Aboard a Princess cruise ship somewhere in the Atlantic

Posting this in Fort Lauderdale, now with wifi….

Day 9 –

The waters were pretty choppy overnight and all throughout today.  I did Zumba class clutching onto a chair so I wouldn’t fall over!

Instead of our usual buffet breakfast, we celebrated Sunday by eating in the dining room,  trying to replicate George’s Sunday morning specials.  I had an excellent made-to-order feta and mushroom  omelette and George had a poached egg on toast – close but not George’s grits and eggs.

We visited the Art Gallery and picked up our gift that we won – an oil painting that will go nicely in our living room at home, with some orange highlights.  Maria, a real cutie from Mexico, is our sales clerk.

I attend some of the popular trivia games each day.  I always lose terribly.  I went to a book exchange to trade paperbacks with other passengers.  Wish the ship had a library, but this works, too.  I have several e-books to read, too.

Since it is Sunday, we splurged with an afternoon Bloody Mary in one of the bars.  We chatted with the bartender, from India.  He said he has 35 days more of work, and then he will fly home for 3 months off.   He said that he, and all the Asian staff,  work 9 months straight, every single day.  They work at least 11 hours a day, and when the ship is really crowded, 14 hours.  About 90% of the support staff are Filipino.  There are also a few Indians, Ukranians, and Serbians.  He told us that the “European professional staff” – from New Zealand, Brazil, Venezuela, Italian, and England – only work 5 months/year.  They, too, have multiple jobs and seem to be working at least 12 hours/day.  He said that Princess is the only cruiseline that flies their staff home for their vacations.   This guy will be flying from Miami to Goa, India for his 3 months, and then to Puerto Vallarta to pick up his next 9 months.  What a life! 

Tonight is one of the three formal evenings throughout the cruise.  Some people go all out.  George puts on a tie, and I  wear a skirt with various tops. 

DINNER:  I seem to be eating a lot of seafood, but I figure it has the fewest calories.  Tonight I had the ceviche as an appetizer and grilled shrimp for my entree.  George had a salad, bow tie pasta, and mahi-mahi.  They always put yummy, fresh-baked dinner rolls on the table, which I try to avoid! 

Afterwards we listed to an excellent Scottish soprano in the theater. 


Day 10

More zumba to start the day.  The New Zealand instructor really gives us a workout and puts on a show, too.  He substituted as teacher for line dancing this morning, too, offering a more rigorous routine,  so we really had 2 work-outs.

Today’s weather was great with sun and almost no waves.  High of about 72.   This made the top deck a popular hangout spot.  We had burgers by the pool and then read in the shade.  A great way to spend the afternoon. 

Every other day we gain an hour, with a total of 6 time changes as we go west. 

Before dinner, we enjoyed a drink in the piazza and listened to some nice music.  To save money (call me cheap!), we take our own wine to different venues.

DINNER:  Keeping with a low-fat regime, I had steamed asparagus for an appetizer and a seafood “hotpot” for a main course – shrimp, scallops, and mussels in a tomato/rice sauce.  George had borscht for appetizer and veal scallopini for his main.  All good.

After dinner, we listened to jazz again with the guest jazz singer in the nightclub.  Very “high-end” feeling.

BOOK:  “Drop Shot” by Harlan Coben.  Part of the Myron Bolitar series about a sports agent solving murder mysteries.  3 stars out of 5


Day 11

Everyday we receive “Princess Patter” – the daily schedule showing the day’s activities with all types of games, sports activities, lectures, music venues, hobbies, and dinner options. 

We go through it and decide who will do what.  Usually there are many options.  When there is nothing that interests us, we read and/or rest in the room.  Here is today’s plan….

7:00 Breakfast at buffet
8:00 George work-out, then dip in the hot tub
9:00 Karmen zumba
10:00 George class on astronomy
10:00 Karmen – mimosas at one of the shops
10:30 Karmen – class on “how to look 10 years younger”
11:00 Karmen – line dance
12:00 Lunch in dining room
1:00 Art gallery auction
3:00 Read on deck
4:00 Listen to music (violinist) in the piazza
5:00 Dress for dinner.  Wine in room, with some nuts we snatched from the buffet
5:30  Listen to different musician (female vocalist) in piazza
6:45:  Dinner in one of the restaurants
8:00 Piano concert in theatre
9:30 -Vocalist concert in lounge
10:15 – Concert in piazza with all cruise bands

Each day it has been getting warmer, with today’s high 80.  There is a tropical depression near us that the captain is trying to avoid.  He keeps us informed about our status.

George dropped by the zumba class today and took an unflattering photo of me…

Art auction (they keep wanting us to buy something)…  

Followed by music in piazza….

DINNER:  I had ceviche as a starter and seafood paella as a main course.  The paella wasn’t that great – more like seafood in a tomato sauce, but the seafood was good and plentiful.  George had mushroom soup  and goat cheese tart as appetizers and grilled chicken for main course.

