Day 6: Enjoying the South Eastern Mediterranean Sea

Oceans and Seas » Mediterranean » Sea of Crete
November 7th 2008
Published: November 7th 2008
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Today was the second of two sea days onboard the Pacific Princess. Our entire group is adapting to the rhythm of the ship. Naps are being taken, more reasonable meals are being eaten, and folks are taking advantage of various shipboard programs.

A little discussion about the Pacific Princess. This ship was originally one of the Renaissance Cruises “R” series built in the mid-1990’s.(Renaissance went bankrupt by trying to sell directly to the public and bypassing travel agents—good riddance) It’s relatively small at 30,000 tons with about 660 passengers—but only about 600 on our cruise.

Princess kept the “clubby” feel to the vessel. Several faux fireplaces can be found in various public rooms. Furniture tends to be overstuffed chairs and sofas with kind of a Country Club feel. Carpets are colorful oriental designs. What is nice is that with only 10 decks, the ship is easily navigated from stem to stern and from top deck to the lowest passenger deck. Most of the staterooms have balconies of a decent, but not extremely large size. The bathroom is very small and the storage space in the room is tight compared to other vessels.

Public rooms include a Lotus Spa and gym, a top-deck band lounge, two alternative restaurants (a steakhouse $15 surcharge and Sabbatini’s $20 surcharge). About 8 of our group dined in the steakhouse last night and they gave thumbs up for the quality of their food and the service. Other rooms include a good sized casino bar (which serves as a kind of Piano bar), the casino itself (four gaming tables and about 50 slot machines); and a dining room seating about 300 guests (not full at all on our cruise). There’s also a buffet and outdoor grill and the signature Princess Pizzeria. There’s also a large library which has wi-fi and is a nice place to read a good book in peace and quiet.

The crew has mostly Italian officers, Filipino bar deck and lounge staff, and a smattering of lots of nationalities in the social staff. Service has been excellent, and the attitude of the crew has been excellent. Having experienced some poor service on other cruise lines, I can say this crew is well trained and well led.

The food has been good and varied. I even had wild west buffalo pot roast the other night, and it was tasty. This ship is too small to offer personal choice, anytime dining and has two sittings at 6 and 8:15 PM. The entertainment is pretty typical of most cruise ships with a small ensemble company of dancers and singers. The in-room TV system features movies, CNN, BBC, some ESPN and shipboard stuff.

Tomorrow we dock in Alexandria, Egypt and have been warned it can be a little dicey for visitors. Many of us will be taking a four-hour shore excursion of highlights of the city and its long history. Alexandria, name for Alexander the Great, was the site of the lighthouse of Faros, one of the wonders of the ancient world, as well as the world’s largest library until it was destroyed in the sixth century.

Now, if the weather would cooperate and get a little warmer that would be great. Today it was about 70 degrees, but we had wind and most cloudy sky conditions. Tomorrow promises to be warmer and sunnier.

A note from Linda:

Seems that everyone in our group is having a good time. Most could be seen today walking on deck to try to make room for another yummy dinner. A few of the ladies went to the spa for a luxurious massage or facial. (Jeanne Sutten looked really relaxed after her massage.) A group went to the High Tea at 4:30 pm. It was really fun to watch Luke, Evan, Laurie, Allan, Bob and Russ play Chinese Fire Drill Ping Pong. Unfortunatley I didn't have my camera.

Everyone is getting good rest and looking forward to our first stop in Egypt.


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