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CARIBBEAN PRINCESS Jan 11 2014-Photo and video review

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There now follows a review (really a ramble-and we'll all be lucky if we live to see the end of it) of our cruise on the great ship/jinxed tub (depending on your ability to roll with the punches) Caribbean Princess which I will herein refer to as the CB to save a lot of typing.

 

There is a BACK STORY of course as there's really nothing that is just black and white in this world...except maybe an NFL referee's jersey. Oh- and of course a zebra, but that goes without saying. Zebra picture coming later just to prove my point.

 

INEVITABLE BACK STORY

 

One year ago I got off the Ruby Princess in Port Everglades and as two crew members were fastening me to the stretcher they found necessary to get me off the ship due to my refusal to leave willingly, I hatched a plan to cruise the Caribbean one year later. I was assisted in my decision by a Mohito, as always,when I need to think clearly.

 

Princess were building a new ship (actually it was some Italians called Fincantieri)

named the Royal Princess and so I booked us-myself and Traveling Companion Carol (TC) in an aft suite on Caribe Deck for January 2014 (like-now!)

 

After a month of thinking Carol thought that she didn't want to go on the same itinerary again (Ruby had and Royal was going to do the Eastern Caribb run to P Cays,St Thomas and St Maarten) and so I canceled the Royal through my trusty man in Princess HQ. Instead we booked the CB, a ship I had admired as she sailed out of P.Everglades the day I got off the Ruby. She had a Skywalkers that excited me-but then I am easily excited.

 

It was in June of last year that Dave Walker on this board published photos of the backside of the Royal (the aft in nautical terms) which showed the suite (C 737) I had booked to be without shade or privacy from above. I later learned that apart from pillow chocolates at turndown the room steward left one a small shovel to shovel soot (from the funnels) from one's balcony down onto the balcony below where they would take up the relay.

 

So we had tickets for a cruise to Roatan, Belize and Cozumel, sailing January 11th and returning to Houston via the "new" Bayport Terminal on the CB instead.

 

As the months passed by November arrived and the CB began the first sailings under the new contract twixt PCL and the Port of Houston. Oh dear....some cruises came back to fog which delayed them disembarking causing passengers to miss flights home and one couldn't sail on the day promised due to high winds and people spent the night tied up at Bayport which isn't Venice or somewhere you wouldn't mind being tied up for the night in.

 

We had uneasy feelings in our stomachs and they weren't caused by Mexican food. We said to ourselves that we would "roll with the punches" and still have a good cruise no matter what...

 

So now I'll get on with the review....

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We had temperatures as low as -13F the week of our departure from Chicago and with the wind chill it was -45F.

 

On the morning of January 10th, the day before we would join the ship in Houston on Saturday January 11th we were up at 4 a.m, already packed and prepared for our arranged taxi at 6.45 a.m for our 9.45 take off to sunnier climes.

 

Only one task remained on my list....to shovel a path through the 2 foot high snowbank that stood between us (on the sidewalk) and the taxi on the mushy, slushy street. This I did at 5 a.m. I cleared a path that would allow us to wheel our luggage to the taxi.

 

We waved goodbye to the two cats we had left in charge of the loft we live in.

A nice Polish lady we trust would come visit and feed and scoop their litter boxes each day and administer cat treats as they are very well behaved. We would miss them.

 

An hour later at the airport (O'Hare) we walked through the TSA Pre line at security-no shoes,belts had to come off. No laptops (my Macbook) opened, no cameras had to be shown....just an effortless stroll through the metal detector.

We had both paid $100 for Global Entry privileges which includes TSA Pre. It is for "no risk" passengers and the best $100 each of us has ever spent.

 

We ate breakfast at the Tuscan cafe, then a brief spell in the United Red Carpet club before boarding our flight to IAH airport in Houston, Texas a state neither of us had visited before.

 

I had bought Carol some Bose in-ear noise-canceling headphones for Christmas and the screaming baby in the seats opposite us put them to the test. They passed with flying colors! I just listened to the baby "music" and imagined the CB waiting for me at Bayport. Mind over matter.

