Live From March 22, 2018 Diamond - 22 Days SYD to Tokyo

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#21
Batehaven, Australia
11,304 Posts
Joined Mar 2006
Great blog, enjoying it. Thanks and safe travels.
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Cheers..(Uncle) LES - Princess Captains Circle Elite. - 480 days.

Cruised with Princess, Celebrity, Cunard, P&O Australia, P&O UK, Carnival, Sitmar, Sydney Harbour Ferries. World Cruise, plus British Isles, Europe, Med, Greek Isles, Transatlantic, Asia, USA, Panama Canal, South America, Central America, Caribbean, Alaska, Canada, Japan, South Pacific, Australia, New Zealand.!

**Last cruise: Queen Mary 2 - Sydney - HK, 16 nights, 2 - 18 March 2017.

**Next: (We were booked on Adonia x 2, but they sold the ship on us.)
Sapphire Princess - 26 May 2018, Scandinavia, ex Southampton - 7 nights B2B with..
Sapphire Princess - 2 June 2018, Baltic Heritage, ex Southampton - 14 nights.
Royal Princess - 18 June 2018 - British Isles, ex Southampton - 12 nights.

'Adventure before Dementia - Live for Today !!'
#22
3,878 Posts
Joined Feb 2004
March 27, 2018 – At Sea to Darwin (Day 5)

Still too dark to see the weather this morning. A little bouncy, but not bad. Another fully day at sea before hitting Darwin. Big event for the day is the Top 40 luncheon in Sabatini’s. They always do a great job on the food for that event. Looking forward to it.

So as far as the great Candy controversy, for this crew, there is no controversy. They love chocolate most of all! We bought some assorted Cadbury chocolate eggs in Sydney (on sale at Woolworths) in a nice large plastic egg. We have been passing out assorted candies in little snack bags the entire cruise, but decided to treat the cruise staff by giving Frenchie the entire egg to pass out from her desk. We are going to try and find some Tamarind candy in Kota Kinabalu as it is a favorite of the Philipinos on board and while they do love their chocolate as well, we want to give them a little taste of home.

The passage through the many little islands and the reef system yesterday was pretty cool. At noon there was only 6 meters under the keel as we buzzed along at 19 or 20 knots. The wind was whipping the water up a bit, but you could see the distinct outlines of the lighter sand bottom vs the darker coral bottom with the occasional shark fin. The passage is heavily trafficked with shipping and there are a whole bunch of islands of all shapes and sizes on both sides – some as close as 1km. Had the wind not been whipping up the water, it would have been near perfect viewing conditions of a very interesting area.

It is lightening up a bit and it looks still a bit overcast with patches of blue. We have slowed significantly this morning so there is very little motion here on Deck 5.

Tonight is the ½ hour back for Darwin. Instead of the one button hour back or hour forward, it’s 30 of the minute button. Although my hiking watch might have a preset for Darwin. We’ll see.

There is a notice in the patter about the Vietnamese Visa. Apparently everyone will be charged the VISA fee unless you show them you have an existing valid VISA or are from a VISA free country. Passengers have until 4/1 to get that straightened around with the front desk.

The Diamond has the Wakeview bar, which is accessed via a stairwell at the back side of Fusion near the bandstand. (Most Fusions on a Fincanteri SuperGrand have a bandstand and a seating area. The Diamond has the bandstand where the seating area would be and the staircase where the bandstand would be.) However, it has been closed the entire trip so far and is not registered in the patter as an active bar. I wonder if they have just closed it off due to lack of interest.

Lots of sea days means lots of work for the staff. The passengers can’t wait for Darwin to get off the ship. The crew can’t wait for Darwin to catch up on a few hours of extra sleep. To give you an idea of the activities on board during the day, I’ll give you a quick rundown.

In the morning there is Zumba – Trivia - an event like carpet bowling, golf chipping, thong toss (flip flops for those of you from the US), bean bags, etc. – a destination lecture – a enrichment lecture – a couple of unhosted events put on by passengers like crafters or games like bridge or mahjong or bible study or a book clug – a MUTS movie – Tai Chi – seminars like photography, jewelry, weight loss, beauty tips, casino game tutorials – an art auction or two – hosted crafting classes by the cruise staff like fashion designer, drawings, watercoloring – future cruise presentations – and bingo.

In the afternoon there is dance classes – line and ballroom – an enrichment lecture – a couple of hosted arts and crafts classes – pool games – trivia – MUTS – bingo - seminars like photography, jewelry, weight loss, beauty tips, casino game tutorials – afternoon tea – and shuffleboard.

In the evening there is typically a major event in the theater like a production show or a guest entertainer, vocalist, comedian or variety act. There is always a secondary event in Explorer’s like a comedian or a gameshow mixed with a trivia in Explorer’s or Fusion. Fusion has a mix of recorded music dancing, transitioning to a event area in the case of a theme night like Rock and Roll, Country Western, Disco or a deck party that got moved down from the open decks. The resident party band will move between Fusion and Explorer’s filling in the time with live music and then settle in one for late night music. There is the major MUTS movie, which then becomes available on the TV VOD the next day. The Wheelhouse typically will have music the entire evening. A soloist guitar(or two) or piano player will mix with the ‘ballroom dance band’ for the evening’s entertainment. The dance band can be a duo, trio, or quartet. Sometimes the ship’s orchestra will do a themed set in the Wheelhouse or Explorer’s as well like Big Band era or Jazz. Skywalkers opens up for the Party Crowd at 2200 with DJ’ed music. Crooners will typically have the resident piano headliner start around 2000 and switch up with the other piano player on board during the evening. In the Atrium there will typically be a Strings duo or trio starting around 1700 switching off and on with the secondary piano player or one of the soloist guitar players.

For dancers, like us, there are three decent dance floors (wooden), wheelhouse, explorers and Fusion, with, on this cruise, four different music entertainment choices – the Party Band (rock and roll), the wheelhouse duo, trio or quartet, the soloist guitar player and recorded music. We have always been able to find something to dance to or enjoy. Last night, for example, we started in Fusion and sat down for a few minutes in Explorer’s (but the volume was cranked to an uncomfortable level to dance to), and then went to wheelhouse to listen to David, the soloist guitar player. Tonight Domino starts at 1700 in wheelhouse, so we get to start early. BTW, even though Princess advertises the Atrium, with its concrete flooring, and Skywalkers, with its glass floor, as dance venues, these, for us, are limited to free style type dancing. Twirling or turning on concrete or glass just doesn’t agree with older knees and ankles! Our dance sneaks work perfectly on wooden floors.

Because the Diamond, and Sapphire, has the 5 main dining rooms, their functions and times are a bit staggered. The International, Deck 6 aft, is for breakfast, lunch and traditional dining. Santa Fe is set aside for Club Class dining all day – breakfast, lunch and dinner – but also allows anytime dinner dining. Savoy and Pacific Moon are anytime dining all the time. Vivaldi is early first seating, transitioning to anytime dining after the first seating is complete.

Horizon Court shuts down at 2300 and does not open until 0500. That means a whole 6 hours without food on the ship! The grill and the Pizza joint are open from 1100 to 2200.

Anyway, I hope that gives you an idea of what happens during these sea days. There are plenty of things to do and there is always the number one favorite – the afternoon power nap!

Later!
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Upcoming Cruise Website Links:
Coral Princess 60 Days Circle the Pacific (September 19, 2018)
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Pacific Princess World Cruise 2019
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Upcoming Cruises:

Diamond Princess - Tasmania - R/T SYD - 03/02/2018
Diamond Princess - AUS-NZ - R/T SYD - 03/10/2018
Diamond Princess - Asia - SYD to Tokyo - 03/22/2018

Coral Princess - 60 Day Circle The Pacific - 09/19/2018

Pacific Princess - World Cruise - R/T LA - 01/20/2019

Past Cruises (All Princess):

Island - Panama 10/12/2017; Island - Panama 9/23/2017; Island - Coastal 9/20/2017; Emerald - Scandinavia 07/02/2016; Emerald - Norway 06/18/2016; Emerald - Baltic 06/04/2016; Crown - Tahiti 10/17/2015; Golden - Alaska 6/1/15; Golden - Alaska 5/22/15; Ruby - Western Carib 12/13/14; Ruby - Eastern Carib 12/06/14; Ruby - Eastern Carib 11/29/14; Grand -Mexican Riviera 03/05/14; Grand -California Coastal 03/15/14; Grand -Hawaii 03/22/14; Ruby -Transatlantic 11-29-2013; Ruby -Grand Med 11-17-13; Ruby -Eastern Med 11-05-13; Ruby -Eastern Med 10-24-13; Caribbean -British Isles 05-12-13; Caribbean -TransAtlantic 04-27-13;Diamond -Asia/Alaska 04-15-12; Grand -Western Med 10-21-11; Golden -Hawaii 04-27-11; Emerald -Caribbean Combo 11-28-10; Star -Antarctica 02-02-10; Golden -Hawaii 9-27-09; Golden -Pacific Coastal 9-19-09; Grand -Caribbean Collection 3-27-09; Dawn -Mexican Riviera 4-27-08; Island -Panama Canal 2-06-08; Golden -Mexican Riviera 9-29-07; Golden -Pacific Coastal 9-23-07; Caribbean -E. Caribbean 04-29-07; Star -W. Caribbean 04-21-07; Dawn -Mexican Riviera 12-1-06; Island -Alaska 5-22-06; Island -Alaska 5-15-06; Dawn -Mexico 10-2005; Sun -Eastern Caribbean 4-2005; Star -Western Caribbean 12-2004; Island -Panama Canal 1-2004; Sea -Mexico 1-2002; Ocean -Alaska 6-2001
#23
Batehaven, Australia
11,304 Posts
Joined Mar 2006
Thanks again, question if I may...

