were on a delayed flight. Luckily they arrived earlier and the ship sailed only 15 minutes late. The band and cruise staff was on the Horizon deck as we sailed, but it was raining so we went to our cabin for Gin and Tonics instead!

Tonight we dined in the Bordeaux restaurant. We were seated alongside a couple from Prince George in British Columbia, who turned out to be very friendly and interesting to talk to. We had a complimentary voucher from our Travel Agent for wine with dinner tonight, and chose a lovely bottle of Sauvignon Blanc from Sonoma in the Napa Valley. After dinner there was a Welcome aboard show in the Princess theatre, introducing the crew staff and dancers, many of who are Australians. There were 12 dancers 6 boys and 6 girls, as well as a lead male with 2 female lead singers and dancers. After their act, a magician performed, and if tonight is anything to go b, all the performances promise to be great entertainment for the rest of the cruise.

Friday, February 22nd

Our first full day of shipboard life, we spent getting used to life being onboard again. The weather is still cool and overcast, and with everyone indoors, there still seems so much space for everyone on this very spacious ship. We booked our shore excursions and purchased some

The Island Princess at Huatulco, Mexico
photos of the ship from the Photography office.

On the Promenade deck, just under 3 circuits equals 1 mile, so 4 laps twice a day gives us some exercise and helps control our waistlines. After we had lunch in the dining room, we tried the internet WiFi, but due to the satellites slow connection, and the price, we are not posting photos of the cruise as yet.

After our walk, we enjoyed Gin and Tonics on our balcony, and then had dinner at Bordeaux. Afterwards, the 10pm show featured a 2 time Grammy nominated singer called Jody Butler, and Jeff particularly enjoyed her Streisand medley. Later we enjoyed a nightcap with our Canadian friend Chris, whom we had met previous night at dinner while her husband was at the casino in a poker tournament.

Saturday, February 23rd

I woke early and went for a walk and Jeff slept in. It was terrific to see the early sun, and lots of fellow passengers were on the Promenade deck. I went to Bordeaux for Breakfast, and had the misfortune of sitting with 2 couples, one American and the other English. Both couples enjoyed wallowing in tales misery, and I almost would have preferred to eat broken glass instead than to hear them talk!

I went to the Horizon deck and slept on a deck chair listening to Mozart. I met with Jeff later, and we checked our emails and the Sydney Morning Herald on the Internet. At 4pm there was a Friends of Dorothy meeting, to which 7 guys showed up. After introduction by a female crewmember, we chatted among ourselves for about 45 minutes. Paul would have preferred she did not come as she competed with him for talk time!!!

After our afternoon walk, we again enjoyed G&T’s on the balcony. This evening it’s a formal night, and we are dining at Sabatini’s, the Italian Restaurant on board. Not everyone dressed formally, but most wore a coat and tie, and several wore dinner suits and evening gowns.

Sabatini’s was not full, but there were several tables ranging from 2 to 10 people. The restaurant offers a degustation menu, but we had a choice of main course, and we both decided on broiled Maine Lobster tails. The meal started with an Antipasto plate, soup, pizza, three types of pasta, and caviar with a seafood

Christ on the cross
mousse, mussels, then the Lobster followed by a selection of desserts.

Our waiter, a South African was not terribly interested in his job, and it showed. His service was just OK, and he frequently spilled or forgot things. On top of this, our Lobster arrived overcooked. For a $20 supplement per person, we were left a bit disappointed, maybe due to the fact that the food is the main restaurants is already very good. However we might get another chance to try it out, as some friends we’ve met onboard have invited us there to celebrate a birthday later in the cruise.

The first show production was on tonight, with one show at 8pm and another at 10.30pm. Called ‘Piano Man’ the show started with a medley of Billy Joel, Neil Sedaka, Barry Manilow and Elton John songs, all singing and dancing and great sets. It was a fun show, and the audience enjoyed it.

Sunday February 24th

Another day at sea today. We had breakfast with some new friends, Randall and Jim, from Long Beach. Later, we joined in the trivia competition, and if we had listened to Jeff for 2 answers, we would have won. After enjoying for Sushi lunch, we snoozed and read on deck, then went to Jackpot Bingo. It seemed that this was Jeff’s day, because he won the final game of bingo, and $250 dollars!

After our constitutional around the deck 5 times, we enjoyed a Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc on our balcony, and took in the wonderful vista of the sea. The Academy Awards were on tonight, and was being beamed live via satellite to the ship. After dinner we went to the Universe lounge and watched the awards while catching up with shipboards friends and enjoying show.

