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Aboard the Crown Princess – Day 1


This was written in The Bahamas at 24 35.9107′ N, 76 02.5875′ W

The first day aboard my first cruise has come and gone. Somethings surprised me and some totally met my expectations.

  • The moment people get on board the ship they enter into vacation mode. Just walking around after I put my bags away, I saw the pool area already full and guys were already half way through a bucket of beer bottles. There is no need to wait for the ship to pull away. I sat next to one guy in a bar who wanted to try all 52 martinis on the menu before the cruise was over.
  • I’d say at least half of the people on the cruise are of retirement age. The rest is a mix. I saw one guy during the mandatory fire drill which took place before we left, who said he was 89 years old. This part pretty much met my expectations.
  • I sort of assumed I’d be eating at buffets most of the time which sort of scared me. I enjoy a buffet as much as the next guy, but eating them all the time didn’t appeal to me. The first dining area I found walking around the ship was the buffet which had the smell of buffet in the air. Thankfully, the dinner I had was at a sit down restaurant and was actually pretty good meal. I think I can totally avoid the buffet while I’m here. In fact, given that you can eat for free anywhere, I don’t get why you even need to have a buffet on the ship. The whole ship is a buffet.
  • This cruise is sponsored by Princess Cruise lines and is their attempt at reaching out to the social media world. I’ve never felt so much like a rock star. In reality, at least the check in procedure was the same as what you’d get if you were a member of their “frequent cruiser” program.
  • The staff-to-passenger ratio seems high. The restaurant was crawling with staff. They seem to be everywhere. It is also extremely international. Since I got on board I’ve been keeping a list on my iPhone of the home countries where the crew members I’ve met live:
    • Philippines
    • India
    • Mexico
    • Ukraine
    • Macedonia
    • Germany
    • Scotland
    • England
    • Portugal
    • Serbia
    • Hungary
    • Romania
    • Thailand
    • Italy
    • Turkey

    I suspect that list will grow over the next few days.

  • The ship moves and the fact that you are on a moving vessel is obvious, but it is not enough to make you sick….at least not me. I get motion sickness very easy. I puked on a boat in the Great Barrier Reef and another in the Red Sea. So far nothing here. The ship is just too big.
  • Speaking of big, I’ve never even been on a boat close to this size. It is enormous. You can easily get lost on it.
  • Today the boat stops at Princess’s private island in the Bahamas. The agenda today is just sitting on the beach, which is something I usually don’t do very well.

    • 10 Comments... What's your take?

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    Comments

    1. Jane says:

      Princess Cays is not ‘Princess’ Private Island’… It is a piece of beach on the Island of Eleuthera that Princess lease.

      The Island is actually very big although you would never know it… Princess like to keep you on a 1km x 1km patch purchasing booze (understandable).

    2. Chris says:

      Gary, I’ve been on two cruises and I’ve found one of the most interesting things to do is meet the crewmembers from around the world. Southeast Asia and Eastern Europe always seem to be heavily represented. Most of them are saving money and gaining experience in the hospitality industry so they can open a tourism-related business of their own in their home country.

    3. bettina says:

      I hope one day I am able to do cruise. I look forward to read more about your cruise experience. Have fun,

    4. Dominique says:

      Like Sheila, I wonder what there is to -do- on a cruise…that is if you’re not a gambler, don’t want to drink all day, don’t want to eat all day, or aren’t a big beach person.
      I love to crawl around small towns, historic sites, museums…take in some local music, maybe hang out in a local coffeehouse or pub. I’m the person who spend hours in a waterfront park and end up writing a whole blog post about a lift bridge in Ohio just because I think it looks so cool and has a great story behind it :lol:
      It will be especially interesting to hear your take on the cruise as it progresses.

    5. ChinaMatt says:

      That sounds like my cruise to Alaska a few years ago (think that might’ve been with Princess Cruise too). There was one night with some pretty big waves–it was definitely noticeable.

      Get in good with the waitstaff for dinner and you may be able to ask for some special meals toward the end of the trip.

    6. Marc says:

      Great post, Gary! I love hearing what experienced travelers have to say when they try cruising for the first time.

      As you pointed out, most passengers aboard a cruise ship are vacationers, with a totally different mindset.
      When combined with the diverse international crew in such a surreal environment, it turns the ships into fascinating destinations in themselves! (IMHO)

      Can’t wait to hear more of your insights…

    7. Thanks for your insights!

      I’m looking forward to your impressions from the “private island” stop, which has always struck me as pretentious silliness, as though thousands of people disgorged on a sandspit to drink and lay around was somehow impressive in its “exclusivity.”

      Yeah, what DO you do when there are no locals to meet, no town, no culture? Can’t wait to hear. :)

    8. Edge says:

      I want to travel the world on my motorcycle.

    9. Elliott Ng says:

      Have fun! Sounds like a lot of bloggers are on the cruise. Make a list of the people you meet!

    10. Dave says:

      Time to work on that tan!

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    About Gary Arndt

    My name is Gary Arndt. In March 2007 I set out to travel around the world...
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