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LIVE from the Pacific Princess with Sungirl! Iceland and Norway 25 Aug - 09 Sept 2019

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Hello to my Princess Peeps!  Another year has gone by. WOW. Time goes much too fast. We met this time last year when I went “ live”  in the British Isles on the Royal. I am back this summer in Iceland and Norway on the Pacific. I will try to post my daily blog here everyday or two. I have already blogged about my pre-cruise in London. I post pics, silly video, and a daily summary. If you want to join me hop on to my FB travel Page  - Fungirl Across America and Beyond.  

 

So great to be back where I belong. Cheers!

 

 

 

https://www.facebook.com/fungirlacrossamerica/

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Treat her gently--we'll be boarding on Sept. 9!  Enjoy!

 

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What time are the early and late dining times in the dining room?

 

Thanks

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Paige,

So glad I found your blog though of course I read your F.B. entries every day. How is the ship and are the improvements a "wow' factor.  We will be on her next year so I hope she is in good repair.

Jennie

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Posted (edited)

Following!  Have a great time!

 

i know you love the buffet (as do I on the Royal class ships), how is it on a small ship? 

Edited by sunsetbeachgal

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Following along.  I love the Pacific Princess.

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Yay! Love your reviews and this is the next itinerary I'm looking at. Also following your FB page. 

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17 hours ago, PescadoAmarillo said:

Simply stated:  YAY! (One footed happy dance underway). 

 

 

I think I missed something.

What's with the "one footed"?  😟

 

And Paige - I can't wait to hear about your impressions of the Pacific.

To start - who are the bartenders in the Casino Bar. Hoping for a really nice young man named David.

Also who is the Maitre D' ? Cruise Director?

 

I would say to have fun but you always do!

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Look forward to reading your cruise blog.  Have fun out there

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I am going to copy and paste my daily blog in case some people are interested, but don’t use FB. The days go by when I leave the house, so if you want the London Pre-cruise info, you can go to my FB page and scroll back. I also post photos and video. Feel free to ask questions, I will answer eventually. Been running a few days behind. 

 

Embarkation Cruise Day 1

 

Day 5 - Sunday 25 August 2019

 

Location - London to Dover to the North Sea
We are going on a Cruise! The Pacific Princess

 

We have turned 6 bags into 8 bags! I pack my LeSport sac duffle in my suitcase along with my day pack. At this point, we are not getting on any trains or buses! It’s a door to door proposition.

 

I scheduled a private transfer from the Marriott to the cruise port of Dover. It was very expensive compared to other transfer options, but it was worth it. I have my stuff! I split it with another couple, but it was still around $250. Crazy, I know. The less expensive transfers are either the Express bus from Victoria Station or the train, maybe from Paddington or St. Pancras. There was no way we were schlepping my stuff. Plus, you have to get to the stations load/unload/load and from the station in Dover you have to unload/load/unload to get to the port. That is a rotator cuff accident waiting to happen. We had a fabulous Mercedes van with leather seats like buttah. The normal drive to Dover is almost 2 hours. Today was a bit crazy. Lots of traffic issues. It was taking so long the driver was kind enough to offer a stop at a great travel stop with bathrooms, McDonalds, Costa coffee, and snacks. We needed that stop. It took almost 3 hours to reach the port.  The train is so much faster. 

 

The White Cliffs of Dover. I was here once before in college where I took the ferry over to Calais, France to get to Paris. That was long before the Eurostar. Dover is primarily a ferry port, but also a cargo/cruise ship port. 

 

Boarding the ship took all of ten minutes. We boarded around 2pm and set sail at 5pm. It is an Hawaiian Tropic Day in the North Sea. The Pacific Princess is the lone small ship in the Princess Fleet. 600 passenger. It sails all specialty cruises, longer cruises. It attracts a certain crowd. A very different experience from normal mass market cruising. Everything is on a very small scale. This is my third time on the Pacific. Technically, my second time, but I cruised this ship in 1999 under the Renaissance name in Tahiti before it was sold to Princess. I cruised it again in Tahiti in 2014.