Monday February, 25th


We arrived at the marina of Santa Cruz at 6.30am, and after breakfast we disembarked at 8am, and caught a taxi to the centre of town. We would only be here for 4 hours, so this didn’t give us much time for any decent sightseeing, and most passengers were happy to walk around town center and relax on the beaches. Huatulco seemed to be a typical Mexican town, with lots of shops for tourists. While we were near the town square, a funeral procession passed by, the coffin was carried through the streets toward the church. Mourners held bunches of flowers and danced, as if in a type of celebration.

Huatulco has many beaches and bays, and tours were organized to them and several resorts, including a former Club Med. The temperature reached around 32c, so we decided to head back to the ship for lunch.

We lazed around on deck, and shared a nice bottle of Mexican Fume Blanc. Some friends that we have met onboard, Randall and Jim invited us to their table for dinner; they are traveling with Randall parents, and brother and sister in-law. It was an Italian dinner tonight, we all had lots of laughs, and our company was very charming and fun to be with.

Monday February, 26th

Porto Quetzal/Antigua Guatemala

We docked at 6.30am at Porto Quetzal, Guatemala’s largest port. After breakfast we traveled by coach to Antigua, a journey of 90 minutes into central mountains. We arrived at 9.30, and headed to the Town Square to meet our guide Elizabeth Bell of Antigua Tours. After introducing ourselves, walked to the Town Hall and later to the Cathedral of Santiago. (Aka St James). Antigua was founded in the mid 1500’s and abandoned in 1700’s in favour of Guatemala City, less prone to earthquake activity.

This was done by Spanish Royal Decree, and when the town moved, much of its ornate artwork was removed, but when it arrived in Guatemala City is was decided that many these artifacts were old fashioned, as so were disposed of or sold.

Elizabeth Bell has lived in Antigua since 1969, when she was 14. Her narration and tour was so informative, not only regarding the history and architecture of Antigua, but she also gave us an insight into the political, economic and social issues facing the Guatemalans, especially the Mayans.

The three-hour tour gave us a small insight to this Unesco World Heritage, listed city. It was suggested that we try the restaurant at the beautiful hotel on the site of the ancient university, Dominican Monastery and another Cathedral, but we decided that saw that this was a little too formal, and so we continued on to look for a restaurant more in keeping with Antigua’s casual character.

Walking back to the Town Square, Jeff saw a restaurant with an interesting menu outside, and we were delighted to find a hidden courtyard garden with a babbling fountain which cool and shaded. After lunch we browsed shops and bought some local handicrafts. We would both highly recommend Elizabeth Bells Antigua Tours; we were so lucky that we found them on our internet research at home. On our bus ride back to the ship we dosed and reached the ship shortly before our departure. As we cruised out of port we enjoyed afternoon tea and caught up on blogging.

After dinner we browsed through the photographs of passengers taken during the cruise. While we were there we saw a couple that we had met yesterday from New York, Marty and Steve, and they invited us to their suite on Caribe deck for a nightcap. It is twice the size of a standard cabin, and is so spacious, plus they are next door to Billie Jean King. After chatting with them both we decided to have dinner tomorrow night with each other.

Wednesday, February 28th

Puerto Corinto/Leon Nicaragua

Today we booked a tour to Leon, for a Art and History tour. Leon one of the historic cities of Nicaragua, and we boarded our bus for a 1 hour drive there. Our first stop was to Ruben Dario’s house, a famous poet and politician known throughout Central and South America. His home is now a Museum, and he is a very famous Nicaraguan, who died in 1916.

Our next visit was to a Art Gallery that had a large collection dating from around the mid 1600’s, including 2 Picasso’s, but what surprised us was that all the paintings were not protected by glass or anything else. Next stop was the city’s Cathedral, but having seen several by now, they are beginning to look all the same. I am sure my family would be in catholic rapture.

Our tour guide was a little disappointing, but in all fairness, we are using Elizabeth Bell as a measuring stick. After climbing to the roof of the cathedral for some lovely views, we re boarded the bus and drove back to the port. We had a quick walk around the local market, where Jeff bought a nice pot by a local artist.

