Jay's Internet Log


CCC 2016 Day 12 – St. John’s, Antigua

by on Jan.18, 2017, under CCC 2016, General, Vacation

Last night Pacific Princess departed Martinique and altered her course to the North, towards Antigua. She passed Dominica and Guadeloupe on her Starboard side, then early this morning Montserrat on her Port side, before arrival in St. John’s on the West coast of Antigua.

When I went out on the balcony this morning, I saw what looked like Azamara Quest up ahead of us. We had a 6AM wake-up call today as our tour left at 8:15. Once we got closer to port, I saw that my assumption was correct, and we docked right across from Quest. It was very cool to have two Renaissance ships sitting right next to each other. It wasn’t long before the behemoth Celebrity Equinox came barreling in however. There was also another ship in dock today, which was on a world cruise.

We went upstairs and met Mom and Dad at the buffet, where we had our usual breakfast. Our tour began with a bus ride to an information center, where we watched a short video of the history of Antigua. Christopher Columbus discovered it in 1493, but never set foot on the island, as he was more interested in finding gold and spices, and kept on going.

We then took small trips to two lookouts, which we both very nice. Dai, one of the ship’s photographers, was on our tour and took photos of Heather and I whenever he saw us. Princess is now offering an all-inclusive photo package; something that I actually suggested after a previous cruise. They have always charged exorbitant prices for their photos, and take a lot. You might have a stack an inch or two high at the end of a cruise, but only choose a few since they cost $15 and $25 each. They’ve lowered the overall price of the individual photos, as well as offer a package for $200, where you get all the photos taken of you, as well as digital versions of them. We jumped on this, and are bringing home every photo that either of us are in, even if Mom and Dad are in them too. I don’t know what we’ll do with them all, and some of them are pretty bad, but I find the bad ones to be the funniest ones, so this should be an interesting experiment.

At one of the stops, we could see a home owned by Eric Clapton, and it was enormous and in a beautiful location. Our tour brought us to Nelson’s Dockyard, where we learned some of the history, and saw a house up on a hill that’s been closed to the public for many years. Prince Harry was here a few weeks back, and stayed in that house. We were given a coupon for rum punch, but we opted for Diet Coke instead. It was a nice, relaxing tour.

When we got back to the dock area, we had to go to a pharmacy for Dad. At this point, he was having some mobility issues, and the narrow streets of Antigua weren’t helping. We went to the pharmacy, but they only had 9 of the items, and he needed about 30, so we asked where another one was, and headed off that direction. We got about half way there, and we decided that Dad needed to rest, so I sat with him on a corner while Mom and Heather went further into town. It was extremely sketchy here, and there were no other tourists around. It took about 15 minutes for them to return, and Heather told me that it was even worse up where the pharmacy was. They got what they needed however, and we headed back to the ship.

I took a few photos of the ships in port, then we got back onboard and had lunch. I kind of wanted to take a nap, but there just happened to be a steel drum back right below our balcony window, and they played until the ships were ready to depart. Equinox ended up leaving before us, since we had a 14-person tour group come back later than planned. I got some nice video of this thing spinning around and taking off before dinner.

It was Italian night, and I had prosciutto and melon, minestrone soup, spaghetti and meatballs, and pot roast. I then took some casual photos in my Ewok shirt, and went up on the top deck for a planned stargazing event. We tried doing this in Alaska earlier in the year, but it was far too cloudy. This time, it was very clear, and after adjusting to the dark, we saw a lot of stars. It was awesome.

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CCC 2016 Day 11 – Fort de France, Martinique

by on Jan.18, 2017, under CCC 2016, General, Vacation

Overnight Pacific Princess sailed Northwest, passing between the Islands of Martinique and Saint Lucia in the early hours of the morning. She approached Fort de France Bay from the South, altering her course to port around Cape Salomon for her final approach.

I felt better in the morning, but slept until we were just about in port. A slightly larger ship was coming in right next to us named Crystal Serenity. Heather and I had sit-down breakfast.