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Once on the ground and off the 'plane we were whisked to the Hertz rental area in a shuttle bus and met the first Texan we would meet-a very nice lady bus driver who does Hertz and Texas proud. Cynics that we are we wondered if all Texans were this nice and considerate and after a week of sailing with them and staying in their hotels and eating in their restaurants we have to say that we have yet to meet one that isn't a salt of the Earth.

 

Our car was waiting for us-Hertz sent me an e mail telling me which car and offering to change it if I wasn't happy. It was a brand I hadn't driven before-a Hyundai and although I was eyeing Mercedes upgrades for an extra $75 a day I decided that, as we weren't on a driving holiday (as in Germany) it was fine for the few miles we would put on it in one day. It was a Hyundai Genesis and was a very comfortable and well-appointed car.

 

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We traveled the 53 miles to our hotel on some of the widest traffic-free highways a driving enthusiast like myself can imagine. Smooth, well signed highways. We found though that we were on a Toll Road and didn't have the Easy-Tag that is required for open-road tolling so we had no choice but to sail on through the toll plaza and hope that the Federales wouldn't give chase. The tag costs $40 and isn't practical for people staying one brief day. We later came to a toll that had a cash option ($2). Hertz Nerverlost guided us to the Hilton Nasa Clear Lake which was a 15 minute drive from the Bayport Terminal.

 

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We were checked in by Val, another friendly Texan and were soon up in room 1212 with a view of the lake.

 

More soon,

 

Norris not in Texas

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Once on the ground and off the 'plane we were whisked to the Hertz rental area in a shuttle bus and met the first Texan we would meet-a very nice lady bus driver who does Hertz and Texas proud. Cynics that we are we wondered if all Texans were this nice and considerate and after a week of sailing with them and staying in their hotels and eating in their restaurants we have to say that we have yet to meet one that isn't a salt of the Earth.

 

Our car was waiting for us-Hertz sent me an e mail telling me which car and offering to change it if I wasn't happy. It was a brand I hadn't driven before-a Hyundai and although I was eyeing Mercedes upgrades for an extra $75 a day I decided that, as we weren't on a driving holiday (as in Germany) it was fine for the few miles we would put on it in one day. It was a Hyundai Genesis and was a very comfortable and well-appointed car.

 

IMG_0964.JPG

 

We traveled the 53 miles to our hotel on some of the widest traffic-free highways a driving enthusiast like myself can imagine. Smooth, well signed highways. We found though that we were on a Toll Road and didn't have the Easy-Tag that is required for open-road tolling so we had no choice but to sail on through the toll plaza and hope that the Federales wouldn't give chase. The tag costs $40 and isn't practical for people staying one brief day. We later came to a toll that had a cash option ($2). Hertz Nerverlost guided us to the Hilton Nasa Clear Lake which was a 15 minute drive from the Bayport Terminal.

 

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We were checked in by Val, another friendly Texan and were soon up in room 1212 with a view of the lake.

 

More soon,

 

Norris not in Texas

 

Waiting with baited breath :)

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Forums mobile app

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Ah, a Bimmer tome to subscribe to!

Reclining the ol' La-Z-Boy, taking my shoes off to "set a spell."

 

 

~sent using Cruise Critic app~

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We-Carol and I- both love water. Not just the kind you make tea with or shower under but the real water -the SEA!! It was there outside our window on this lovely (cloudy) 70 deg F Texas afternoon.

 

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I can't wait for this! :-)

 

Yikes! Pressure. I will try and keep it coming but haven't been to the Buffet, Pub Lunch or Trident Grill all day and may stop to eat a morsel!

 

Welcome aboard!

 

Norris

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Ah, a Bimmer tome to subscribe to!

Reclining the ol' La-Z-Boy, taking my shoes off to "set a spell."

 

 

~sent using Cruise Critic app~

 

Welcome Sminfiddle! I am sure the CB is still fresh in your mind. Coming up in the weeks ahead...

