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Carribbean Princess - Panama Canal

Started by Phil, April 24, 2022, 07:47:51 PM

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Phil

So I am off in a couple of days.

I booked this cruise as a single about 6 weeks ago. Princess gave me a price I could not refuse, in fact it was not available to others.
The offer was to try and get me to come back and try Princess after 18 years.

So far Princess has failed on many aspects from lack of information because I am in Canada. The next was 6/7 flight changes and Princess not willing to change them back to times near the original times. I now get over a 5 hour layover in Toronto.

Phil

Manuela

Cruise lines seem to be understaffed right now. I've been reading a lot of "poor" reviews. Let's hope that things start to improve.
Have as good a time as you can.

Manuela

Caribbean Princess and Radiance of the Seas in San Francisco.

Manuela

Bon Voyage!

Manuela


Phil

I thank you for those departure photos. I will try and post photos later.

The start of this cruise was not what I was expecting.

I did Princess EZ Air and it was all but "easy". I have to say that there were 6 schedule changes to the flights home and I have not left yet. Princess was of no help to me to try and fix things to a more reasonable layover in Toronto but they wanted to charge me $662 to do it. While on the Air Canada site they wanted $632 for the entire flights. I am just changing a leg not the whole thing. If I were to buy the leg I wanted I would pay $133, so how do they come up with these prices.
Air Canada could not help me as it had been booked through Princess. They did say Princess can change the flights at no cost to you as per the contract.
Sorry Princess you get a BIG FAIL on this one.

Was met at San Francisco airport and not a long wait to catch the bus to the ship.

I am not sure why we have this Medallion device when one still has to go and see an agent to check-in. All the same questions I had when I checked in on the device.
Several tries later and the help of the Cabin Steward I was in.

Trying to visit a bar for a drink was another mountain that the device didn't ascend to the top of. It took the Bar Attendant several times back to get the order to stick.
Later that night in the Elite Lounge the staff went back to pencil and paper and cabin numbers.

We were told last night by the Captain that we have 1050 passengers on board and the ship holds 3100. We are to wear masks inside and most passengers do.
This brings me to the point that if this Medallion Device has problems with this few people then what if this ship was full?

I have to say the first nights dinner Menu was likely the worst menu I have ever seen. I ended up in the Market Place (buffet) for a much better meal.

Eating in the Market Place you just get your food which is plated for you by staff and go sit down. A Steward comes by and gets your drinks.

Once we left the confines of San Francisco Bay under the Golden Gate Bridge it got rough and I mean rough. Sitting in a chair beside the window you would see the horizon then nothing but water then nothing but sky. This is still repeating itself today.
I heard draws open and close all night long.

I went to a lecture today on Cruising Through the Solar System.

So more later I hope on this slow internet.

Phil

Manuela

Shucks, that's not a great start to a cruise. Hope things improve.

Phil

We are sailing in covid times and things are not the same but in some ways better.

We have fewer onboard so they have not opened Planks and Steamers Seafood for this voyage.
They finally filled the second pool today.d
The World MarketPlace (Buffet) has just a few choices with only one side open for Lunch/Dinner. They have put things like potato salad into small flower pots. Things like fruit are in small dishes.
If you would like a sauce with your meal a server pours it for you.
Sit at your table and a waiter will come by for your drink order. The weird part with this is they don't want you to pour your own glass of water but feel free to fill a water bottle.

Ate in the Coral Dining Room last night and the main Course was Lamb Shank or Cioppino Soup. I went with Cioppino and when it arrived it came with 9 pieces of seafood and half an inch of broth. Yes not much for a main course.

So I mentioned the Lamb because today's lunch was Lamb Curry and on the menu tonight is Leg of Lamb. Must have got a deal on Lamb.
I am headed to Crown Grill tonight so I will report back tomorrow.

The other change for now is Room Steward only comes in the morning to make the bed. No turn down service or clean towels at night or those that love those little towel animals all gone.

The good part in with this few passengers onboard is no need to worry about getting a deck chair. :-).

Don't get me wrong all is good onboard but just different.

More tomorrow after Cabo San Lucas.

Manuela

A sunny day in Cabo San Lucas.

