Sunday, December 26, 2010

Emerald Princess Cruise, December 2010, The Photos


Emerald Princess in St. Lucia

PHOTOS FROM THE CRUISE:

Two Tails Ranch, Enroute to Fort Lauderdale and the cruise, Saturday, November 27, 2010

Port Everglades, Embarkation Day, Sunday, November 28

St. Kitts, Day 3, Wednesday, December 1

Barbados, Day 4, Thursday, December 2

St. Lucia, Day 5, Friday, December 3

Antigua, Day 6, Saturday, December 4

St. Thomas, USVI, Day 7, Sunday, December 5

A Visit to the Bridge, Day 8, Monday, December 6

Sunset at sea, heading for The Bahamas, Day 8, Monday, December 6

Emerald Princess Atrium, Day 9, Tuesday, December 7

Emerald Princess Cruise, December 2010, Distances Sailed

Distances Sailed
Fort Lauderdale to St. Kitts
1122 nautical miles = 1290 statute miles = 2078 kilometers

St. Kitts to Barbados
317 nautical miles = 365 statute miles =587 kilometers

Barbados to St. lucia
132 nautical miles = 152 statute miles = 244 kilometers

St. Lucia to Antigua
214 nautical miles = 246 statute miles = 396 kilometers

Antigua to St. Thomas
196 nautical miles = 225 statute miles = 363 kilometers

St. Thomas to Princess Cays
740 nautical miles = 851 statute miles = 1370 kilometers

Princess Cays to Fort Luaderdale
273 nautical miles = 314 statute miles = 506 kilometers

Total distance
2994 nautical miles = 3443 statute miles = 5545 kilometers

NOTE: 1 nautical mile = 1.15 land miles = 1.85 kilometers

Friday, December 10, 2010

Emerald Princess Cruise, December 2010, Day 10

Disembarkation

We arrived at Fort Lauderdale's Port Everglades just before dawn and it was cold. In the low 50s, possibly high 40s. We had an early breakfast in the Da Vinci dining room and went to Club Fusion to wait for our disembarkation group to be called. Our luggage tag color was Brown 3 and we were told we'd be off the ship by 8:30. The first two groups were called on time then nothing -- for more than 30 minutes.

We were finally called almost 40 minutes late. From then on there were no problems. We found our bags and a porter. He got us past customs fast. He simply cut into the head of the line of people waiting at passport control. He saved us at least ten or fifteen minutes and I tipped him well. When we got to the sidewalk the van to the parking lot was waiting and we were in our car ten minutes later.

We headed north up Florida's Turnpike until we joined I-75. As soon as we got to Ocala we went cross country and avoided the worst parts of I-75 and I-10. We drove nearly 400 miles to Perry and the Holiday Inn Express there. Wow, it was cold in Perry. The smoke alarm at the hotel kept going off (very loud) and we were unhappy. Lucky for us, and for them, the final false alarm was at 9:30 P.M. and not again after. So we slept well.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Emerald Princess Cruise, December 2010, The drive home

Thursday, Perry to Pensacola

After a terrible Holiday Inn Express breakfast, worse than any Hampton Inn breakfast and that's hard to believe, we packed the car and were on our way. It was very cold in Perry, at the hotel they said it was 26 degrees. We froze getting the car packed up.

We were on our way by 10:30 and thanks to the hour we gained going back to Central time we were home by 3:00. It was cold in the house but nothing appeared to be damaged by the low temperatures. Then we picked up the cats. and came back to a warm house.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Emerald Princess Cruise, December 2010, Day 9

Tuesday, Princess Cays

Chilly weather and a gray sky as we head north. The air was too cold and the sea too rough for us to want to take the tenders over to Princess Cays. The choppy sea and the cool weather kept a lot of people on board the ship; it was not a beach day.


Atrium, Starboard Staircase

I took some pictures of the atrium today. Princess people have started putting up some holiday decorations. Christmas trees, wreaths and greenery have been appearing gradually all over the ship for the past couple of days.

