Monday, April 13, 2009

dateline: ocho rios, jamaica

Yesterday morning, I woke up early to the knock of room service. Breakfast was cereal and coffee and croissants. I love breakfast on the balcony early in the morning. I think that is the second best thing about having a balcony cabin. The best thing is falling asleep with the balcony door open in order to hear the sound of the waves against the side of the ship.

After I ate, I went upstairs to the Lotus Spa for my first spa treatment - the Total Asian Ritual. What a hokey name!!! First, there was a wonderful massage. Zuzette was very competent. First she asked me what areas I wanted her to concentrate on. I told her shoulders and feet and she did exactly that, although she did give a full body massage. She was quiet while she worked, which I greatly appreciated! I do not like chatty massage therapists. After the massage came the facial, which was good. I have a facial each month at home and this made me miss my very capable Roz back at Gould's in Collierville, TN. But it was okay. Then followed a 10 minute sales speech, which I'm sure Zuzette hated giving almost as much as I hated hearing!!! I didn't buy anything. But I did laugh to remember the time that Jane came back from a spa treatment on a previous trip dragging a gigantic bag full of products that she was unable to say "no" to. I will never forget that sight!

After the spa treatment, I returned to the room to collect Mom. We went up to the Sanctuary to claim our lounge chairs which were reserved for us. I can't say enough about the Sanctuary. If you want absolute quiet and privacy with no screaming children AND a guaranteed, padded lounge chair, the Sanctuary is for you. The attendants will happily drag your chair from sunshine to shade and back again if you wish. They also bring you water (free) or anything else you want for a price. The Sanctuary does cost, but to me it is worth it!

I happily sat in the warm shade and read my magazine and book. Mother seemed happy too as she sat reading her book. We stayed until almost 2 p.m. We ordered lunch while we were there. Then we proceeded to the room where we changed clothes. We attended the Cruise Critic meet & greet, which was just okay. Captain Yeomans made an appearance, which was nice. We enjoyed several stories. He has a very dry wit.

After that, I went to write yesterday's post while Mother sat in the piazza and listened to a violinist. Then we had a pastry and coffee/tea at the pattiserie. After that it was back to the room for a rest. Then we dressed for our first formal dinner.

While we were gone, a letter had arrived from the maitre'd instructing us to complete a form in order to be in the selected group for the Chef's Table. This was the thing I was looking forward to the most, so I was very excited to learn that I might have been selected.

Upon arriving at Da Vinci dining room, we learned that we had definitely been selected for Chef's Table and that it would take place in two day's time. Yay!!! At dinner this night, we had an appetizer that was, I think, the best I have ever had on a Princess cruise - a goat cheese souffle. It was so very good! This was followed by some mushroom soup for me that wasn't great and a Boston Lettuce salad for Mother that appeared to have no Boston lettuce in it. Hmmmm. Then I had the pork tenderloin. Mother had fish. Both were good.

Since Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle's "slow-eater-tiny-bite-taker" cure had not worked on Mother when she was a little girl, I had planned on an earlier arrival to dinner this night. As a result, we were done with dinner 45 minutes prior to the time that we needed to be in the Princess Theatre to ensure that we had seats for that night's show. There was nothing to do but to adjourn to the casino. I don't want to waste a lot of time bragging about Mother's luck. Suffice it to say that she walked away from the slot machines with her pockets a lot heavier than when she arrived. Oh, all right, she was on the 2 cents machines and she only cleared $1.90 - but it was still quite a show to see those lights flashing and the bells ringing! Woo hoo!!!!!

The Broadway show was pretty good. There were (as usual, for Princess) two male singers and two female singers. The two male singers were just great. One of the two female singers was incredible!!! The other could not access her lower register if her life depended on it. But the show was entertaining. People are so rude at these shows. A young family of three sitting behind us had an empty seat on either side of them and watched couple after couple after couple walk by without offering to move over one seat in order to create two seats together. They never did move - enjoyed the entire show with empty seats on either side of them while some guests didn't get to see the show at all. But the staff really should have told them (and anyone else being selfish) to move down to make room for others!!!

After the show, it was off to bed. I ordered our breakfast for 9 a.m. this time since neither one of us needed to be up. But I woke up at 6:30 a.m. anyway and went up to the Horizon Court for breakfast. As other reviewers have noted, it was a bit chaotic, with no discernable beginning or end to the line. But that has been true on every Princess ship I have been on, so it was nothing new to me. People make do.

Mother and I have been to Dunn's River Falls before and neither of us was eager to brave all of the annoying locals who hound you to death trying to get you to buy something (hair braiding, shells, drugs, etc.). So we went up to the Sanctuary and spent the day lounging while gazing at the amazing view of the harbor. Ahhhhhhh ......

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