1st seating traditional in International MDR, normally 6pm, but have Princess pulled it back to 5.45pm or 5.30pm even? Detail should be in Patter, thanks.
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Cheers..(Uncle) LES - Princess Captains Circle Elite. - 480 days.

Cruised with Princess, Celebrity, Cunard, P&O Australia, P&O UK, Carnival, Sitmar, Sydney Harbour Ferries. World Cruise, plus British Isles, Europe, Med, Greek Isles, Transatlantic, Asia, USA, Panama Canal, South America, Central America, Caribbean, Alaska, Canada, Japan, South Pacific, Australia, New Zealand.!

**Last cruise: Queen Mary 2 - Sydney - HK, 16 nights, 2 - 18 March 2017.

**Next: (We were booked on Adonia x 2, but they sold the ship on us.)
Sapphire Princess - 26 May 2018, Scandinavia, ex Southampton - 7 nights B2B with..
Sapphire Princess - 2 June 2018, Baltic Heritage, ex Southampton - 14 nights.
Royal Princess - 18 June 2018 - British Isles, ex Southampton - 12 nights.

'Adventure before Dementia - Live for Today !!'
#24
League City, TX
40,998 Posts
Joined Sep 2005
Originally posted by ccrain
Horizon Court shuts down at 2300 and does not open until 0500. That means a whole 6 hours without food on the ship!
I assume that room service can provide sustenance so you can survive from 2300 to 0500.
#25
Northern California
2,693 Posts
Joined Jul 2004
Originally posted by NSWP
Thanks again, question if I may...



1st seating traditional in International MDR, normally 6pm, but have Princess pulled it back to 5.45pm or 5.30pm even? Detail should be in Patter, thanks.
First seating is at 5:30 pm.
#26
3,878 Posts
Joined Feb 2004
March 28, 2018 – Darwin

Another smooth night last night. Barely rocking at all. I see the lights of Darwin up ahead as we round the point into the harbor. Today we see the crocodiles jump. We had chosen the early tour, but they switched us to the mid-day tour, which does screw up our afternoon plans in Darwin. But it is supposed to be 95F today. Hot, humid and a killer sun – so that means sweating and gooping up with that sunscreen – although the alternative is far less attractive. Hoping to get to a store and stock up on some more water and ‘stuff’, but might not.

We did the ½ hour back last night. Now our watches and phones are so screwed up!

The highlight of yesterday was the top 40 cocktail party. Don’t know the actual numbers, but our 550ish days got us on Table 5 out of 6. But with the South African Doctor. Turns out the medical response on the 12 day New Zealand that we watched during sailaway was a real call out. I told him how impressed I was – and his requirements from the company are impressive as well. First of all, the first EMT responder, with a backpack full of IVs, defib, first aid, etc. has to be on scene within 3 or 6 minutes – I forget which. The second EMT within 6 minutes and the rest of the staff within 10 minutes. The requirements, which they drill at and are tested every few weeks, are very impressive.

Another thing I was not aware of was that Princess, and now Holland America, are two of the only lines he knows of that have strict doctor certification requirements. He has 4, South Africa, US, UK and Canada. Princess requires him to be certified in at least US, UK and Canada. Other lines do not have that certification requirement. His nurses have to be RN’s and his EMT’s have to be certified as well. He stated quite frankly that Princess ships are the best place to have a heart attack – outside a hospital room – period. Very nice discussion with him. Enjoyed it immensely.

The food was fantastic. A seafood appetizer in the shape of a lobster with lobster meat, scallops, shrimp – followed by a champagne sorbet – followed by beef tenderloin or halibut or pasta – followed by a chocolate journeys dessert and bite size pettifors. The halibut was excellent. Judy, my pastaholic, did not care for the pasta. She should have stuck with the beef or fish.

Last night the Domino Duo started early at 1700 so we started dancing with them in wheelhouse. Ivor Richards had his final comedy show in Explorer’s. And it was great. We laughed until our cheeks hurt.

More dancing rounded out the night for us.

Now its coffee and getting ready for Darwin.

Later!
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Upcoming Cruise Website Links:
Coral Princess 60 Days Circle the Pacific (September 19, 2018)
https://coral09192018cruise.shutterfly.com/
Pacific Princess World Cruise 2019
https://pacific2019worldcruise.shutterfly.com/


Upcoming Cruises:

Diamond Princess - Tasmania - R/T SYD - 03/02/2018
Diamond Princess - AUS-NZ - R/T SYD - 03/10/2018
Diamond Princess - Asia - SYD to Tokyo - 03/22/2018

Coral Princess - 60 Day Circle The Pacific - 09/19/2018

Pacific Princess - World Cruise - R/T LA - 01/20/2019

Past Cruises (All Princess):

Island - Panama 10/12/2017; Island - Panama 9/23/2017; Island - Coastal 9/20/2017; Emerald - Scandinavia 07/02/2016; Emerald - Norway 06/18/2016; Emerald - Baltic 06/04/2016; Crown - Tahiti 10/17/2015; Golden - Alaska 6/1/15; Golden - Alaska 5/22/15; Ruby - Western Carib 12/13/14; Ruby - Eastern Carib 12/06/14; Ruby - Eastern Carib 11/29/14; Grand -Mexican Riviera 03/05/14; Grand -California Coastal 03/15/14; Grand -Hawaii 03/22/14; Ruby -Transatlantic 11-29-2013; Ruby -Grand Med 11-17-13; Ruby -Eastern Med 11-05-13; Ruby -Eastern Med 10-24-13; Caribbean -British Isles 05-12-13; Caribbean -TransAtlantic 04-27-13;Diamond -Asia/Alaska 04-15-12; Grand -Western Med 10-21-11; Golden -Hawaii 04-27-11; Emerald -Caribbean Combo 11-28-10; Star -Antarctica 02-02-10; Golden -Hawaii 9-27-09; Golden -Pacific Coastal 9-19-09; Grand -Caribbean Collection 3-27-09; Dawn -Mexican Riviera 4-27-08; Island -Panama Canal 2-06-08; Golden -Mexican Riviera 9-29-07; Golden -Pacific Coastal 9-23-07; Caribbean -E. Caribbean 04-29-07; Star -W. Caribbean 04-21-07; Dawn -Mexican Riviera 12-1-06; Island -Alaska 5-22-06; Island -Alaska 5-15-06; Dawn -Mexico 10-2005; Sun -Eastern Caribbean 4-2005; Star -Western Caribbean 12-2004; Island -Panama Canal 1-2004; Sea -Mexico 1-2002; Ocean -Alaska 6-2001
#27
3,878 Posts
Joined Feb 2004
March 29, 2018 – At Sea to Kota Kinabalu

Gorgeous morning. Puffy clouds, blue sky, calm seas. The heat is on as we enter the tropics and probably won’t get relief until Hong Kong.

Yesterday was a great day in Darwin. It is a fantastic cruise port. With the new bridge access via the skywalk and elevators it’s a simple 10-15 minute walk into the CBD. Lots of people carrying cases of water and soda back on the ship from Coles. The immediate area around the cruise terminal has restaurants, free wifi, shops, including a convenience store, souvenir shops and a fantastic, and safe, lagoon to swim in. A beach, some grass, some shade, cool water. This would be a fantastic place for a picnic and a swim.