 

Dolphins!

Jet boats and crocodiles!

Submarines!

Food porn!

Lots of exclamation marks!!!

Many ship photos!

 

Norris

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We had temperatures as low as -13F the week of our departure from Chicago and with the wind chill it was -45F.

 

Oooo... Another Bimmer review. Hurry up - I have to leave on the 26th to get to the Emerald.:D

 

Howard

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Jzad- Thanks for the enthusiasm! This will be a long haul so I suggest you stock up on ;

Bottled water

batteries

candles

provisions

clean underwear

 

I downloaded about 700 photos to tell this tale and have 3 hours of HD video waiting to be edited (heavily) and put on youtube.

 

Stay tuned!

 

Welcome aboard-muster drill is in one hour.

 

Norris

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Jzad- Thanks for the enthusiasm! This will be a long haul so I suggest you stock up on ;

Bottled water

batteries

candles

provisions

clean underwear

 

I downloaded about 700 photos to tell this tale and have 3 hours of HD video waiting to be edited (heavily) and put on youtube.

 

Stay tuned!

 

Welcome aboard-muster drill is in one hour.

 

Norris

 

You forgot - WINE - lots of it...

 

Howard

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LOVING this thread already...I am so glad I clicked on it...I am not even sailing on the Caribbean, but so excited to hear your review!

 

As a Texan, I can attest, Most (not all) of us are very nice and accommodating. :)

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I downloaded about 700 photos to tell this tale and have 3 hours of HD video waiting to be edited (heavily) and put on youtube.

 

 

Really looking forward to seeing those. DW and I are taking our first Princess cruise on CB on 1 March.

 

RM275

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Jzad- Thanks for the enthusiasm! This will be a long haul so I suggest you stock up on ;

Bottled water

batteries

candles

provisions

clean underwear

 

I downloaded about 700 photos to tell this tale and have 3 hours of HD video waiting to be edited (heavily) and put on youtube.

 

Stay tuned!

 

Welcome aboard-muster drill is in one hour.

 

Norris

 

I'll be patient! My hubby and I sailed Caribbean Princess a few years ago and loved it!

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Forums mobile app

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Really looking forward to seeing those. DW and I are taking our first Princess cruise on CB on 1 March.

 

RM275

 

I think I can have this wrapped up by then! I wish I could just blast away with a deluge of photos but the "story" (ha!) has to be told as it happened, as it unfolded.

 

CB was a new ship for me but my familiar pattern (of not doing much) takes time to relate. Relaxing is a lot harder than people think!

 

I used 3 cameras and a camcorder and toted a lot of tackle around the ship and had to stop often for "refreshments" as my bar tab will attest, your Honor.

 

I will explain the 3 cameras as I go along.

 

Norris

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Having come from the frozen North (Midwest) while Carol unpacked her steamer trunks of ball gowns and hat boxes I removed my lined leather jacket and went down to the pool area to have a cigarette.

 

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The pool was a little neglected as there was a lot of tree debris on the bottom and the surrounding deck but there were tables and chairs and only me to sit in them.

Chicago was melting away by the minute. Sea air, sea gulls.

 

Prior to this trip we had looked on yelp.com and found an appealing restaurant in the area-Perry's Steakhouse and when we asked Val at the front desk about it she said the hotel would drive us there and pick us up after our meal. Outstanding service Hilton!! We took her up on the offer as it meant I didn't have to find the place and could have a drink (or two) without impairing my driving.

 

But first a nap was calling as we were suffering Negative Jet lag which is where you are discombobulated when landing in the same time zone as you took off from. Comfy beds. Silence. Bliss.

 

When the time came we hooked up with Jesse who was our driver and -well gosh darn it-a real nice Texan fellow!

 

15 minutes later we pulled into a strip mall and there was Perry's. Packed to the gills on a Friday night. Aromas of seared meat made me swoon as we hadn't eaten in over 10 hours (eek!). There was a jazz trio playing in the bar and we were shown to a requested booth in the busy restaurant....

