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  1. Back on the ship we all washed up, then enjoyed the gorgeous sunset over the harbor. As lovely as a nice dinner sounded - dinners in the Main Dining Room had been taking an average of 1.5-2 hours and we just weren't up to that. My MIL was in the mood for pizza, so we opted for Alfredo's. I did snag the MDR dinner menu for you though. What would you have had? Again - since I don't have the Alfredo's menu from this trip - this is the one from the Regal in 2019. My favorite Antipasto Assortito di Magro - DH and I shared the Regal Princess pizza. We also tried the Rollata di Melanzane (rolled eggplant stuffed with angel hair pasta, mozzarella, and sauce) - I'd been wanting to try this and it was very good! MIL enjoyed her Pizza Hawaiiana and FIL enjoyed his Calzone. Sorry - no photos of those. FIL did order the Apple Torte with Vanilla Sauce and my MIL proceeded to scoop off all the vanilla sauce "You've Got Mail - caviar style". 😂 DH and I opted for Tiramisu and Blueberry Pudding from the International Cafe. So good. The parrots were in the Piazza again (as they were last year). Love this. They are so beautiful! After a walk around the top decks (and the most amazing made-to-order french fries from the Salty Dog Grill - shhh!), we hung out on our balconies for a moonlit sail away. Here is the Patter and the St. Thomas info. -
  2. I don't think that they offer wine packages on 7-day cruises. Someone else would know better than I would though. We did purchase a bottle of wine at a few dinners and we also brought on a couple of bottles to enjoy in our rooms (you can bring 1 per adult without paying a corkage fee).
  3. We headed over to Honeymoon Beach and moored there for lunch. Then we sailed along the coast of St. John, saw Cruz Bay and headed back. Incredible experience & we are so happy that we are going back with our kids in just a couple of months. Marinated, grilled-on-the-boat chicken, couscous, salads. I'm sure the view helped, but it was delicious. Not to mention another round of Captain Ocean's painkiller drinks. 😋 He is quite the storyteller -- This photo pretty much captures the whole feeling of the day for me. Still a lot of destruction evident in many areas.
  4. St. Thomas, cont... The planning for our excursion actually started WAY back in early 2017. DH and I were planning our very first cruise on the Norwegian Escape and were looking forward to visiting St. Thomas and Tortolla. Our cruise was booked for February of 2018 and I was pouring over options for excursions -- which led us to Captain Ocean Peterson and his sailing yacht, the Catania. You really do need to visit Catania's Website to read the story of this remarkable captain and the sailboat he was born on. Yes, born on. It is difficult to reserve a sailing date with him during the busy months, but we were booking almost a year in advance and were able to get our day on the calendar. Yay! Then hurricane Irma came through the Caribbean in the fall of 2017 and left so much devastation in it's wake. 😢 Soon afterward, Norwegian changed our itinerary entirely and we had to email Captain Ocean to cancel. We didn't receive a reply, which worried me - but I knew they may not have the ability to communicate either. (For the record, Captain Ocean has always been extremely prompt in replying to any emails!) Fast forward to March-or-so of 2019 and we were once again planning to visit St. Thomas with my in-laws. I sent an email off - and learned that the Catania was again accepting day-sail reservations. And our date was available! So, here we go... First off, here are the set taxi prices in St. Thomas. The four of us got a taxi and headed off to the Red Hook Marina. We had reserved a private 6-hour day sail, which included beverages and lunch. Captain Ocean met us at our taxi and ushered us to the dinghy which we took out to the Catania that was moored in the harbor. I was a little worried about my MIL getting in and out of the dinghy and the sailboat - but Ocean and the rest of us all helped and she was soon settled in. It was a wee-bit choppy heading towards St. John! Thankfully, Ocean had our total attention with his stories of the area and growing up on the Catania. At one particularly choppy area, he even took the time to explain the basics of how the sailboat works and how it was not going to tip over! 😉 The views were breathtaking! We moored close to a remote beach on St. John and took the dinghy to shore. Ocean showed us where to snorkel and then left us to explore on our own for about an hour while he went back to the Catania to start preparing our lunch. Will continue later - I have to run help *someone* shop for a car so he can quit using mine! Next up, more sailing and an incredibly yummy, organic lunch with a view like no other...