Arriving back on board we made our way to Horizon Deck to continue our blog, and ordered a burger as we had not had lunch.
Cathederal RoofCathederal RoofCathederal Roof

Lyon Nicaragua
Jim and Randall were there also, with their family. Just then the Haz-mat team came along and tape off two table dumped all plates, cutlery and all in waste bins and they were all dressed in disposable overalls and face masks. This is because someone was sick and they feared a outbreak of norovirus

After dressing for dinner, we went to the Crooners Bar at 7.30pm to meet Marty and Steve for a drink and dinner. They have apartments in New York, Fort Lauderdale and live upstate New York in Woodstock. Trivia experts please note Woodstock festival was held in the town of Bethel 100 kilometres away.

Dinner was wonderful as always, I ordered Salmon Gravlax, Caesar Salad, Beef Consommé, Beef Tornadoes and Banana Crème Pie. Jeff ordered Salmon, Porcini Risotto, Caesar Salad, Roasted Breast of Capon and Banana Crème Pie. The wine was a Red Cabernet Sauvignon from Chile it was at the lower end of the wine list, but was very nice to drink. The conversation was excellent and before we knew it the dining room was closing before we knew it. We then retired for bed as a early start for San Jose Costa Rica.

Havana Beach

Thursday, February 28th

Puntarenas/San Jose Costa Rica

We woke early, and had a room service breakfast in our cabin. We went to the Princess Theatre, and joined our group to make our way to the coach. Our guide Zelma, a native Costa Rican, began her commentary about our tour to San Jose were we would arrive in San Jose in 2.5 hours. Zelma finally turned off her microphone when the bus stopped in San Jose!

Honestly, it was good to learn about Costa Rica. But she just went on and on leading to monotony, to top it off when there was a lull in her spiel, a dumb Canadian would ask her question after question. It really prevented conversation between other people in the bus. There was an awful amount about she knew about Costa Rica, it was just became verbal dioaherea.

We had two stops along our way, one was to buy souvenirs and the other for lunch. Then on to San Jose, where our first stop was at the National Theatre. It was beautiful, stunning in fact. Paul skipped the sit down description with Zelma and was able to take photos of the upper level including a lovely drawing room. Unfortunately other people on this tour were not able to do so.

Next stop was the Museum of Costa Rica. It was full of interesting artifacts of the Tica Indians. At the time there was a political demonstration outside the museum, and unbeknown to us, some people on our tour left and took photos of it. Later, on the bus Zelma remonstrated with them for doing so, telling them they were irresponsible and that they could have jeopardized their safety, and in turn made her responsible if anything had happened. It certainly changed the mood on the bus, but fortunately for us by this stage, Zelma was losing her voice, and so she kept quiet for much of the reminder of the journey.

Due to heavy traffic on the Pan American Highway back to Puntarenas, we arrived around 30 minutes late. Due to heavy traffic on the Pan American Highway back to Puntarenas, we arrived around 30 minutes late. Many passengers who had early seating for dinner were concerned they would miss out, but the strange thing is that on this ship you can eat around the clock. Probably what
Antigua GuatemalaAntigua GuatemalaAntigua Guatemala

Town Hall Antigua
concerned them most was that their routine was being thrown upset.

Back to our room, and we changed for dinner, and later met in the Crooners Bar with Derek and his friend Carol. We went to our respective dining rooms, and tonight we were give a table in a secluded corner of the restaurant, which felt a little ‘out of the action’. After dinner, we went to the Explorers Lounge to join in a team game called Majority Rules. The idea is to guess what the other teams will answer, and Jeff joined with Randy and Jim and I joined with Larry and David. We did have other people in our teams, but we don’t remember their names. Paul’s team won and they all won a reversible Princess Tote Bag!!! Yippee!

Friday February 29th

Today was a day at sea, and after 4 days in port it was nice to relax. We did typical shipboard activities, Trivia, played cards, dominoes and generally relaxed. Later that evening we met with Christine and Phil, as it was Phil’s birthday, and we went to the Bayou Café for dinner.

This is another supplement restaurant, and it was pure indulgence. We were given every appetizer on the menu to share, as well as tastings of Gumbo and Jambalaya. We both ordered steak, a massive 22oz Porterhouse. Later, for dessert, Paul ordered the Buttermilk Bread Pudding and Jeff a delicious Banana Cake with Rum glaze. It was so much food; the waiter just bought all the entrees to us instead of us ordering one each.

We both felt extremely full, and as this was the 2nd formal night, there was another production show, called Motorcity, with Motown numbers. It was very good, but many passengers feel that the Lead Male has a smile that never leaves his face, which sort of appears a bit plastic. Other than that, the cast members of the show are very professional and always have lots of energy.