While it was hot and humid, it was not Bangkok hot. Noticeable, but not miserable. Modern day wicking fabrics, my fishing shirts especially, are great for this kind of heat. They dry quickly and coolly. Our Tilley hats are essential in this kind of sunshine. I used to have the solid kind, but it was way too hot. Now we have the ventilated kind and they are fantastic for keeping the sun off your ears and the top of your head, while not sweating you do death!

The CBD is compact, easy to get around, except for all the construction getting rid of the downed trees from Cyclone Marcus, nice parks and open spaces, gorgeous views out over the ocean. Someone needs to remind me why Melbourne is considered the most livable city in Australia? This place is fantastic!

One reason might be the price of housing. OMG! 3 bedroom house - $600 to $750k (AUD)! Wow! That is NOT cheap for sure! (So much for retiring to Darwin!)

But the highlight of the day was the Princess jumping crocodile cruise excursion which included a stop at the world famous Humpty Doo Hotel, Bar, (Tire Center and Hair Care Salon)…The cruise was fantastic. To see these animals in their native habitat, to hear the stories of Stumpy, Trevor and Candy, to watch them lift themselves out of the water with just a single sweep of their tail, to marvel in their coloring and actually go eye to eye with a hungry croc at 5 feet – just a once in a lifetime experience. This is an absolute must do, period, dot, exclamation point!

They have several different size boats, some single row, some double row, sit up on the front row to get real close, but you will be in the sun, so wear sunscreen and a hat. In the front rows you will not be able to stand. No need to. In the second rows there is shade, and the captain will let you stand to see the crocs, but you won’t be able to see the whites of their eyes! You get about 90 minutes on the river and will play with 2-3 crocs. The captain will entertain you about the history of the crocs in the area, they are all named, except for the new yearling we saw along the bank – soon to be a meal for Stumpy if she is not careful. You’ll hear a lot about the biology as well. A very well rounded presentation – and oh BTW, crocs love red and pink!

They did offer water and sodas at the boat dock. So we guzzled a couple of bottles on the boat and took a couple more back to the bus. The drive out and back was interesting as well. Lots of different mango orchards, bush, swampy areas, birds and a rather interesting RF listening post in middle of nowhere with every kind of LF and HF antenna known to mankind. There were several buffalo, the water kind, not the bison kind, surrounded by egrets as well. Very green as we were in the latter part of the wet season. Not to mention that Cyclone Marcus dumped a bunch of rain on the area. There were a lot of African Mahogany trees uprooted along the routes. The settlers planted them for shade, but they are shallow rooted and the Cyclone winds, only a CAT II, toppled them.

After the cruise we stopped at the Humpty Doo Hotel and Bar for a bag of chips (crisps) and a nice cold Northern Territory Original brew. Best beer on the trip so far. Not hoppy at all, which according to Chris, our guide, is typically of the northern territory beers in general. One could have ordered food at the bar, we had about 45 minutes, and they were quick if you ordered upon arrival. Several people ordered burgers. The locals were quite amused with all of us, but very friendly and open.

It was so good that when we went to lunch in the cruise terminal area, we had more – well Judy had another and I had a couple more! Fish and Chips, a burger, fries, topped off with some ice cream finished us on-shore. It was time to take a shower and try out another treat in the Atrium.

They have ‘hand-crafted’ iced tea infusions in the Atrium menu. Because it was so hot during the day we wanted to try them, but the decaf versions. So I had the Minty Apple Tea and Judy had the Citrus Spiced Tea. Both were very nice and decaf. Both would be great with a shot of booze as well! Spiced rum in the Citrus and Sour Apple Vodka in the Minty Apple! Got to try that one day.

So off to breakfast! Later…
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Upcoming Cruise Website Links:
Coral Princess 60 Days Circle the Pacific (September 19, 2018)
https://coral09192018cruise.shutterfly.com/
Pacific Princess World Cruise 2019
https://pacific2019worldcruise.shutterfly.com/


Upcoming Cruises:

Diamond Princess - Tasmania - R/T SYD - 03/02/2018
Diamond Princess - AUS-NZ - R/T SYD - 03/10/2018
Diamond Princess - Asia - SYD to Tokyo - 03/22/2018

Coral Princess - 60 Day Circle The Pacific - 09/19/2018

Pacific Princess - World Cruise - R/T LA - 01/20/2019

Past Cruises (All Princess):

Island - Panama 10/12/2017; Island - Panama 9/23/2017; Island - Coastal 9/20/2017; Emerald - Scandinavia 07/02/2016; Emerald - Norway 06/18/2016; Emerald - Baltic 06/04/2016; Crown - Tahiti 10/17/2015; Golden - Alaska 6/1/15; Golden - Alaska 5/22/15; Ruby - Western Carib 12/13/14; Ruby - Eastern Carib 12/06/14; Ruby - Eastern Carib 11/29/14; Grand -Mexican Riviera 03/05/14; Grand -California Coastal 03/15/14; Grand -Hawaii 03/22/14; Ruby -Transatlantic 11-29-2013; Ruby -Grand Med 11-17-13; Ruby -Eastern Med 11-05-13; Ruby -Eastern Med 10-24-13; Caribbean -British Isles 05-12-13; Caribbean -TransAtlantic 04-27-13;Diamond -Asia/Alaska 04-15-12; Grand -Western Med 10-21-11; Golden -Hawaii 04-27-11; Emerald -Caribbean Combo 11-28-10; Star -Antarctica 02-02-10; Golden -Hawaii 9-27-09; Golden -Pacific Coastal 9-19-09; Grand -Caribbean Collection 3-27-09; Dawn -Mexican Riviera 4-27-08; Island -Panama Canal 2-06-08; Golden -Mexican Riviera 9-29-07; Golden -Pacific Coastal 9-23-07; Caribbean -E. Caribbean 04-29-07; Star -W. Caribbean 04-21-07; Dawn -Mexican Riviera 12-1-06; Island -Alaska 5-22-06; Island -Alaska 5-15-06; Dawn -Mexico 10-2005; Sun -Eastern Caribbean 4-2005; Star -Western Caribbean 12-2004; Island -Panama Canal 1-2004; Sea -Mexico 1-2002; Ocean -Alaska 6-2001
#28
Central Illinois
129,303 Posts
Joined Apr 2008
Enjoying the review, thanks for taking us along!
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Bob

Past Cruises

Celebrity: Mercury
RCCL: Adventure, Allure, Brilliance, Enchantment, Explorer, Freedom, Independence, Jewel, Legend, Liberty, Majesty, Mariner, Monarch, Navigator, Oasis, Radiance, Rhapsody, Serenade, Sovereign, Vision, Voyager
#29
3,878 Posts
Joined Feb 2004
March 30, 2018 – At Sea to Kota Kinabalu (Day 2)

Another basically flat calm day, overcast, warm, humid, daylight at 0530, which I haven’t seen for a while. We went another hour back last night. Yesterday was a pretty typical day at sea with jam packed stuff going on all the time. Frenchie and Lynn try to use all the venues all the time with something. The Captain was observing one in Explorer’s and Judy got a hug from the Captain.

David Barret, the soloist guitarist, was in fine fettle last night as we were able to dance to several of his numbers with a variety of dances – nightclub, rhumba, foxtrot, hustle and even a waltz. It was nice not having to remember the steps and try not to stumble when the ship moved. Basically you couldn’t tell you were on a ship it was that calm.

Liar’s club was last night and we won! It was a 4 way tie with 3 correct answers out of 4, and Judy got the tie breaker (the collective ages of the three panelists – 104) perfectly correct. I was guessing 98. One bottle of Shampoo! Although we do not normally do trivia, we sat through the 80’s trivia with Ian, but did not play, we did play the Travel Trivia. 40 questions, some with multiple answers, on airlines, destinations, flags and geography. The winner got 38. Judy and I got 29. It was one of the more enjoyable trivia as all of us were giving Andrew a hard time. After all, he was the stuckee demonstrating chubble for liar’s club – while Ian was demonstrating how frustrating a stuck zipper on a pair of trousers can be!

Still trying to get the cabin A/C sorted out. Gets up to 28C in the cabin in the afternoon so we have to go somewhere else cooler on the lower decks. Yesterday it was the library.

Today is the crossing the line ceremony and tonight is the crossing the line deck party. Big events. The one in which I participated, put together by Kelvin and Matais, was memorable. This is a once in a lifetime event for Pollywogs and I hope a lot ‘kiss the fish’!

The atrium is laid out in Easter decorations this morning. A whole bunch of large handcrafted chocolate easter eggs are on display in the atrium and there are pink, yellow, green and blue pastel balloons and ribbons everywhere. (Or at least I think they are chocolate and not plastic!) Maybe they will pass them out later.