 

Norris, making myself hungry now

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Oh, goodie! I loved your last review and will savor each post for this one. The vortex is arriving as I write and I need something to keep me warm! Thank you for sharing with us!

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Looking forward to your pictures and the review. Wife and I thought about the CB, but, opted for a B2B on the Ruby on March 1 instead. Maybe we will get to do something on the CB next time depending on where it is in another year. :cool:

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Quick question... why do they call the Caribbean princess "CB"?

 

The Sea Princess is CP, and the Crown is KP.

 

 

~sent using Cruise Critic app~

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The 3 cameras....

 

There's this one which is for ship photos and general use.

 

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The instruction manual is like a small phone book and I am learning (slowly) how to use it. I am not an enthusiast (yet) but may be once I get to grips with it,hopefully by the time of my next cruise-Sept 2014 on the Ocean Princess from Venice to Rome.

 

It has a zoom lens seen in this next photo along with cameras 2 and 3..

 

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The point and shoot is a Canon S780 which I used on excursions that involved getting wet as I didn't want to risk the Eos Rebel. Two of the three excursions involved me getting splashed.

 

The iPhone 5 was used at the dinner table as it is less cumbersome than the Rebel and was used to send photos to Facebook as we sailed. Some food shots were with the Rebel, usually in Sabatini's where there was only two of us dining at a big table.

 

The zoom was rarely used as I don't carry a tripod (yet)

 

The camcorder is a Canon Vixia HD with a hard drive and produces stunning results on a 1080 p big screen but suffers when youtube loads it at 720p.

 

Dinner at Perry's next....14 hours away from going to the dock (or so I thought)

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Quick question... why do they call the Caribbean princess "CB"?

 

 

If you see a strange letter combo then it means that the letters are already being used with another ship. :)

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I think I can have this wrapped up by then! I wish I could just blast away with a deluge of photos but the "story" (ha!) has to be told as it happened, as it unfolded.

 

I will explain the 3 cameras as I go along.

 

Norris

 

Looking forward to hearing about the cameras. My Sony CX430 should be here tomorrow. Picked up a Nikon 510 for our cruise last July.

 

RM275

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As I sat by the pool I logged into CC on my phone and saw a post about Norovirus on the CB and reference to an e mail from Princess. I opened my e mail and there was an advisory telling me not to board until 2 pm. Bummer!!

 

I had to tell Carol of course and she took it on the chin. However her oldest friend Cindy had decided after seeing a Facebook post from Carol re the cruise that she would love to take her first cruise with us as her guides and she booked the CB 3 weeks from sailing. I recommended E 733 as she wanted a suite. She had had an awful year including the passing of both parents. We immediately thought of her and how this might impact her perception of cruising. She was flying down the day of sailing-tomorrow.

 

Being January night had fallen around 5 pm.

 

Jesse dropped us off at Perry's at 8 and we were seated in a booth in a room that was alive with happy diners.

 

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The waiter was the bright eyed and bushy-tailed (some squirrel ancestry perhaps) Marcus who was on his game. A Mohito was summoned from the bar and was soon dispatched...

 

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We ordered some seared meats and appetizers. Carol was excited when a patron came in wearing a stetson (first sighting). Checked shirt, clean jeans and yes-beautiful leather boots. Yee-haw! We were in Texas for sure dadgummit!

Even in casual clothes these folks dress well.

 

I was excited (and curious) when this thing appeared on the table. I had ordered the crab cakes...

 

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The bird's nest thing was amazingly thinly sliced deep-friend onion straws. Under it were crab cakes. I gave Carol a sampling. That's the best crab cake ever! she said. I took a bite. Agreed, no doubt, said I. No filler! Just big chunks of delicious crab. I should have ordered 3 of them. I will next time as I will drive out of my way to eat here, noisy room or no.

 

The Mohito was gone and a glass of Malbec red wine was procured for me. I sip wine but I guzzle Mohitos and things like Guinness as I am from N. Ireland.

 

More food came...