We had a quiet day. Started packing and had some of the bags ready to go into the hallway before dinner and the rest right after. Spent some time on the computer. We need to use up our minutes. Breakfast in the Horizon Grill, lunch at the Trident by the pool and dinner in Michaelangelo.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Emerald Princess Cruise, December 2010, Day 8

Monday, at sea

Today's weather was clear and sunny and the sea was flat. We had breakfast in the Da Vinci dining room and headed off for the bridge. There was a large group seeing the bridge today, more than 20. This was our fifth visit to a Princess ship's bridge and sometime it's just us and another person or two.

We met Captain Giorgio Pomata and his crew. Today's tour guide was Staff Captain Andrea Spinardi, he's the second in command. On the Emerald Princess the navigation is now completely electronic and no paper charts are maintained at all. Last year on the Island Princess we noticed that paper back up charts are still kept -- just in case...



The bridge has a sweeping view of the sea ahead and also of the crew pool.

The crew pool at the very front of the ship.

We had an informal lunch at the International Cafe, great for people watching. As it's formal night tonight, we decided for dinner to make another visit to the Crown Grill Steak House where the food is wonderful and our lack of dress-up clothes wouldn't be noticed.


Sundown, at sea, heading to Princess Cays in the Bahamas


Weather report from home...
We have been monitoring the Pensacola weather for the past few days. It is very cold there and all over the southeast. The evening temperatures have been going below freezing and the daytime highs are only in the 50s. It was so warm when we left we considered leaving the air conditioning on. We ended up shutting the heat and cooling off. So it's going to be a chilly house when we get back. We can only hope the outdoor plumbing won't freeze and crack.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Emerald Princess Cruise, December 2010, Day 7

Sunday, St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands


Crown Bay Cruise Ship Port, St. Thomas (click image to enlarge)

For the first time in many cruise visits to St. Thomas our ship tied up at the new Crown Bay Dock. In the past we were always at Havensight, the West Indian Company Dock on the other side of Charlotte Amalie, capital city of the U.S. Virgin Islands. This is the most popular cruise port in the Caribbean. Often there are lots of cruise ships docked in St. Thomas at the same time.

With the new super-sized ships, like Royal Caribbean' Allure of the Seas and Oasis of the Seas, this can mean close to 20,000 sightseers on shore at the same time. So an additional port was built. It opened in 2006.


SeaDream I (click image to enlarge)

When we docked there was a small cruise ship across from us, the SeaDream I, soon joined by the identical SeaDream II. They are the entire fleet of a luxury cruise line -- SeaDrean Yacht Club.

Breakfast was in the Horizon Grill buffet, lunch was burgers by the pool and dinner was in yhe Michaelangelo Dining Room. We had a wonderful assistant waiter, Maryia from Ukraine. She is charming and very professional.

Today's mail had an invitation from Captain Giorgio Pomata to visit the bridge tomorrow morning for a tour.

Before we left Pensacola we finished writing and addressing (and stamping) our Christmas cards. We brought them with us and mailed them in St. Thomas. Officially the U.S. Virgin Islands is "an organized, unincorporated United States territory." So our U.S. postage stamps work there as do our cell phones.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Emerald Princess Cruise, December 2010, Day 6

Saturday, Antigua

Welcome to Antigua

Mild weather, a gently rolling sea, clear skies, lots of stars last night and we saw a shooting star. We have now traveled 1800 nautical miles.

Fishing boat harbor
Along the shore

P & O's Oceana
Emerald Princess is tied up beside P & O's Oceana

Breakfast was at the buffet in the Horizon Grill. And then we were off on the Antigua Scenic Drive Tour. It was the shortest one we could find. We don't like long tours in cramped vans. Despite the title, the tour wasn't really scenic. Mostly it showed us the coastal residential and commercial areas and that was very interesting. The island seems quite prosperous and there's a noticeable middle class. It was nice to see that almost none of the homes had locked gates or windows with security bars.

At the end of the tour it seemed the driver was dropping us off at the far side of the shopping village. But after we got off the van we looked up and saw the two ships parked nearby.