 

We have the killer aft balcony cabin - 6090. I was offered a mini suite, but turned it down for the aft view. The aft view is my favorite thing about cruising. I will talk more about the cruise, cabin, activities as we go along. 

 

If I have counted correctly, this is my 25th Princess cruise and maybe my 53rd cruise overall. I enjoy the perks of my elite status with Princess - 20 mini bar drinks, internet discount, free laundry, elite happy hour, and priority boarding, tendering, and reservations. The clientele on this ship are heavy hitters and give me status envy. They are seasoned travelers/cruisers. They are old! I mean the oldest guests I have ever seen on a ship. Not a criticism, just an observation. I will be there someday. Not one single solitary child. It’s a parallel universe.

 

One of the fun things about this cruise is we are not cruising alone. We brought friends. You know them from Mexican Melrose Place - Joan and Leonard, our Canadian buddies.  Looking forward to making memories with them.

 

We started our cruise with a sail-a-way drink in the Pacific Lounge on the highest deck - 10 facing forward. Every night the elite guests have a special happy hour with snacks and a special drink list for $6.50. The drinks don’t really interest me, so I opt for wine. 

We had a funny dining room experience. Normally, PC and I opt for the buffet on most nights. Since we are with Joan and Leonard, we will enjoy the dining room. I had reserved a table for 8. Joan and I were seated waiting for the men. I wasn’t getting good vibes on the fun factor at the table. A couple approached the table and asked if there was open seats because they wanted to join their friends. I bolted out of my seat so fast it was hysterical. I told them to take our seats and we would get another table. The Maitre’d seated us at the best table at the window in the back corner. Everybody was happy.

 

I am so over cruise food. I have eaten these same menus on Princess for a long time. The itinerary and minimal sea days are the top criteria for me. This is Joan and Leonard’s first Princess cruise. I really want them to love it.

 

We went to the Welcome Aboard show. The cruise director is Lynn Van Vorce. She spoke to us because somehow she remembered us from our Diamond cruise out of Singapore in 2016. I remembered her, but didn’t expect her to remember us. Kevin Jordan was the featured comedian. Didn’t care for him too much. He told some racial jokes that were not funny. He kept saying there were no black people in the room. That was completely inappropriate.  The Brits didn’t get any of his humor. He referenced UCLA, USC, and Stanford and they don’t have a clue on these things. Princess needs to hire British comedians in this market. I would enjoy it more also.

 

Tomorrow is a much needed day at sea. I am a disorganized mess.

Bon Voyage!

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Cruise Day 2 - At Sea 

 

Day 6 - Monday 26 August 2019

Location - Heading North in the North Sea
Sea Day Formal Night

 

I spent the entire day in the cabin and it was glorious. The balcony is oversized and private. PC delivered a latte to me. I got organized. I got some rest. I got 3 loads of laundry done. I get free laundry, but I don’t want the laundry dept washing anything other than socks and underwear. I am careful with my clothing. 

 

We have adopted a pet pigeon, Sven. He has 3 bands so we are thinking he is a lost racing pigeon. We will see if he comes back after we land in port. 

 

I bought the water package pre cruise. 12 bottles for $8. A good deal. I bought a coffee card pre-cruise. I swapped out my 20 drink mini bar for all Diet Coke. I carried on the 2 bottle max on wine. I bought the unlimited premium internet package at a slightly discounted rate. If you are elite, they offered around 250 minutes. Otherwise, you pay per day for unlimited use. We are set for now!

 

There is one laundry room with 8 washers/dryers. The machines take tokens you must purchase at reception. They are not using the change machines. It’s $3 per load/dry. You can also purchase soap with tokens. I brought my own Tide pods. 

 

We didn’t dress very formal for formal night, but it was fine. I am no fashionista, so less is more. The dining room menu had rack of lamb. I loved it. And French onion soup. 

After dinner we went to the first production show - Stardust. The music of your Grandma. (Depending on your age!). The entertainment is a let down for me on a small ship. I love the big shows in the big theater. Sacrifices must be made. 