 

Filet o beef (medium) and a lobster tail (King of Crustaceans but the crab ain't far behind) with grilled asparagus for me.

 

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Carol had a filet and lump crab with creamed spinach. It appears in the video portion of our meal but not in a photo- I am juggling multi-media and eating like a starved jackal....it's all too much!

 

We were drooling and wiping our mouths with the napkins and then sucking the stains from the napkins as the food was DEEE-LISHUS!!

 

Care for a dessert?? Hell yeah Einstein!

 

For madame-the deconstructed lemon meringue pie.

 

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And for messieur...a favorite of mine....Bananas Foster! Yay! Cooked table side! Yippee! I videotaped the presentation just before the restaurant caught fire.

I licked the bowl...

 

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The meal was outstanding as was the service and we were picked up at the front door by Jesse and were soon in the Hilton, sleeping like babes.

 

In the morning we would check out of the Hilton Hotel and into the Caribbean Princess Hotel, 2 hours later than expected.

 

Norris, hungry for crab

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I woke at 7 a.m and looking out the window saw some fog but by the time I had showered and dressed it had lifted. At 7.30 I was by the pool with a coffee and cigarette enjoying the newly arrived sun.

 

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Checking the Cruisecam app on my phone to see if the CB was docked I saw that she was still en route to Houston. She usually docks by 7 a.m

 

Carol joined me

 

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and after sitting in the sun for a while we decided to take advantage of the buffet breakfast coupons the hotel had given us. Carol is not a buffet fan so after looking at the offerings decided we should order off the menu.

 

When we went back up to the room I looked out the window and saw in the distance a huge white shape. I got my binoculars to confirm it was the CB. Moving slowly. It would be an hour before she stopped. It was about 11 a.m

and we had to go drop off the rental car at an HLE (Hertz Local Edition) which closed at noon.

 

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The ship docked at Bayport Terminal, taken from our hotel.

 

2 p.m boarding seemed very unlikely....

 

Norris

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Norris,

 

DW and I always enjoy your reviews and photos. Was the picture of the CB taken from your hotel room taken as you see it or was it taken with a special setting on your camera? We live in the area and did not realize you can see the Bayport terminal that closely when you are above ground level.

 

Glad you enjoyed your dinner at Perry's. It is one of favorite restaurants. Did you know they now have a Chicago location?

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Carol was excited when a patron came in wearing a stetson (first sighting). Checked shirt, clean jeans and yes-beautiful leather boots. Yee-haw! We were in Texas for sure dadgummit!

Even in casual clothes these folks dress well.

That, my friend, was one of the Russian Cosmonauts in training at NASA.

The Cowboy was the gent in a polo shirt and an AC/DC baseball cap, which he removed upon coming indoors.

 

Rick

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Enjoying your very thoughtful and well documented review, thanks! I am also glad that the Texans you met so far in the story have represented us well and that you made such a fine choice for dining at Perry's.

 

Looking forward to hearing the story continue to unfold as we approach our cruise on CB in about 3 weeks.

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<<DW and I always enjoy your reviews and photos. Was the picture of the CB taken from your hotel room taken as you see it or was it taken with a special setting on your camera? We live in the area and did not realize you can see the Bayport terminal that closely when you are above ground level.>>

 

Photo of ship in Bayport was taken with the zoom lens. I think I took it from the hotel window 12 floors up. It was about 8 miles away, I think, by road-but as the crow (pelican) flies somewhat less.

 

Yes-Perry's was a good experience for us. Cost was $200 incl. a good tip for great service. Jazz trio was also a nice touch. We hadn't eaten in 10 hours so the plates were licked clean. Next time we will stay downtown in Houston as we loved that experience after the cruise but Perry's would be worth the drive if the roads were clear.

 

Norris

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Yes I know that Perry's now have a "Chicago" location but it is Oakbrook about 20 miles west of the city. If they had a downtown location they would have a lot of competition from the many famous steakhouses here.

 

Norris, Ruth's Chris fan as I like a steak that comes to the table spitting hot butter in my face.