  5. So sorry - have been going through photos. So. Many. Photos. Posting soon... Please report back on the Ultimate Balcony Dinner - it sounds incredible! Happy Birthday in advance! 🙂
  6. Tuesday | February 11, 2020 | St. Thomas The approach to the Virgin Islands is my absolute favorite and something I love to watch from our balcony, so we got up early and grabbed a quick bite (ok, a lot of bites) in the buffet. We love to eat at the tables outside - aft, near the wake pool. These little drink menus were on the tables. I have never ordered a drink for breakfast, but I think it is going on my list to try something next cruise. Any recommendations which one I should order? As we got closer, we ran into clouds, haze, and a downpour or two. It is so fun how the view changes every couple of minutes. I was alternating cameras - so I'll try to put these in some orderly fashion... I find the pilot boats that zoom up to a massive moving ship fascinating. This one had to take a little detour and ward off a sailboat. The weather started to clear up a bit and by the time we were entering the harbor it was just perfect! I found Zach & Cody's yacht! (if you don't get the reference, ask any teenager 😉) And the #1 reason for booking a port side balcony cabin on this itinerary is... Next up - the best excursion ever!
  7. There weren't any line-ups for boarding at all. We literally walked right on the ship! The line in the photo I think you are referring to was for those wanting to reserve a spot in the Sanctuary on deck 18 (an adults-only, by-reservation area). Hope that helps!
  8. I think Corey did a great job. He seemed quite laid back and fun. The interactions between him and Captain Tuvo were 😂!
  9. So far in this review all the photos have been from my iPhone 11 Pro. I absolutely love the camera on it and I always say that the best camera is the one that you have with you. That reason alone is why I take 95% of my vacation photos with it. I did also bring along my Canon D MkII with a 50mm 1.4 lens and a 10-200mm 2.8IS lens (pictured). I no longer have photography clients, so I don't upgrade cameras unless needed - crazy, but the MkII is almost ancient already! It was very nice to have it for the approach to the Virgin Islands - I'm going through those photos now. I really do take a ridiculous number of images. One reason I do these trip reports is that it forces me to go through all my photos and not just load them onto my computer and forget them!
  10. They did have the specialty breads - sometimes they were a hit, and sometimes not so great. The last menu posted - DH loved the raisin walnut bread. Later in the week they had a Moroccan spiced bread that was incredible - I think I ate 3 rolls of that alone and I usually pass on the bread basket! Good idea on the ice cream - I am going to try that next time! Thanks!
  11. Leaving Alfredo's we spotted my in-laws sitting in the Piazza, listening to the string quartet - 50 years and still so darn cute together! Love them. The design of the Piazza is just gorgeous. I love all the shades of blue. This is the medallion area. I was a big fan of using the clips we purchased, but DH preferred a wristband he bought in this area (between the Piazza and Princess Live) and we'll give the kids a choice before the next cruise. We headed back to our room to hang out on the balcony, catch up on some reading (I never read as much as I think I will, ugh), and get ready for formal night. Couldn't ask for more perfect weather. As Captain Tuvo would say - the sunshine is all "Me, Me, Me!" 😁 Something we've never done before is stop for photos. As a former photographer I had to go check out all the backdrops and while they did have some non-cheesy options, we opted for photos in front of the blue glass & staircase. The photographer, Yodi, was personable and took a few poses so we had multiple options. We ended up purchasing a digital file of my in-laws, and one of the four of us. The process of picking them out was incredibly easy - scan medallion, browse options, purchase, download files to phone. Time for dinner in Soleil - Santi was our server and he was amazing. Later in the week, even when we were seated in another nearby section, he always recognized us and said hi. Appetizer portion of Fettuccine Alfredo - apologies to those that love this, but while the pasta was cooked well it was incredibly bland. Even adding fresh ground pepper didn't help. Just my opinion - don't shoot! MIL's White Rum Tapioca Fruit Salad - she loved this! DH's Bacon Potato Chowder - very good. My Seared Walnut Crusted Goat Cheese and Greens - best MDR salad, hands down. Mmm! My Medallion of Beef Tenderloin, Cognac & Peppercorn Demi-Glace - I ordered it Medium and it actually came medium = I am a happy camper. 