Sunday, April 30, 2006

May 2006, Caribbean Princess Cruise -- Day 2

Sunday, at sea

We got up early and had our coffee on our balcony. We had planned to sleep late but all that fresh sea air wakes you up. It's sunny and calm and you can't see any land at all. A blip on the far horizon turned out to be a huge barge pulled by a tug. The Caribbean Princess is moving right along. The TV channel from the bridge says we are doing 18 knots.

We brought our own coffee and a little coffeemaker -- and mugs and filters. We love New Orleans blend coffee and chicory, roasted dark. Before the cruise we had read that the coffee on board was not good at all, unless you wanted to buy gourmet coffee at the Patisserie down on Plaza Deck 5. In our opinion the rumors were not true at all. The coffee served in the dining rooms was fine as was that on tap to serve yourself in the buffets.

It was wonderful to have coffee in the room or on the balcony as soon as we got up and not have to wait for room service or a trip way upstairs to the Horizon Court buffet.

Fearing that two whole days at sea might turn out to be a little boring we looked for things to do while we read the morning's Princess Patter and had our coffee. There were a lot of shipboard events to choose from.

First of all there was the guided tour of the ship at 9:45 A.M. starting high up at the back of the ship at Skywalkers Nightclub on Sky Deck 19. We would have to miss the 10:00 A.M., non-denominational church service in Explorer's Lounge on Lido Deck 7. The collection plate money is donated "to Seaman's Charities world wide."

Later we could miss the daily bingo games, art auctions and pool-side talent shows but being avid fans of the website Cruise Critic we considered going to their "Meet & Greet," 10:30 in Crooner's Bar on the Lido Deck. I had read that often the CC members dress up for these meeting and wear nautical attire -- lots of pirates. All you need is an eye patch, arrgh.

Of course aside from going to breakfast and lunch and dinner, we totally forgot to go to any of these social events. We did have a fine time reading on our balcony, walking around, dipping in the pools and having drinks in wonderful outdoor lounges. Having nothing to do was a treat.

The Captain's Welcome Cocktail Party is tonight and, no coinsidence, the evening's dress code is Formal. And Thursday night, too. Before we left we decided not to do Formal Night, but we didn't want to spoil things for those who want to dress up so we ate in the buffet. Or we could have done room service. In the hallways we noticed a number of men wearing dark suits or sports coats but nobody was wearing a tux. As whipped as these guys were, I guess wearing a tux would have been going overboard, so to speak.

Apparently the dining room maitres d' let you in however you are dressed. The offical word is, "Shorts and T-Shirts are NOT permitted in the Dining Rooms. No Short Sleeves allowed on Formal Night." Certainly the short sleeves warning is for the gentlemen only. We did see many men wearing long-sleeved dark, open collared shirts alongside their much more formally dressed women. What is the world coming to?

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