Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Day 2, Island Princess Cruise
December 2009

At sea

This is our first full day on the Island Princess and we are at sea heading for Aruba.

Island Princess atrium at Christmas
Here's another panoramic view of the atrium.

The ship is familiar -- it's identical to the Coral Princess. We sailed on the Coral Princess in April 2007 when we made our first visit to Panama. Both ships were launched in 2003. They are medium-large ships, the capacity of each is 1,970 passengers and 900 crew. The last ship we were on, the Emerald Princess, carries up to 3,100 passengers with 1,200 crew. We like the size of the Island Princess a lot -- it's big enough to have lots of features but you don't get lost on it.

For more information about the Island Princess you can read the ship's review on CruiseCritic.com.

Our Captain is Nicolo Bommarco. We have sailed with him before. He was Captain on the Grand Princess in December 2007 when we cruised the western Caribbean. Another familiar face on this cruise is Maitre d' Mario Propato, also our Maitre d' in December 2006 when we sailed out of New Orleans on the Golden Princess heading, again, for the western Caribbean.

It's Formal Night tonight. We 'forgot' to bring dress-up clothes. Hey, this is a vacation, not a business meeting. If you don't dress for dinner on the two formal nights there are plenty of places on the ship to eat. The formality is mostly at the two fancy dining rooms, the Provence and the Bordeaux. Tonight we had room service on our balcony.

Breakfast was in the Bordeaux Dining Room. There's waiter service and a very peaceful atmosphere. Lunch was in the Horizon Court Buffet. Each sea day there's a theme at the Horizon Court. Today's was sushi, beautifully made and beautifully displayed. And all you can eat. There was 'regular' buffet food as well. And all this got us through until tea in the Bordeaux Dining Room at 4:00. I never made it to the pizzeria.

First time ever on a cruise I visited the medical center. I needed to get a test to see how the blood thinner was working. Somehow I always thought that going to the ship's doctor would be complicated and involve crowds of people and long waits. Wrong. It was simple and quick. And the doctor, a young woman from South Africa -- all the medical staff are U.K. certified -- was a tall beautiful blonde with a charming personality. The medical center was state-of-the-art. And expensive, but I'm told my health insurance will cover it. We'll see.

We signed up for Internet access, both in the Internet Cafe and in the room using the laptop. We have cruised on Princess enough times now so we each get 250 minutes of Internet time free. It's a lot better than a few years ago when $50 got you 100 minutes.

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