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Old March 1st, 2011, 11:09 AM
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Sapphire Princess - Feb. 28
By 10 A.M. the internet service was back up and running, and I was able to submit yesterday’s update.

As I was on deck waiting, about 9 A.M. I witnessed someone ordering a Diet Coke. I am die hard Diet Coke addict, but my ears perked up listening to the order, because even I can’t drink that stuff that early in the morning.

By 10 a slight bit of sunshine broke through the clouds, but the temperature outdoors still couldn’t have been above 50. Yet, there were some hearty souls who were determined to enjoy their “Hawaiian vacation” and were out by the outdoor pool, and in the pool, in bathing suits. And you thought I was kuki!

There was actually quite a busy schedule of events today for those who like to keep busy. A Bridge lecture in the morning; a “Scholarship @sea” lecture entitled “The Pacific War: Head to Head Comparison of the Imperial Japanese and American Navies, Leaders, Ships and Aircraft and Weapons”; BrainBuster Trivia; Ballroom Dancing; another enrichment lecture on the island of Kauai; Ukelele lessons… and those were only in the morning. I spent the day, doing what I do best… nothing.

At lunch there was an Oriental and Sushi Buffet set up at the Calypso Pool. Not entirely favorite type of cuisine, but the folks around me seemed to be enjoying it immensely. Later, of course, there was “Afternoon Tea”, which Princess does very well.

This afternoon we got together with most of the members of our CruiseMates group for our complimentary cocktail party in the Wheelhouse Bar. The Wheelhouse is my favorite bar on this ship. It’s very clubby, with a very nautical and British atmosphere.

One thing about group cruises; pretty much everyone shows up when the drinks are free. A very nice time was had by all, and we got in a very pleasant hour of socializing. About half the group has sailed with us before on prior CruiseMates group cruises, and about half were people I hadn’t met, but was delighted to meet. Several new folks commented that they’d been reading my CruiseMates articles and blogs for years, and that made me feel pretty good, as not one suggested I should be doing something else.

Those with late lunch dinner seating headed off to the Dining Room at 5:30. Oddly we sat until 6 P.M. until our dinner orders were taken. The service was a bit quicker tonight, and we managed to be done dinner and dessert by 7:30.

The CruiseMates folks who we dine with do really like the personality of our waiter, but truthfully the service continues to be spotty. If we didn’t have several tables of CruiseMates from our group nearby, I’d have likely switched dining assignments by now.

We’ve enjoyed the entrees, but I’ve been less excited by some of the offerings in the other courses, though this evening I ordered a couple of extra pasta with veal strips to share as side dishes with my entrée, to share with the table. And it was delicious.

I’ve really been rooting for things to improve in the area of food and service; to showcase why Princess is considered a Premium Brand. We’re only three nights into the cruise, but so far, I’m still just rooting, rather than marveling.

After dinner tonight there was a production show in the Princess Theater, and the showroom was so full, quite a few people, including our dining mates couldn’t get in. This is a shortcoming I’ve noted before on the Grand Class ships; an ill designed theater.

Princess does attempt to combat this problem by having it’s entertainment repeat during the cruise, using the ship’s large Explorer’s Lounge as an alternate venue for the “headline entertainment“.

If there’s a act or show in the Princess Theater that you really want to see, be sure to head to the Theater as soon as you finish dinner, if you have early seating, and a half hour or so early if you’re show-time is prior to dinner. Failing that, look for it in the Princess Patters (daily newsletter) for when it will repeating.

I’m actually feeling bad that to date my daily reports have taken a fairly negative tone. I really want to love the ship, but “the ship” is making it difficult to do so.

Tonight the seas are acting up once again. We have pretty solid “sea legs” by now, so even being in a stern facing cabin, it’s not having any ill effects on us. However it is dangerous to be close to any man peeing standing up (just contemplate the visual to get the joke) .

I normally do my writing late at night upon returning to my cabin, and then post. Unfortunately, other than the first night, the Internet connection has not been cooperating, so please accept my apologies for the delay.
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