After the show, we had a nightcap, and met a nice Irish couple from Dubai. They have lived in Dubai for almost 17 years, so it was interesting to chat with them about our experiences last year when we visited Dubai in March.

Saturday, March 1st

Panama Canal, Panama

Today we transited the Panama Canal, and of course this is what most passengers came on this cruise for. We were told that the Island Princess would arrive at the Pacific side of the locks at around 7am. Many passengers had risen early, and the decks at the bow were full of passengers, as well as many on their own balconies.

An employee of the Canal Authority was on board, and gave a commentary on what was happening, various points of interest, and the history and making of the canal.

We entered the first of two locks, called the Miraflores locks, and could feel the level of the ship rising to the next water level. It was very exciting to be here. Next we passed through the Pedro Miguel lock, and then onto the central Lake Gatun, 26 meters above sea level. We cruised through the various ‘cuts’, which are now infamous in the making of the canal. All day, everywhere on the ship, many were at vantage points onboard. After reaching the eastern side of Lake Gatun, we entered the three Gatun locks, and at around 4.30pm we entered the Caribbean Sea at the port of Cristobal. Once we were outside of the breakwater, which protects the canal entrance, the sea became noticeably rougher and we enjoyed some large waves for several hours.

We went to the trivia challenge, both in the morning and afternoon today, and in the last game our team won, after 4 tie breaking questions. We won a magnificent prize of a Princess Cruises Baseball cap (wow!!).

After going back on deck, and taking photos of leaving Panama, we had a few drinks with passengers we knew. Then, before we knew it, it was time to change for dinner.

After dinner we went to the Universe lounge, and joined in a team game called ‘Peer Factor’. Each member of a 4 person team had to copy a task by various crewmembers on the ship, or do some other crazy thing. The first of each team had to copy a croupier from the Casino, the second (Paul) had to don boxing gloves and unpeg Boxers shorts from a clothes line and them put as many of them on as possible. Paul managed to get four pairs on, while his opponent only managed one. Next challenge was to throw pizza dough in the air like a chef from the Pizzeria, and lastly, Jeff had to wear a large stretchy suit, and the other team members had to stuff it with balloons to make him look like a Sumo wrestler. Jeff’s team managed to stuff 34 balloons in his suit, and then to count them, they were burst one by one. They were the winners!

The last challenge for each of the teams was to go back stage with some of the ships dancers, and learn to do a Riverdance type number in only two minutes and then perform it on stage. It was a lot of fun, but very strenuous for us couch potatoes! We ended up winning lots of prizes, and then returning to our cabin for bed after much applause from the audience.

Sunday, March 2nd

Cartagena, Colombia

Our fifth port. We had originally booked a tour, but cancelled it in favour of hiring a taxi and driver and doing our own thing. Our driver, David, told us many times in broken Spanglish his name, and how he had been a professional taxi driver for 20 years. We were amazed that his professional skills seemed not yet fully developed after so long, especially his constant use of his left indicator for no reason.

After negotiating the price, our first stop was the San Felipe Fortress, where we were immediately surrounded by touts selling beads, T-shirts, caps, cigars, drinks and other tacky souvenirs. There was no let up in them trying to sell us something. The fort was interesting, lots of ramparts and cannons and dingy tunnels. At the base of the fort is statue of Admiral Vernon who beat the Spaniards claimed the town. We were surprised that it was actually there.

Next we drove to the old Walled City. David immediately showed his true potential by taking us to shops were he was sure to get a commission if we purchased something. Jeff saw some reproductions of Botero paintings which he liked a lot. Andre Botero is a famous Colombian artist and sculptor, whose distinctive art is seen around the world. We settled on two paintings, one of a Priest and one of a Nun. Haggling proved more difficult than we expected, they were only willing to move a few dollars from the original quoted price.

We walked around the parts of the Old City, which was very lively and quaint. David kept telling us how beautiful it was, and showing us shops we should go into. After this, we drove along the main beaches, and later to a shopping mall. Big mistake! Almost exclusively jewelers, David was in his element thinking that we might buy something and earn him a princely commission. We browsed at the jewellery, and Jeff was constantly saying ‘Bling Bling’ to everything that they showed us. Apart from it being highly overpriced, we would not have known whether the Emeralds in the jewellery were of a high quality or not. We managed to escape out the door, but David kept wanting us to return for a better price. It was just too much for us in the heat.

