Jay’s Internet Log

Mediterranean MTA 2013 – Day 18 – At Sea

by on Dec.05, 2013, under General, Mediterranean Maiden Transatlantic 2013, Vacation

Throughout the night we continued on our southwesterly rhumb-line track sailing across the North Atlantic Ocean and the mid-Atlantic Ridge. We will continue on this course throughout the day.

I think Heather is starting to feel better today. We both slept in until about 8AM. I went to the gym and saw on the news that the Red Sox won the first game of the World Series by a large margin, so that was a nice start to the day.

I met up with Heather in the Enclave, and then we had some breakfast up on the top deck. For lunch, we all went to Alfredo’s yet again and I took the video camera. Mom and Dad left lunch early to go watch a lecture.

Heather decided to take a nap, and I went to watch a movie called The Kings of Summer. It’s about three teenage boys who decide to build a house in the middle of the woods. It was excellent.

After dinner, Dad and I went and stood above the Skywalk to watch and film the sunset. Afterwards, the movie was starting on the big screen so we sat and watched White House Down. Dad really enjoyed it.

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Mediterranean MTA 2013 – Day 17 – At Sea

by on Nov.26, 2013, under General, Mediterranean Maiden Transatlantic 2013, Vacation

Throughout the night we continued on our southwesterly course through the North Atlantic Ocean. We will continue this course throughout the day.

This morning, we awoke and saw many clouds. We went up to the buffet and the floor was like an ice skating rink. I even saw a larger old man slip and almost fall, but he was able to keep his balance. We didn’t see a sunrise as the clouds were so thick.

After breakfast, I went to the gym for a bit, then attempted to go up to the walking deck, but it was closed due to high winds. The walking deck is poorly designed in that it’s great to walk on while in port, but there are no wind dams, so the crosswind is extraordinary while at sea. Instead of walking, I headed to the Enclave where I met up with Heather again. A few maintenance men came in while we were there and I spoke with one about the sauna not being hot. This sauna is beautiful. It has heated seats and even heated walls. The problem however is that they are pumping in cold air to it, so the air is never hot or even dry, and I was told that it was working as designed. The other rooms in the Enclave are amazing though.

I decided to see if I could get Heather up into one of the outdoor pools, as the rocky sea today would probably make them fun. We headed up to the Retreat Pool and saw that the whole area was blocked off. I looked outside and saw bartenders there and even a woman in the hot tub. A security officer eventually came up and called someone to give us access, so we went swimming and it was a lot of fun. We then sat in the hot tub with the woman for 20 minutes or so and talked about past cruises.

We again had lunch at Alfredo’s, then Heather rested while I went to a talk about how cruise ships are made. It was very informational, though we were told that small ships probably won’t be made in the future. This kind of bummed me out.

For dinner, we decided to go to a different dining room. Our old waiter Florin from Royal Princess II is on this ship, so we wanted to have dinner with him tonight. It was really nice, as was dining in a different room.

After dinner, we watched Iron Man 3 on the big screen and are now waiting to watch a comedian. I hope he’s better than the singing one we sat through last night. We only made it about 10 minutes into his performance, but were both wondering how he was able to keep an audience. We were definitely not the first ones to leave last night. Well, as I said earlier, I hope tonight fares better.

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Mediterranean MTA 2013 – Day 16 – At Sea

by on Nov.25, 2013, under General, Mediterranean Maiden Transatlantic 2013, Vacation

Throughout the night we continued on our westerly course through the North Atlantic Ocean.

There’s not much to say about today. Heather’s never been sick on a cruise before, but she’s got something nasty. There are a lot of people on this ship that seem to have little regard for others, and thusly they’ve been coughing heavily all over everybody. This is how Heather (and myself to a much lesser degree) got sick.

For lunch, the four of us visited Alfredo’s again, which has to be the best thing about this ship. The staff there are all very happy and friendly, like we’re used to on the smaller Princess ships. Unfortunately, about 20 minutes into lunch, they put on a Martini making demonstration in the atrium just outside the restaurant, so instead of relaxing classical music playing, we had Ai! Ai! Ai! and yelling and screaming.

