Hawaiian Cruise: First Day On Board & 10 Sea Days

I’ve tried to wrap my brain around the very best way to describe this Princess cruise for all of you wonderful folks out there and I think I’ve come up with a way to do so without confusing you too much and not getting bogged down with every little detail.  This cruise was a long one and we had 10 sea days on our Itinerary, 5 days while in transit to the Islands and 5 days after visiting the Islands while cruising back to Vancouver.  I *was* going to write one post per sea day for you, but, I decided against doing that for fear that it might get a little tedious for all of us.  So moving forward my blog posts will go as follows:

  • First, in this entry, I’ll cover the first day on board and all “At Sea” Days
  • Next, I’ll write blog posts for each Island (4 separate posts)
  • Then, I’ll write a “Ship Tour” entry
  • And finally, I’ll write one last blog giving my all-over impressions of this cruise

Once again, here was our Itinerary:

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So let’s get started with our very first day on board.  Embarkation, as with every cruise we’ve ever done through Princess went off without a hitch, they truly do run like a well-oiled machine and they are quite efficient.  The first things that you are handed as you step up to your Princess Representative in the embarkation center (usually a large cruise terminal) is your room card and a little map of the ship (folded up to be the same size as your cruise card):

Here is my room card, as you can see, I have a sticker on my card, that simply tells the waiters that I purchased a “Soda & More” package which includes unlimited fountain soft drinks, plus mocktails, juices, and complimentary hot chocolate throughout your cruise. It also includes milkshakes and specialty ice cream at the ice cream shoppe on board.

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I will usually carry my cruise card in my pocket or dare I say stuck down in my bra (which doesn’t look too attractive or appropriate when pulling it out to show it to your waiter <yikes>!!!) 😉  SO, this time, I purchased a blingy lanyard on board and the cashier punched a hole in my card and I was good to go.

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Here are some pictures of that spiffy little map:

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Okie dokie, so we were ready to go and find our Mini-Suite and to get started with our cruise. Here is a link to a video I created, it is a pretty detailed stateroom tour showing you every aspect of the Mini-Suite aboard the Star Princess.

We had made some purchases via our “Cruise Personalizer” on Princess.com months ago, so these little cards were waiting for us on the bed when we entered our Stateroom:

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As you can see, these cards specifically indicated that we had purchased the “Unlimited Soda & More” package and an “Internet Cafe” package.  Obviously, my soda and more package had been taken care of already with my cruise card, but, when we got to our room, this nice cup was there waiting for me as well:

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We needed to carry the Internet card to the Internet Cafe and we worked with a Princess fella to set up our onboard account and we got a little education on how the internet worked.  NOTE:  IF any of you ever get an Internet package, when you are finished browsing, never forget to “Logout” (!!!), because if you do forget, your minutes will tick right away while you are out and about enjoying dinner, dancing and whatever else suits your fancy. 🙂  I cannot stress how important it is to make sure you have logged out.

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Here is a little tip for you, as you can see in the picture above, it instructs you to go to “logout.com” in your browser bar.  Well, I would do that, but, there were times where it did not tell me that I was logged out, in those instances I went back to the screen below and hit the logout button at which time my remaining minutes would appear which gave me the assurance that I was indeed logged out.

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All that said, the Internet is not too awful slow, there were times that I couldn’t log on, but  honestly that very seldom happened.  I actually managed to upload some pictures to my personal Facebook page every day, I was pretty happy about that.

Okay, moving on through our first day–Next was our Muster Drill–A bit of business that has to be completed before the ship can pull away from the dock.  Your muster drill “Station” is stamped on your cruise card…

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And you can always find where you are to go on the back of your Stateroom’s door:

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A little info about the Muster Drill for you.  First, on every single Princess cruise that we’ve been on the Muster Drill has always taken place inside…no lining up on outside decks.  All of the Muster Stations are located on Deck 7-The Promenade deck (where the lifeboats are hung from) and all stations are located in and around the restaurants/bars/venues on that deck.  On your first Princess Patter that should be either on your bed or in your little mailbox outside your stateroom door when you arrive will tell you what time the drill will be happening…it is mandatory that you go to this drill, so set your watch.  My suggestion is that you start heading to your particular muster station no less than 30 minutes before it is set to begin (take a crossword puzzle book to work or book to read).  This way, you’ll be assured to get a seat—AND—don’t forget to take your life jacket which can be found on the closet shelf, you must have it with you and demonstrate that you can put it on correctly. Your cruise card will be scanned while at the drill so that they can be assured that you’ve participated. 🙂

(Of course, this is the one time that I didn’t have my handy-dandy camera around my neck, so I have NO pictures to share with you of the drill itself…erg to me eh?!!)

Okay, NOW that that business is ALL over, you can start to enjoy your cruise.  I always want to get unpacked and of course we want to eat..haha…So that is how I finished out our first day, I unpacked and put everything in its place (you can see all of the “Must Haves” that I spread about our room here at this link).  And then we hit the buffet for dinner.

