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Live: Geoherb's Solo Cruise on the Caribbean Princess, Dec. 10-20, 2019 (Partial Panama Canal)

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I'm aboard the beautiful Caribbean Princess, about to embark on my second solo cruise vacation. I went solo on back-to-back Alaskan cruises this summer on the Island Princess.


I booked this cruise doing the partial Panama Canal back in late October. Princess had an irresistible deal with just $150 single supplement and free airfare. I took the chance and flew to Fort Lauderdale this morning. That meant getting up a little after 3 a.m. and leaving for the airport at 4 a.m. I was on a Delta flight from North Carolina to Atlanta and then to Fort Lauderdale. Everything was on schedule. I was prepared to make contingency arrangements if my flights were delayed. I experienced a flight delay and having to be rerouted before my Alaskan cruises this summer. Booking the air through Princess made me feel better about taking the risk for this cruise.


My cabin is an inside on the Baja Deck. I booked a Cat. IF guarantee and received a Cat. IB. That cabin was a quad, so I asked my travel agent to move me to this cabin. We had one of the quad cabins on the Crown Princess this fall, and the upper berths got in the way.


The cabin is the regular layout for an inside cabin: tiny bathroom, spacious closet area, and the sleeping area with two beds, two night stands, desk, and mini fridge. The television is the on-demand system. I'm looking forward to watching a few of movies this week.


I upgraded to the unlimited internet from the 250 minutes I receive for being a past passenger. We did the same thing on our Crown transatlantic cruise this fall because the internet speed was so slow. I'm hoping it works much better on this cruise. The "navigator" at one of the Medallion stations promised that it was great. She said she's able to stream her TV shows without a problem.




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Checking in was a breeze this morning. My flight landed a little before 10. I was at the port around 10:15 and through security and the check-in process in less than 10 minutes. They had separate lounges set up for Platinum and Elite passengers. They did not have refreshments in the lounge for the Platinum passengers, but the woman checking in the family ahead of me said they could have some but would have to wait in the Platinum area. They started boarding at 10:55. They announced that the cabins would not be ready, but one of the guides said I could drop off my backpack. 


My minibar setup was ready when I got to my cabin. I wandered around the ship a bit to reacclimate myself to the layout. Our last cruise on the CB was in August 2017, and I've sailed on the Royal, Regal, Island, and Crown since then. I ate lunch in the Coral Dining Room. They sat me at a large table that had four ladies traveling together and another couple traveling with a friend. They had the menu I like:




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I had an appetizer portion of the ravioli, the salmon, and a fruit plate for dessert. One of the ladies compared the salmon to being as good as the Capital Grill. It was very good, but not that good.


My cabin steward brought me several things, including the schedule for the Elite, Suite, and Platinum evening cocktail. They'll be the regular offerings during this cruise: guacamole with tortilla chips, stilton, smoked salmon, steak tartare, marinated goat's cheese, sushi, salsa with chips, and shrimp fountain. The bag of Elite bathroom amenities had the sisal mitt, conditioner, shampoo, body wash, shower cap, linen spray, emery board, lip balm, linen mist, and cotton swabs and cotton balls. He also brought a notice to expect 48 hours for laundry. 


All of my onboard credits showed up correctly. We're getting a whopping $5.65 in credit for port fees. 


Here are the pages from today's Patter. It lists the ship's officers, the itinerary, and some of the entertainment highlights of the cruise.







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Thanks. We took the excursion to the mud volcano when we sailed on a partial Panama Canal cruise in 2011 on the Island Princess. It's not offered on this cruise. I signed up to take a short walking tour of the old city there. I knew I did not want to wander around on my own. The times of our visit have been shortened slightly. Originally, I signed up for an afternoon excursion there, but my ticket is for the morning one--and that is the only time offered for that excursion now. 



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Muster drill went fairly smoothly. My muster station is E--the Wheelhouse and Sabatini's. Get there early if you want to sit through it. I was amongst those who were standing down the hallway in the photo gallery. At least it made for an easy exit to the aft stairs. Time for sailaway. 

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Sailaway was delayed a bit. The ship finally sailed at 4:30. DH had hoped to watch on the Port Everglades webcam, but he had to leave work then. There were a few showers in the area, but not enough to rain out the party by the pool. I met the CD: DuVaul. He led the line dancing (not that I participated in that). 


I went to the Elite, Suite, and Platinum event in Skywalkers. It was a beautiful view from there as we sailed away from Fort Lauderdale. There was a guy checking medallions at the top of the ramp. He turned away a group of people ahead of me. Actually the food at the buffet looked better than what they served tonight: guacamole and chips. They had the selection of cheeses, veggies, and other nibbles. My favorite menu item will be the night they serve sushi there on the 15th.




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Thanks. The girl who hosted one of the get-togethers tonight from the cruise director's staff talked about Broadway Ballroom being fantastic. She said it is a new show that's only on the CB and not the show that goes by the same name on other ships. Nice that they served champagne at the get-togethers as well. The rest of the cruise will be unhosted, though.