We spent most of the afternoon in our room. Heather slept and I played Picross for a few hours. After dinner, we all went up on the top deck and watched The Lone Ranger on the big screen. It was really fun.

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Mediterranean MTA 2013 – Day 15 – At Sea

by on Nov.22, 2013, under General, Mediterranean Maiden Transatlantic 2013, Vacation

Throughout the night we continued on our southwesterly course through the North Atlantic Ocean. We then altered onto a westerly heading shortly before sunrise.

Heather was up at 5AM today, as she still wasn’t feeling very good. I’m now congested, but other than that doing fine. We went to breakfast and I had a bunch of fruit.

I then walked up to the gym and every single treadmill was being used, so I jumped on an elliptical machine. I dislike these, but made the best of it. Afterwards, I changed and went down to the Enclave to unwind. I took the G10 in the underwater case and freaked some people out. I told them that I was trying to get a short video of the Enclave empty, hence arriving so early. I think they still thought I was going to film them.

I had lunch with Mom and Dad today at Alfredo’s, as Heather was getting her complimentary massage. Today’s pizza was good (Hawaiian), but not as good as yesterday’s (Margherita). I’ll go back to the Margherita tomorrow.

I’m now sitting and waiting for a movie to start. We’re going to watch the Will Smith film After Earth. I’ve heard horrible things about it, but wanted to see it, and don’t want to have to buy it, so this works out.

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Mediterranean MTA 2013 – Day 14 – At Sea

by on Nov.21, 2013, under General, Mediterranean Maiden Transatlantic 2013, Vacation

After departing Funchal, Madeira Royal Princess swung her bow to starboard and commenced her Atlantic voyage to Port Everglades, Florida. Once clear of the breakwater we set southwesterly courses to avoid the larger swell from a low pressure further north. We will continue on this course through the night and during the day at sea.

I slept in today, all the way to about 8AM. We changed our clocks again last night as we’re getting closer to the US. Heather and I had breakfast and when we returned to our room, the purser’s desk had left a few messages. Our flight home doesn’t leave until 7PM, and we’ll be kicked off the ship around 9AM, so we’re looking at quite a long stay in the airport. We tried to get our flight changed, but when we went down to the purser’s desk, they said that it would cost $500 per person, so we decided to stick with our original plans and sit in the airport!

For lunch, we tried out Alfredo’s, which is a pizzeria in the middle of the ship. After this lunch, we’ll be going back again. It was fantastic. Heather had a calzone, and I had a personal pizza. We also had some amazing minestrone soup

At 2PM, I watched a few bartenders throwing bottles around. It was pretty cool, and very funny when they dropped them. Heather took a nap and I wrote up yesterday’s entry.

After dinner, Heather went to bed as she wasn’t feeling well. We’ve both had sore throats for a few days, but it kicked into high gear today and she was beat. I’ve never been on a cruise with more coughing people. Some are just inconsiderate about it too, such as coughing as soon as they get into a crowded elevator. I watched the movie “Now You See Me” up on the top deck on the large screen. This is a movie I’ve been wanting to see but haven’t been able to. I enjoyed it, but the ending could have been better.

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Mediterranean MTA 2013 – Day 13 – Funchal, Madeira, Portugal

by on Nov.20, 2013, under General, Mediterranean Maiden Transatlantic 2013, Vacation

During the night we followed our South-Southwesterly courses across the Atlantic Ocean. During the early hours of the morning we will pass 3.1 nautical miles north of the island Deserta Grande which is surrounded by a large coral bank. We will then alter course to starboard to a northerly heading towards the port of Funchal. Once alongside we will land the gangways for you to explore the beautiful island of Madeira. Once all passengers and crew are onboard we will ship the gangway and depart from the port of Funchal, initially following southwesterly courses to avoid any bad weather from the North and commence our trans-Atlantic voyage to Port Everglades Florida, which is some 3455 nautical miles away.