🙂 MIL's Seared Salmon, Tarragon Beurre Blanc - she really enjoyed it, though there was a LOT of rice. DH's Slow-roasted Leg of Lamb - tender, flavorful sauce. Beans were again a bit on the undercooked side. FIL's Pan-Roasted Chicken Breast, Hickory BBQ Sauce - he enjoyed it. Gourmandises - "little treats" - they brought these IN ADDITION to our desserts. The little slivered almond caramel looking ones in the middle are to die for. Totally going to roll off this ship. Caramel Pecan Turtle Cheesecake - this one got rave reviews! Chocolate Journeys: Chocolate Hazelnut Bar with Citrus Cream - I had this on the Regal last year. Happy to report that it is still just as delicious! Since we ate early, we were able to catch the Captain & the Champagne Celebration right after dinner. Patters for 1st Sea Day - Next up - St. Thomas! We went on the most amazing excursion - can. not. wait. to show you!
  12. I didn't see the sampler you are describing - just the "Chef's Special" for $18. A Chili Lime Crab Margarita sounds REALLY good though!
  13. Monday | February 10, 2020 | Sea Day Good morning! We woke up to another gorgeous Caribbean day and ANOTHER rainbow! 😍 We snagged a couple of loungers on deck 17 (super windy!) - one deck up from the lido pools and headed to the buffet for a quick breakfast. I love buffet breakfasts! Roasted tomatoes - GOOD. Sautéed mushrooms - GOOD. Hashbrowns or potatoes in practically any form - GOOOOD. In fact, I recommend everything on this plate except for the rather odd attempt at eggs Benedict that was topped with half of a very hard-boiled egg instead of a poached egg. Next we headed up to the running track to do our 7-lap mile to work off breakfast! Just kidding. We were only dodging people actually exercising whilst sight seeing. 😂 My MIL texted me photos of their room - our steward (Heri - he was awesome!) had decorated it so cute for their anniversary! After laying out and flirting with getting fried, we changed into clothes and headed to the Ocean Terrace Seafood Bar for pre-lunch. Sushi!!! Torching my sushi - Shrimp & Scallop Torched Sushi (quite good, but probably wouldn't order again) Blue Crab Roll (delicious!) Time for *real* lunch at Alfredo's. I know all these decorative succulents around the ship aren't real - but they are still pretty. (from earlier in the morning) These are Alfredo's menus from last year on the Regal. I must have forgotten to take photos this trip. Anyways - I think the menus are exactly the same. DH's Insalata Mista all Alfredo (mixed green salad) My Antipato Assortito di Magro (mozzarella, grilled zucchini, roasted pepper, tomatoes - basically a whole plate of YUMMY) We cut a calzone in half to share. Very good! Tiramisu - Having done thorough research for all of you this trip 😜, I can rank the Tiramisu offerings as follows... (1) Sabatinis (2) International Cafe and (3) Alfredo's. None are bad. I invite you to taste test them all!
  14. The Sanctuary is a lovely, adults only area at the front of the ship on deck 18. You choose your loungers and can book 1/2 days ($20pp) or full days ($40pp). There are also cabanas available for more $. I do recommend getting there as early as possible. In our case, it wasn't early enough. I'm guessing that a number of guests doing a back-to-back cruise were able to reserve it in advance of the new guests coming on the ship. It would have been fun to try, but I didn't think we were really missing out by not being able to reserve it either. I hope that helps. 🙂
  15. Oops - forgot about dessert in the last post! Princess Love Boat Dream - a classic for a reason. YUM MIL's Crunchy Profiterole with Butter Toffee Gelato - good! DH and FIL had the Carrot Cake - They both agreed that this jello/mousse-like version is NOT carrot cake. Pretty? Yes. However, they wouldn't order it again.
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