I'll try to answer any questions.
Hawaiian Cruise – Sept 2004
We (Vicki, Angela, Roy & myself ) took a 15 night cruise on the Island Princess. The Cruise was from Los Angeles to Hilo (Big Island) , Kona (Big Island) , Honolulu (Oahu), Nawiliwili (Kauai) , Lahaina (Maui) , Ensenada, Mexico and back to Los Angeles. In total we covered 5132 nautical miles.
Day 1 (Sept 21st) Los Angeles, California, United States Day 2 At Sea
Day 3 At Sea
Day 4 At Sea
Day 5 At Sea
Day 6 Hilo, Hawaii, United States Day 7 - Kona, Hawaii, United States Day 8 Honolulu, Oahu, United States Day 9 Kauai (Nawiliwili), Hawaii, United States Day 10 Maui (Lahaina), Hawaii, United States Day 11: At Sea
Day 12: At Sea
Day 13 At Sea
Day 14 At Sea
Day 15 Ensenada, Mexico Day 16 Los Angeles, California, United States (fly back to Phoenix and then to Oregon)
• Our cabin for the duration of the cruise was B439; located on deck 11; Baja Deck; Vicki selected a cabin location in the middle of the ship so that Angela & Roy would have easy access to the elevators and not have to walk too far to any of the main areas. Being in the middle of the ship we felt very little movement, very little noise and no vibrations.
• We really liked having the patio door / balcony & there were several benefits that made spending the extra worth it. The amount of light in the room was excellent. We could open the door and let in a pleasant breeze. It was lovely to sit on the balcony and eat breakfast in the morning. Great to be able to sit outside and watch the ship sailing around the Hawaiian Islands. The only downsides we could find were the occasional waft of cigarette / cigar smoke and the noise from our neighbors.
• A wonderful ship; - sleek.
• Pools – 3 including the small splash pool. The lido deck and lotus pools are good to swim in. I did 60 lengths in the lido pool (about ½ mile) a couple of times. Very relaxing. 2 Jacuzzi’s next to the Lido pool
• Gym is well equipped – elliptical trainers, recumbent and regular cycle machines, treadmills etc
• Library is well stocked – although like usual plundered at the beginning of the cruise – so go early if you want to borrow a book from the library. The CD player / chairs are extremely comfortable – if you can find one vacant.
• There is an internet café with around 12 terminals, if you’re Platinum or higher it’s free, 35cents/min if not – we made good use of this!
• The Patisserie on deck 5 is wonderful – we typically went there around 4pm each day for a latte. They also have small cakes that are gorgeous – even if I did drop a chocolate powder coated truffle down my shorts (clean #1)
• Plenty of space to sunbathe – if you’re in to that sort of thing on the lido/sun decks
• Walking – 3 laps of promenade deck is a mile – I tried to do 1-2 miles each day. Lido /sun-deck can also be used but there are more obstacles.
• We liked to sit on Promenade deck – very peaceful – the padded teak deck loungers are very comfortable
• There are relatively few folks smoking these days – a very pleasant change from when we first cruised – there is a dedicated cigar smoking lounge which seemed to attract most of the smokers. Hopefully all smoking will be confined to this area sometime in the future…
• Several bars – which we didn’t partake of. From a décor perspective the Explorers lounge was a favorite – with it’s middle-eastern theme (bazaar/Egyptian themes)
Benefits of being Platinum class in the Princess Captains circle program
• Priority embarkation – these days there are so many Platinum + members – benefit is not that worthwhile having
• Free Internet access. Given the 35cents/min connection charge was really nice to not worry about how long we spent on the internet
• Reserved lounge prior to disembarkation. Like embarkation – too many people to make this worth having. We ended up sitting in the Horizon Lounge where there was much more space.
• Chris Nichol – the cruise director is excellent. Very poised. His spoken communication is excellent – for a Brit – we didn’t hear a single um or eh in any of his introductions. At one stage in the cruise he featured in the evening show & did an excellent impression of Tom Jones (which included swinging his hips & baring his chest! – he also did a splendid rendition of the “Phantom of the Opera”
• During the cruise there were 3 formal shows: rather too few in my mind
o Let’s Rock – in the Princess theatre -
o Tribute – performed in the Universe Lounge; we saw this twice; featured songs from several distinct artists; Beatles, Beach Boys, Rat Pack;
o Curtain Up – saw this twice – finale show featuring highlights from Broadway shows– 42nd street, Gershwin, Cabaret, Phantom of the Opera, Sunset Blvd, Evita, Grease & Oklahoma
• Other entertainers were of very varied theme and quality: Probably the area that Vicki & I don’t match with the majority of the cruise clientele given the large age difference.
o Our favorite was Duncan Tuck – extremely good guitar player, singer and a reasonable comedian – “You know you’re trailer trash…” Vicki bought his CD
o Our least favorite, of the ones we actually went to see, was the piano playing Mickey Finn and his banjo playing partner who seemed to spend more time telling the audience how famous they were and how good they were rather than letting their music speak for itself. A telling indication of their acceptance, many folks got up and left during the show, only 1 person lined up to purchase a CD – compared to the packed line for Duncan Tuck
o Vincent Talarico (Italian? Singer) – actually quite good – although I felt he overplayed his audience engagement a little too much. He finished with “Con Te Patiro (Time to Say Goodbye)” made famous by Andrea Bocelli (blind Italian singer) – the song was made famous for advertising The Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas when it opened…
o Seamus Early – an Australian female singer; who seemed to play like an LP record on the wrong speed. She gave a 10 minute explanation of Waltzing Matilda and then sang it at half speed. Included an Abba selection – all not quite right - She also finished with “Con Te Patiro” which had some folks asking “didn’t she know – Tony did the same song?!”
o There was also a ventriloquist – enough said!
• We’d requested 1st sitting in the “Provence” formal dining room; we got table 145 – a table for 4 situated at the back of the restaurant. We were served by Will and Leon, both from South Africa. They were excellent (their feedback said this!) The table captain was also from South Africa. He lacked much personality and came across a little bit like a “stuffed shirt”
• There is an open seating / un-timed “Bordeaux” restaurant – on deck 5. There are also the ‘premium’ restaurants which levy an additional cover charge “Bayou Café - $10 – New Orleans theme” and Sabatini’s ($20) – classical Italian cuisine. We didn’t go there
• We did notice the service in the dining room is much more relaxed than we’d seen before. The table captains are no longer tyrannical. Service quality is still excellent though, the food good and hot. Will & Leon worked extremely well together with no pretentious behavior.
• We ate lunch in the Horizon Court (a 24 hour buffet) most days we were on-board; Selection & quality very good. Can get crowded – especially on the first day.
• Also had 1 hot dog from the grill – it was spectacular;
• There is also a pizza parlor that we didn’t sample.
• Vicki did some pottery painting and generated a rather nice trivet and set of 4 coasters.
• As usual you can do a quick tour of some of the crew areas of this ship. Vicki did the galley tour, we both went to the very interesting back-stage tour.
• Most of the folks we met were through participation in the golf events; which were usually held in the golf simulator area or the 9-hole putting course. These were pretty entertaining and I won a bunch of gold/silver medals in the various competitions. The final was a 3-hole putting competition which I finished joint second.
• Four of us, Andrew, Rich, Mickey and me had 2 two-hour sessions in the golf simulator playing a championship course in scramble style which we thoroughly enjoyed.
(to be continued)