I don’t quite remember where, but I spoke with some fellow passengers who have visited Madeira before. They said that there wasn’t really much of anything there, and it was somewhat of a waste of a port. I wholeheartedly disagree. This place is amazing, and the people were very warm to us and appreciative that we were there.

Heather and I ate breakfast up on the top rear deck as the sun rose. Of course, I filmed it, so I spent more time making sure that people weren’t in my shot than actually eating. Madeira is a very hilly island, which I’ll speak of later. From what we saw, it didn’t look all that large, but the mountains went up into the clouds.

We had a fairly extensive tour today, but it was a nice short four-hour one. We boarded a bus and headed off to the botanical gardens. Our tour guide said that this wasn’t the best time of year for the gardens, but they were nice to walk around. We saw all sorts of fauna and I even saw a songbird, but when I called for Heather to come see it, it flew away.

Our next stop was down the mountainside, so we boarded the bus and headed down. Parking a bus on these steep hilly roads looked very difficult, and even boarding the bus was tough to do. Everything was on some sort of angle. We got to our next destination, which was a cable car terminal. This reminded us of skiing, as we were about to get on a gondola, just like at the ski slopes. We took a fifteen-minute ride to nearly the top of one mountain. From there you could get a nice view of the city and the ship as well. We stopped and bought a few souvenirs and then headed to a nearby square where we were given some free time. Heather and I climbed a few hundred stairs to get to a local church. Here, we climbed even more stairs up to the top of the bell tower, where we found the best view all day. The stairs inside the church were very difficult to climb, and scary to descend. Once we met back up with the group, Heather tried on a few locally-knitted parkas or sweaters… I don’t really know. She found one that she liked, but it stank horribly, so we passed on it. I felt bad because the men working in this store were very nice and we ended up not buying anything from them.

Our next task was to get to the bottom of the mountain. We stood in a line for about 20-30 minutes while others took their turn. We were going on a toboggan ride! There’s no snow here. The toboggans are made of wicker baskets with wooden rails underneath them. They hold two passengers and two local men push you down the extremely steep roads. Cars are also using these roads so it really gets your blood circulating! This is a tradition of the island, and these men love their jobs. At the bottom, they jump in a van and drive up to the top again. They also love smoking cigarettes, as we saw them all smoking when they got back to the top. This was an exhilarating ride and one that we’ll do again if we ever make it back here!

Once at the bottom, we shopped a bit and Heather found a parka/sweater thing that didn’t smell nasty, so she bought it there. We boarded our bus and headed back to the ship. There’s a replica of one of Christopher Columbus’ ships near where ours was docked. Mom and I went walking a bit later but it started to rain, so we never made it to the replica ship.

At 10:15PM, the ship was putting on a water show. This ship is fitted with fountains that sync up with music and lights, and I wanted to capture the show on video, so around 10PM, I went up there and set up the tripod. It wasn’t as impressive as I thought it would be, but it was nice. Heather was asleep, so I went and sat in on the mentalist’s show. It was entertaining, and I really don’t know how he does it unless all his marks are working for him. After his show, I walked around the ship a bit and headed off to bed.

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Mediterranean MTA 2013 – Day 12 – At Sea

by on Nov.19, 2013, under General, Mediterranean Maiden Transatlantic 2013, Vacation

Royal Princess continued on a westerly course across the Atlantic Ocean to her next Port of Call Funchal, Madeira.

Today was much more relaxing than yesterday. I woke up and Heather had gone up to the top deck. Once she returned, we had breakfast. They were serving JB’s French Toast and we both tried it. This is possibly the highest-calorie breakfast that’s served on Princess ships. They take thick bread, encrust it with Corn Flakes, and then fry it. Only bacon scores higher as a breakfast food for me, but both together is amazing.

We spent a little time walking around the ship and looking over photos from earlier in the trip. For lunch we ate up at the buffet and had Kung Pao Chicken and Thanksgiving turkey. Both were excellent.

After lunch, we sat and watched a lecture on the Titanic sinking… just the thing to get us prepared for a transatlantic crossing!! The talk was very good, though Heather was a bit depressed by it.