One of the benefits of long cruises (or B2B’s) is getting to know the staff quite well, and they get to know you as well. It becomes an almost family situation. Heck we’ve already adopted Lynn – nice to be known as Mom and Dad instead of Grandma and Grandpa! Would love to take some of these guys and girls home to the states – they would be killer in the service industries and end up running hotels or restaurants. In just the first couple of days of this cruise Joana, the barista in the Atrium bar in the morning, already knew most of her regulars by name and what their preferences were. She greets almost everyone by name and asks if they want the usual. Anna is so perky – the minute Judy walks into the Atrium, Ana gets her coffee, hot water and lemon ready. And the really great thing is that in all the mornings we’ve had coffee, there has not been one grumpy passenger to spoil the mornings.

So off to prep the cameras for King Neptune’s arrival!

Later…
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Upcoming Cruise Website Links:
Coral Princess 60 Days Circle the Pacific (September 19, 2018)
https://coral09192018cruise.shutterfly.com/
Pacific Princess World Cruise 2019
https://pacific2019worldcruise.shutterfly.com/


Upcoming Cruises:

Diamond Princess - Tasmania - R/T SYD - 03/02/2018
Diamond Princess - AUS-NZ - R/T SYD - 03/10/2018
Diamond Princess - Asia - SYD to Tokyo - 03/22/2018

Coral Princess - 60 Day Circle The Pacific - 09/19/2018

Pacific Princess - World Cruise - R/T LA - 01/20/2019

Past Cruises (All Princess):

Island - Panama 10/12/2017; Island - Panama 9/23/2017; Island - Coastal 9/20/2017; Emerald - Scandinavia 07/02/2016; Emerald - Norway 06/18/2016; Emerald - Baltic 06/04/2016; Crown - Tahiti 10/17/2015; Golden - Alaska 6/1/15; Golden - Alaska 5/22/15; Ruby - Western Carib 12/13/14; Ruby - Eastern Carib 12/06/14; Ruby - Eastern Carib 11/29/14; Grand -Mexican Riviera 03/05/14; Grand -California Coastal 03/15/14; Grand -Hawaii 03/22/14; Ruby -Transatlantic 11-29-2013; Ruby -Grand Med 11-17-13; Ruby -Eastern Med 11-05-13; Ruby -Eastern Med 10-24-13; Caribbean -British Isles 05-12-13; Caribbean -TransAtlantic 04-27-13;Diamond -Asia/Alaska 04-15-12; Grand -Western Med 10-21-11; Golden -Hawaii 04-27-11; Emerald -Caribbean Combo 11-28-10; Star -Antarctica 02-02-10; Golden -Hawaii 9-27-09; Golden -Pacific Coastal 9-19-09; Grand -Caribbean Collection 3-27-09; Dawn -Mexican Riviera 4-27-08; Island -Panama Canal 2-06-08; Golden -Mexican Riviera 9-29-07; Golden -Pacific Coastal 9-23-07; Caribbean -E. Caribbean 04-29-07; Star -W. Caribbean 04-21-07; Dawn -Mexican Riviera 12-1-06; Island -Alaska 5-22-06; Island -Alaska 5-15-06; Dawn -Mexico 10-2005; Sun -Eastern Caribbean 4-2005; Star -Western Caribbean 12-2004; Island -Panama Canal 1-2004; Sea -Mexico 1-2002; Ocean -Alaska 6-2001
#30
3,878 Posts
Joined Feb 2004
March 31, 2018 – At Sea to Kota Kinabalu (Day 3)

Its mostly cloudy this morning. Seas are slight and its warm and humid. White chocolate latte, a smile from Anna and Joana and I’m set for some writing in corner of the atrium looking out over the foam from the bow wake. Yesterday morning we were treated with displays of flying fish darting out from the wake. This morning it’s probably a bit too choppy to see flying fish.

Yesterday was the crossing the line ceremony. Lynn ran 4 groups of a dozen each passengers through the ritual and one group of 14 crew including a cadet in her all white uniform that was brownish red by the time the ceremony was over. We got there early and snagged a shady spot under the MUTS screen. By the end of the ceremony, the shade was gone as both the ship and the sun moved, but on deck 15 that was the only shady spot available. The ritual was not all whipped cream, eggs and jello, but also had a gross smelly concoction that got poured over everyone.

I really like this captain. He came out for the ceremony and stayed, standing in the hot sun, for the whole ceremony. He didn’t have to, but he did anyway. Frenchie got a bit uppity with King Neptune and ended up in the pool, tossed by one of the enforcers, the male adagio dancer who could have probably tossed her across the pool! All in all it was a great ceremony and we now have our second crossing the line certificate.

Last night was the King Neptune deck party. And it rained, actually poured, before the party and showered during the party. It was great dancing in the rain! Nice and cool in the wind and rain. The flashmob was actually a surprise to some people! It was to a partial thriller soundtrack and we did the basic thriller dance - head shuffle, stomp, monster claws, forward step with head toss and mummy back step - three times. Lynn is in constant motion. She is one of those people who are doing 90mph at all times. Turn her loose on the dance floor and she’s a maniac! We danced for quite a while until the ankle alarm went off and I had to call it for the evening. Got a lot of walking to do in the upcoming ports and we don’t want to hobble through them.

I have to talk to the front desk again this morning. It was 78 in the cabin when we got back last night and only got down to 74 this morning. Its just too hot. We need a fan or something since they can’t seem to fix it the airflow in the cabin.

So interesting news, Hong Kong is going to be a major crew swap. Princess probably gets good rates on consolidator air tickets from Hong Kong. Our room steward is leaving, Frenchie and Andrew are leaving. Kelvin Joy is joining the ship as ED. Last time we sailed with him he was CD - and his chubble demonstration still stands as the best ever. A lot of the older CDs are shifting over to the ED position it appears with a lot of new talent moving up into the CD slots. By using 90 mph people in the CD slot, like Lynn, Princess can also save substantially on fuel bills by plugging them in over night to the ship’s power grid! Seriously though, I think the ED/CD split is working out rather well. The CD is much more visible during the cruise and actually has some time to talk instead of rushing to the next meeting or answering that incessant pager. Being able to talk to Frenchie during her morning desk hours is nice as well. She has taken all of our suggestions seriously and implemented those she could.

Nothing significant planned for the day…just staying out of trouble.

Later all!
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Upcoming Cruises:

Diamond Princess - Tasmania - R/T SYD - 03/02/2018
Diamond Princess - AUS-NZ - R/T SYD - 03/10/2018
Diamond Princess - Asia - SYD to Tokyo - 03/22/2018

Coral Princess - 60 Day Circle The Pacific - 09/19/2018

Pacific Princess - World Cruise - R/T LA - 01/20/2019

Past Cruises (All Princess):

Island - Panama 10/12/2017; Island - Panama 9/23/2017; Island - Coastal 9/20/2017; Emerald - Scandinavia 07/02/2016; Emerald - Norway 06/18/2016; Emerald - Baltic 06/04/2016; Crown - Tahiti 10/17/2015; Golden - Alaska 6/1/15; Golden - Alaska 5/22/15; Ruby - Western Carib 12/13/14; Ruby - Eastern Carib 12/06/14; Ruby - Eastern Carib 11/29/14; Grand -Mexican Riviera 03/05/14; Grand -California Coastal 03/15/14; Grand -Hawaii 03/22/14; Ruby -Transatlantic 11-29-2013; Ruby -Grand Med 11-17-13; Ruby -Eastern Med 11-05-13; Ruby -Eastern Med 10-24-13; Caribbean -British Isles 05-12-13; Caribbean -TransAtlantic 04-27-13;Diamond -Asia/Alaska 04-15-12; Grand -Western Med 10-21-11; Golden -Hawaii 04-27-11; Emerald -Caribbean Combo 11-28-10; Star -Antarctica 02-02-10; Golden -Hawaii 9-27-09; Golden -Pacific Coastal 9-19-09; Grand -Caribbean Collection 3-27-09; Dawn -Mexican Riviera 4-27-08; Island -Panama Canal 2-06-08; Golden -Mexican Riviera 9-29-07; Golden -Pacific Coastal 9-23-07; Caribbean -E. Caribbean 04-29-07; Star -W. Caribbean 04-21-07; Dawn -Mexican Riviera 12-1-06; Island -Alaska 5-22-06; Island -Alaska 5-15-06; Dawn -Mexico 10-2005; Sun -Eastern Caribbean 4-2005; Star -Western Caribbean 12-2004; Island -Panama Canal 1-2004; Sea -Mexico 1-2002; Ocean -Alaska 6-2001
#31
San Diego, California
5,213 Posts
Joined Dec 2001
Just curious...
Did you need to get a visa for Kota Kinabalu before boarding in SYD or does Princess process any required visa's like they do for Vietnam onboard ?