We took our time and got off the ship around 9:30 or so, and walked up the shoreline. We stopped at some tents set up with shops in them, and I saw a small beach in the distance, so we headed that way. Once we got there, we saw a homeless Rastafarian on the rocks near the water. He didn’t speak English, and he was hungry. Heather gave him a few dollars and went on our way. Not many people here speak English, as this is a province of France.

We saw a steeple, and decided to head that way. We eventually made it to the Cathedral of St. Louis, which was being restored. We set up in a small courtyard so I could capture it on video, and Heather got yelled at in French for sitting where she wasn’t supposed to.

We kept walking down narrow streets, looking in the various fabric and clothing shops, until we found a market that the locals use. Heather got yelled at in French again for taking a photo of a woman in there.

Wherever we went, whenever I saw a restaurant or café, I would ask the proprietor if they knew where to get French Onion Soup. I asked about eight different people, but they all had the same answer, which was that it was way too hot here for soup.

Once back on board, we had some lunch with Mom and Dad, who had gone to a really nice botanical garden, and then watched the Tim Burton movie Miss Peregrine’s House for Peculiar Children.

Dinner was somewhat of a mess because the cruise director decided to change the order of the shows, so people started getting up and going to the show mid-dinner. Dad and I skipped out on dessert to go get a seat as well, only to find the theater almost empty. We saw Kieran Powell, a ventriloquist, who we’ve see before on another voyage. He had a small cough, which he had before as well.

After that, Heather and I got some photos taken that are sure to come out pretty bad, since we weren’t really ready for them, and then we walked around the track a few times, and went to bed.

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CCC 2016 Day 10 – Bridgetown, Barbados

by on Jan.18, 2017, under CCC 2016, General, Vacation

On departure from Scarborough, Pacific Princess altered course to port and sailed Northeast along the Barbados ridge, towards Bridgetown. Bridgetown, the capital city, lies on the Southwestern corner of Barbados. This evening after departure, Pacific Princess will sail Northwest towards the Island of Martinique.

As soon as I fell asleep last night, Heather had the balcony door open because it was raining very hard outside. This was some crazy weather we just had, and this small ship was moving all over the place.

This morning, it was much calmer as we approached Barbados; my first time here. Once we docked, I took a shower, and when I got out, another ship (Oceana Riviera) had docked. This prompted me to set up the video camera in hopes of more ships arriving, and they sure did. First, I saw Holland America Prinsendam come around the corner, which is another small ship like this one. It was beautiful, and they had even hand-painted “Merry Christmas and Happy New Year” on the hull. I called over to Mom and Dad’s room, as they are on the other side of the ship and could see the other ships approaching. Dad said that he saw a large one coming in, and sure enough, Carnival Fascination arrived a few minutes later.

Our tour didn’t start until 10AM today, so Heather and I had sit-down breakfast. I had fruit, pancakes, a hash brown, and of course bacon. It was perfectly cooked as well. Heather had an eggbeater omelet.

We got off the ship around 9:15 and took a short bus ride to the cruise terminal, since we were so far away. We boarded our tour bus and headed off towards Harrison’s Cave, about thirty minutes away. As we departed, I noticed yet another ship entering the harbor. It was Royal Caribbean Grandeur of the Seas.

We had a nice trip over to the cave, took an elevator down about three stories, watched a short video, and then entered an electric tram which took us underground. Our tour guide was Rastafarian, and he was awesome. I recorded most of the trip, and hopefully it came out okay, but it was very dark. At one point, our tour guide had us turn off all cameras and phones, and close our eyes. When we opened them, he had all the lights off, and we couldn’t see anything, even our hands in front of our faces. It was completely dark, and a bit terrifying! He told us a story about how the men first exploring the cave got stuck in there in the pitch black for 17 hours when their batteries died.