Marketplace on Saturday with Emerald Princess and Oceana


Tropical Gardens on our tour of Antigua


Leaving Antigua after sundown (click image to enlarge)

Friday, December 03, 2010

Emerald Princess Cruise, December 2010, Day 5

Friday, St. Lucia

Welcome to St. LuciaThe brief trip from Barbados to St. Lucia was smooth and only 133 nautical miles. The weather was sunny and hot with great visibility. The views from our ship were wonderful, especially from the upper decks. Other ships in port today were Fred.Olsen Cruise Lines' Braemar and Holland America's Prinsendam.

Castries Harbour, St. Lucia
Castries Harbour, St. Lucia (click on image to enlarge)

St. Lucia scenery
There are postcard views wherever you look on St. Lucia

Shopping village, St. Lucia
The Emerald Princess looming above the shopping village on St. Lucia

Baron Foods Mango ChutneyWe walked into the village of shops at the end of the dock and, instead of diamonds, we bought some mango chutney and hot sauces made on St. Lucia by Baron Foods Limited. It was unusual to see such a good assortment of locally-made foods available in a tourist market.

We had breakfast in the International Cafe in the atrium. Lunch was from room service.

Sabatini's logo In the evening we had a lavish Italian dinner at Sabatini's. The latter offers a tasting menu of at least a dozen appetizers and hors d'oeuvres (small servings) followed three different pasta dishes, then an entrรฉe and a dessert sampler. It takes a while to complete the meal and then you waddle back to your cabin to sleep it off.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Emerald Princess Cruise, December 2010, Day 4

Thursday, Barbados

Bridgetown Harbour, starboard side viewVery pleasant weather today with a nice breeze. Best to stay out of too much direct sun however, Barbados is the most southerly island on this cruise -- 13 degrees north of the equator.

The port in Bridgetown where we are parked is mostly industrial with container shipping facilities and sugar processing plants.

Bridgetown Harbour, port side viewWe never left the ship today. From what we can see it seems to be a dull little island although it is very popular with the Brits. Lots of direct flights from all the London airports.

I have read about great beaches for snorkeling and lots of tourist attractions but we loved having the ship to ourselves all day. Room service breakfast. Lunch at the Trident Grill for burgers and pizza by the pool. Dinner in the Michaelangelo Dining Room.

So far we have sailed 1,454 nautical miles. Later on I will post all the distances we've sailed from point to point.

Emerald Princess was the only cruise ship in port today.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Emerald Princess Cruise, December 2010, Day 3

Wednesday, St. Kitts and Nevis

The weather is clear, hot and windy. The sea is calm.

Welcome to St. Kitts

In St. Kitts we docked at Port Zante in the city of Basseterre. The sun is very strong here, Basseterre is just 17 degrees north of the Equator. If you are sitting in the shade the temperature is warm and tropical; in the sun it is very hot.

Soon after we arrived we saw another ship pulling in to the other side of our dock. It was the Grand Princess and looked almost identical to the Emerald Princess. The major difference is that our ship has an extra deck of cabins, the Riviera Deck 14. It was fun to watch a big ship coming in to port and even better it was backing in -- very slowly. So the ships docked nose to tail.

We walked into the village of shops at the end of the dock where there were dozens of small stores all selling the same upscale, tourist items, mostly diamonds. We didn't buy any diamonds.


Port Zante, St. Kitts (Click on image to enlarge.)
The ship is docked in a beautiful location and a good one for me to practice shooting some of my panoramic photos. Above is one I took from Deck 18. Our ship is on the extreme right. The ship in the foreground and also a little right of center is the Grand Princess.

Tonight our dinner was the Chef's Table. As always the food and wines were fabulous. And the backstage tour of the kitchen was a wonder. Usually the Chef's Table is directed by the ship's executive chef but tonight Princess Cruises' Master Chef Alfredo Marci was visiting the Emerald Princess and was in charge of our feast -- every detail.

Chef's Table menu
Chef's Table Menu (click the image once, then with the cursor over the text, click again -- this should make the text readable)