Enjoying your reports
Srpilo
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#32
3,878 Posts
Joined Feb 2004
Originally posted by srpilo
Just curious...
Did you need to get a visa for Kota Kinabalu before boarding in SYD or does Princess process any required visa's like they do for Vietnam onboard ?





Enjoying your reports
Srpilo
Nothing special that we've been notified of. There is a landing card we have to fill out for Hong Kong. We got an immigration information sheet so I will try and post some information from that later on.
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Coral Princess 60 Days Circle the Pacific (September 19, 2018)
https://coral09192018cruise.shutterfly.com/
Pacific Princess World Cruise 2019
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Upcoming Cruises:

Diamond Princess - Tasmania - R/T SYD - 03/02/2018
Diamond Princess - AUS-NZ - R/T SYD - 03/10/2018
Diamond Princess - Asia - SYD to Tokyo - 03/22/2018

Coral Princess - 60 Day Circle The Pacific - 09/19/2018

Pacific Princess - World Cruise - R/T LA - 01/20/2019

Past Cruises (All Princess):

Island - Panama 10/12/2017; Island - Panama 9/23/2017; Island - Coastal 9/20/2017; Emerald - Scandinavia 07/02/2016; Emerald - Norway 06/18/2016; Emerald - Baltic 06/04/2016; Crown - Tahiti 10/17/2015; Golden - Alaska 6/1/15; Golden - Alaska 5/22/15; Ruby - Western Carib 12/13/14; Ruby - Eastern Carib 12/06/14; Ruby - Eastern Carib 11/29/14; Grand -Mexican Riviera 03/05/14; Grand -California Coastal 03/15/14; Grand -Hawaii 03/22/14; Ruby -Transatlantic 11-29-2013; Ruby -Grand Med 11-17-13; Ruby -Eastern Med 11-05-13; Ruby -Eastern Med 10-24-13; Caribbean -British Isles 05-12-13; Caribbean -TransAtlantic 04-27-13;Diamond -Asia/Alaska 04-15-12; Grand -Western Med 10-21-11; Golden -Hawaii 04-27-11; Emerald -Caribbean Combo 11-28-10; Star -Antarctica 02-02-10; Golden -Hawaii 9-27-09; Golden -Pacific Coastal 9-19-09; Grand -Caribbean Collection 3-27-09; Dawn -Mexican Riviera 4-27-08; Island -Panama Canal 2-06-08; Golden -Mexican Riviera 9-29-07; Golden -Pacific Coastal 9-23-07; Caribbean -E. Caribbean 04-29-07; Star -W. Caribbean 04-21-07; Dawn -Mexican Riviera 12-1-06; Island -Alaska 5-22-06; Island -Alaska 5-15-06; Dawn -Mexico 10-2005; Sun -Eastern Caribbean 4-2005; Star -Western Caribbean 12-2004; Island -Panama Canal 1-2004; Sea -Mexico 1-2002; Ocean -Alaska 6-2001
#33
3,878 Posts
Joined Feb 2004
April 1, 2018 – At Sea To Kota Kinabalu (Day 4)

Happy Easter and April Fool’s Day – all in one – from the seas around Malaysia. Partly cloudy, some blue sky, slight seas, warm, humid. They gave us a stand fan yesterday. Even though the room stays between 74 and 77, at least the fan provides a cooling breeze. We can now definitely make it to Hong Kong. Good thing the fan plugs into the new 220V outlet above the desk. Otherwise it would take up one of the two power plugs near the telephone.

I continue to be more impressed with this Captain as he is much more approachable and available and visible than any other Captain we’ve sailed with. Not only was he up on the deck during the entire Crossing the Line Ceremony, he was up yesterday observing the crew tug of war competition. And boy did the crew take this one seriously. It was not a half hearted, entertain the passengers and get back to work game, they came to win! The overall winner were the Spartans, the Galley crew, complete with togas, spears and helmets. They put down the Engine crew for the win. The crowd favorite were the girls from the shops – the Sharks, or Shoppies – who won against the Spa, then lost to the Engine – but the cutest was when they allowed all the shoppies on deck, about 20 of them, to grab the rope and walk all over the 8 burley guys from the engine room. This was a lot of fun for all of us. The 8 team members each got a day off and a meal at a specialty restaurant. No wonder they were all so enthusiastic!

With the hectic nature of the last couple of cruises, we did not attend a lot of specialty events, saving those for this cruise. Last night they actually had the Captains Circle party on a casual night – so we attended. Now everyone knows the drinks are a bit watered down, so the key is to zero in on the drink you want and then go looking for it during the mingling time and stock up! (They close the bar after the last speech!) I found a rather interesting drink that I still do not know what it was, but it was pretty good and I snagged three of them before they shut the bar down. The only thing of interest was that the 2019/2020 Australia/New Zealand season goes on sale around the 18th of April.

We then watched Dancing with the ST...AFF. It was a hoot and very well done. Its hard to describe. You don’t have to know how to dance, you just have to have fun, and the more fun you have, the more likely you are to win! 3 ladies and 3 gents are paired with staff, most are part of the dance troupe. Three staff members provide the judge’s critiques. All are part of the entertainment staff or dance troupe. There is then a group dance in a certain dance style – cha cha, waltz, etc. in3 rounds in which one couple is eliminated in each round, then interviewed backstage by cruise staff on the TV screen. When only three are left, the host announces a fusion type dance for each couple – salsa/irish, tango/jive, etc. One couple is then eliminated. The last two go head to head in a freestyle to a song chosen by the host – Time of Our Life, for example – and the winner is selected by audience acclaim. Great idea, great show.

Tomorrow – Land!

Later!
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Coral Princess 60 Days Circle the Pacific (September 19, 2018)
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Pacific Princess World Cruise 2019
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Upcoming Cruises:

Diamond Princess - Tasmania - R/T SYD - 03/02/2018
Diamond Princess - AUS-NZ - R/T SYD - 03/10/2018
Diamond Princess - Asia - SYD to Tokyo - 03/22/2018

Coral Princess - 60 Day Circle The Pacific - 09/19/2018

Pacific Princess - World Cruise - R/T LA - 01/20/2019

Past Cruises (All Princess):

Island - Panama 10/12/2017; Island - Panama 9/23/2017; Island - Coastal 9/20/2017; Emerald - Scandinavia 07/02/2016; Emerald - Norway 06/18/2016; Emerald - Baltic 06/04/2016; Crown - Tahiti 10/17/2015; Golden - Alaska 6/1/15; Golden - Alaska 5/22/15; Ruby - Western Carib 12/13/14; Ruby - Eastern Carib 12/06/14; Ruby - Eastern Carib 11/29/14; Grand -Mexican Riviera 03/05/14; Grand -California Coastal 03/15/14; Grand -Hawaii 03/22/14; Ruby -Transatlantic 11-29-2013; Ruby -Grand Med 11-17-13; Ruby -Eastern Med 11-05-13; Ruby -Eastern Med 10-24-13; Caribbean -British Isles 05-12-13; Caribbean -TransAtlantic 04-27-13;Diamond -Asia/Alaska 04-15-12; Grand -Western Med 10-21-11; Golden -Hawaii 04-27-11; Emerald -Caribbean Combo 11-28-10; Star -Antarctica 02-02-10; Golden -Hawaii 9-27-09; Golden -Pacific Coastal 9-19-09; Grand -Caribbean Collection 3-27-09; Dawn -Mexican Riviera 4-27-08; Island -Panama Canal 2-06-08; Golden -Mexican Riviera 9-29-07; Golden -Pacific Coastal 9-23-07; Caribbean -E. Caribbean 04-29-07; Star -W. Caribbean 04-21-07; Dawn -Mexican Riviera 12-1-06; Island -Alaska 5-22-06; Island -Alaska 5-15-06; Dawn -Mexico 10-2005; Sun -Eastern Caribbean 4-2005; Star -Western Caribbean 12-2004; Island -Panama Canal 1-2004; Sea -Mexico 1-2002; Ocean -Alaska 6-2001
#34
25,638 Posts
Joined Feb 2003
I am sorry if I missed this but who is the Captain? Is it Todd McBain by chance? We really liked him when we sailed on the Diamond.

