Follow by Email

Friday, November 11, 2016

More Wonderful Exeriences on the Regal Princess Cruise (Days 7 & 8)

Friday, April 22nd

We can’t believe our cruise is almost to the half way point. This week has really flown by but been very relaxing. Last night I was asleep by about 11:15 pm and woke up at 4:00 am. After lying in bed for an hour, I decided to get up and take a walk around the ship as it would be a good time to take pictures, since not many people would be around. I did do that for about 30 minutes and talked to a guy from the passenger service desk. He told me that the desk is manned all through the night, and he doesn’t mind working all night because he works from 9:00 pm till 8 am, and then has the rest of the day off. He is from South Africa and because he doesn’t have a family, he loves working on the ship. When he goes home for his break, he misses being on the ship. That’s the first time I have heard that. Most people I talk to get homesick. Below are some pictures I took early in the morning which include the atrium, the art gallery, and a sculpture near the passenger's services desk.

I went to the Horizon Court buffet and just had a cup of coffee. Shortly after I got there, a woman who had been having coffee at another table, walked by my table said "hello", and started talking to me. Before I knew it we were sitting down talking for two hours and it was a really interesting conversation. She’s originally from Columbia and now lives in Australia. She is 36 and going through a divorce and is in between jobs so it’s the perfect time for her to go on a cruise. She is staying on the ship for 25 days (ours is a 14 day cruise) and is going on to Germany and Russia. At 7:30 I realized Chuck was probably awake and wondering where I was so I headed back to the room.

We went to breakfast and then sat outside on a lounge chair in the sun near the pool for about 15 minutes. Who Framed Roger Rabbit, an oldie but a goody, was on the Movies Under the Stars screen. Chuck went to another enrichment lecture about the Truk Lagoon and exploring the ships underwater that were found there. I was so tired from waking up so early that I fell asleep for about 15 minutes, then went to the library to return my book. Unfortunately I couldn’t find much else to choose from so I found a chair to sit in and wait for Chuck and talked to a nice couple comparing cruise notes of different cruises and cruise lines we have been on. That's one of the things I enjoy about meeting other people on cruise ships...the chance to compare notes and find out tips for other cruises. After meeting Chuck and heading for lunch, we once again sat in the sun in lounge chairs, but only for about 15 minutes as the sun is strong.

Back in the room, Chuck took a nap and I watched the end of the movie, “By the Sea” which was written and directed Angelina Jolie Pit and Brad Pitt, and unfortunately for her, was one of the worst movies I have ever seen! Then when Chuck was working out I walked a mile on the walking track, and then went to use my favorite pool again. The water was pretty chilly even though the sun was warm but it was very refreshing. We then went to dinner at the Symphony dining room. I had fettuccine alfredo and Chuck had lobster tails with crab cakes. The crab cakes had red pepper and filler in them so weren’t as good as many we have had. BUT the lobsters tails and fettuccine were delicious. For dessert Chuck had an amazing choice called Chocolate Journeys and I was full so I just had peach sorbet. You can see pictures of our delicious meals below. We then went to see Tom Frenek again and he once again blew us away with his piano antics. After that we had just enough time to head to the Vista Lounge to see a new comedian, Darrell Joyce who was funny talking about marriage and the typical man/woman view of packing for and enjoying a cruise.

Saturday, April 23rd

Today we got up and went for breakfast a little later than normal. I decided to take it a bit easy on the food although that’s hard to do since there are so many delicious looking choices on board this ship. I had yogurt and fruit and a small piece of banana bread with raspberry jelly, which is one of my favorite breakfast items on Princess ships. After breakfast we went to another on board sale. This one had many more items including jackets and hats, magnets, purses, etc. I ended up getting a hat that was marked way down because I forgot to bring one and the sun is quite bright out on the decks. Then we went to Club 6 which was where the eBay sellers of the world meeting was to be held, by my request. Chuck was hopeful that a lot of people were going to show up. Only 2 guys came, and they were both older men who hadn’t started selling on eBay yet, but had hoped to start. So instead of a group of eBay sellers getting together to compare notes, I gave them some tips on how to start selling on eBay. It was actually a lot of fun and I think we all enjoyed ourselves. During the meeting, Chuck had to leave to go to his lecture about the same diver that found a downed WWII airplane that was discovered off the coast of Corsica, and all of his experiences surrounding that discovery with the gunner’s body still sitting in the tail of the airplane. I happened to be going by one of the jewelry stores after my meeting was over and they were doing a drawing so I stayed and Chuck met me there and waited for me sitting in the sun on an outside deck area just outside the jewelry store. This area was a new discovery for us and it was relaxing to sit in the sunshine overlooking the water for a bit. We ate lunch (at this point I think I might be addicted to taco salad with guacamole for lunch!) and when we came back, I did our fist load of laundry of the trip. It costs $3.00 for a washer or a dryer, and $1.50 for laundry soap softener. I am glad we brought our own Tide in trial sized packets and laundry sheets. That saves $2.00 per load. You know me…always trying to save money!