We then insisted that we return to the ship, and our time was coming to and end. In hindsight, Cartagena was a lovely city, quite charming, and there would be a lot more to see and do. Obviously, as in any third world country, touting and getting the most out of a tourist’s dollar is a must for the locals. We were told that March would be the most temperate time of the year.

Back on board we had lunch and after lazed around, Paul went to Horizon Deck pool for the Golf Chipping contest. Then onto a Friends of Dorothy get together, there were the same people as last meeting. Trivia was on again and Paul’s team again tied for first but lost in the playoff.
Our dinner tonight was with Marty and Steve we has pre dinner drinks at the Wheelhouse. Marty and Steve are fun, we again were the last to leave the dining room. The boys retired and we went to the Universe Lounge for a Sock Hop Party. Paul’s talents were on show again for the best Elvis impersonation; lucky for the audience he wasn’t required to sing. Another contestant was stage-struck and he won the contest on peoples sympathy. Our tally of Tote Bags is increasing, Paul was given one more.

We met up with Chris; Phil was as usual at the casino playing poker. Jeff discovered a great drink called a Captain’s Bounty the reason he decided to try it was in honour of his friend Jonathan a descendant of the Bounty Mutineers. It was very delicious, we continued on to the Explorers Lounge and requested Deborah Cox song Absolutely Not. When it was played we were in shock we had never heard a worse mixed version, time for bed

Monday, March 3rd

Oraenjestad, Aruba

Arriving at Oraenjestad at Noon, we quickly disembarked and made our way to Dunkin’ Donuts. Natalie, one of the British Cruise staff, had recommended that we go there for free WiFi access. We connected quickly and the speed was excellent. People using laptops occupied all of the tables. After communicating and blogging we walked trough the shopping areas, but the shops mainly sold jewellery and designer brands or junky souvenirs. A café called the Paddock had been suggested a nice place for lunch, but after looking at the menu we moved on.

At the Marina not much further down the street, we discovered several restaurants, where there was a lovely Dutch place called Plaza Café. We ordered Indonesian Satay Skewers, a nice spicy treat after the some ship food. It was a perfect light lunch, and again WiFi was available. We asked our waitress about a beach where we could go after lunch, and she said that there was a nice beach just down the road, mainly frequented by locals that we would like called Havana beach.

Palm trees with a small bay, and a beach bar and restaurant at a nice little beach fringed just a short taxi ride, and us. The water was lovely, but not as warm as we thought, and Paul was happy to now be able to say that he has swum in the Caribbean. After long time just bobbing about in the water, we dried off and enjoyed a few Dutch beers in the shade of a palm-thatched umbrella.

Jeff was kept amused by watching aircraft on their final approach to Aruba airport, but soon we decided to return to town, and the ship. We were fairly hot by this time, so a stop at Baskin Robbins was in order for a cooling ice cream and some more WiFi.

Later we walked back to the ship, and relaxed on our balcony in the sea breeze before getting ready for dinner. After dinner, we went to the Explorers lounge for the final heats of Princess Popstar, and some fellow passengers attempts at Karaoke. Then we moved on to the Universe lounge for the latter parts of the Tribute show, before calling it a night.

Tuesday, March 4th

Today was another sea day and the last formal night, we had dinner with Chris and Phil. Karaoke was on at the Explorer’s Lounge and was a hoot, I (Paul) am glad that karaoke is not my thing. The champagne waterfall was on at 11.30pm at the Atrium all floors were packed.

There is a passenger called Papa Le Blanc who has cruised 101 times with Princess he had the honour of pouring the first bottle. Many passengers had photos taking pouring champagne. Afterwards the dining room staff all came out to dance up-tempo versions of YMCA etc. I (Paul) stayed for this and caught up a couple from Dubai who were married onboard 4 days ago.

Siobhan and Mick lived in an Estate in Dubai called Dubai Lakes, this estate once had a man made lake. It cost too much to keep filling it and without too much consultation the developers filled it in and built houses on top. Both Jeff and I already knew about this. It was good talking about Dubai, as I was familiar with areas they were talking about, but then looking at the time it was

Wednesday March 5th

Ocho Rios, Jamaica

Arriving on schedule at Ocho Rios 8am, we could see Royal Caribbean Freedom of the Seas sail into Port. We boarded our tour bus at 9.20 for the Dunn’s River Falls and Coyaba Gardens. The falls looked wonderful and we would have loved to laze in this world famous cascading waterfall which is fed by underground springs. The water was so crystal clear, falling towards the beach. It was very humid almost as humid as the time we were in Singapore. There were numerous stalls selling the usual trinkets and we succumbed to the pressure sales pitches.