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Man, I am going to be onboard the CB before you even get onboard the CB in your review which is a bit disappointing because I would love to see you pictures and read the rest of your review. Been cracking up as I read.

 

Of course, it's not disappointing enough for me to postpone my departure! I'll just have look forward to reading the rest of your review when I get back!

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We left the Hilton to return the car to Hertz at their HLE office on Gulf Freeway in League City and while there the cab that the hotel had arranged for us pulled up and we were off to the ship! Exciting.

 

We had to stop at a Walgreens for some Clorox wipes (Carol) to wipe down the cabin surfaces (especially the phone) and I needed sunglasses.

 

Getting closer....

 

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Meantime I had got another e mail from Princess telling us that because of the Norovirus scrub-down AND the late arrival due to fog that Embarkation would happen at 5.30 pm (in the dark)

 

There was a Police checkpoint at a fork in the road out in Industrial wasteland.

At this fork they could allow taxis and buses through but detour private cars to a holding area until later-to help minimize crowding at the Terminal building.

We were let through and our luggage was taken (gave $5 tip to insure against accidental dropping in the harbor) and we entered the building through the Preferred Line (we were now Platinum and sailing in a suite). We went through the security scanners (removing all metal incl belts and jackets) and found our way to one of two Preferred lounges. There weren't any refreshments as we usually find in Port Everglades but there were vending machines.

 

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People were still coming off the ship and this would continue until 3.30 pm. None of them were particularly tanned as they had some poor weather on their sailing.

There were a number of blind passengers I noticed, being helped by caring staff or family and friends-very heartwarming to see that they were being helped. One gentleman even had a seeing-eye dog but I don't know if that could have sailed with him.

 

They announced inside, when we were getting our cruise cards that buses would be running to Kemah for those that didn't want to sit and wait. Lines formed outside to take advantage of this but I later spoke to a lady who gave up after standing in line for two hours to get on a bus. Next time Princess -have some more buses standing by. I salute PCL for trying but this unplanned expenditure (plus free glasses of wine on board on the first night-which I wasn't offered by the way in Sabatini's...not complaining, just observing) all eats into the bottom line profits for this cruise)

 

We were happy to wait in big comfy chairs rather than trek to Kemah only to have to line up for a bus back plus we had our carry-on luggage with us. No one could leave their bags behind as there is nowhere to secure them. Carol found a power outlet and we had wi-fi so she was happy with her Kindle and i Phone. I spent most of my time outside in the sunshine admiring the ship.

 

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The most important part of the ship for us, where we live-the ass, or aft to be nautical. Security fences prevented me from getting right behind the ship for a better look.

 

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I had gone outside after having to scold a man who was watching an Episode of Downton Abbey (which I enjoy) on his iPad with the speakers still turned on, thus ruining the restful peace of the waiting room. I was a bit aggressive with him which I regret now. Then a few minutes later some guy pulled out a ukelele

and began vigorously strumming some hula-skirt music. Really people? Isn't there a time and place (concrete bunker 30 ft underground or on a beach in Hawaii) for that sort of thing? I left the room in disgust and spared us all an incident of ukelele smashing.

 

Outside all was calm. The clock was ticking by steadily until at 5.15 Priority Boarding began. The general boarding group had many people sitting on the floor as all the seats had been taken. Latecomers had been ushered to a huge tent on the dock.

 

We stopped for the boarding photo and then were on the escalators up to the gangway. Photo taken by security and we were on board and free to roam!

 

We sprang into action with our plan. Carol's mission was to go to Passenger services to put my name on the UST sign-up (Ultimate Ship's Tour) while I ran hotfoot( via the forward elevators away from the masses) and bounded up the stairs to sign up for a week in the Sanctuary. I was first one there only to find that the staff had gone for the day. Really? You board me late and don't keep one person there to sign-up people willing to spend $210 for two loungers for the week? Others arrived behind me and expressed similar surprise. Oh, well. I would come back in the morning. Carol had got my name first on the list for the UST so that was a consolation.