Dad and I came back to the ship while Mom and Heather shopped for a bit. They met us up in the buffet. We all had burgers. I then took a nap, and have no idea what everyone else did. Heather woke me up and said that the ship was leaving, so I ran up to the top deck to see us not moving at all. I set up the camera and hung out while two tugboats took us out.

For dinner, I had prime rib and duck breast. Heather and Mom had fajitas, and Dad had chicken. We’re now sitting in the theater for another production show. Tonight is Cinematastic, and they’ll be singing and dancing movie songs. I’m not feeling 100%, so I think I’ll go to bed afterwards. I’m glad that we cancelled our 4×4 adventure tomorrow, as tomorrow is a bit up in the air for me. Mom and Dad are going to go to a botanical garden.

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CCC 2016 Day 9 – Scarborough, Tobago

by on Jan.18, 2017, under CCC 2016, General, Vacation

In the early hours of the morning Pacific Princess passed Crown Point, the Southwestern-most point of Tobago, before altering her course to port to approach the port of Scarborough. Passages into Scarborough are assisted by the installation of leading lights on the shore, which help ships follow the correct track into port.

This is our second time to Tobago. We’re not super excited about this island, but it’s fine.  The last time we were here, Heather got a weird negative vibe about it and thought there was black magic happening here. After being in the heart of this island, some of this makes sense.  There’s definitely some sort of strangeness in the air here.

Last night, I woke up to the sound of something scraping back and forth outside on our balcony. This is how horror movies start. I opened the door about a foot, and the wind was so strong and it started pulling me out. The culprit was our small table, and I moved the table and both chairs to the center of the area. The sea was very rough.

This morning, I went out on the balcony to see Tobago getting closer. A few minutes later, I saw the same pilot boat that helped us out the last time we were here; Superstition. Aww yeah. I filmed the boat for a few, and then went up to have some fruit and bacon at the buffet.  After breakfast, Heather lathered me in suntan lotion.  One of the ship’s photographers was down below on the pier, and took a photo of us from down below.

Our tour today consisted of a twenty minute bus ride with one person who had to cough all over everybody, followed by a two hour glass-bottom boat ride. We stopped a few places to snorkel and swim. I wanted to take the underwater camera underneath the boat and have Dad record me from through the glass. This never happened as when I got in the water, it was only about 2 feet deep, and the current was so strong that it carried the boat all over the place. It just wasn’t safe. We then returned to the ship and showered. I think I still have some suntan lotion on me.

Mom, Heather, and I went to watch the movie Jason Bourne in the theater, while Dad rested. Mom and Heather lasted about 45 minutes before they also went to rest. I stuck around for the whole movie, though I could have also used the rest.

It was formal night tonight, so Heather and I got a few photos taken, and we cancelled a tour for a few days from now. Instead, we are just going to walk around the port area. For dinner, I had beef tenderloin and duckling.

We’re now sitting in the theater awaiting another performance by the amazing guitarist Duncan Tuck. The ship is moving like we’re going through a large storm, and it’s raining hard out. Tonight will be awesome.

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CCC 2016 Day 8 – Bequia

by on Jan.18, 2017, under CCC 2016, General, Vacation

The small island of Bequia is the second tender port of the cruise of Pacific Princess. The small island is only 5 miles long and lies on the same stretch of islands as Basseterre, the Lesser Antilles.

This navigator really likes talking about Basseterre, but I digress. The Christmas show last night was spectacular, and Thien Fu even asked me to come up on stage and juggle with him. I did it perfectly too, somehow. The dancers put on a little show a la The Rockettes, and did it very well.

This morning, I woke up to a calm sea, as we approached Bequia (pronounced Beh-qway). I saw a few small islands that reminded me of Devil’s Island. There was a small shipwreck between a few of them. Heather and I met up with Mom and Dad out on the back deck and had some breakfast. All of a sudden, it started raining on me, so we inched our chairs in under the overhang. The rain lasted all of about 2 minutes, and then an amazing double rainbow developed. I ran back to the room to get my camera, and by the time I got back up, half of the rainbow was gone, but I still got a few good shots.

