Our last day at sea, and while San Pedro, where we embarked seems so long ago, it feels like the cruise has just flown by. Jeff and I are determined not to waste a single minute of our day, and I get right up when the alarm goes off at 7 a.m. Jeff is not in bed but is standing out on our balcony in his Princess bathrobe watching the ocean. I join him in my robe. He woke up a little after 6 and has been standing here ever since. He watched the sun rise out of the sea.
We get dressed and go up to the Horizon Court for breakfast – there are a few other early risers there. We return to our cabin and while I write notes to our travelling companions detailing what we have planned for today, Jeff makes dinner reservations for six for our last cruise dinner. We want to share this last night with our friends. I go across the hall to drop my notes in their mailboxes and then Jeff and I head down to the Promenade Deck to walk.
For the whole cruise, part of the Promenade Deck has been blocked off (I think I mentioned this in an earlier post.) and we’ve been wondering two things: 1) When will it reopen so we can walk all the way around and 2) what are they doing that is taking so long?? This morning Jeff peers through a gap between the little barrier and the wall of the ship. “Those are cabins!” He says. Princess has reconfigured the ship by blocking off part of the Promenade Deck and putting in cabins! We so disappointed that they’ve chosen to do this, but whatever.
We walk for an hour and a half, looking for dolphins or any other interesting sea life, but don’t spot any. We get in our 5 or so miles and head back upstairs to our cabin to get cleaned up. It was a hot walk! Our cabin steward, Rodolfo, has just started cleaning our room. He apologizes profusely and offers to come back later, but we inist that we don’t need to be in there. We just grab a few things – my Ipad so I can write, Jeff’s phone so he can surf the web and we go down to sit in one of the nice public areas. All this before 10:30 in the morning! I’m gonna need a nap. haha
After a while Jeff figured our cabin steward was done and he started to go up to shower, but since we were at a cozy table for two by a window overlooking the ocean I stayed put and continued nattering in my blog. I asked him to bring me a couple of things (including our “fancy” coffee card from the cabin). A few minutes later he returned with the card, and a message from Leroy, whom he had bumped into, that Eve was looking for me. Well, I knew exactly where she would be and went up a deck to the jewelry store. Yup, she bought the beautiful diamond ring! AND, she said Leroy told her to buy the diamond and (some other stone I can’t remember) one as well! Trish and I took turns holding and admiring them – that diamond ring is my favorite…I had even thought about buying it, but I don’t wear jewelry, except sometimes my wedding and engagement rings. We had fun in the jewelry store. Trish and I walked out to wait for Eve – she had had a mimosa and was going to put the glass back, when Trish told me that SHE had bought three(!) oil paintings! She had photos of them on her phone and they were beautiful. They were kind of a set, all numbered, limited edition oils by an artist named Brodinsky. (Jeff and I are travelling with some high rollers!) Finally, I asked Trish, “Where the heck is Eve??” Well, we spotted her looking at earrings in the jewelry store. “We’ve gotta get her out of there!” So we went in and performed an intervention – each of us taking one of her arms and escorting her out! I’m going to tell Leroy that Trish and I saved him a lot of money. haha!
The three of us stood around chatting for a while and I learned that all of our traveling companions have put down “future cruise” deposits. Future cruise deposits are a wonderful idea if you think you will be doing another Princess cruise and they can only be done while on board the ship. Putting down a future cruise deposit works as a deposit (duh) and when you use it, you also get cabin credit…free money! If you don’t use the deposit within two years, Princess automatically refunds all of it to you. I was so excited to discover that they all enjoyed this cruise well enough that they want to do another one!
Eve, Trish and I review our afternoon schedules and agree to all meet at 1:30 to finish our Phase 10 game. Now we just need to catch up with our other three travelers.
While Eve, Trish and Leroy go to the British-style pub lunch, I go to meet Jeff at the Princess Theater for Dr. Sam’s final lecture. While we wait for him to begin, Mary shows up and we all sit together. Today’s lecture, “The Glow That Changed the World” was about radium – its discovery and some of the ways it was used (and abused). I say “abused” but for a long time after its discovery and use in xrays, etc, people didn’t know about its dangers. For example, stuff imbued with it glowed in the dark, so women would paint their nails and teeth with it to surprise their boyfriendsor husbands, drinking radium water was considered very healthy and many companies made products so you could make radium infused water right at home. Pillows, breathing apparatuses – all sorts of radioactive products were created and sold. The lecture was both fascinating and horrifying at the same time – knowing what we know now. You can learn something about this era by reading about the “Radium Girls.” A sad and true story…
These medical lectures have been great; Princess Cruises does a good job with their “Enrichment Series.”
Now we need to hurry to the library to play our game! As we walk along, I ask Mary how she liked the days at sea and she says “They’re exhausting!”
