Monday, April 23, 2007

Panama Cruise, Day 5: Day At Sea

Today flew by. I spent most of the day curled up with one of the books I picked up for the cruise: “Sammy’s Hill”, by Kristin Gore. I was looking for a light-hearted, easy fiction read, but I admit that I bought it strictly based on the cover. It’s somewhat of a chick book, but it is a laugh-out-loud book and I am drawn into the storyline, so it’s exactly what I wanted for an 18 day cruise. I knew it was good when later in the day, when I drifted off for a nap I had a dream about where I last left off before I put the book down.

I resisted the temptation to participate in the “Pool Olympics” or “Water Volleyball”, but the “Sushi Making Demonstration” and “Caribbean Sushi Lunch” caught my attention. I figured it had to be better than the line dancing or trivia challenge.
On Board Art Galleries
I also spent more time exploring the Princess Art Collection on board. I learned that Princess has invested millions of dollars procuring original contemporary artwork. Works by well known artists such as Peter Layton, Sam Terry, Pierre Montant, John Alexander, John Perry and Deborah Brown are on display throughout the ship. Here are a few other pieces I saw today:

After dinner we went to the Wheelhouse Bar to relax over a glass of wine. They had a great jazz band playing, which made me happy. I cheerfully chatted with an English couple who seemed quite pleased to have someone else to share a drink with. They must have been quite well off, as they proceeded to share stories about all the worldwide cruises they have enjoyed. Conveniently, we found the collection of cruises and took the opportunity to review them all. As the wine took its effect on me, I was convinced that we needed to book another cruise before we left this one. I mentioned the 102 day cruise around the world to John I wasn't sure what he thought. I'm sure his coughing fit was due to the drink he was enjoying.

The Service & Food
I’ve received several e-mails from people interested in my opinions of Princess. I have really been impressed by the ship’s crew; they are readily available, attentive to the little details, and always smiling. This is only my second cruise, but I would definitely go on another Princess Cruise somewhere. Photo Left: Vladimir has been quite attentive to us throughout the cruise.

The food has been delicious, with great variety and good quality. For example, here are some of the entrees on recent dinner menus: Rack of Lamb, Beef Filet, Veal Medallions, Pork Loin, Cornish Hen, Lobster, Frog’s Legs, Salmon, Ahi Tuna, and a great variety of pasta dishes. The deserts are always delicious and sometimes exotic. Sometimes I order things not on the menu, or ask to have a menu item prepared differently and they are always happy to oblige. Here are some deserts I enjoyed last night:

I mainly have all of my meals in the full service dining room, mainly because: I like being served, prefer dining on linens & china, and enjoy fine wines with my meals. The buffets are good for a quick meal, and the selection of food is very good. In the dining room I routinely order a main entrée from the menu, plus a few “appetizer size” portions of other entrée items to try them out. It boils down to your personal preferences, but I think most people hit the buffet because it’s casual. There is also a pizzeria, a steakhouse, and a great BBQ grill place by one of the pools, when you want something different.

Tomorrow we arrive at the Panama Canal, and begin our day-long journey passing through. I can hardly wait.
-Rick Rockhill
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