Later we took a nap and then went to work out. I finally was able to show Chuck where “my” pool is and hope that he will come up there with me someday. I walked on the track and then went to “my” pool and met a woman there with her 10 year old daughter who is one of only four children on board the ship. They were really nice AND from Connecticut which was quite surprising. We went to dinner at the Horizon Court and the special thing they had tonight was Yorkshire pudding which was a very unusual offering at dinner. I also had a delicious peach Mouse with whipped cream on top for dessert. Chuck had an end cut prime rib, brussel sprouts. and beef stew over mashed potatoes and really enjoyed that. We headed to my favorite part of the ship…the back deck called the Terrace Grill and looked out over the bebeautiful view there for a bit, before heading to the song and dance show in the Princess Theater. Tonight was a show called, ‘Spectacular” which we had seen before on the Royal Princess and I wasn’t looking forward to seeing it. BUT the singers and dancers were SO good on this ship that we really enjoyed the show. Afterward, we watched a guy doing a street performance type of show in the Piazza. It was a juggling and balancing act where he balanced things on his nose and chin, etc. We called it a night after having a Coke and listening to a band play dance music in the piazza.

Days Three Through Five on Our Transatlantic Cruise: Spring, 2016

Monday, April 18th

We went to breakfast in the Horizon Court and there is always so much to choose from. We find it hard to eat light with all of the variety.Here's a picture of the Horizon Court very early in the morning before they were even serving. It's very bright and airy.

After breakfast Chuck wanted to go to a lecture on sunken treasure by a guy named John Christopher Fine. It was held in the very large Princess Theater (see picture below). I was not that interested so brought my book to read, just in case. After 5 minutes, I decided I was not interested in buried treasure, so read my book. Chuck liked the talk a lot, and I will admit that he seemed a bit more interesting than some of the lecturers we have heard. We went to lunch, then went to the room and Chuck took a nap while I watched a movie.

We had a glass of wine on the balcony of our room and headed to dinner in the Symphony dining room. We always do anytime dining, which means you just show up at a restaurant on the ship, as you would at any restaurant at home, and we had to wait for about 20 minutes for a table. After dinner we went to a show in the Princess Theater. Tonight’s show was a violinist named Gregory…yes, that’s it, just one name! He says he is the tallest violinist in the world at 6 feet 5 inches and played remarkably well, backed by the Regal Princess stage band. We even had time to see a second show which was Steve Couette again, the same guy from last night. I have decided I didn’t like him all that much because, although I did laugh at his jokes, he yelled at the audience a lot, and I found it annoying. Chuck really enjoyed him though.

Tuesday, April 19th

After breakfast, Chuck wanted to go to another seminar on by the same man, John Christopher Fine. This one was titled, Stallions and Treasure Hunting. I didn’t want to go, so instead went to a ship sale where everything is $10. They had a lot of items for ladies including watches, scarves, some clothes, nylon cross body bags, and cuff watches which I really like and since I only have a dress watch, decided to get a silver and blue cuff watch. I then went to the library and did one of the daily puzzles they have for passengers. Today’s was a trivia type puzzle about matching the different types of animals to what their young are called. For instance, a baby kangaroo is named a Joey, etc. I wasn’t very good at it and only got 11 right out of 25. And I was worse at Sudoku (if you know me, you know Math/numbers are definitely not my thing) I worked on a jigsaw puzzle for awhile that was laid out on the table for passengers to work on if they so chose. And then looked for another book but couldn’t find any I was interested in reading. I did bring some books with me but always like to peruse what they have to offer on ship libraries in case there’s something there that looks interesting that I may never get the chance to read again.