 

We ended the evening in the piano bar adjacent to the casino. The piano player is Randy. He had personality, but he was no Ron Pass or Jere Ring. He really got those seniors perked up with Cracklin’ Rosie. PC and I have decided we are so sick of Sweet Caroline!  It was fun. We’ll be back. 

 

It’s an interesting experience with Joan and Leonard. Since they are cruising Princess for the first time, we are kind of revisiting our first cruise. They are doing more around the ship. I like hearing about everything I don’t do. Leonard was super busy today. He went to the port talk, new cruiser meeting, Pub Lunch, Wellness seminar selling orthotics (OMG!), and the champagne waterfall with Captain.  Way to go Leonard. 

 

See you tomorrow in Stavanger, Norway

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Day 3 - Stavanger, Norway

Day 7 - Tuesday 27 August 2019

Location - Stavanger, Norway
Excursion - Lysefjord Cruise

 

Waterfalls start now!  Welcome to Stavanger, the fourth largest city in Norway.  It has successful oil and fishing industries. Four ships in port - Aida, Cunard QE 2, and CMV(?). I  haven’t seen breakfast yet.  PC delivers me a latte and bowl of oatmeal.  I booked the Lysefjord cruise thru Shoreexcursions.com.  Let me illustrate the price differences in booking the same excursion thru different sources:

cruise line - $180/pp
Shoreexcursion.com - $80/pp
Rødne cruise direct - $62/pp

 

When you go directly to the source you save lots of $$.  You will need that money because Norway and Iceland are two of the most expensive countries in the world.  Cokes are $4-5.  

 

In Bergen and Stavanger book with Rødne cruises for the fjord cruises.  Get there early to get in line for a good seat.  It was a short walk from our ship to the Rødne boat.  The Rødne boat was large and seemed over capacity, but not sure.  There were not enough seats outside to accommodate everyone, so many had to stand for the three hour tour.  The Lysefjord would be on any top 10 fjord in the world list.  It is famous for Pulpit Rock.  The big rock people hike to overlooking the fjord.  The rock formations, waterfalls, and water are beautiful.  The Hawaiian tropic weather made the day more spectacular.  Leonard and Joan  booked the excursion thru Expedia.  

 

After the cruise was over at 1pm, we went to the upscale fish restaurant I found on Trip Advisor - Fisketorget.  It was fantastic and fantastically expensive.  The fresh cod and shrimp were delicious.  We have never had such fresh tasting fish before.  $74 later we were stuffed.  Loved it.  We walked around town, a church, market, shops, etc.  The canning museum was closed til Oct. This city was a sardine canning hub.  The petroleum museum is also popular. 

 

Back to the ship around 3pm.  I am still not on a normal sleep schedule yet.  Needed a nap.  The dinner seatings are 5:30pm and 7:30pm.. The shows go at 6:30pm and 8:15pm. PC is loving the early shows before dinner.  We are too tired after dinner.  Tonight’s show was featured singer David Austen from the UK.  He sang a variety of songs, old and new.  He did a Tom Jones medley.  It was good. The small lounge venue makes it hard to appreciate a bigger voice.  The shows are pretty full, so go early for a front seat.

 

Usually I hate sea days. At the moment, I am loving them.  See you at sea tomorrow.

 

 

 

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I did the Lysefjord cruise through the Princess in 2017.

 

We stops for Norwegian waffles along the way.

 

Since you did a private cruise.  Did your boat stop for waffles?

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Yes my family keeps talking about the Norwegian waffles we had on that excursion back in 2015. Do they still do that?  And since Stavanger isn't on the 2021 Norway cruise itineraries (bummer), I'm wondering where we would be able to find them...

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12 minutes ago, rocklinmom said:

Yes my family keeps talking about the Norwegian waffles we had on that excursion back in 2015. Do they still do that?  And since Stavanger isn't on the 2021 Norway cruise itineraries (bummer), I'm wondering where we would be able to find them...

 

Princess has Stavanger on their August 2021 cruise.