We pick up our Phase 10 game where we left off yesterday, but only play for about 90 minutes because, except for Jeff and I who haven’t purchased anything on the ship, everyone else needs to go to the big last day raffle. Eve and Leroy have a huge pile of at least 100 tickets!
Jeff and I head back to our cabin to begin the sad, sad task of packing. We turn on our bluetooth speaker, put on some Jimmy Buffet tunes and begin emptying drawers, the closet, the safe. I take a break from organizing my mess to go online and check us in for our flight tomorrow. That used a BUNCH of my internet minutes!
Then I walk across the hall to pick up a bag of clothes from Mary. She bought some wonderful things on this trip and has run out of suitcase room! It takes some doing, fitting stuff into stuff to save space, but we do manage to get everything into our suitcases. I just hope Mary has an iron at home. haha!
The problem with packing to leave a cruise ship is that you have to have any luggage you are not going to carry off yourself outside your door before you go to dinner. For us, that means we need to pack all three suitcases because we’ll only be carrying our backpacks. So, you need to think about and NOT pack stuff you’ll need this evening and tomorrow before you get off – like clothes, your toothbrush, shoes…
We’re close to done packing when we hurry to our last special elites cocktail party at 5pm. We’ve skipped several of these during the cruise so want to get to this one. Ahhh…we relax with shrimp cocktail, olives, vegies and cheeses. We sit with four people from Canada whom we have not met. They were very fun and we wish we had met them earlier in the cruise. The drink of the day is a Cosmopolitan, which I’ve never had before, and it is the same drink that Jeff pronounced as tasting like fruit punch at the Captain’s reception. We figure for $5 we’ll give the Cosmo a try. The drink is vodka, fresh lime juice, cranberry juice, and, I think something else but can’t remember what. Whoa! This definitely does NOT taste like fruit punch!
At 5:30, we say a hasty good-bye and safe travels to our new friends, take our Cosmos and go to the Wheelhouse Bar where the Romantica Strings Quartet is giving a special concert. The setting is a little weird, and once or twice the bar blender whirs in the background, but a lot of a people have come to hear them play. Their 45 minute concert is wonderful, and afterwards we tell them that they were the highlight of our cruise.
Back to the cabin to finish up packing and as we’re changing into the clothes we’ll wear tonight and on the way home tomorrow. There is a knock at the door. It is Mary – time for our now traditional early evening champagne. We go across the hall, and as he has done throughout the cruise, Jeff opens the bubbly – our final bottle. A last toast. We sit and chat – believe it or not, Eve and Leroy did not win the raffle!
Where is the time going?? It is 7:15 and our dinner reservation is for 7:30. Jeff takes our wine glasses back to our cabin and when he returns…OMG! He is wearing a gorgeous white cotton shirt that he surreptitiously bought in Aruba. It looks like a Cuban guayabera (not sure that is spelled right) but doesn’t have four pockets. He looks great!! Mary didn’t go to Cuba when Eve, Leroy Trish, Jeff and I went so she doesn’t know that Jeff meant to buy a guayabera there and missed his chance.
Off to dinner…we made our reservation for 6 people and are bummed out when we’re seated at an oblong table for eight, it is very hard to hear one another and we feel all spread out. There is an empty round table for six right next to us and we ask to be moved and are – great! Dinner is nice, and tonight there is a special Baked Alaska dessert. On the menu it says “Parade of Baked Alaskas” which really doesn’t make any sense until the lights in the dining room go out, music starts and there is a parade of all the kitchen staff and waiters, some of whom carry flaming baked alaskas. They parade all around the dining room and there is a lot of cheering and napkin waving. The head chef gets introduced, and then the groups of waiters, second waiters, etc., are acknowledged and applauded. Good timing on our part for the festivities. We’ve never seen this before and, while it was a little hokey, it was fun. It was nice to have the chance to applaud the behind the scenes people.
Though baked alaska is the special dessert of the meal, both Mary and I order deep dish apple pie a la mode. I love pie!!
After dinner Mary heads for bed, Jeff and Leroy go back to our cabin to hang out and finish a bottle of red wine, and Trish, Eve and I begin to wander down to the photo gallery. We get sidetracked by the casino…there is this weird quarter machine they have been playing off and on during the cruise. It is difficult to clearly explain how it works – there are two levels and each level has these kind of metal sweeper things. You put a quarter in one of three slots and it shoots in. The sweepers sweep the coins forward and sometimes the quarters at the front of the machine get swept off their level either onto the lower level or into a bin for your payoff. There is absolutely no skill involved but it is very mesmerizing to watch. $30 later, we walk away. BTW, Eve, you owe Tish $15!
Back to our cabins, we say goodnight and “see you at the airport.” Everyone else is going on an excursion from Princess and they will be taken directly to the airport afterwards. Eve has given Jeff and I two passes to United’s Club area for tomorrow. I’m so excited and really, really appreciate her generosity and thoughtfulness.
In our cabin, no surprise, Jeff is standing on the balcony – I go join him for our last night on the sea.