Afterward I met Chuck for lunch, then he napped while I watched the movie, The Intern starring Robert Deniro and Anne Hathaway and I have to say it was one of my favorite new movies. While Chuck worked out in the gym, I went to the walking track and got rained on as the ship went through some rain clouds shortly after I arrived on the track. Since we were moving pretty fast, I decided to keep walking and after 2 rainy loops around, we were out of the clouds and I finished enough laps to do 1 mile. I happened to notice a small pool on the deck below with no one in it and decided to check it out tomorrow.

I hurried back to the room to get ready for formal night tonight. We went down to get a seat in the Piazza area of the atrium near the champagne waterfall. Another couple that was from New York came and sat down near us and we talked to them for awhile. They had never been on a Princess ship before so we updated them on all the wonderful things about Princess cruise lines. We watched the Maitre d pour champagne to get the waterfall going, and then went to dinner in the Concerto Room. Here we are on formal night, and I have included a picture of one of the free dining rooms.

After dinner we went to a piano show by a guy named Tom Frenek. I have never seen anything like this before. This guy was an excellent piano player who had more energy than most entertainers I have ever seen. If you have ever seen Robin Williams being interviewed where he just talked and talked and went off on tangents, this guy was sort of like that, but he played the piano and sand as well. AND he’s a bit of a contortionist so for some songs was playing the piano with his back to it and reaching his arms backwards, and at another point he was playing while lying on the floor. He has over 100,000 followers on his Facebook page so I will probably friend him when we get home just because of his sheer passion for music.

Wednesday, April 20th

Today we went to breakfast and Chuck went to hear a lecture on ships during World War I. It was given by the same man who has been lecturing on Treasure Hunting and once again he was apparently very interesting, but I didn’t go and instead went back to the library. Immediately after that, there was an interview with the captain of this ship, who has risen to the rank of Commodore, in the very same venue. Chuck had recognized his name from a previous cruise, and it turns out he was the captain on our very first cruise together,The Crown Princess in 2006. He has come far in 10 years since Commodore is the highest rank one can reach, although according to him, it’s just a fancy title for Captain!

While Chuck was going to these lectures that I didn’t have an interest in, I went to my very favorite spot on this ship, which is the same favorite spot I had on the Royal Princess. It’s on the back of the ship, at the outside of the Horizon Court buffet. I brought a book I was reading, The Last Lecture, by Randy Pausch, but instead decided to take notes on a book I had borrowed from the library here on board, “Like Water for Chocolate.” I enjoyed it so much that I read it in less than 24 hours and am in a hurry to write a review on it for HubPages so I can return it to the library here on board so someone else can read it. One of the things I love about cruising is that I have time to read. I do read when we are home, but not as much because I feel it takes time away from eBay. Now that I am away from our everyday lives, and the frenzy of keeping up with eBay daily, I think my previous view is rather sad. There should be enough time in my everyday life to work on eBay and read. Reading is good for my mind, while eBay is good for my bank account! I am going to try to balance both in my life better when we get back home.

After I took notes on the book, I went to a photography seminar in the Vista lounge…the exact opposite end of the ship that Chuck was at. The seminar was given by one of the photography staff on board. It was pretty basic but the one thing it did remind me that I should be doing is taking my camera off the automatic setting and setting it on specific settings which will result in clearer pictures with better lighting. I have a Nikon Coolpix camera which Chuck got me to illustrate my articles when I first started writing online in 2012. I like the camera but I can’t get clear close ups on it. The speaker recommended the next stage up so I may look into that someday. Until then at least I have been reminded about how to take better pictures with the camera I have.

We had arranged to meet at noon in the photography area and look at pictures that were taken last night. Personally I was not impressed with any of them, but we have plenty of time to have more pictures taken and there’s no need to buy any of them, although we do like to buy a few as mementos of the cruise.

We went to lunch and decided to try the pizza, fries and hot dogs from the Trident Grill instead of the usual fair at the Horizon Court. When we came back to the room, Chuck took a nap and did some work on his computer which he unfortunately had to bring with him. I watched another movie. This time it was ”Burnt” starring Sienna Miller and Bradley Cooper. I enjoyed it, but I think people who really enjoy cooking might be the movie’s biggest fans!