Thanks,
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Lisa
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1.RCI Monarch Mar 2002 Carib,2.HAL ZUIDM Apr 2003 Carib,3.RCI Monarch Dec 2003 Mex,4.HAL Oosterdam May 2004 Alaska,5.HAL Ryndam Nov 2004 Sea of Cortez,6.HAL MS Westerndam Mar 2005 Carib,7. HAL Maasdam NE/Ca July 2005,8. HAL Oosterdam Oct 2005 Mex,9.HAL Oosterdam Feb 2006 Mex,10.HAL Ryndam May 2006 Alaska,11.HAL Veendam Sept 2006 Pac Coastal,12.HAL Zaandam Nov 2006 10 day Mex,13.HAL Oosterdam 30th Anniversary Mar 2007 Mex,14.HAL Noordam Alaska June 2007,15.HAL Noordam Alaska Sept 2007, 16HAL Oosterdam Dec 2007 Mex, 17.HAL Oosterdam Feb 2008, 18. HAL Amsterdam Alaska June 2008 19. HAL Oosterdam Mex Oct 2008 20. HAL Eurodam Carib Dec.2009 B2B w/ 21. HAL Eurodam Christmas Carib Dec 2008 22. February 2009 HAL Oosterdam Yum Yum Man II Mex 23. April 2009 HAL Statendam Panama Canal 24. HAL Westerdam Alaska June 2009 25. NCL Star Nov.2009 26. PCL Crown Princess .Carib Jan. 2010 27. NCL Pearl Pac Coastal April 2010 28. Cel Solstice W Carib Sept 2010 29.RCI Mariner Mex Nov 2010 30. HAL Nieuw Amsterdam E Carib Mar 2011 31. HAL Westerdam Alaska May 2011 32.HAL Oosterdam Hawaii Oct 2011 33.HAL Westerdam S. Carib Mar 2012 34. HAL Zuiderdam Pac Coastal May 2012 35. HAL Zuiderdam Alaska May 2012 36. NCL Dawn W. Carib Nov. 2012 37. HAL Zuiderdam Pac Coastal May 2013 38. HAL Zuiderdam Alaska May 2013 39. HAL Veendam Mex Dec 2013 40. NCL Jewel W Carib March 2014 41. NCL Jewel W Carib Nov 2014, 42. HAL Volendam Alaska May 2015, 43. NCL Jewel Mexico Nov 2015 44. HAL Koningsdam Inaugural April 2016, 45.HAL Westerdam Oct. 2016 Mexico 46. NCL Dawn W Carib Mar 2017 47. PCL Diamond Japan Oct 2017 48.HAL Oosterdam Mexico Oct 2018

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#35
3,878 Posts
Joined Feb 2004
Originally posted by LAFFNVEGAS
I am sorry if I missed this but who is the Captain? Is it Todd McBain by chance? We really liked him when we sailed on the Diamond.

Thanks,
Gennaro, otherwise known as 'Captain Speaking From the Bridge'!
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Coral Princess 60 Days Circle the Pacific (September 19, 2018)
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Pacific Princess World Cruise 2019
https://pacific2019worldcruise.shutterfly.com/


Upcoming Cruises:

Diamond Princess - Tasmania - R/T SYD - 03/02/2018
Diamond Princess - AUS-NZ - R/T SYD - 03/10/2018
Diamond Princess - Asia - SYD to Tokyo - 03/22/2018

Coral Princess - 60 Day Circle The Pacific - 09/19/2018

Pacific Princess - World Cruise - R/T LA - 01/20/2019

Past Cruises (All Princess):

Island - Panama 10/12/2017; Island - Panama 9/23/2017; Island - Coastal 9/20/2017; Emerald - Scandinavia 07/02/2016; Emerald - Norway 06/18/2016; Emerald - Baltic 06/04/2016; Crown - Tahiti 10/17/2015; Golden - Alaska 6/1/15; Golden - Alaska 5/22/15; Ruby - Western Carib 12/13/14; Ruby - Eastern Carib 12/06/14; Ruby - Eastern Carib 11/29/14; Grand -Mexican Riviera 03/05/14; Grand -California Coastal 03/15/14; Grand -Hawaii 03/22/14; Ruby -Transatlantic 11-29-2013; Ruby -Grand Med 11-17-13; Ruby -Eastern Med 11-05-13; Ruby -Eastern Med 10-24-13; Caribbean -British Isles 05-12-13; Caribbean -TransAtlantic 04-27-13;Diamond -Asia/Alaska 04-15-12; Grand -Western Med 10-21-11; Golden -Hawaii 04-27-11; Emerald -Caribbean Combo 11-28-10; Star -Antarctica 02-02-10; Golden -Hawaii 9-27-09; Golden -Pacific Coastal 9-19-09; Grand -Caribbean Collection 3-27-09; Dawn -Mexican Riviera 4-27-08; Island -Panama Canal 2-06-08; Golden -Mexican Riviera 9-29-07; Golden -Pacific Coastal 9-23-07; Caribbean -E. Caribbean 04-29-07; Star -W. Caribbean 04-21-07; Dawn -Mexican Riviera 12-1-06; Island -Alaska 5-22-06; Island -Alaska 5-15-06; Dawn -Mexico 10-2005; Sun -Eastern Caribbean 4-2005; Star -Western Caribbean 12-2004; Island -Panama Canal 1-2004; Sea -Mexico 1-2002; Ocean -Alaska 6-2001
#36
3,878 Posts
Joined Feb 2004
March 3, 2018 – At Sea to Phu My

An exciting April fools day. From the Great Easter Egg Hunt to the ‘move to the Port side of the ship’ to the all too real First Stage Response at 0330 prior to KK, it has been an interesting couple of days.

The Easter egg was a lot of fun. We came in third by missing the ‘blood, sweat and toil’ clue which we thought was the gym, then the chapel, forgetting about Churchhill’s bar! Who needed Zumba scouring the ship taking photographs of bunny prints from top to bottom. A really good time.

I tried to get Akane on an April Fool’s but she was already primed and ready to go. Oh well. So the Captain gets on the horn in the late afternoon talking about turning the ship into a certain strait and a certain current and could everyone please move to the port side of the ship! So we are listening to people scramble to our side of the ship in our hallway. We knew what it was from the get go, but it was still pretty funny to hear everyone’s reaction in the hallway when he April Fooled them.

Of course the 0330 in the morning First Stage response was no April Fools joke. Someone tripped a bell box near our cabin where there is a room service pantry. There was a fire, but either the assessment party or the First Stagers got it under control. There was a lot of running around outside our door for a while though and when they restarted the ventilation system, the smell of burning plastic was evident. Three separate announcements, one calling for the first stage and two from the captain. We did get a little dozing in after that, but not much.

So now to Kota Kinabalu, or KK. We booked the zoo and museum half day Princess tour. Not a good tour, partially because of circumstances outside Princess’ control and some because of poor planning on their part. Our guide was very good, with good English and an understanding of what tourists like to know about a country. Prices of housing, fuel, cars, income levels, political structure, etc.

The ride from the ship to the zoo took about an hour. The zoo was supposed to open early for us, but did not. We only got an hour at the zoo, which is far too short a time. In order to see all the animals and at least be able to photograph them, you need a minimum of 2 hours, 3 would be better. Also, while Princess limited the tour group sizes, they don’t limit the number of tour groups, so we had 5 bus loads show up at the same time, which overloaded the viewing platforms and slowed everything down. Interestingly enough, at 1000, everybody was well into the loop and as we headed back to the bus, there was almost no one at the major attraction areas.

The zoo itself is quite nice and interesting. (Although there was a severely injured deer that they really needed to isolate from the herd and treat. Not a pretty sight.) There are elephants (pygmy), monkeys, orangutans, birds, a tiger and several species of deer in large fenced pens, aviaries and limited cages. The wildlife displayed at the zoo changes as they do rescue and release some of the species.

It’s a very nice walk around the zoo, the trail is paved, but uneven. The area is heavily shaded which is very nice in the equatorial sun. Viewing platforms for the major exhibits do get a bit crowded when tour groups go through, but they provide a nice place to just sit and observe the animals if you have the time.

Bottom line – the zoo is highly recommended, but not on a Princess tour. Grab a cab at the port. There is a taxi stand at the zoo for the return.

From the zoo we went to the Museum. The replica houses of the natives were interesting, but very hot. The Museum itself was pretty much a mess. The power had been shut off – part of a brownout apparently. So you could not even see the exhibits in the darkened hallways. Only the emergency lights were on and those were running out of juice. Even the gift shop was in the dark. All in all, I don’t know enough to recommend the museum or not, but its pretty big and you should expect to spend at least 2-3 hours there. There is a taxi stand as well.

