Saturday, March 26, 2016

[Day 02] Drinking Bad Champagne and Making New Friends

Rachel was suffering from "early risers' syndrome" and was finding it impossible to sleep in, so she left the room early that morning to read on the pool deck. She was amused by all of the intense speed walkers around the walking track on the 10th deck. I'll note now that even though it's small (13 laps for one nautical mile), it's much more efficient than other ships which have the track surrounded by deck chairs. This way, it's continuous circulation, and you can run or walk at any time of the day without worrying about people's chairs intruding on the track or slow people in swimsuits getting in your way.

I, on the other hand, still had not quite adjusted my sleeping schedule from post-final-review-recovery (when you go to bed at 3 AM and wake up at noon).

Since we had 17 days on the ship, we didn't feel like we were in a rush to get out and do something. The first day of our cruise last year ended up being a recovery day for us, too, but it was nice to be able to take our time doing things, relax a little, and not worry about missing out (plus, it was a small ship, so what were we really missing out on?). We were boring and spent a good bit of our day in our stateroom watching movies and The Love Boat.

Pacific Princess Programmatic Section

We were also pleased to learn that our balcony was easily accessible. I had read stories about the forward balcony doors being difficult to open, but we didn't have a problem. The Pacific Ocean was peaceful, so it was enjoyable to spend time out on the balcony with a light breeze.



Balcony View

Balcony View

Rachel and I did venture out with Mom to go to afternoon tea in the Club Restaurant (3:30-4:30 PM daily) which was nice, though we never returned. But they had lots of little decorated cookies to try.

Tonight was the first of three formal nights, the Welcome Aboard Champagne Waterfall Party (in the past, it's been the Captain's Champagne Waterfall Party). This was also a celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Princess Cruises - what a great year to sail! (I'm really great at hitting anniversaries - I visited Disneyland for the 50th Anniversary, I was in Genoa during the 40th Anniversary of the Villa, at Clemson during the 100th Anniversary of Clemson Architecture, Disneyland again for the 60th Anniversary, now I'm at UCLA for the 50th Anniversary of Architecture, and I just hit the 50th anniversary of Princess Cruises - if you want to enjoy some high-dollar celebrations, stick with me!)

Speaking of the anniversary, our family just missed the 50th Anniversary Love Boat Cruise. When we embarked in San Pedro, the cast of the Love Boat was disembarking. We talked to a lot of cruise members about the anniversary cruise and meeting the cast, and they said that they were all on for the entire 17 days.

Since we had plenty of time to get ready, we decided not to wait around for the free champagne, and got the party started at the Casino Bar for cocktails and music with Chico & Dawn.

Chico

It's out of focus and the stamp is off-center, but Princess is celebrating 50 with chocolate.

Captain's Party

The free champagne is pretty terrible, actually. But it's free. Noting its horrible taste, I opted for the mimosa to help make it a little easier to go down. Our first night of really socializing on the ship, and I wanted a little buzz.

Captain's Party

Captain's Party

The champagne waterfall was held in the lobby which is a small space and pretty cramped, especially since there were also two photo spots set up. The people watching isn't as easy as on a larger ship when you can grab a spot along the railing on an upper level and look down below.

Champagne Waterfall

Here we made our first friends - Ray and Carol from England. The good thing about a small ship is that you see the same people over and over, so once you meet someone, you'll definitely bump into them again.

More champagne? No new glass, take it straight from the bottle!

Captain's Party

Captain's Party

Formal Night

All the Shingle Ladies

They ran out of champagne, so we headed back to the casino bar to kill some more time before dinner. It was here that we met "our bartenders" - EJ and Reggie. If you've sailed Pacific Princess lately, I'm sure you know these two because they are so friendly and fun! EJ noticed our last name, Shingleton, and started singing, "All the Shingle ladies, all the Shingle ladies!" We told her about our Instagram caption from departure day - "Shingle bells, Shingle bells, Shingle all the way!"

Pomegranate Martini

Key Lime Pie Martini

Tonight, the dining room served the 50th Anniversary Menu. The always available menu items were also an alternative. But for the sake of the celebration, I had to go with the special menu. The menu progresses through the decades of Princess Cruises, culminating with the 2010s and chocolate.

50th-Anniversary-Menu

First course, the Duck Terrine, Apricot Preserves and Porcini Mushroom Cappuccino Soup. Uhm... Duck Terrine is not my thing. It's a texture issue. But the soup was alright to me (remember, I'm no foodie. I don't even really like food, so never take my food critique as "expert" because I am not someone who loves food).

Duck Terrine, Apricot Preserves and Porcini Mushroom Cappuccino Soup

The Panache of Greens, Balsamic and Walnut Vinaigrette -

Panache of Greens, Balsamic and Walnut Vinaigrette

Ossobuco Agnolotti -

Ossobuco Agnolotti

Intermezzo, Blueberry Mojito Sorbet

Blueberry Mojito Sorbet

Malabar Peppered Beef Tournedos. I love beef, so this was a heck yes for me.

Malabar Peppered Beef Tournedos

They offered an after dinner drink tonight. I do not remember the name, but it had rainbow sprinkles which is a definite yes for me.

Carnival was very pushy on my Breeze cruise with the special after dinner drinks (really the only cruise I've been on where they came to my table every night to sell us a special drink). Princess did this only a few times - maybe only twice the entire cruise. I like having the option of a special drink, but I don't like it shoved in my face every night, so I think Princess is doing a much better job than its sister line with that.

After Dinner Drink

After Dinner Drink

After Dinner Drink

After Dinner Drink

Dessert was the Chocolate Raspberry Mousse with Vanilla Crème Brulée and Crunchy Shortbread. It's part of the new "Chocolate Journeys" collaboration with chocolatier Norman Love. They actually alternate this dessert with the Moist Chocolate Dome with Raspberry Crème Brulée and Bittersweet Chocolate Mousse every other sailing. For a 17 day cruise, you'd think we could get both.

Again, I had a texture issue. Rachel had an issue with the red around the heart looking too much like blood. Her response to its appearance was, "Eww, that's so gross!"

Chocolate Raspberry Mousse with Vanilla Cream

Chocolate Raspberry Mousse with Vanilla Cream

Dad and I went to the show tonight. It was musical entertainer, Glenn Smith, with "Best of Las Vegas". He's a Vegas performer, so he's a pretty entertaining musician, but we were tired and couldn't make it through the entire show because Dad kept falling asleep and snoring.

Glenn Smith, Best of Las Vegas

I came back to Christmas decorations on our stateroom mailbox. We had these on Island Princess back in 2012, but did not get decorations on Royal Princess in 2013. I was really glad to see their return, especially since I hadn't packed any decorations of my own (shocking for me, I know, but I had 17 days to pack for and no room for extras like that!).

Christmas Decorations

NEXT: [Day 03] At Sea