Star Princess Egypt & Aegean 12 day cruise.
18.05.2011 - 18.05.2011 70 °F
Porters immediately take our luggage, and we enter the cruise terminal. It's about 12:15, and there are no lines at all. We walk immediately up to the counter for check-in.
At check in, we are asked to fill out a form if we intend to stay off the ship for our overnight at Egypt. We're also asked to turn over our passports. The passports will be returned before we dock in Alexandria, then collected again before we dock in Greece. They'll be returned to us once more before we arrive in Naples.
Embarkation is a breeze, as we've come to expect with Princess. I really love their "white glove" service. For this cruise, we've decided to book a category BB balcony on the forward starboard part of Caribe deck.
For the uninitiated, Caribe deck balconies are extended...they are nearly twice as deep as the standard balconies elsewhere on the ship. They are also half-covered...the portion nearest the rail is open to the sky (and to the view of the decks above). The portion closest to the door is covered by the overhanging deck above. We had a little trepidation about a partially open balcony...we had a completely open balcony on a Carnival ship last year, and it was an absolute nightmare.
Well, now that we've tried the Caribe deck on Princess, we'll never go back to a normal balcony again. Having the extra room and the option for sun or shade greatly outweighed any privacy concerns. We absolutely loved it.
We headed up to the Horizon Court for lunch. The Horizon Court is small and compact. On this ship, the problematic center gate was shut, so that kind of kept people moving in a semblance of order. We noticed that the ship barely seemed populated at all. I think I heard it mentioned that we were sailing with only 1950 passengers, so about 2/3 of maximum capacity. I don't know if this was because the ship was sailing with a lot of empty cabins, or if the proportion of singles and doubles to triples and quads was greater than on shorter Caribbean itineraries we've experienced. In any case, the ship was NEVER crowded at all.
We really enjoyed the design of this ship, as opposed to the Crown and the Caribbean Princess. Although we missed the Cafe Caribe, the enclosed Calypso Pool made up for it, especially on this somewhat cool spring itinerary.
Next we headed up to the Spa to sign up for a couples Thermal Suite pass for $199. We've used this on previous cruises, and really took advantage of it. DW in particular loves to relax in the steam room after a long day of touring.
Next stop is down to the Piazza to enjoy a cappuccino from the International Cafe. We sit and sip while listening to an operatic performance by the Corrado Amici Duo.
Muster drill is held just before sailing. Our muster station is in the Princess Theater, and it goes very smoothly, but not without the usual grumbling from the rabble.
Dinner tonight is anytime dining in the Portofino Dining Room. Highlights are the Caesar Salad, Totellini & Spinach Soup, and Luau Ham with White Beans. Nothing jumps out at us for dessert, so we head down to the International Cafe to sample the Chocolate Ganache and Carrot cakes.
Afterward, we head over to the Promenade Lounge (formerly Crooner's) and listen to the very talented Lucky Charms String Quartet. We wind up running into them at various venues around the ship over the next 11 days, and they're always a delight to listen to.
We're not much for shows, so we pass up Comedy Club Showtime with Lenny Windsor.
Tomorrow, our first full day at sea.