We then went to Coyaba Gardens; they gave us a wonderful vista of Ocho Rios. The gardens had many ponds and natural springs and no photo could really do the falls or these gardens justice.

The tour headed for the shops, we had planed to visit Lawrie Robinson’s mother who lives at Breadnut Hill not far from Ocho Rios. We skipped the rest of the tour and caught a taxi to her home; the taxi wound through Fern Gully Rd a spectacular winding road through a Rainforest with over 550 types of ferns. As the taxi dove higher there was a noticeable drop in temperature.

Arriving at Clara’s home, we both recognised her as Lawrie’s Mum. She had many mannerisms, which we identified with Lawrie. We were taken on a tour of her home and could see how relaxing it could be staying there. After our farewells our driver took us back to the Princess. As she would be sailing at 3.30pm.

Our dinner was with Randall and Jim; we met at the Wheelhouse Bar at 7.30 and went to the Bottom Bar. The menu tonight was Alaskan Crab Claws they were delicious, after dinner Paul asked for a menu to keep. The Princess Singers and dancers were in the dining room. H to Randall and Jim went to them and asked them to sign the menu.

We made our way to the Princess Theater. An American comedian, was performing, he was quite funny. After we saw Natalie in her country and western outfit and chatted for a while.

Thursday March 7, 2008

Our last day at sea, and after breakfast we checked emails and lazed around. The morning trivia was at 11.30; we exchanged our contact details with Marty and Steve. One of the questions was what is a Billabong; we answered a pool of water cut off by a river. We should have just said a waterhole, which they said was the correct answer; it amused some that we did not answer it correctly.

We went to Randall and Jim’s cabin to transfer photos to each of our laptops; then four of us went to Horizon for lunch. Many passengers were getting their last time in the sun. It still amazed us how many would lay there damaging their skin.

This afternoon it was the last game of bingo, and the jackpot was at $4000.00. The Universe Lounge was packed. Derek an English “FOD” won the first game and $125. Unfortunately luck didn’t come our way, though we both needed only 3 numbers when the jackpot went off.

We went to our cabin and began packing, a bottle of Columbian wine was opened, and it was hideous. Instead we called Room Service, and ordered a bottle of Nobilo Sauvignon Blanc, and we got ready for dinner.

We met Phil and Chris for dinner. Our waiter Serafin from the Philippines this evening, he was the campest we have seen on board, and was a hoot. After dinner Phil went to the Casino, and Chris came with us to the Universe lounge.

Tonight’s entertainment was the finals of Princess Popstar. There were 8 contestants, mostly Canadians. The best singers were 2 women Cathy and Melissa. Melissa won singing the Corrs “Restless”. Natalie, who was hosting Popstar, finished the evening singing “I will always love you” and received a standing ovation. After saying our goodbyes to many shipboard friends, we went to our room for the last bit of packing.

Friday, March 8

Fort Lauderdale

Island Princess docked at 6.30 am, and depending on which coloured tag you were given, you assembly at different areas of the ship. We assembled at the Explorers Lounge at 7am, and after a wait of around an hour, we received our disembarkation call. We located our luggage, and cleared US customs, where a porter took our bags to a taxi.

Well this was the end of a very good cruise, and we both agree it can’t compare to our last cruise, as it was completely different. On the last cruise we spent most of our time with the same people, whereas on this cruise we had several friendships, and association with many others.

The food again this time was of a high standard, well prepared and presented if not as spiced as we would of preferred. The buffet was an improvement on the Sapphire Princess, and the supplement restaurants served very large meals. We can only guess that passengers on previous cruises must have complained about the supplement, and did not take into account the extra level of service and food, so this is how they compensate for American tastes.

Entertainment was well presented; the cruise staff was fun, especially as they were Australians, Kiwis or English. We only made one bad decision on our tours, taking the long day trip to San Jose in Costa Rica, which spent too long on bus travel. The Panama Canal crossing was of course the highlight, and we are both so glad we had the opportunity to experience that. Princess Cruises offer good value and a great product, and we would definitely cruise with them again.


1st March 2008

more photos
more photos please, we wanna feel like we are there!!!!

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