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crisp1

Golden Explorer 4/10 The Pains and Pleasures, My Rants and Raves

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This is a cruise that had 'Murphy's Law's' grip right from the beginning. I misplaced my credit card that allowed us access to Continental's President's club 3 days before the cruise,our daughter finally said she could join us- her phone couldn't take incoming calls, I realized half way to the airport that our son's docs were left behind. We got to the airport and his cell phone was missing- my time at the airport was spent trying to retrieve it- lost. Our daughter, in her 22 yr old wisdom, decided that it was better that she stay awake all night- off work at midnight- and catch her 7:30 flight- with a 2 hr layover, and meet me at the port with her docs sometime around 4ish ( her phone stll not working properly) she showed up around 5. After a 'family reunion' ( we hadn't seen her since New Years), we went to dinner- our son (17) was booked in our friends cabin, and we all had different tables/dining, so we went to Sabitinis,and arranged a reservation for the rest of the week. We were all set- go the the CC meet and greet and 'Sailaway to St Thomas'. Next, the call that our daughter has the wrong luggage ( 1 bag with all her clothes), Pursers desk not helpful at all- after her continued crying and screeming they gave her a $100 shipboard credit and 3 free laundry/ cleaning ( we're in port, the shops are closed, and what does she have to be cleaned?!). St Thomas is day one, we have a tour set up, she has no clothes, and thinks she has to stay on board in order to get her bag. Pursersdesk is still no help until they find out that she has someone elses bag- now they get involved- she goes to the mall and buys a bathing suit and sandals and catches up with us and gets to see part of the island- we go back early and buy a new gown for her- we're renewing our vows the next day ( $175), go back to the ship ( our guide was not who we expected or hired- exhausted/ embarassed and pissed off). Things are starting to look up- we got a table for 8 for the early seating! More to come

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Tuesday; Another private tour- Ilva Wallace/St Kitts. I ahd reservations- someone had booked her and ended up with someone else ( and after the same thing happening to us in St Thomas, I was a little concerned). Our day, however was fabulous, St Kitts was wonderful and evryone enjoyed the tour and Ilva's tour.

Wednesday; Grenada,Our friends did the hike and falls tour thru the shipm and we did a walk around town and waited for their return so we could all go to the beach- finally at 2 pm- after lunch we ended up going to the beach alone- they were all exhausted. Some of the vendors were amusing- the guy with the guitar- others annoying- the ones with the luffa- I've got several in my closet unused- I still felt terrible for the people of Grenada- our cabbie waited for 3 hrs (unpaid) just to get the return fare ($24 total)- because that was all he would make that day.

Thursday: Isla Margarita, All but my DD and I did the dolphin encounter- 2 different times. We went to the beach just off the ship and had some 'quality' time/ shopped the vendors- bought some pearls- satisfying for me- we're just starting to re-connect( after 10 yrs)

Friday: Aruba,The wives and younger ones go horseback riding- the husbands and my DD go shoppng- they find out that the cubans are cheaper here ( I told them so). Everyone comes back with sore bottoms etc- but we still go to eagle beach- windy, cloudy water, but still a nice afternoon

Next; the ship, entertainment etc

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This is a cruise that had 'Murphy's Law's' grip right from the beginning. I misplaced my credit card that allowed us access to Continental's President's club 3 days before the cruise,our daughter finally said she could join us- her phone couldn't take incoming calls, I realized half way to the airport that our son's docs were left behind. We got to the airport and his cell phone was missing- my time at the airport was spent trying to retrieve it- lost. Our daughter, in her 22 yr old wisdom, decided that it was better that she stay awake all night- off work at midnight- and catch her 7:30 flight- with a 2 hr layover, and meet me at the port with her docs sometime around 4ish ( her phone stll not working properly) she showed up around 5. After a 'family reunion' ( we hadn't seen her since New Years), we went to dinner- our son (17) was booked in our friends cabin, and we all had different tables/dining, so we went to Sabitinis,and arranged a reservation for the rest of the week. We were all set- go the the CC meet and greet and 'Sailaway to St Thomas'. Next, the call that our daughter has the wrong luggage ( 1 bag with all her clothes), Pursers desk not helpful at all- after her continued crying and screeming they gave her a $100 shipboard credit and 3 free laundry/ cleaning ( we're in port, the shops are closed, and what does she have to be cleaned?!). St Thomas is day one, we have a tour set up, she has no clothes, and thinks she has to stay on board in order to get her bag. Pursersdesk is still no help until they find out that she has someone elses bag- now they get involved- she goes to the mall and buys a bathing suit and sandals and catches up with us and gets to see part of the island- we go back early and buy a new gown for her- we're renewing our vows the next day ( $175), go back to the ship ( our guide was not who we expected or hired- exhausted/ embarassed and pissed off). Things are starting to look up- we got a table for 8 for the early seating! More to come

 

Crisp,

 

 

So sorry to hear about the luggage mishap. Something similar happened to us on our Golden in December. My SO didn't have her luggage and princess gave her unlimited free laundry and some shipboard credit and the luggage caught up with us at the end of the day while in St. Kitts. It was a royal pain.

 

Sorry to hear about the crazy start to your cruise. You were so excited for this trip.

