We Have Arrived!

As it usually the case when we are traveling, I had a hard time sleeping last night.  After all, we had to be on the road to the airport by 4:20 or so.  I know I get up early, but I’m not functioning fully this early!  Well this wasn’t a problem.  I woke up at 3:00 am!!  I checked facebook, said happy birthday to Magic Kingdom, did the dishes and got myself ready to go.  We arrived at the airport with plenty of time.  The security line was the worst I have seen it, but luckily, we were flying business class so that line was very short.  In no time we were through security and in the Recombobulation area (yes, in Milwaukee they actually have signs that say “Recombobulation Area”).

It was cloudy when we reached New York City so I wasn’t sure which way we were coming in to LaGuardia, but then after coming through the clouds, I saw the shore which I correctly assumed was New Jersey.  We were going to fly right by our ship, the Statute of Liberty and Manhattan.  What an amazing site!  For those who have seen New York many times, you probably think I’m crazy, but this was my first time here.

Once we landed, things went very smooth and we were at the port in less than an hour.  Getting to the port wasn’t all that nice, but the port itself was a comfortable building.  Check in was fairly seamless, but there were a few issues.  The agent who checked us in forgot to give us a map of the decks, including our room number and telling us where the Elite Captain’s Club members should go.  We went to the general boarding area and had a seat.  They were calling everyone’s numbers and we only had about 10 numbers to wait through.  I noticed someone had a map so I went back to get one for us.  This was when an agent noticed my key card and asked why we were sitting in the general area.  I had missed the sign for the priority boarding area.  She got us the maps and then directed us where to go.  We were able to walk right on the ship.

Here is where a few problems started.  Rooms were ready when we got onboard.  Due to the high tide, they were only using one gangway so it took a little longer to get onboard.  We took the elevator up to deck 12 and tried to find our room.  We had turned around a couple times so we were a little directionally challenged when we reached the floor.  A crew member told us which side we were on so we went over there.  The problem was, we thought our room was A377, but there wasn’t a room A377.  We got to the change between the 300s and 400s and were debating where to go.  We were just about to check room A337, but a crew member came to help.  Had we looked at room A337, we wouldn’t have looked so foolish!  On Princess Cruises, our names are listed on a card outside of our room!!

The room was interesting.  There was a walk in closet to the side with the bathroom attached to that area.  The bathroom seems roomy enough, but the shower is smaller with a curtain rather than an enclosure.  The room had lots of mirrors so it appears much larger.  The balcony was a nice size.  The only thing I didn’t really like was that there is a desk but only one sitting chair.  Makes things a little crowded by the door, but decent sized compared to most other cruise lines.  We did not get the mini suite.

Princess has a scavenger hunt on the first day onboard. This was somewhat a waste of time, except to those who won, of course!  You had to go to a number of locations on the ship and get your card stamped.  Most you just walked up to and they stamped the card.  In the spa though, we needed to take a tour.  The spa and salon were comfortable, but each station had a different spa team member trying to sell you a treatment.  We were impressed for the most part with the Thermal Suite, which is similar to the Rainforest room on the Disney ships.  The sauna and steam rooms were nicer than the ones on the Magic and Wonder and the room’s feel was similar, but the benches were more like the ones on the Dream which we feel has no heat.  Access to this area was sold on a cruise long pass basis only for $75 per person.  Not worth it for us this trip as we are in port five days.  The fitness center on the ship is very extensive but we’ll see if we actually get there.

We still needed to make our dining reservations and see if we could get in to the Chef’s Table.  Unfortunately, it was full so we had to go on a waitlist.  This was disappointing.  We did however get on the Ultimate Ship Tour and got our reservations for Sabatinis and Crown Grill.  Later I called about our Ultimate Balcony Dining and we were a little disappointed.  Apparently there was no record that we paid for this already so they need to check with shore side on this.  It could take up to two days to get a response!  So that means Ultimate Balcony Dining for tomorrow isn’t happening.  How this should have been handled in my opinion was that they should have still continued to have our dinner, with the understanding if the payment couldn’t be verified that it would be charged to us.  Instead, we have to change all our plans around to fit the unknown time we will get this meal.

We explored the ship a bit more.  It is a big ship so this is going to take a bit of time.  We stopped in Crooner’s Bar.  This is basically the martini bar on the ship so we had to have one!  We’ll definitely be back.  I gave the bartender my recipe for a Whippletini!  Now it was time for the muster drill.  We needed to go back to our room and get our lifejackets.  The muster station for us is in the casino so we went to have a seat there.  We didn’t need to be wearing our lifejackets, but did have to bring them with.  During the presentation, we were all surprised that they told us the proper way to jump off a ship if necessary.  This was the first time many of us had heard this.  Afterward, we needed to put on our lifejackets and then we were dismissed.  It helped to put it on quickly as we were able to get an elevator right away!

We grabbed the cameras and our scavenger hunt cards and went up to the Lido deck for sailaway.  First though we had to detour to the front of the ship.  There is a door at the front of the Lido deck, through the passenger room corridors, that will take you to a observation deck over the top of the bridge.  This was a great place to check out and take pictures of the Statute of Liberty and ourselves as we prepared to sail off from New York City.  Once we started moving we went to the Neptune Pool for the giveaways.  We stayed there until the drawings were done and then went up to Skywalker’s.  This was where the Elite, Suite and Platinum guests would have tasty tidbits and cocktails each day.  The cocktails were not free, but they had a special drink each day which was a reduced price ($3.99).

This was a really neat room.  It is on the top of the ship in what we like to call the “spoiler” of the ship.  There is a moving sidewalk taking you up to the club.  There are windows on all around and the view is great!  We sat here and watched us clear the bridge on the way out of the harbor.

We decided to check out the menu for dinner to decide where to eat.  We went down to the dining room and felt we could find enough to eat that we decided to eat there.  It was early and there wasn’t a wait to get in (we were doing the Anytime Dining).  As long as we wanted to be seated with others, we were able to get in right away. Those who wanted to dine alone had a short wait.

We were seating with six other ladies, two sisters and four friends who were traveling together.  We had very pleasant conversations and enjoyed their company very much.  We placed our orders which sounded great.  The appetizer was a lobster and salmon pate and it was very good.  The mushroom soup was good, but not great.  It didn’t have much depth in flavors, but was ok.  We both ordered the filet medallions for our main course which was one of the alternative choices for every night.  We were disappointed with the taste of the meat.  It was not grilled at all.  More like it was steamed. It wasn’t tough or anything, just not tasty.  For dessert I had honeydew sorbet which was really good.  We enjoyed dining because of the company but weren’t overly impressed with the food.

It was going to be an early night because we didn’t get a lot of sleep the night before.  We had preordered an eggcrate mattress topper which made the bed very comfortable.  Tomorrow we will be in Newport, Rhode Island.  Can’t wait!!

 

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