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9 hours ago, bmench said:

movies being played please, have a nice cruise


The two that caught my eye from an email Princess sent a couple of weeks ago are Yesterday and Judy. They'll show up on demand on the TVs the day after playing at MUTS. Today's movies are Avengers: End Game, Dumbo, and The Upside.


Here are the activity pages for today:





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7 hours ago, CPASam said:

Enjoying the commentary!   Canes up 3-1 halfway through the 2nd period vs. Edmonton! 


The medallion "navigator" was right about being able to stream video. It was great to be able to watch last night's hockey game on my computer. The Hurricanes are on a Western Conference road trip, so the games are starting later for the most part (except for Saturday's game at 4 p.m. EST). One of the reasons I booked this cruise is that we had two weeks in which the team was away, so I'm not going to miss any home games. The Canes went on to win 6-3. Go Canes!


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Last night's dinner was nice. I had the melon trio, butterflied shrimp, leek tarts, and flourless chocolate cake. They had a display of the flourless chocolate cake at the buffet last night as well. I was tempted to take a few slices to save for later in the cruise but resisted the temptation. I'll have enough temptations. My favorite course was the butterflied shrimp. 


I had second seating dining at a table for eight. Three of my tablemates were a Hispanic couple and friend from Oregon. They said they're staying in a suite together. I'm not sure why they did not opt for Club Class dining, but perhaps they will. They spoke in Spanish amongst themselves but in English to the rest of us. I could pick up a few Spanish words and phrases. Then there were a couple of ladies from Ontario and a couple from Ontario. The two did not know each other beforehand. Our server was a nice and efficient woman from the Philippines. We were in the left-hand corner of the dining room. Everyone was pleasant, but I decided about halfway through dinner to switch over to anytime dining. At the end of the meal, I went to request the change and noticed the Hispanic single guy was doing the same thing. I guess the Canadians may get four new tablemates tonight or else end up just the four of them at a table for eight.


Here are the menus and a photo of the flourless chocolate cake slices in the buffet.







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Last night's featured entertainer was Tom Franek, the 2018 Princess entertainer of the year. He is a comedian/pianist/singer/contortionist. The show was advertised as one night only. I'm betting he gets off the ship in Grand Turk on Thursday to catch another one. He was entertaining, and I managed to stay awake. I did not have trouble finding a seat in the theater for the second show after dinner about 10 minutes before it started. But the theater eventually filled up, and there were people standing along the sides and at the back (in spite of there being a few empty seats down front).

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Enjoying your review!


When can you meet with the maitre'd about table assignments?  I didn't see it on the Patter.


Also - just a vent - but why do they insist on having the spa raffle at basically the same time as early seating in the MDR?!  Maybe there is a 15 minute difference but it always runs long and then we are late for dinner.   

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5 hours ago, phabric said:

I am following along on your cruise.


Your photo of the menus and Patterns are so clear that I am able to read them without enlarging them.  How are you able to that?


I am just taking the photos with my cell phone, a Samsung Galaxy S10. This fall I decided it took good enough photos to leave my Nikon camera at home. But I brought the Nikon on this trip to hopefully get some closeup photos of wildlife on my Costa Rican excursion.



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5 hours ago, metairiegal said:

When can you meet with the maitre'd about table assignments?  I didn't see it on the Patter.


Also - just a vent - but why do they insist on having the spa raffle at basically the same time as early seating in the MDR?!  Maybe there is a 15 minute difference but it always runs long and then we are late for dinner.   


I don't see it listed in the Patter either. I spoke to one of the head waiters after dinner last night, while the Hispanic single man was speaking to a different one. They were taking the requests. I haven't heard back, but I'm planning on showing up at anytime dining tonight regardless. 


I missed the spa raffle last night. We have won a couple of prizes at those on Holland America but never on a Princess ship. Who knows why they schedule things when they do. I managed to make the three activities I wanted to do this morning: trivia, Cruise Critic gathering, and paper airplane contest. I invited a couple from Pennsylvania to join me for trivia. They walked in after the first couple of questions. The husband provided one answer, and we ended up winning with 19 out of 20 right. The prize was a metal water bottle. (He went on to win another water bottle at the airplane toss. My plane just barely missed the hoop by six inches or so.)


Our Cruise Critic gathering was nice. Thanks to Becky for making the arrangements. We had five officers show up, but I did not get their titles for sure. I'm thinking food and beverage director, associate hotel general manager, and hotel general manager were three of them.


Lunch for me is always in the dining room on sea days. Here are the menu pages. I had the hot and sour soup, the mushroom and spinach fettuccini, and vegetarian burrito. One woman at my table had ordered a special vegan burger last night. Someone they lost her order. She wanted it to be low sodium as well as vegan, so the ones on the regular menu would not do. When it finally came, it looked awful. And she said it did not taste very good. (Her husband had the half Philly cheesesteak sandwich with soup and salad. He's definitely not a vegan.)


Another interesting thing I observed was the display of salads at the International Café. They're preportioned in glass tumblers. That must speed things up for the servers. They did not have the chocolate Bretons this morning that I fell in love with on the Crown in October. Perhaps they're specific to the European itineraries. I'll keep checking. The server I asked did not recognize the name.






Edited by geoherb
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