We boarded a tender and took a nice, calm ride into town. There’s not much here, and the streets have little sewers running alongside them, so if you’re not careful, you will fall about 1-2 feet down into them. Luckily, none of us fell in them.

Heather bought a small necklace charm, and we walked down to a small beach and I captured some video. The ship was anchored out a bit and kept moving back and forth on the anchor. It was fun to watch.

We eventually came back and I had some spaghetti and meatballs for lunch. Heather is now resting, and we are going to go see the movie Florence Foster Jenkins in about an hour.

The movie was pretty good. Simon Helberg was great in it. Once it was over, Heather and I went back to the room, where Heather fell asleep. I was about to head up to the top deck to record the departure when an incredibly strong rain storm flew in. It’s tough to describe, but the rain was making waves over the normal sea’s waves. It only lasted about 4 minutes, and then I went upstairs.

I set up the camera and spoke with a few of the crew who were up there taking photos. At one point, a gust of wind came in and blew the camera over. I’ll have to cut those few seconds out of it, and I hope it works.

For dinner, I had more spaghetti, but this time it was spaghetti carbonara. I also had the chicken meal that’s on the menu every night, as nothing really caught my eye.

We’re now waiting for a show by Bobby Brooks Wilson, who is Jackie Wilson’s son, and this show was nominated for 4 Grammy awards back in 2014. I’m still waiting to hear if I can record it, and if I can, the camera is here at my feet.

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CCC 2016 Day 7 – At Sea (Christmas Day)

by on Jan.16, 2017, under CCC 2016, General, Vacation

Pacific Princess will spend Christmas day sailing south across the Grenada Basin towards her next port of call, Bequia. Bequia lies approximately 270 nautical miles south-southeast of Basseterre.

When I naturally woke up right before the sun was coming up, I wanted to go outside and film the sunrise, but instead I went back to sleep, as today was an At Sea day, as well as Christmas Day.

Heather and I had breakfast up in the buffet, where it appeared as though the ship was out of pineapple. A waiter found a few pieces for me, which was very nice. Mom and Dad had a few small gifts for us, and then we rested some more.

We had burgers for lunch, and went to the jewelry store raffle, where out of three prizes, Dad and I won two of them! The prizes weren’t all that much, but it was nice to win. Afterwards, Heather and I went for a swim; a first for Christmas Day!

Dinner consisted of Vermont Turkey while the wait staff sang Christmas carols. They even made Christmas cookies. We are now sitting in the Princess Theater awaiting a Christmas variety show, which should be quite good.

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CCC 2016 Day 6 – Basseterre, St. Kitts

by on Jan.16, 2017, under CCC 2016, General, Vacation

Basseterre lies 130 nautical miles southeast of Cruz Bay, on the Island of St. Kitts. During the night, Pacific Princess sailed towards Saba Island, before altering to the south to pass west of St. Eustatius Island, and making her approach to Basseterre.

I got up in the middle of the night to see either Royal or Regal Princess sailing right next to us. I was too tired to photograph it, figuring that they would be in St. Kitts with us. They weren’t, so the whole thing could have been a dream.

There was a Viking Ocean ship in the standard port, so we docked at the industrial port. It’s not very glamorous, but it gets the job done. I went upstairs and saw Mom and Dad eating breakfast, as they had a tour a whole hour before us, and then I watched as our ship was secured along the dock.

We were here many years ago, and we took a train ride around the island. It was very nice, and we almost signed up for it again, as it’s Christmas Eve, and something about taking a train interested me. In the end, we decided to check out Nevis, which is an island very close to St. Kitts. Mom and Dad took a cruise over there followed by an island tour via van, and Heather and I took a catamaran over, stopping to snorkel on the way. We’ve taken these types of trips before, and they have always ended up with me being very drunk on “rum punch”. I decided beforehand to not touch it this time, since I have no tolerance for alcohol, and I wanted to sing Christmas Carols later on.