After dinner – Japanese concert pianist in theater….


Day 12

After my daily zumba class, I attended a jewelery store “special” with free mimosas.  No price tags are present, but women are really buying!  I sipped on a mimosa, then slinked out.

Lunch was in one of the private dining rooms.  My tuna sashimi was very good.

I also dropped by the Chanel shop where the beautician was doing eye make-overs.  She put eye make-up on me for the evening.  (Didn’t do too much good).

We attended another art show, featuring a famous artist named Peter Max.  I “won” a $250 coupon to buy one of his works, but I will not be using it.  Still way too expensive.

In the afternoon, we went to a talent show featuring passengers.   I was expecting painful vocals and other musicians.  The 10 guest performers were surprisingly excellent.  Everyone loved them.  We all sang together at the end.

Then, to another bar in the piazza to listen to the vocalist entertainer.  What a surprise!  We struck up a conversation with another couple.  Turns out that he and I attended the same small college in Iowa – Central College – and graduated in the same year!  We both remembered some names of the students and professors.  Small world!

DINNER:  Ceviche and mixed seafood for me.  I need to add more variety.  George had stuffed chicken. 

After dinner, we rushed to the theater to see a big performance of dancing and singing.  Superb talent. 

Then, we attended a PG-13 “Marriage Match Game”.  Three couples participated – 1) 80-year old newlyweds, 2) an English couple married 52 years, and 3) an American couple with 39 years.  It was absolutely hilarious.  I laughed until I cried.

We ended the busy day in the jazz club listening to the ship’s jazz group – drum, bass, and piano.

Day 13

We attended an interesting progran called “Culinary Demonstration”.  The executive chef prepared a few dishes.  One I will try when we return – a pesto made from leftover steamed vegetables and roasted garlic.  He made it with broccoli.  Looked and smelled delicious.  Afterwards, they took us on a tour of the galley.  Amazing amount of food and organization.  They make/serve 15,000+ meals per day. 

We are cheap.  Our room is the least expensive – an inside cabin.  We figure that we are hardly ever in the room, so why pay for a more expensitve state room?  The only downside is that we don’t know when to wake up in the mornings!

Lunch was a sushi and sashimi buffet.  I must admit – I made a pig of myself!

George played a genja tournament – staff versus guests.  The crew won.  George pulled out the piece that toppled the game.  Oops!

Then, in the afternoon another interesting presentation.  It was a “behind-the-scenes” discussion with the cruise managers.  We learned interesting tidbits such as 210,000 tons of food are loaded onto the ship at the beginning of the cruise, and the freezers are almost emtpy now.

DINNER:  We opted to eat in the ship’s pizzeria tonight.  We shared a pizza – half Princess special and half pepperoni.  A nice thin crust and not greasy.  Appetizer was Parma ham and some shrimp.

After dinner, we went to the theater to listen to a fantastic Scottish soprano.  She had sung earllier in the cruise and was so popular that they brought her back.

We capped the night in the jazz club again. 


Day 13 – Our last full day at sea

We are watching the tropical storm hitting Florida.  The captain gives us updates all the time.  The weather has turned very tropical – very humid.  80 degrees already when we walked to breakfast. 

After a good zumba class, we watched a demonstration on fruit and vegetable carving.  Their displays are amazing!

Being the last day at sea, it seemed like they were trying to squeeze a lot of events into the remaining hours.  I zipped from the final art auction to line dancing, and then to meet up with George to  attended a show with the ship’s dancers and singers. George attended the demonstration on carving an ice scuplture.

Then, we dashed to the theatre at the other end of the ship to watch a crew talent show.  This ship has 1500 crew representing different nationalities.  Like the crew, most of the performers were Filipinos, but there were staff from England, China, and England who performed, too.  They have amazing talent.

The couple who got engaged on the ship received a bottle of champagne.  The bride-to-be does zumba next to me.  She gave me the champagne as they don’t like it, so  George and I popped the cork and enjoyed it in the room.

Then to the piazza to  listen to a superb violin duo, and then to the jazz club to listen to a Spanish pianist.

Wow – this ship doesn’t scrimp on entertainment options.

DINNER:  After a big seafood lunch, I wasn’t too hungry so I skipped the appetizer.  Main was a vegan (shout-out to daughter Alexis) Indian chickpea dish over rice.  George had home-made ravioli and crab risotto. 

More entertainment – We enjoyed a singing duo who are Broadway and West London actors singing a lot of good songs.

We received a notice from the captain saying that we have some medical emergencies on board.  They stressed that they are not Covid-related.  Consequently, they are speeding up the ship and we will dock tonight in Fort Lauderdale, instead of tomorrow morning, so that they can be transported to a hospital. 

We will gain another hour tonight so we stayed up a bit later than normal. 

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