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LIVE: Crown Princess Transatlantic Cruise, 9/22/19 - 10/8/19


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The ship waited for a couple who returned late. I could see they were wearing excursion stickers, but they came back in a cab. I wonder what their story is. We eventually left around half an hour late. As the ship sailed through the channel, we could see the World Explorer anchored nearby. I had seen a tender carrying passengers from it to the shore earlier today. I looked up the ship to find out about it: Quark Expeditions, 172 passengers. Sounds nice. I'd like to go to Antarctica someday. Perhaps that's the ship for that trip. https://www.quarkexpeditions.com/en/our-ships/world-explorer

 

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22 minutes ago, CruzinNoony said:

Did you have any problems with bringing the two bottles onboard?

 

No. They went through the security screening machine, but no one mentioned them and there wasn't a table set up for people to turn in bottles of liquor today. 

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29 minutes ago, EmilyColwell said:

 

Odd question but if an adult has the soda package would they have chocolate milk included in their drink package as well or would they need to pay for it?

Asking being DH loves chocolate milk.

 

I'd guess that he can get the chocolate milk free since it's on the kids' menu. People at our table have been ordering from it--orange juice, the steamed veggies, and banana split dessert. 

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6 minutes ago, Britter16 said:

Could you tell me who the bartenders are in Crooners and Vines. We are cruising in Nov,  getting excited and hoping to meet some of our favorite staff.

 

I don't remember the names of the Vines staff but I'll try to make a note of them and the Crooners bartenders in the next couple of days.

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Tonight was the Italian night menu. It's not my favorite, but I enjoyed the dishes I had: prosciutto with melon, the salad, and the scallop and shrimp dish. The latter is a little bit skimpy compared to the other main courses my tablemates enjoyed: the veal, chicken, and spaghetti and meatballs. I ordered a side of the steamed green beans that I noticed on the plates that came with the veal. I had the tiramisu for dessert. It's always tasty. We started the bottle of wine from Soulac-sur-Mer with dinner. It's a dry red blend. Our waiter is charging us the $15 corkage fee, but it still worked out great, around $21.50 for the bottle with the fee--much less expensive than anything Princess offers and a whole lot more meaningful than buying one of their mass-produced wines.

 

We enjoyed the comedian's show in the theater. We barely made it in time. Our table is always one of the last ones to finish. Tom Drake was the comedian. I found his show very funny.

 

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On 9/23/2019 at 6:37 PM, geoherb said:

DH called his mother. We managed to keep the call under three minutes. I'll let him call again from Bilbao or Lisbon later in the cruise. I love that we have the ability to make calls (even if they are costing us extra) and send and receive texts. 

If your phone has wifi calling capabilities you can use it and the calls and texts are free.  That's how I'm making/receiving calls & texts. 

 

Tanya

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6 hours ago, hooked_on_cruising said:

If your phone has wifi calling capabilities you can use it and the calls and texts are free.  That's how I'm making/receiving calls & texts. 

 

Tanya

 

Thanks for the suggestion. I don't see that option on my phone but it probably exists. The YouTube video I watched showed one method of setting it up on my model of phone, but the option wasn't available in the settings on mine. I don't mind spending 75 cents for a 3-minute call to her. I can text for free when in port, but she doesn't have a cell phone. We send emails to her regularly from the ship, and she writes back even more frequently (usually because she thinks of something else to say right after she sends one).

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1 hour ago, joanne2 said:

I'm really enjoying your posts.  We had hoped to be on your cruise but health issues made us delay until next spring on the Regal.  I do prefer west-bound TA's but love the Regal so I'm already looking forward to it.

 

I had to cancel an Alaskan cruise three summers ago. I made up for it by taking back-to-back Alaskan cruises this summer. We also enjoy the Regal and Royal size ships. Hope you'll be fully recovered soon.