We stopped at the snorkel site, which has a nice shipwreck. We swam out to it and saw some amazing fish. It truly was a great snorkeling experience, albeit short in time. We then crossed the channel towards Nevis, which was a bit rough, but fun on the front netting of the catamaran. Heather kept dousing me in either suntan lotion or bug spray.

When we got to Nevis, the boat dropped us off in about waist-deep water on a beach, for almost two hours. We didn’t really need 2 hours here, as the beach wasn’t nearly as exciting as the snorkeling. As we walked around the beach, we saw some other Princess tour numbers walking around, and learned that Mom and Dad might be at the same beach. We walked over to a little bar area, barefoot through some broken bottles, and saw Dad sitting in there. They were also stuck at this beach. We all went down to the water and sat there. Mom and Heather swam, and Heather ended up finding a huge starfish. Someone else found a lobster, and we all had fun taking pictures of them.

Once our boat came to pick us up, the “captain” told us that instead of taking us back to the ship where we were picked up, he was going to drop us off at the other pier then we could wait for 30 minutes and take a bus back to the ship. This would have gotten us back right at 4:30PM which was the very end-time for us to be back onboard. I’ve never had a Princess tour where we were told to take public transportation back to the ship. Another one of the “crew” told Heather that the sea was too rough to get back in there, but I didn’t trust any of these guys. They told us that they were on no sleep because they had been partying all night for their version of Carnavale. They were also much more concerned with their cell phones than they were for us.

A large Costa ship had come into the main port.  We passed our ship and were very close to being let off very far away from it, when I saw the boat Mom and Dad were on leaving the dock near our ship. I mentioned this to the “captain” and he flung his hands in the air, asked “do you really want to go back there?” and spun the wheel around. In the end, he was making up the whole thing, and it would have cost us about an hour. Princess had no idea of this change either. Anyways, we were glad to be back onboard our ship.

For dinner, I had some braised beef, which tasted like pot roast, and half a chicken. We then joined the crew for some Christmas caroling, which was a real lot of fun. We had our pictures taken with Santa, and the whole ship joined in the fun. I’ve been very impressed with how this ship is celebrating Christmas, which I think I’ve mentioned before.

Mom, Heather, and I went to see an amazing guitarist named Duncan Tuck, who won the Gong Show back in the 70’s. Tomorrow is Christmas Day, and the first time that I’ve not been in Connecticut for the greatest of holidays. The important part however, is that I’m with family, and being in the Caribbean isn’t ALL that bad!

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CCC 2016 Day 5 – Cruz Bay, St. John

by on Jan.16, 2017, under CCC 2016, General, Vacation

At around 5:00AM this morning Pacific Princess passed Virgin Passage, between the islands of Culebra and St. Thomas before altering her course to port and approaching Cruz Bay from the south. She passed Dog Island on her port side before arriving at her anchorage position in Pillsbury Sound.

We had no tour today. This is Heather and my first time in St. John, though Mom and Dad have been here before. This is a tender port, which I always like. The weather was spectacular.

We tendered in and walked up the street one way and around a few shops. There was a lot of standing water, but Heather had doused me in deet, so hopefully we didn’t get bitten by any mosquitos. After shopping for about a half hour, we decided to go the other way on the street in order to find a pharmacy, as Dad needed some Hydrogen Peroxide for a cut. Heather decided to go back to the ship as her back hurt from the extreme gingerbread house making yesterday. Mom also hurt her back from this, probably from bending over making the house.

Mom, Dad, and I walked up one street to a rotary, and we then had to choose from five different directions. Some locals pointed us in the right direction, but this was no easy walk. We finally got to the pharmacy, bought some things, and headed back. Nobody fell, which was awesome; also the goal.

Back on the ship, Heather was resting, but got up to watch The Legend of Tarzan in the Princess Theater. We had just watched this movie a few weeks back, but Mom and Dad had not seen it yet. Dad wasn’t a fan, though I enjoyed the movie.