Our most fun, honestly, was after the excursion. We rode the shuttle into KK from the pier - $8 AUS each way each person. (We guzzled 6 bottles of water during the zoo and the museum, so no walking in that hot sun!) The shuttle dropped us off in front the major shopping mall. A 7 story monstrosity with shops, restaurants, fast food and our favorite excursion – a grocery store! We shopped for candy, some toiletries (running out of toothpaste and mouthwash) and looked at all the cool stuff. The store was well organized, clean, well signed and had a lot of Japanese products. A real Asian selection of fruits and vegetables, meats and cheeses. But no Easter candy sales and very little chocolates and lollypops! A whole aisle of cookies (biscuits) and crackers. Soft drinks of all types of fruits and vegetables. This was really cool.

After shopping we found a Thai restaurant in the mall across from the grocery store. OMG it was so good. Simple, cheap, tasty, fresh. Had a noodle dish and a sweet and sour fish and rice dish. Not too spicy, but spicy enough to perk the taste buds. I almost ended up at McDonalds, just to try it out, but common sense prevailed and we just had to try Thai with a Malay influence.

Last night we did attend the ‘You Be The Judge’ gameshow. A lot of fun. At this point in time in this cruise, the cruise staff almost knows you by name, and we all know them and their quirks and pet peeves. Its almost like a family get together at these games. It was fun…

Lots to do to prepare for Vietnam. Later!
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Coral Princess 60 Days Circle the Pacific (September 19, 2018)
https://coral09192018cruise.shutterfly.com/
Pacific Princess World Cruise 2019
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Upcoming Cruises:

Diamond Princess - Tasmania - R/T SYD - 03/02/2018
Diamond Princess - AUS-NZ - R/T SYD - 03/10/2018
Diamond Princess - Asia - SYD to Tokyo - 03/22/2018

Coral Princess - 60 Day Circle The Pacific - 09/19/2018

Pacific Princess - World Cruise - R/T LA - 01/20/2019

Past Cruises (All Princess):

Island - Panama 10/12/2017; Island - Panama 9/23/2017; Island - Coastal 9/20/2017; Emerald - Scandinavia 07/02/2016; Emerald - Norway 06/18/2016; Emerald - Baltic 06/04/2016; Crown - Tahiti 10/17/2015; Golden - Alaska 6/1/15; Golden - Alaska 5/22/15; Ruby - Western Carib 12/13/14; Ruby - Eastern Carib 12/06/14; Ruby - Eastern Carib 11/29/14; Grand -Mexican Riviera 03/05/14; Grand -California Coastal 03/15/14; Grand -Hawaii 03/22/14; Ruby -Transatlantic 11-29-2013; Ruby -Grand Med 11-17-13; Ruby -Eastern Med 11-05-13; Ruby -Eastern Med 10-24-13; Caribbean -British Isles 05-12-13; Caribbean -TransAtlantic 04-27-13;Diamond -Asia/Alaska 04-15-12; Grand -Western Med 10-21-11; Golden -Hawaii 04-27-11; Emerald -Caribbean Combo 11-28-10; Star -Antarctica 02-02-10; Golden -Hawaii 9-27-09; Golden -Pacific Coastal 9-19-09; Grand -Caribbean Collection 3-27-09; Dawn -Mexican Riviera 4-27-08; Island -Panama Canal 2-06-08; Golden -Mexican Riviera 9-29-07; Golden -Pacific Coastal 9-23-07; Caribbean -E. Caribbean 04-29-07; Star -W. Caribbean 04-21-07; Dawn -Mexican Riviera 12-1-06; Island -Alaska 5-22-06; Island -Alaska 5-15-06; Dawn -Mexico 10-2005; Sun -Eastern Caribbean 4-2005; Star -Western Caribbean 12-2004; Island -Panama Canal 1-2004; Sea -Mexico 1-2002; Ocean -Alaska 6-2001
#37
3,878 Posts
Joined Feb 2004
In Phu My today and Nha Trang tomorrow with all day private tours. Might not get a chance to update in a couple of days. Probably day before Hong Kong. Very busy port schedule the rest of the cruise.

Later!
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Upcoming Cruise Website Links:
Coral Princess 60 Days Circle the Pacific (September 19, 2018)
https://coral09192018cruise.shutterfly.com/
Pacific Princess World Cruise 2019
https://pacific2019worldcruise.shutterfly.com/


Upcoming Cruises:

Diamond Princess - Tasmania - R/T SYD - 03/02/2018
Diamond Princess - AUS-NZ - R/T SYD - 03/10/2018
Diamond Princess - Asia - SYD to Tokyo - 03/22/2018

Coral Princess - 60 Day Circle The Pacific - 09/19/2018

Pacific Princess - World Cruise - R/T LA - 01/20/2019

Past Cruises (All Princess):

Island - Panama 10/12/2017; Island - Panama 9/23/2017; Island - Coastal 9/20/2017; Emerald - Scandinavia 07/02/2016; Emerald - Norway 06/18/2016; Emerald - Baltic 06/04/2016; Crown - Tahiti 10/17/2015; Golden - Alaska 6/1/15; Golden - Alaska 5/22/15; Ruby - Western Carib 12/13/14; Ruby - Eastern Carib 12/06/14; Ruby - Eastern Carib 11/29/14; Grand -Mexican Riviera 03/05/14; Grand -California Coastal 03/15/14; Grand -Hawaii 03/22/14; Ruby -Transatlantic 11-29-2013; Ruby -Grand Med 11-17-13; Ruby -Eastern Med 11-05-13; Ruby -Eastern Med 10-24-13; Caribbean -British Isles 05-12-13; Caribbean -TransAtlantic 04-27-13;Diamond -Asia/Alaska 04-15-12; Grand -Western Med 10-21-11; Golden -Hawaii 04-27-11; Emerald -Caribbean Combo 11-28-10; Star -Antarctica 02-02-10; Golden -Hawaii 9-27-09; Golden -Pacific Coastal 9-19-09; Grand -Caribbean Collection 3-27-09; Dawn -Mexican Riviera 4-27-08; Island -Panama Canal 2-06-08; Golden -Mexican Riviera 9-29-07; Golden -Pacific Coastal 9-23-07; Caribbean -E. Caribbean 04-29-07; Star -W. Caribbean 04-21-07; Dawn -Mexican Riviera 12-1-06; Island -Alaska 5-22-06; Island -Alaska 5-15-06; Dawn -Mexico 10-2005; Sun -Eastern Caribbean 4-2005; Star -Western Caribbean 12-2004; Island -Panama Canal 1-2004; Sea -Mexico 1-2002; Ocean -Alaska 6-2001
#38
San Diego, California
5,213 Posts
Joined Dec 2001
Really enjoying your cruise


Looking forward to your Vietnam reports
Srpilo
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Does anyone really care where my next cruise is ?
#39
3,878 Posts
Joined Feb 2004
April 6, 2018 – At Sea to Hong Kong

Overcast, warm with just a slight swell this morning. A few bumps in the night. A really good nights sleep with the fan blowing air over us. We should start to cool down in the cabin soon as we head further north.

While we have been to Vung Tau before off of Phu My, we had not been to Saigon, so this was our first time. I will not ever drive in Saigon or ride a motorbike or bicycle and may not ever walk across a street there! It is an experience all in itself. But you have to see it once yourself – even if you see nothing else, you must see this city in action.

Saigon, Ho Chi Minh, is very hard to describe except as semi-organized chaos. From the traffic to the buildings, to the street wiring, to the motorbikes, to the cars, it’s just overwhelming to the senses. The wiring in the city is such a good analogy – there are rat’s nests of power, telephone and cable on every pole – almost as if someone tried, but failed to sort it out, and just ran another wire rather than untangle the mess. Functionality overlaid on chaos – that’s what I mean by semi-organized chaos! At the basic level, it works.

Barbara booked a tour for both ports in Vietnam via My Way Travel. It was great. Our guide, Lou, spoke excellent English, our driver, Duc, drove through stuff that made your hair stand on end. The van was a 12 seat Ford Sporter style for the 6 of us with great A/C. Very comfortable.

We did the central square in Saigon, saw the various new and old buildings, stopping at a small market on the way and trying out cured meats, Jade Emperor Pagoda, the Post Office, lunch (Pho) and the Ben Thanh market. By mutual agreement we skipped the war museum to spend more time at the market and start back to the ship earlier. Only in the central square were things less hectic. We actually had a nice stroll up the square looking at various historic buildings. Then we started crossing streets with Lou. Once we even used a blind person’s crossing up the street to stop all the traffic so we could negotiate across with less stress!