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Here are the pages from today's Patter. Once again, they're offering a complimentary shuttle from the port. That makes me very happy. I had planned on walking to the metro instead after canceling our shore excursion a few weeks ago. Originally, I tried to book an all-day excursion with Spain Day Tours, but there was a waitlist. I then booked the Princess excursion that went to the Guggenheim and included a walking tour. I believe it was $89.95 per person, but it shows up as $79.95 on the website now. But the only available time slot was the afternoon. Free transportation is definitely better even with the 10 euro admission charge to the museum. We may go to the Museum of Fine Arts and cathedral as well. They're within a couple of kilometers of the drop-off point.

https://www.princess.com/excursion/exDetails.page?t=&exType=S&tourCode=BIO-200

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22 minutes ago, geoherb said:

 

Thanks for the suggestion. I don't see that option on my phone but it probably exists. The YouTube video I watched showed one method of setting it up on my model of phone, but the option wasn't available in the settings on mine. I don't mind spending 75 cents for a 3-minute call to her. I can text for free when in port, but she doesn't have a cell phone. We send emails to her regularly from the ship, and she writes back even more frequently (usually because she thinks of something else to say right after she sends one).

 

If you have an Android phone try looking for "advanced calling" or something similar in the settings.

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We had a nice day in Bilbao. We took the complimentary shuttle from the port to the drop-off point near the Guggenheim. We went directly to it. I'm so glad someone picked Dan Brown's Origin as a book club selection for our Cruise Critic group. Having read that made our visit so much more worthwhile. I could picture Robert Langdon listening to Winston as we walked through the Richard Serra spiral. (I'm also glad we flew through Toronto and saw the Richard Serra work at the terminal there.) Seeing the maquettes for the Serra pieces was especially great.

 

I asked one of the guards if there was a larger Yves Klein work in the museum (as described in the book). She did not understand my question. I googled it later, and apparently there was a retrospective of Klein's work a long time ago. Today's special exhibits were on Lucio Fontana and Giorgio Morandi.

 

It took as about three hours to see what we wanted to in the museum. We could have spent double the time if we had listened to every audio file. The audio guides were included with the price of admission--and we both got in on a retired senior rate of 6 euros. I was thinking I'd have to pay 10, but the rep said the reduced rate applied since I am retired.

 

We walked along the river to the old city and cathedral. We stopped at a bakery along the way for a bocadillo (baguette with Iberian ham and cheese) and some pastries (an orange and chocolate puff pastry and pastels de nata, which are egg custard tarts). The total was 8.75 euros with a bottle of water.

 

After our quick bite, we went to the cathedral. Admission is 5 euros per person and includes audio guide. We enjoyed seeing the art and architecture of the cathedral. From there, we walked back to the pick-up point through the old city and then whatever way my phone took us. The map function is working great. A lot of the stores along the way were closed for a siesta. The most common opening hours seemed to be from 10 until 2 and then 4:30 until 8, with a lot of variations plus or minus 15 to 30 minutes. There was a huge line of passengers waiting to board the shuttle buses. We waited about 40 minutes. The afternoon shuttle ride to the port took a little bit longer due to traffic. Going through security in the port was a breeze. We did not have any wine with us this time, so I didn't pay attention to if they were collecting it. I don't think so.

 

We have our refund for our port fees for missing Portland show up today. It's $23.08 per person.

 

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Edited by geoherb
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On 9/26/2019 at 3:03 PM, geoherb said:

We had an enjoyable morning in Soulac-sur-Mer. We stopped by the Explorers Lounge after breakfast to see about getting a ticket on the shuttle bus. Everyone leaving the ship had to go on one of the free shuttle buses unless they were on a Princess excursion. I'm not sure if they let any private excursion vehicles enter the port area or if those people who had arranged private excursions had to meet them in the town. 

 

There is a train that goes from Soulac to Bordeaux, but I don't think the times are workable. Passengers who want to go to Bordeaux have to purchase an excursion or find some other way to make it.

 

Soulac is a small seaside town. There's a nice market in the middle with fruit and vegetable, meat, seafood, and other vendors. There are a lot of small shops and restaurants on the main street and the side streets off of it. The central feature of the town is a medieval basilica (Basilique Notre-Dame-de-las-fin-de-Terres, which loosely translates into Basilica of Our Lady of the End of the Earth). It was built beginning in the 12th century. It eventually became buried in the sand. They excavated and restored the building in the late 1800s.

 

The museum in the town is closed for renovations until next year. We shopped at the grocery store--SPAR--to buy some cookies, chocolate, wine, and jam. We bought another bottle of wine at a little store near the market. The grocery store wine had a Soulac-sur-Mer label. The second bottle we purchased was from Libourne, near Bordeaux. 