Phil

Thanks Manuela, that Yacht had a very nice Eorocopter on the back and two boats and a very nice platform.

Phil

I missed posting yesterday due to very very slow connection speeds.
Couldn't even connect to Medallion Net for the app.

We arrived early into anchorage and I was woken to the sound of the chain dropping the hook.

I elected for a mid morning breakfast on deck and then headed down below to grab a tender to shore.
I can not even begin to explain how Cabo has grown since I was first here in 1983. I was last here about 10 years ago and it has changed even more.

For the most part Mexico is encouraging masks to be worn and is required in the tender.

I went ashore to go walking and find a few Geocaches that have been placed here since I was last here. The interesting part in caches in Mexico is they tend to be inside buildings like restaurants or coffee shops, otherwise they go missing.
First stop was a coffee shop and I soon found the logbook and all I could say is wow this is how logs used to when I started.

The next stop was a restaurant that was closed even though the cache information said it was available 24 hours a day. I checked around on the outside but to no avail. Seeing a prep cook who I got the attention of he soon brought the cache to me where I signed the log and thanked and carried on.

The next one was another restaurant but this one was open and supposed to be outside. I was drawn to a old piece of machinery that was used to make Tequila by compressing the leaves.
The Security Guard for the place came up to me and explained how it worked. The cache information says Security knows of the location so not to worry.
Well I spent the next 30 minutes looking all over this machine and nothing.
I then stepped back into the parking lot to have a better view and read the info again. It was then that light went on and I figured out that the clue Roll out the ______ was not the machine even though it rolled out things . There were a bunch of barrels out front out of view from where I was looking. Roll out the Barrels made more sense and when I walked over to them the Secruity Guard was laughing at me and came over to talk to me.

On the walk back to the ship I did notice that the locals were being very aggressive compared to the past. You could not walk more than a few feet and some guy was trying to sell you the same thing the guy before was.

I was going to stop at Senior Frogs on the way back but the locals were bugging those on the patio so I just kept going back to the ship.

Some interesting things about how things are on the ship.
You will see no Bridge Officers walking around as they are more or less restricted to the Bridge we are told.
So no crew doing painting or maintenance unless it is necessary.
This ship just spent 21 days in dry dock and I am surprised to see what got done and more to the point what didn't get done.
It appears only below the waterline got painted. Can see rust in may places. There is power outlet by the Terrace pool that is rusted off the wall exposing the inside the box and wires. The children deck is just 1 deck above.
Apparently the reason that the ship went into refit early was because there was a major plumbing problem on Deck 14 that developed and was not part of the refit and now became part of the refit.
I then had a note dropped in my cabin last night that cabins on Deck 5 in my area are experiencing problems with toilets not able to flush. I heard from dinner mates higher up last night that they are having those problems too.

As I sit and post this I am in Planks BBQ which is closed but being used for social distancing. Crew Members are coming and going and eating in this part of the ship. You watch then remove their masks and they go through a whole regime of massaging their faces and cleaning them before eating. 
Just down from me is a large group of Asian men playing some sort of card game and you would think they are killing each other with the amount of noise they are making. It is a like it is a blood sport.

I am also not sure what Princess is doing but food quality is down and I wonder if this is the case across and lines. I mentioned that they were using frozen Asparagus the other night but it appears other frozen veggies are being used now at dinner.
Also lamb being served up in creative ways and now we had something called Chicken Shank on the menu last night. The joke became what next Spam Shank?

Today as we sail to Puerto Vallarta the seas are calm with a slight ripple.

Something is smelling really good for lunch so I am off to see what that may be.

More tomorrow.

It has taken over 2 hours for this post after mt initial post....sigh

Carolyn Jane


Phil

You could say Hot and humid.......

Phil

Well after yesterday in Puerto Vallarta I must say how things have changed since I was last here.

The new cruise terminal is large compared to the old one that still sits there. The Flea Market is still very active today as it was in 1983.
In 1983 a ship had to tender ashore as the harbour was very small. I was last here about 10 years ago and the cruise dock had been expanded at that time but now a new building is there.