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Yes thank you, I saw that on their 7 day one. I'm looking at June (for daughter's high school graduation) and that's only their 14 day one (with no Stavanger). I wish they had the 7 day available in June! 

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Day 4 - At Sea

 

Day 8 - Wednesday 28 August 2019

Location - At Sea
heading East/NE In The North Sea to The North Atlantic to the Norwegian Sea. We are moving two time zones from Norway to Iceland. Two extra hours of sleep!

 

Another lazy day. These Sea days have been a saving grace. We have been really tired. I think the summer caught up to me, and I was exhausted. 

 

PC is doing a great job of delivering coffee in the mornings. However, they are not quite right. The latte’s have too much milk to expresso. I am not sure the milk and cream are “real”. Pretty sure they are are boxed stuff.  We will work on perfecting my coffee.  He is enjoying his espressos.  

 

We made it up and out at 1pm for lunch in The buffette.  It was the Mexican theme lunch. Lots of variety and churros!  We went back to the cabin for more R&R. The weather started off very bad, but the sun is coming out. The rocking and rolling has been an issue. A little motion sick for a few moments. If I get fresh air, it subsides. 

 

We met J&L in the elite lounge for a drink before going to the show. Tonight was the second production show - Do You Wanna Dance. I have seen this show over 20 times. The entertainment is a disappointment. Only 2 singers and 6 dancers. It gets pretty boring by the end. One of my complaints of small ship cruising.  

 

We booked in at Sterling Steakhouse tonight. We had a great table in the back. It is a $29 up charge plus tip. We all had steaks. It was a lovely evening. The steakhouse and Sabatini’s Italian restaurant alternate nights. 2 on/2 off. We shared an anniversary cake. 

 

Goodnight, see you in Iceland!

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Cruise Day 5 - Sedisfjordur

 

Day 9 - Thursday 29 August 2019
Location - Seydisfjordur, Iceland
Excursion - self guided town tour

 

Welcome to Seydisfjordur, Iceland!  If you love Norse mythology and trolls, Iceland is the place for you.  It was cool and cloudy, but no rain.  I will take it! Seydisfjordur is a town of 700 people, but it comes alive in the summer due to ferry service from Denmark and the Faroe Islands.  Waterfalls everywhere.  It has an art scene.  I would die here in the winter - dark, cold, and tons of snow.  Only small cruise ships can get into port here.  

 

I originally booked a ship excursion to a nature reserve. It was cancelled due to lack of interest.  I saved $500 and had a wonderful day checking out the town.  Fascinating in a “how could anyone live here” sort of way. 

 

The first stop on our tour - the grocery store.  I love grocery stores. Great place to shop for more reasonably priced souvenirs.  I bought some postcards and a couple of tiny souvenirs. We followed the map to some sculptures, art galleries, and the Technical Museum.  The How Are You Doing phone booth sculpture built into the side of the mountain was so funny.  

 

We met Joan and Leonard for lunch at the Aldan Hotel.  It was a cute hotel with a Nordic restaurant.  We had a Nordic feast - Cod, Icelandic lamb, and desserts.  A wonderful anniversary lunch.  

 

After lunch we did some more exploring/shopping.  I can’t even imagine life in this town.  I was having a panic attack thinking about no McDonalds, no Starbucks, and no Target.  

 

Back on the ship, we rested a bit before going to the Casino bar to listen to the Cruisetones.  A guitarist and piano player.  The guitar player sings James Taylor, Bob Dylan, and other guitar friendly music.  A woman listening to him called him sexist, chauvinist, and misogynistic for not playing any songs by females like Celine Dion.  I could not believe it.  That is not his genre.  She needed to be slapped.  It was crazy.

 

We moved to the elite lounge and listened to the Princess orchestra before playing 50’s/60’s music trivia.  That is an older generation and we didn’t do very well. 

 

Our first night in my beloved buffette.  It’s a much smaller scale than the large ships, but basically the same items. 

 

Goodnight from the Arctic Circle.  Happy Anniversary PC, you have made every dream come true.

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