 

There was a small line of people waiting for the shuttle back to the ship after we finished touring the basilica. We missed one bus by six people, but there was a second bus waiting for us. We came back to the ship. It's about a 20-minute ride. I'm so glad it was a free shuttle. That's such a nice touch for the local authorities to offer. We ate lunch at the International Café then played the champagne ring toss. I was the second winner of a bottle. They had four to give away. We played the afternoon trivia and came in one point behind the winners. We could have tied them if I had gone with my first instinct on a question. The professional teams weren't there.

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Also on this cruise and for those planning, yes private tours were allowed to pick you up at the pier in Le Verdon.  We were picked up for ours right by the gangway, no need for the shuttle.

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We are also onboard with you! I'm enjoying reading about your experiences. We went into Bilbao on our own and had a wonderful time. I didn't know what to expect and was very pleasantly surprised.

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I talked with the Captain's Circle hostess this afternoon. The parties for Platinum and Elite passengers will be October 3 and 4. There will be two parties each night. They'll have them in Club Fusion. The cocktail event will be moved up to Skywalkers those nights for the ones who have their party on the other night.

 

Britter16: The bartenders I saw tonight in Crooners were Buda, Neal, Happy, and John.

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19 hours ago, geoherb said:

Tonight was the Italian night menu. It's not my favorite, but I enjoyed the dishes I had: prosciutto with melon, the salad, and the scallop and shrimp dish. The latter is a little bit skimpy compared to the other main courses my tablemates enjoyed: the veal, chicken, and spaghetti and meatballs. I ordered a side of the steamed green beans that I noticed on the plates that came with the veal. I had the tiramisu for dessert. It's always tasty. We started the bottle of wine from Soulac-sur-Mer with dinner. It's a dry red blend. Our waiter is charging us the $15 corkage fee, but it still worked out great, around $21.50 for the bottle with the fee--much less expensive than anything Princess offers and a whole lot more meaningful than buying one of their mass-produced wines.

 

We enjoyed the comedian's show in the theater. We barely made it in time. Our table is always one of the last ones to finish. Tom Drake was the comedian. I found his show very funny.

 

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Italian night is our favourite. Always spoilt for choice with the menu and just love the waiters’ outfits. Next cruise my partner and I are going to also dress in red and green so we coordinate!

 

Thanks for doing the live from. Loving reading along. Enjoy the rest of your voyage.

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2 hours ago, geoherb said:

pastels de nata, which are egg custard tarts . . .

 

 

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Enjoying your posts!  We've never been to Bilbao so those posts/photos are particularly interesting.  I thought egg tarts were a Portuguese delicacy but apparently they're an Iberian one.  I fell in love with them the first time we were in Lisbon, Portugal when our guide made a stop at a bakery there.  I like Dan Brown's books but haven't read Origin so will have to get that one and maybe someday we'll make it to Bilbao!  We've sailed on the Crown four times and I like that class of ship more than the Regal/Royal.  Enjoy the rest of your cruise!

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Thanks. The recipes I saw online were for the Portuguese version, but I guess they're all over this side of the peninsula. We'll have to find them in Lisbon on Sunday to see which are better. We also like the Crown, Emerald, and Ruby. This is just our second time on the Crown, and it's been a long time.

 

We enjoyed a bite of sushi at the evening cocktail event tonight. I then took a short nap before dinner. I got up in time to watch us sail away from Bilbao from the Promenade Deck. I talked with a couple who had gone to the Guggenheim and weren't impressed by the art inside. They loved the architecture. 

 

Dinner was nice. I had the watermelon and feta salad, an appetizer size portion of the pasta, and the chicken pot pie. I had the chocolate journey for dessert. The hazelnut one is my favorite.

 

The internet is even slower than it has been. I couldn't get my hometown newspaper to download. The photos are taking a few minutes each. But here are the menus and my dessert. I'll post the pages from tomorrow's Patter in a few minutes.

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5 hours ago, geoherb said:

From there, we walked back to the pick-up point through the old city and then whatever way my phone took us. The map function is working great.

 

Are  you using google maps on iPhone?   Or is this some type of app you downloaded?   Does it require WiFi??    

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