After the talk, Heather took a nap and I went to the gym. Afterwards, I woke her up and we both went to the Enclave to sit in the steam rooms and hot tub. We then had some wine and then dinner. I had chicken chili and a steak. We’re now sitting and waiting for a comedian and after we’ll probably head to bed as we have to get up early for our last port of call tomorrow morning… then it’s seven straight days at sea before arriving back in the US.

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Mediterranean MTA 2013 – Day 11 – At Sea

by on Nov.18, 2013, under General, Mediterranean Maiden Transatlantic 2013, Vacation

During the night we continued to navigate southward passing west of the Spanish Balearic Islands and through the Canal De Ibiza, a stretch of water that separates these islands from the Spanish East Coast. During the day we will continue to navigate along the East of Spain eventually altering course to starboard onto a westerly heading rounding the coastline. Late in the evening we will transit the Straits of Gibraltar, the busy stretch of water that separates Spain and the African Continent. The distance between the two continents measures less than 8NM in parts and can get very busy with ships transiting from Northern Europe, the English Channel, and the Atlantic Ocean.

Our wake-up call never came in today. The Lotus Spa called at 7:30 however to remind Heather that she had a nail appointment at 8:00. She went down there and sat for 20 minutes, but was then told that someone else named Heather took her appointment. This was not a good start to our day.

When she came back, she told me that they fit her in at 2:15, though begrudgingly so. We went to breakfast and spoke with another couple who told us that we should talk with the purser’s desk. After having some blueberry pancakes, I explained what had happened to the purser and she said that she would speak with the spa manager.

I had a haircut/facial/shave/scalp massage which was quite nice. Afterwards, I was told that the spa was going to give Heather a complimentary massage because of the mixup in the morning. She was happy about that! We got dressed up and had formal pictures taken before having duck for dinner.

We started watching Red 2 in our room before falling asleep. At midnight I awoke and saw that we were passing through the Strait of Gibraltar. I grabbed the camera and headed up to the aft top deck and filmed us passing through. There wasn’t much to see as it was the middle of the night, but it was fun to watch.

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Mediterranean MTA 2013 – Day 10 – Barcelona, Spain

by on Nov.14, 2013, under General, Mediterranean Maiden Transatlantic 2013, Vacation

Upon heaving anchor last night Royal Princess swung the bow and proceeded out of the east anchorage of Cannes. Royal Princess then set south-westerly courses passing south of islands such as Isle Hyeres and then Toulon on the mainland on our starboard side, another famous destination in the south of France. Royal Princess then crossed the Gulf of Lion towards Barcelona, eventually hugging the Spanish coastline before altering to a northerly heading and proceeding into the inbound traffic separation scheme where we embarked the local Pilot. Once all passengers and crew are onboard we will ship the gangways and proceed into the outbound traffic separation scheme and disembark the pilot as we say goodbye to our last Mediterranean Port.

We awoke fifteen minutes before our wake-up call this morning. This may be because we’ve been used to waking up at 5AM and 6AM, and today we got to sleep in until 7AM. I went out on the balcony and saw that the sun was about to rise, so I grabbed my cameras and headed up to the top deck at the rear of the ship.

I set up there and waited for a beautiful sunrise. We must have been underneath an air traffic lane as large planes flew just over our heads. It was really cool.

We had a short, four hour tour today. We boarded a bus and headed to a lookout above Barcelona and got some great views of both the city as well as the ships in the pier.

We then drove through the city being shown some of the sites of Barcelona and then stopped at Basílica de la Sagrada Família. The last time I was in Barcelona was 1994, and we tried to get to this church, but never made it. I was determined to get there this time, so I signed us up for this tour. It was breathtaking. This church was started in 1882 and still is not complete. In fact, they were working on it while we were there today! We walked through the church taking photos, and I look forward to comparing them to photos of the church the next time we visit. We then walked through the basement of this church, which has been turned into a museum. It shows how Antoni Gaudí designed the geometry of the church, before computers were invented.

