Sunday, June 25, 2017

Ship tour continued....

As it was raining on our last morning at sea and our visit to St Paul de Vence on the southern coast of France was canceled I made use of my time wandering around the ship before the other passengers were awake, taking photos of the interiors. I might as well start with the interior of one of the many elevators.  Even though the ship is like an 18 story building, with 3 banks of elevators, there are also stairs, which passengers use for short trips, unlike in a modern office building. Carpeted stairs with artwork adorning the walls, not concrete fire wells. The ship also has fire exits you can't normally use but which are made available during the Muster Drill before sailing. This drill is to prepare you for an emergency.

Crooners is a very popular piano bar which serves cocktails and features a pianist who often sings or tells jokes. It draws a crowd each night if the entertainer is good and they usually are.

You are never far away from art on a Princess ship

 Stairwell  art

The main interior walkway on the Promenade deck, looking aft

Artwork at the Explorers Lounge where art auctions, musical and comedy performances and game shows are held

Rich polished woods frame the art by the photo gallery

Nikon cameras and binoculars can be bought, Duty Free. Go Pro cameras are also available

Next door is the Crown Grill steakhouse where we will be having dinner tonight to celebrate our last night on board.

 At the back of the ship on deck 7 is a huge room called Club Fusion where musical events including karaoke are held. It's also where our Muster Drill was held before we sailed.

There's a huge dance floor put to good use when there is a band playing

The room can seat 280 people

Art from America's "Wild West"

There's no expense spared when it comes to theater lighting and sound on Princess

The sound mixing desk

Photographs evoking a bygone era at the turn of the 20th Century

By now the clock is approaching 9 a.m and it's time for breakfast!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Thursday night and "when the rain comes..."

We have left Genoa, our last port stop in Italy. Tomorrow would be our last port stop of the cruise-anchoring off Nice, France. Saturday would find us in Barcelona, Spain where we would leave the ship for good (or in our case-not good!). If leaving a cruise ship leaves you, the cruiser sad, then just leave it in Barcelona and that will cheer you up. But I am getting ahead of myself....

As is our usual routine at night on a cruise ship we went to see a show before eating a late dinner. That's late by USA standards not European and in fact at home we often dine just around 11p.m due to work demands.

All-singing, all-dancing show to the greatest hits of the Disco era in the 1970s. The shows only last 35 minutes and are fast moving and action packed.

The cruise director, Billy Highgate, comes on afterwards to tell us what else is happening onboard that evening. As usual there will be bands playing in several bars and maybe a live quiz show featuring staff and passengers. The disco in Skywalkers lounge will run from 10 p.m until 2 a.m (but we will be sleeping!). Or you can get room service to deliver some bottles of rum or vodka to your cabin and invite a few friends around to socialize. we don't have any friends on the ship and we go to our cabin primarily to sleep.

Off to the MDR, Main Dining Room (one of three) for another relaxing dinner. I see oxtail ravioli on my plate...

Tomato soup

Caesar salad with anchovies

We are eating late-after 9 p.m so many have already dined and moved on

View from our table

One of my favorite cruise ship entrees-Beef Wellington

And the perfect ending to any meal- a dessert created by Norman Love, America's premier chocolatier. His creations are found at sea only on Princess Cruises.

Chocolate mousse with pistachio filling. Fantastic!

Kory Simon, the pianist/vocalist entertains in Crooners, the Martini lounge on deck 7. All seats are taken so we listen for a moment then walk on towards our room at the back of the ship. We are tired anyway after such a long day ashore in Cinque Terre.

I was excited to be visiting France again. We hadn't been there since 2007 when we were touring Germany by car and stayed overnight in Alsace in the quiet ancient village of Turckheim. This time we would be going ashore to explore a quaint village called St Paul de Vence, hopefully bathed in sunshine.

I woke early as always, in the dark and got my coffee in the buffet as usual but when I went out on deck it was raining. Doh! We were moving though so I hoped the ship would get out of the rain by the time we anchored off Nice.

At just before 7 a.m the Captain's voice came over the P.A system-earlier than we would expect to hear from him-and the news was not good. The weather up ahead was more of the same. Heavy rains were blanketing the area and the ship would not be stopping. All excursions were therefore canceled and refunded to us.

My spirits sank as I was so looking forward to enjoying a day in France and even worse I wouldn't be spending most of my new schedule walking the decks and enjoying the sun on the ship.

I still had a lot of ship to photograph so I made the best of the situation and took my cameras inside to the warmth and the dry and started snapping away...

The spa wasn't opened yet so many of the rooms were locked but I was able to snap the waiting rooms

The Lotus Spa leads into the massive gym, high up on the ship and with windows looking over the bow.

Spin class cycles

Back into the waiting room in the spa

changing room lockers


Steam room


Next to the spa is a wedding chapel, where religious services and meetings can be held

Each deck has an explanation of the rooms found there

Art abounds

I go down to Promenade deck 7, which is covered, to check on the weather and it is still raining. Down one more deck is the casino-Gatsby's

Cool carpet design!

We don't gamble

The casino is approximately 100,000 square feet.

This is the only indoor smoking lounge on the Emerald Princess and has bar service from one of the casino waiters. You can also buy cigars here, from a humidor. I seldom visit it as it has televisions playing sports from the USA when I'd rather have peace and quiet. It also lacks a view of the sea.

One of the ship's boutique shops

 Elevator lobby

The Piazza, the central hub of the ship spanning 3 decks

Another boutique

 and another!

The International Cafe, serving coffee, salads, pastries, desserts 24 hours a day

There's an Internet Cafe with PCs but I carry a Mac laptop

Vines Wine Bar where tapas and sushi are served if you buy a glass of wine

And an art gallery full of art I would never buy but many folks do when the paintings are brought out to auction in the Explorers Lounge.