After we rested, I went to the walking track again. Good thing for my pedometer as it really encourages me to get extra steps in. I decided to bring my bathing suit and was happy that no one was in the pool below. This pool is small, maybe about 12 feet in diameter and is in the shape of a circle. I had noticed it when I was walking on the track earlier as it is on level down from the track and I hadn’t noticed anyone there. When I did go down, I realized it is actually in front on the smoking lounge area on the back of the ship. But no one smokes around the pool and no one seemed to care that I was there. I had participated in water aerobics once back home in our community of Big Canoe and knew enough of my own exercises to combine with those and do a 30 minute aerobic water workout. It’s definitely too small to swim laps so if I walk as aerobic exercise and then so swimming exercises and stretches in the pool, I should have a pretty good workout. I am hooked and plan to walk and use the pool now every afternoon. I felt so relaxed when I was done. The Royal Princess doesn’t have this type of pool back there, only a children’s playground so this was really a nice surprise.

Here's my new favorite exercising spot with a great view of the back of the ship, and also the walking/jogging track that has great views because it's the highest point on the cruise ship...

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Transatlantic Cruise, Regal Princess, April 2016 Day 1

Sunday, April 17th

After 7 long months of waiting for this cruise, we were quite excited to get on board our cruise ship, The Regal Princess. One of our favorite parts of any cruise we go on is stepping on board the ship for the first day of our cruise, especially a ship we haven't ever been on before. This is a fairly new ship, and the sister ship of one we have cruised on the last two times, the Royal Princess. We were pleased that the embarkation, arriving to the port and getting on the ship went quite smoothly.More than ever before. We walked up to the counter, checked in and walked on board...after getting the expected coming on board photo taken by the ship's photographers.

We were not going to be allowed to get into our rooms till 2:00 pm and it was 1:30 pm when we stepped onto the ship so everyone was being guided to the buffet area. We got reacquainted with the types of food on the ship, which is varied and delicious. Princess cruises always do a wonderful job with their food. One of my favorite lunch items from the last 2 cruises was taco salad so I treated myself to another one today. Chuck had a ½ a sandwich and some pea soup. Once we were able to get to our room, we were pleased to see it is the same as last time, with the bed actually heading in the same direction. Our suitcases came soon after we arrived, and we unpacked and met our room steward who is named Renan.

Then it was time to go to the safety drill, a mandatory drill that must happen, on Princess ships at least, before the ship leaves the dock. I don't like the safety drills because everyone must rush to find where they are supposed to be assembling, and it is different for different parts of the ship, then we have to stand around or sit and just wait till the last passengers straggle in. I think some people think they can get out of this drill if they don't show up, but they call your name on a loudspeaker if you don't show up and it just inconveniences everyone else. Fortunately, this only now takes about 15 minutes once everyone is assembled at their muster stations. After returning to our room, we were happy that Renan came back with our complimentary glasses of champagne that Princess cruises gives to all mini-suite and above passengers. We usually go up on one of the top decks (Deck 16) for the sail away party where everyone dances to the band and drink specials are touted by waiters as the ship sails out to sea BUT this time we decided to stay on our balcony and drink our champagne as we watched Fort Lauderdale sail by.

One of the most fun things about this sail away is that the Princess Cruise Line ships play the theme from the "Love Boat" on the ship's horn as it heads out so sea. There are some tall condo buildings that the ship passes and people stand on their balconies and wave. One of the balconies had a very large Princess Cruises flag that they hung off their balcony and some had very loud horns that responded to our horns.

Here's our view from our balcony as we were heading out to sea...

Chuck then went to work out while I went to the library to get a jump start on getting a good book to read on the cruise. The libraries on the Royal and Regal Princess are very small and the choice of books is not very good. I ended up getting the book, "Like Water for Chocolate" for me and the "Biography of Jimmy Stewart" for Chuck.

We went to dinner at the Horizon Court Buffet area and were pleased to see it wasn’t very busy. Most of the passengers were probably at the fancier dining rooms, which are named the Symphony and the Concerto. After dinner, we went to the introductory show which consisted of one song/dance routine from the Regal Princess singers and dancers, and a comedian named Steve Couette. He was pretty funny. The singers and dancers were impressive and better than on many of the ships we have been on so that's a good sign in terms of entertainment for the rest of the cruise. We were tired after that and headed back to the room. I was happy to see there are 18 movies I am interested in watching on this cruise! I know...I am crazy...probably the only person you know who looks forward to cruising on Princess partly for the large number of great movies I get to watch! We already we are moving the clocks 1 hour forward tonight. By the time we hit Denmark, we will be ahead of the East coast of the US by 6 hours.