 

I immediately got my cruise under way with a stop at the Tradewinds bar as it was on the way down from the Sanctuary, therefore forcing me to have a refreshing Beck's beer. I picked up my first Clean Sweeps card which might have my bar bill paid by Princess on the last sea day. You've got to be in it to win it!

The beer had a 50 cents port tax added by the way,

 

This is the smoking corner of the Tradewinds where I spent some quality time meeting new friends during the week. It is sheltered from the wind of which there was a good supply on this voyage, especially in the mornings.

 

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Now it was time to go to the cabin and unpack. On the way there I stopped at Sabatini's to make a booking for 5: Carol and I, Cindy and her son Daniel (26) and daughter Alice(22) who were along for their first cruise experience. Alice shared the suite with her mom and Daniel had an OV on Emerald, looking out on a lifeboat.

 

Muster drill was announced for 8p.m so I figured 9.30 would be a good time to dine, after the drill and sail away.

 

Next up...sailaway!

 

Norris

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Just wanted to chime in here about Texans. Naturally when you travel most of the people you encounter are in the hospitality or tourism business and are, in a sense, "paid" to be nice to you. But on this trip the ship was full of " regular" Texans because it is a "drive to" port and I found them to be uniformly cheerful, agreeable, positive, helpful, good natured, and eager to have a good time without being rowdy. In addition, the Houston opera audience (you will hear about this much later) with only a couple of exceptions was quiet and attentive throughout a lengthy, difficult, unfamiliar modern opera and clearly are accustomed to and worthy of the high standards of the HGO. After this first visit I am now a fan of The Lone Star State.

 

 

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This was the line of cars that were released from the holding area so that they could finally join the ship.

 

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We met up with Cindy and Alice in Club Fusion for our Muster drill and afterwards went our separate ways for sail away. We were going to enjoy that from our aft balcony. They had had fun at the airport as the airline had lost their luggage-oh no-wait! We've found it ma'am! It will be on the next plane from Chicago...

Rough start to their first cruise.

 

Lines were cast off. Thrusters hummed. Our room steward Miguel, from Goa, India brought us two small bottles of Korbel champagne and we toasted to a happy cruise. Slowly we moved away from the quay....

 

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Close behind us was some shallow water and tall posts sticking up to show the safe boundaries. It was tight so we were aided by Lemar, a friendly tug who helped push us out of harm's way. He was right under our balcony.

 

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Lamar was lashed to us as an extra set of brakes and was able to stay right with us to give us a push to one side when needed.

 

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I have to say that when I heard we would leave late I lamented the fact that I wouldn't get the ship shots of all the many vessels docked in Houston along our exit path to the open sea. Boat nerd. Unashamedly. Maybe some other day as I have no qualms about sailing from Houston again.

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We are sailing. The ship is alive with people. Open seating was the order of the day in the MDRs. We had Sabatini's to look forward to and 5 of us sat down to dinner at 9.30. As suite passengers we and Cindy/Alice had dinner on the House while Daniel had to pay the $25 surcharge. Wine was ordered, toasts were drank and amid the excited babble choices were made and mouths were allowed to water. Carol and I hadn't eaten since about 9.am - unless you count the bag of Doritos I had in the waiting room. I took some food shots with the Canon DSLR.

 

Alice (L) and Carol

 

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Daniel and Cindy

 

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My appetizer-Vitello di Tonnato...veal carpaccio with seared Ahi Tuna.

 

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The Princess wine list has changed as I ordered my usual bottle of Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio only to find it is off the list and the waiter suggested a bottle of Danzante which he told me was cheaper. I bought it anyway but missed the silky smoothness of my erstwhile choice.

 

Two orders of Branzino (Salt-baked striped Sea Bass) were next brought to the table and each had a waiter to release the fish from it's salty tomb.

 

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For dessert I had the Semi-freddo thing I usually have

 

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while others had the delicious Espresso Creme Brûlée.

 

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As always, a delicious start to our week at sea. We were finished by 11 p.m

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