For dinner, I had a cowboy steak, which is a sirloin steak with barbecue sauce and crispy onions on top, along with carrots and small potatoes. Heather and I lost the photography raffle, then watched a comedian named Thien Fu. He joked that he has a brother named Kung. He juggled a lot, and made us laugh.

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CCC 2016 Day 4 – At Sea

by on Jan.16, 2017, under CCC 2016, General, Vacation

Today Pacific Princess continues on her southeasterly heading towards Cruz Bay. Early this morning she passed the Turks and Caicos Islands on her starboard side, at a distance of 40 nautical miles. Tonight she will approach the north coast of Puerto Rico as she sails towards her first port of call Cruz Bay.

SWEAT UPDATE: I learned that an elderly woman had been staying in our room for a full three months prior to this trip, so I know whose sweat I was sleeping in the other night. Thankfully, after a full replacement of everything except the mattress, I think we’re good. I was told that the US Coast Guard inspection threw everything off.

This morning, we went upstairs and met with Mom and Dad who were finishing their breakfast. I then went to my hair appointment, which was nice, and I think my hair is shorter than it’s ever been.

I had lunch with Dad up on the back deck while Mom and Heather entered in a Gingerbread House competition. I’m so glad that the ship is embracing Christmas as much as it is. I wasn’t sure if they would or not, but we have multiple Christmas trees all over the ship, along with Christmas songs playing on all ambiance speakers. The staff are all wearing Santa hats at times too, along with Christmas lights, and funny antlers.

After lunch, Heather had a hair appointment, and I went to a complimentary wine tasting. It was nice. I took a few laps around the track while Heather napped, then we got ready for dinner. It’s formal night tonight, and of course, our air conditioner had an issue, so getting ready was quite interesting.

For dinner, I had leg of lamb, a salad, and French Onion Soup! We’re now sitting in the lounge waiting for the show tonight. Tomorrow we have our first stop of the trip, and we’ll be in St. John, which is a first for me. We have no tour planned, so we’ll just walk around, hopefully on a beach.

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CCC 2016 Day 3 – At Sea

by on Jan.16, 2017, under CCC 2016, General, Vacation

Today at sea, Pacific Princess will sail southeast along the Eastern edge of the Caribbean Sea. This afternoon at approximately 1300, she will pass San Salvador Island on her port side. San Salvador is believed to have been the first land sighted and visited by Christopher Columbus on his first exhibition to the new world in 1492.

Well, this is a first, and please don’t be eating while reading this first paragraph. I fell asleep wonderfully last night as this ship was moving around quite a bit, and still is as I write this. I awoke sometime in the night drenched in sweat. It wasn’t my sweat, and it wasn’t Heather’s. My pillow, sheets, and comforter all smelled this way. Earlier in the day, we had asked for an additional comforter and some pillows for Heather, and hers did not smell. I was so tired that I put a towel down and fell back asleep, randomly switching out pillows when the smell woke me up.

This morning, I told our room steward about the issue, and was able to get the whole bed except the mattresses replaced. Hopefully tonight will be better. We awoke and went up to the pool. It was 77 degrees, which was a tad cold for me, but I went in for about 10 minutes before retreating to the hot tub. We had sit-down breakfast, and then went to a port lecture.

At lunch, we sat with a random group of passengers, and told them of our night. Two of them happened to be Princess employees, and urged us to tell the head of housekeeping. Two others had friends on the ship for the past six weeks, and told us that many passengers had fallen ill. This was the straw that broke the Camel’s back for Heather, and she went to talk to the passenger services desk while I came up to write.

UPDATE: Heather is back and we were told that no sick people were in our room. The head of housekeeping wants to speak with me, so that should be a fun conversation that I didn’t want to have.

This afternoon, we are going to go to the scavenger hunt drawing that we missed on our last cruise. After that, I might take a nap in our new bed before dinner. We are planning on going to see the comedian from last night, Steven Scott, who made me laugh a bunch of times. Tomorrow is another full day at sea, and I’m getting my now-normal haircut and shave. I sure need it!

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