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When we got on board there was a letter telling us what day and time to meet Andrew outside the chapel. He and his assistant were great. When we arrived at 5:40 on Tuesday, we were informed that there was another ceremony before us and were asked to sit- our drinks were ordered and brought to us. Once it was our time, our son and daughter walked down the aisle together with the music playing, our friends in the front row seats. My DW immediately starts blubbering and continues thru the ceremony- the captain stops it and gets her tissues. The photographer is busy taking a ton of pictures- the whole ceremony is just a blur- but a great blur! The bouquet, my bootineer, evryone including the captain were absolutely fantastic! We still had our couples massage to look forward to, along with the champagne breakfast in our cabin ( which we did on Saturday- our day at sea). Afterward, we're off to dinner. The pictures were ready the next day- so many to choose from for our 8x10 framed photo- some had to be nixed do to the tears and puffy eyes- but we still managed to buy half!

Not thinking, we waited a bit too long to book the massage, but were able to get a spot at 5 on Friday- just enough time to get to dinner afterwards. The 2 girls were great- it was like they floated around the table, never lifting a hand off my back. The 30 minutes flew by, and whatever tension still left in my body was gone. The only bad part of the whole experience was the sales talk for the 'special' oil and balm to eliminate the toxins in our body for a mere $100 for both- with a firm no thank you, the session was over.

The ship: After 5 CCL cruises it's easy getting around- they're all pretty much alike- even the different classes. It took awhile getting to know the layout. There are still some areas that I never got to. The mini golf, the tennis court, the disco. Overall the layout made for small intimate areas without the feeling of being part of 3,000 on one ship. Princess is not pushy about taking you picture, but there were long lines on formal night at all stations. They were somewhat pushy about the wine tasting and the soda cards the first 2 days.

The food in the dining room was very good. The lobster was the best I ever had- it always had tasted like rubber to me before. The beef filet on the 'always available' menu was awful. Cruisin Queen- I don't remember who the Maitre 'D was- but my hat's off to him for getting all 8 of us a table with a fantastic duo of Danilo and Marlon. I was disappointed in the buffet for breakfast- no omelets or eggs to order, juice put out in tiny glasses- with the tomato and pineapple hidden. Got to go, more to come.

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I'm the Bride :). So here's a few of my 'rants and raves'. The coffee SUCKS! sometimes it was OK, but mostly terrible. The 'ice tea' was always warm/hot- would melt a full glass of ice- so always weak. didn't get enough time in Margarita-I just don't get geography:) Our cabin steward, our dining staff, the Captain ( a hottie!), the pursers desk, our waiters, were all exceptional!- just a wonderful cruise!

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Entertainment: Deep Blue had to be the best 'deck' band I've heard- finally a band with a steel drum- and versatility. Too many piano players/ not enough other stuff. The only jazz musicans were at night in the Wheelhouse lounge. No pop/rock to be found ouside Blueyze in the Explorer. Both the comedians were good. My son said the hypnotist was terrible.

Smoking: I'm a former one/ my DW and our friends still do. Princess makes it hard for them in the lounges. The prominade lounge was no smoking when the piano player was there( There was a section during the captains party). The Wheelhouse has a small group o tables in the corner and you can smoke at the bar. Most of the Explorers lounge is no smoking- we found a row of tables to the left that were. No Smoking at all in the Vista lounge, as well as the theatre

Chair hogs were out in considerable numbers our only day at sea with towels tied to the chairs poolside by 8am. You could still find a chair in the surrounding area and up a deck until 10. After 10 many started to either move the towels or ask the deck hands to move them ( which they wouldn't do if there were any personal items there. Some of these people had groups of chairs saved in several locations, some never showed up til after noon.

The Bridge tour was great. I was a bit nervous about not getting one- we bought the premium package which had the tour listed on Princess web site. Our letter delivered to our cabin made no mention of it and the 'cruise answer booklet' our daughter recieved with her docs also did not list it. When we got to the chapel for our ceremony I asked the assistant manager about it and he said we would be contacted the next day. When Thursday came around and I still hadn't heard anything I went to the pursers deck and inquired again. This was when i was told it would be on Saturday while at sea. We got our letter the next day and were asked to be discreet and to meet at 10:30 am. When we got to the forward elevators there were 9 other couple waiting. All the instruments etc were explained, we were given a sheet which pretty much said the same thing, were allowed to take pictures and ask questions- the captain was not there.I think this is something Princess is phasing out, some of the people who were invited had no idea why. After visiting the bridge, I've decided that I'll never book a balcony cabin forward lol- they have a perfect view from the bridge!

Disembarkation; we had an independant tour set up for San Juan- our flight wasn't until 4:30. But checking the sheet (d deck- yellow 7) we would be one of the last to get off. Our friends had an early flight and got red 6, so we were able to use their white 7 tags and get off around 10:15. Although I never saw anyone checking them- maybe in the terminal if you get there before your time, they'd get you. One major plus this time was gettin my passport stamped. We cruised out of San Juan last year on CCL and were'nt stamped- never got one since my first cruise 24 years ago. I can't think of anything to add besides that the mini suites are large, plenty of room in the closet. What a pleasure having a tub and empty fridge.

One last thing, I ran into the comedian in the lounge at the airport and we chatted for awhile. He said that he would never work on a Carnival ship again. His first and only time he was put in a cabin down with 'the help'. On Princess, he gets an outside cabin. I don't know if this has any affect on the quality of entertainers they both get or not

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