We then came back onboard and had pizza and cheeseburgers. They were awesome. Heather and Mom went and had tea while I walked up onto a nearby drawbridge and filmed both our ship as well as the P&O Ventura, which is the same model as Crown Princess. Later in the day, Ventura sailed right by our stateroom, and it was quite a spectacle.

For dinner, I had tandoori chicken and lamb. We’re going to watch a movie. It’s called The Heat and is supposed to be funny.

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Mediterranean MTA 2013 – Day 9 – Cannes, France

by on Nov.13, 2013, under General, Mediterranean Maiden Transatlantic 2013, Vacation

Throughout the night we steamed on predominately westerly courses across the Ligurian Basin passing 30NM North of Corsica. In the early hours of the morning we navigated south of Monte Carlo and also 1.2NM South West of Isles De Lerins. Eventually we rounded the coast into the Golfe De La Napoule where we dropped anchor some 0.6NM south of the Cannes Harbour Breakwater in depths of around 21 Metres. We then prepared our tenders and commenced tender operations for you to explore the delights of Cannes and the South of France. In the Evening we will weigh anchor and follow south-westerly courses across the Gulf of Lion to our next port of call, Barcelona.

Today was the third day in a row that we’ve been signed up for a 9 hour tour. I said this just to convey the thought that we’re really tired! We woke up this morning at 6AM instead of 5AM because our tour left an hour later than we’re used to. It felt good to sleep in.

After breakfast, we met Mom and Dad at the Princess Theater and were then told that everything was being pushed back at least 30 minutes because the locals wouldn’t let us get off the ship yet. Luckily, this was the extent of the wait. Cannes can’t hold a ship the size of Royal Princess, so we had to tender in. I always like using the tenders, and this ship has some brand new ones that are much more stable than the old ones. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to film the trip because the shore excursion lady was in a bad mood.

We boarded a bus and headed off towards the highway. Our first stop was an unscheduled stop at a bathroom because some ladies on the bus had to use it. Dad and I took this opportunity to take pictures. I was filming the city when I noticed a ship that looked almost exactly like Pacific Princess. It was definitely the same model of ship, and it’s our favorite.

The next stop was the Casino of Monte Carlo. I’ve been here a few times prior, but only gone in once. The first time, I was just 18 years old and the age limit was 21. The second time, I came with some of my college friends while travelling through Europe. This time, they’ve turned the Casino into a museum before 2PM, when it opens for gamblers. This is the most extravagant casino in the world, and they have a martini that costs 150 euros. Luckily, they allowed us to photograph and film the entire floor, which I wasn’t allowed to do previously.

We then took our bus to “The Rock” which is where Prince Albert and his whole family live. We had lunch up there and it was amazing. It included some really great French fries, even though we technically weren’t in France!

After lunch, we visited the cathedral, which houses Princess Grace Kelly’s grave, along with all the other royal family members who have passed away. A man was sitting outside in a Bentley, but throughout the day, I saw no Rolls Royce’s, which saddened both myself and Dad.

We then headed to the Prince’s Palace and took a short guided tour. They’ve turned part of the palace into a museum of sorts and you can walk through it in about 20 minutes. Dad and I then walked to the edge of the cliff and took some photos. A group of people were having way too much fun there, so I filmed them. They were climbing all over the stacks of cannon balls and were just plain being goofy and having fun. I enjoyed it. We then walked back towards the shops where Mom and Heather were spending some time and the security cops started blowing their whistles at us. A few motorcycles turned on blue blinking lights and took off. A few seconds later, a Lexus again with blue blinking lights emerged from the Palace and drove right by us. It was Prince Albert, and he waved at us all standing there. I was very happy that I had my camera recording at the time, even though you can’t really see all that much.

We took our bus back to Cannes and boarded a tender to head back to the ship. I was able to get up on top of the tender and record a bit, but nothing that I’ll be able to speed up like I usually do for the movie.

Mom and Dad decided to have dinner on the top deck tonight, so Heather and I ate in the dining room by ourselves. After dinner, we planned on watching a movie on the TV, but I’m not sure that’s going to happen, as it is 9PM and we have another tour tomorrow morning, albeit shorter and a bit later in the morning.

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