Ever seen an UBER motorbike? Complete with mounted smartphone? Saigon has them.

The architecture ranges from functional but non-descript Soviet style apartments, to restored French colonial, to modern high rise to re-purposed, but neglected, colonial apartment multi-story stores. All in one mile! The people remind me of Singapore. Driven. Always a serious look on their face as they dash about their daily lives. A weekend would have been interesting to see if they transition to a more care free state like Singapore. During lunch, they do seem to let up a bit. The street corner side walk restaurants are filled with people eating lunch, laughing, talking, watching us tourists watching them.

Lunch was good and authentic, although I do wish the table was a bit cleaner. The plates of additional herbs of basil, cilantro, bean sprouts and other greens was great. The chili sauces were hot and spicy. I had the beef Pho, Judy had the chicken Pho. The broth was well done. Italians have their red gravy, French have their sauces, but Asian have broth down pat.

The market was interesting, but in order to find things of better quality, you really need to spend the time there. Good thing we opted for a longer stay at the market. I was able to find the requisite magnets and tamarind candy, but the hand fans were of poor quality and we skipped those. In the market, the outer ring of stores are the government stores that do not bargain. Inside the market are the vendors that do bargain. But not that much. Some will come down as much as 25%, but their prices are inflated to begin with. And some become pretty irate when you try and lowball them too much. The government stores have a higher quality product, but even there, and with the vendors, you need to check seams of the clothing carefully, and that takes time. (Flaws are everywhere.) Our group stuck to candy, carved figures and fridge magnets. However, given time, and a fitting room, the Vietnamese style dresses are gorgeous. Very colorful.

All aboard on the ship was 1730 and we wanted to time it to arrive back by 1600. However, traffic and the possibility of an accident, which happened just a few days before and closed the main highway for hours, made us want to head back earlier before rush hour. So we left Saigon about 1400 and headed back to arrive around 1530. It was a really good day in Saigon.

A couple of practical notes. Upon arrival we had to shuttle out to the port gates, but coming back we walked to the ship since there was no shuttle. About 500 yards from the gate to the ship. Some tours will charge to pick up and drop off inside the gates – the government charges them a fee to enter. Some will not enter at all. For mobility challenged, you should get picked up as the ground is uneven for walkers, scooters and wheelchairs. It was hot and in full sun, so sunscreen is an absolute necessity in this port. As is LOTS of water.

Nha Trang was a tender port. I missed getting off the ship the last time we were here. This time we were determined to see the town. Nha Trang was a bit less chaos, a bit more organized, but just a bit, a really little bit, especially around lunch time. Same tour company, John was the guide this time, Duc, different guy, was the driver. This van was a 9 seat Ford Sporter van. Lots of room for the 6 of us, great A/C.

We did the oceanographic institute, next to the tender dock. It was very crowded, but John took us to the end and we did it backwards and missed the majority of the crowds. The aquarium displays of fish are interesting and varied. None of the huge tanks you would see at the larger aquariums, but still interesting. A large pool held sea turtles. The aquarium is right next to the tender dock and is an easy DIY, but limited.

After the aquarium we went to the Long Son Pagoda, home of the giant statue on the hill and the reclining buddha on the way up. As in most Buddhist temples, your knees and shoulders must be covered, your shoes and hat off before you can enter. Gorgeous architecture and statuary. From there its 154 steps to the top of the hill, which can also be reached via taxi, to see the gleaming white Buddha. The statue’s base has reliefs of the monks whom immolated themselves during the protest against the Diem government’s crack down on Buddism during the Vietnam War. The door to the back of the statue is guarded by the evil warrior god, angry face, and the good warrior god, smiling face. The grounds around the statue contain rows and rows of burial shelves for cremated remains. Like wall after wall of post office boxes. Very good views and photographs from the top of the hill.

From there we crossed the river to the Cham Towers. One of those very interesting historical mysteries. Lots of interesting stuff here. The Cham Towers are Hindu, built by Indian migrants as they settled the region over 700 years ago. Abandoned or pushed out by the Buddhist expansion, the towers, and the temples, were abandoned and fell into ruin until uncovered by the French in 1938. The design and architecture is fascinating as the towers and temples were built with red brick, placed while wet, but fired in-situ to create an incredibly strong and mortar free set of buildings. Restoration efforts have to resort to fired brick, thin set mortar and steel shims to achieve the same strengths. The temples are clearly Hindu, with Vishnu, Shiva and Elephants in base reliefs. The story of these towers, unfortunately, has been lost to history or destroyed by the successive kings of the area. If the Towers could talk though…

Crossing the river on the Xom Bong bridge and viewing the brightly blue colored fishing boats, painted in blue whale ‘blue’ for luck, was interesting. But sadly, the river and beach under the bridges were garbage dumps with all manner of trash covering the white sand and floating in the water. Remnants of Durian fruit were everywhere and the sickly sweet smell of Durian was in the air. Not exactly appetizing or appealing when walking through the fruit vendors under the bridge.

We did lunch at a ‘steak house’ – Mama Moo’s. We had Pho, spring rolls, rice and salad. Excellent meal and the place was very clean. Once again the broth in the Pho was great and the plates of herbs to add to the Pho was great. Topped off with a beer! The star though was the spring rolls. Could have eaten a dozen each of those tasty little snacks.

We did make it to the Dam market as well. Here there did not appear to be any government stores and the bargaining was heated and intense, as well as high sales pressure, although not pushy like the pressure in the Great Bazaar in Turkey. Bargaining extremes ranged from screaming in frustration to tears. Quite interesting. Once again the fans were very low quality and we passed, but did pick up the required fridge magnet.

We went back to the dock to tender back to the ship. Although the line was quite long, it only took about 15 minutes to get on the tender and head to the ship. Once again though, the sun was very hot and sunscreen was an absolute necessity.

A whirlwind couple of days in Vietnam. And an absolute bargain in terms of costs. For the 2 of us, both ports, was $70 each. $280 USD total. Half the price of comparable Princess excursions with 1/5 as many people in the group.

Now its time to recharge prior to Hong Kong!

Later!
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#40
Chicagoland
2,516 Posts
Joined Apr 2013
Originally posted by ccrain
April 6, 2018 – At Sea to Hong Kong

. . . Saigon, Ho Chi Minh, is very hard to describe except as semi-organized chaos. From the traffic to the buildings, to the street wiring, to the motorbikes, to the cars, it’s just overwhelming to the senses. The wiring in the city is such a good analogy – there are rat’s nests of power, telephone and cable on every pole – almost as if someone tried, but failed to sort it out, and just ran another wire rather than untangle the mess. Functionality overlaid on chaos – that’s what I mean by semi-organized chaos! At the basic level, it works. . .


Ever seen an UBER motorbike? Complete with mounted smartphone? Saigon has them.
Very accurate description of Saigon I was there in 2003 and did ride with a local graduate student all over Saigon. After clutching my seat for about 5 minutes I decided to relax and enjoy it. Waved at the little kids. Learned fast that the key to crossing the street is just to step out, do not make eye contact and keep a steady pace no matter what. You will, most likely, survive. A fellow tourer had to take a "honda" (they are all called that) to get across Central Square LOL. Not surprised about Uber "hondas."
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'Life is short, drink the good wine first'







2018: Diamond Princess 7 day Circle Japan.
2017: Prinsendam 14 day Scotland/Ireland ; Volendam 16 day Trans-Pacific, Tokyo to Vancouver; Eurodam 7 day West. Carib.
2016: Rotterdam 18 day Viking Passage, Rotterdam to Boston; Noordam 13 day Australia/New Zealand; Zuiderdam 11 day partial Canal.
2015: Amsterdam 16 day Lima to San Diego; Oosterdam 3 day Coastal; Botticelli 6 day Seine; Veendam 7 day Bermuda; Volendam 17 day N. Pacific Crossing, Kobe to Vancouver
2014: Veendam 18 day Circle Hawaii; Seine Princess 4 day Seine, Paris RT; Veendam 7 day Historic Coasts; Noordam 11 day Med. Explorer; Celebrity Century 8 day E. Carib.
2013: Zuiderdam 7 day E. Carib.; Eurodam 7 day Norse Legends; Veendam 7 day NE/Canada,
2012: Volendam (HAL) 7 day Alaska, CC Review

1980s: SS Dolphin IV; Vista Fjord (Cunard); Rhapsody (Paquet) (Statendam IV); QE II (Cunard) TA; Skyward (NCL). 1970s: Mermoz (Paquet); Orpheus (Epirotiki-Swan's Hellenic); Royal Viking Sea.