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Bye bye Vancouver…see ya in 15 days! 🙂

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Here is a little video that I have loaded on my You Tube travel Channel (Arlynn’s Travels) of our sail away–just going under the Lion’s Gate Bridge:

SEA DAYS (10 in all):

As you can see by all of the information that I just imparted, I can tend to get bogged down in the details.  I’m thinking y’all don’t need to see every single thing that we did on every single sea day on our cruise, so I am just going to try to give you the ‘feeling’ of some of the things that we did…

First, I’ll start by showing you my Sea Day outfits as that has been a huge request from some of you lovely ladies out there. 🙂  Again, I am NO fashionista, and I am admittedly a plus-sized girl, BUT, I do love to try to look nice and stylish.  I am one of those people who really tries to adhere to the “smart casual” dress code onboard.  There are times when a bathing suit is worn to and from the pool and such and of course that is fine, but, you will rarely see me in inappropriate attire in any of the eating venues.  As well, the hubby and I do not participate in formal nights, but, we will usually do one of the specialty restaurants on those evenings and yes, we do dress a little nicer than “smart casual” no matter the evening we go to those venues.  SO anyway, here is my “AT SEA” wardrobe.

The first 5 days as we traveled to the Hawaiian Islands

As you will see, I dressed warmly for the first 3 day as it was *quite* chilly, and then my outfits started to ‘lighten up’ as we neared the more tropical climate:

And here are the 5 outfits that I wore after we departed the Hawaiian Islands, as you can see, I started out very tropical and then moved back into the warmer outfits with scarves to pretty up those plain shirts, ending the cruise how I began it in that pretty little coral jacket (I just love that jacket!!):

Okie dokie…I’ll now try to give you a little sampling of some of the things that we did on Sea Days while on board.  As I mentioned in my first blog in this Hawaiian Cruise series “Hawaii: Packing, Dinner with Dear Friends, and Embarkation”, we were a bit skeptical seeing all of those sea days looming ahead of us.  We’d only done Alaskan cruises before this cruise and there is literally only one ‘at sea’ day on the Southbound Voyage of the Glaciers cruise (btw, I’ve done an entire series of blog post describing that Alaskan cruise. Here is a link to the first entry and there are links at the end of each one that will take you to the next post/day).   Honestly though, we did okay with all of those sea days.The first thing I’ll show you is the Princess Patter for one of the sea days:

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The sea days were all similar in nature, of course some things would change as the days passed, i.e. the entertainment for the day, or the movie playing on the big screen on deck, or the dress code among other things.  They also offered Hawaiian themed seminars with the Naturalist on board Sherry:

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And they have a married couple Brian and Rowena who host different classes, i.e. ukulele at sea class, or a lei making class (I tried to get into that one, but honestly, it was a MAD house, so I figured it would just stress me out and I have every confidence that being a crafter, if I want to make a lei at some point that I can certainly do so without instruction). Brian & Rowena are very talented though, along with teaching the classes, they would perform in the Piazza at times as well:

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We had ice cream almost every day… DSCN0649

Yes, the first few days at sea were very chilly…

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And a couple of them were quite wavy and rough…fun times for us though as we don’t suffer from seasickness…thank goodness. 🙂

We still managed to make it to the buffet though…Several times. 😉

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We also went to the Portifino Dining Room (for Anytime diners) for breakfast…Honestly, they never had anything on the menu for dinner that met our fancy—Don’t judge please, I’ve heard others rave about the food, and I’m sure it is very good, if it is something that you like to begin with. 🙂  As a whole the food on board any Princess ship is very, very good.

Definition of “Anytime Dining” is as follows…Pulled straight from Princess.com:

“Anytime Dining allows you the freedom to eat with whomever you wish, and whenever you like – just as you would at a fine restaurant – between 5:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. You can have a table for two one evening and join a group for a festive meal the next. The choice is yours”.

Here was the breakfast menu in the Portifino which is one of the Main Dining Rooms set aside for Anytime Dining:

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And here was my breakfast one morning:

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There was always duty-free shopping to do onboard, here is an example of the flyer that would come with the Patter each day:

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Here is a smattering of just some of the things that I purchased while onboard:

More ice-cream you say? Yes please!!

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How about a milkshake (‘free’ for me because of my Soda and More package) YUM!!:

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We enjoyed some absolutely gorgeous sunrises and sunsets…

I got my fingernails done…

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We watched an ice carving demonstration. 🙂

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We enjoyed walking around the gorgeous Star Princess…Here I am sitting on the side of the aft pool:

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And here is one shot of the Piazza:

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And, we relaxed:

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Last but not least, our Stateroom Steward “Bobby” went above and beyond for us on this cruise.  He was absolutely excellent! I was so surprised when we arrived back in our Stateroom after dinner on our 1st sea day heading back to Vancouver, Bobby had taken the time to make us this:

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Bobby probably heard me squealing after I entered the room and saw this little fellow.  I ran to find Bobby and I thanked him profusely–This was the very first towel animal that we’ve ever received on any Princess cruise…I was over the moon…It’s the little things you know?!!

As each day passed, Bobby kept getting more and more creative with his towel creations…Here are some of the others that he made for us as we sailed back to Vancouver. 🙂

And, yes, as is Princess’ practice, we still got our chocolates every evening:

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We also went to see the comedian on board “Steve White”, watched a couple of movies, among many other little things at different venues.  Sea Days aren’t so bad after all!!! 😉

Hilo, Hawaii was our first Port of Call, so that is what I’ll tell you about in my next entry.  Here is a sneak peek and link:

Hawaiian Cruise: Hilo – Waterfalls & More

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Until next time, y’all take good care! ❤

~Arlynn ❤