Looking south down the beach one can see many tall towers that never existed 10 years ago. The big Giant Grocery store is gone and it was rather new when I was last here.  Of course Walmart across the street is very much there.
I left the ship and headed south to the turtle farm to get my walk in and find my token Geocache, which I completed with a minor hiccup.
Here in Mexico masks are still worn at this time and required to enter a building. 
Depending how and where you go you still have to dodge the usual suspects selling anything they can.

Yesterday saw a influx of new crew boarding and crew going home.

The entertainment is very interesting as the piano player in Crooners did a show in the Theatre that was billed a Elton John show.The Theatre was almost full at the start of the show but as the show went on people started to leave after each song dues to the way he thought the song should be played. Our little group made it to number 4 and had enough and left.
Next stop Coral Dining Room for dinner which was enjoyable tonight.

So far today I found a nice chair on the Promenade deck outside to watch the ocean go by as we sailed south past Ixtapa Mexico. Sam many very small fishing boats out her with no site of land to the east. The were several Dolphin Pods that passed by the ship with groups of flying fish and birds.
The ocean is dead calm today with a nice temp of 28C outside.

As I have mentioned before about service on the ship I found out more today. I talked to my Cabin Steward and asked him how many cabins he has and he said he has only 12 but there are 19 that he should have during normal times. Since he only visits the cabins one a day for service he no longer gets the full tip. He said roughly just over half is all he gets. He further explained many don't want and come to work onboard at this time because of the low pay and reduced work hours.
So my question is what is Princess doing with the other portion of the tip?

NCL had raised Tips on their ships recently and my question now are they doing the same things with crew?

So should we paying our tips in cash like the old days so they get the full amount.

For some reason this has me really bothered.

It is time for lunch even though it is coming up to 2:00. More later and still no photos because how slow things are.

Phil

Well yesterday brought us to Huatulco Mexico. This port was put in place when they cancelled San Salvador.

I was in no hurry to get off the ship as it was a very hot and humid day. As I was sitting in Vines to prepare myself to go face the heat I noticed the Captain who has remained in the land of invisibility along with what appeared to be Mexican Authorities. This was the Plaque ceremony where the ship receives a welcome plaque from the port when it is it's first time in this port. Since Caribbean Princess is a east coast ship it doesn't get to the Pacific very often.

I then headed off the ship and the wall of humidity hit me like a Mack truck. I walked the short distance into town and yesterday was a special day for works where they made crosses and decorated them to bring safety to the workers.
There was a outdoor church that was packed crosses being brought into the church.
In the town square they were setting up a stage for Cinco de Mayo day.

It was a busy little place and now throw in 1640 passengers into this small town makes it even busier.
The one thing that did happen as I was getting off an Ambulance was pulling up to the ships gangway. Not sure who got taken off. No scuttle butt on this.

I did mange to get my token Geocache in a local Restaurant.

I lasted about 3 hours ashore and headed back to the ship.

My overall thoughts is I liked this place. Why, because I got to see it as it truly was. No one pestering you at every few feet trying to sell you anything they can think of. A few locals came up to talk to me and it was refreshing. It is not the Mexico that I have seen in the past or present. Great little stop. 

Last person onboard was 430 PM and we were to then sail for Costa Rica. Well that turned into 1 hour late then 2 hours then 3 hours. It was not because we were waiting for passengers to return from a tour but The Mexican Immigration computer left for the long weekend before giving us clearance to leave.
In the time while we waited we watched a US Coast Guard cutter deal with a bit to a major problem. One of the sailors came out to look at the lines and noticed something not right port stern side by the engine exhaust. A meeting of the minds was called while they looked at it, and soon they placed a oil boom around the cutter and sent a diver down to have a look. 
This cutter transited the Panama Canal last week and normally ported out of San Juan PR. Going to be tough to fix this I would think.

So last night at dinner what was on the menu but Lamb again this time sold as Leg of Lamb. Lets see that makes it 4 times in a week now. There was also Tandoori Chicken on the menu and I told the waiter it was a tough choice. I would have the chicken. I was surprised when the chicken arrived so did a plate of Lamb.
It turned out to be one of the better meals so far on this cruise.

So far today has brought us cloudy skies with a drop in temperature.

Mask usage is dropping I have noticed today.

More tomorrow with another sea day.