Thursday, May 31, 2012

Gripp's Travels - The Island Princess

Gripp's Travels -The Island Princess

We boarded the Island Princess on March 8th, 2012.  We were unsure of what to expect, because this is one of the smaller ships we have sailed.  Please keep in mind, our last sailing was on the RCCL Allure of the Seas. Prior to that- the Celebrity Solstice.

Much to our surprise, we liked it.   A LOT!

By the end of day one, I nicknamed the ship "The Miniature Manor."  Upon boarding, we felt like we were on the Caribbean, Crown, or Ruby Princess, just half the size.

The ship is easier to navigate around than its bigger sisters, and in my opinion, is much more beautiful.  The Horizon Court on the Island Princess surprised us with its décor.   We particularly liked the skylights and high ceilings.  The dining rooms were decorated in typical Princess style, with an Italian theme, and fine finishes. 
The on board activities included all the cruise standards:  Sexy Leg Contest, Bartending Competition, Scavenger Hunt, Karaoke, and BINGO!  I think the jackpot was over $2,000.

The sun decks are paved with the typical Princess blue indoor/outdoor carpet, resulting in a more comfortable bare foot environment.  There were plenty of lounge chairs, with room for all.    (Another big surprise!)

High tides:

Decor and ease of locating venues

Movies Under The Stars - great variety of movies and concerts

Phenomenal specialty restaurants

Attentive and friendly staff

Outstanding Cabin Stewart

Active and visible young adult/ children's programs. 

Low tides:

Wind noise on deck, not sure if it's the weather or ship design. 

Limited food selections at Horizon Court Buffet.  (typical of any cruise ship)

Technological accommodations- WIFI service was expensive, no iPod docs in staterooms, very few electrical outlets in rooms.

Corny entertainment


All in all, we enjoyed our voyage on the Island Princess.  The few disappointments were outweighed by the many positive experiences.

Longer cruises yield mature travelers.  Late nights at the disco were not part of this vacation. In fact, there was no disco.  By 11:30pm, 95% of the travelers were in bed, leaving the ship empty and quiet.  

Unlike the typical Caribbean cruises, our evenings were used for resting, our sea days for sun bathing, while our days in port were an adventure.

 More to come in our next blog entry Gripps Travels: Aruba.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Avoid Seasickness in Three Easy Steps

Seasickness. For many of us, the word itself is enough to make us feel queasy. The mere possibility of it has likely kept many from booking cruises. But before you relegate yourself to a life of land vacations, check out these tips. Avoiding seasickness IS possible!

1)      Make wise choices before you go. Larger, newer ships have been built with improved technology, resulting in ships that rock less because they have better stabilization systems. When booking your cabin, select a room in the lower, central part of the ship. Occupants of cabins on higher decks will feel more movement. Finally, be aware of ocean conditions. You’re more likely to experience seasickness on rough waters. While it’s impossible to always accurately predict the conditions, most regions have their calm seasons.

2)      Medication is your friend! If you have a history of motion sickness, see your doctor and get a prescription. These medications come in pill and patch forms. Over-the-counter choices include Dramamine and Bonine. If you prefer natural options, Vitamin B6 may be effective. Ginger, which can be obtained in many forms, including Altoids, is another natural approach to stem the nausea that usually accompanies seasickness. Sea-Bands, which are worn on the wrists, use acupressure to relieve nausea.

3)     Take care of yourself once on board. Be mindful of alcohol consumption, as it can cause dehydration, which can intensify nausea. Large amounts of caffeine can also cause dehydration, and make you jittery. The temptation to indulge in your ship’s excellent culinary offerings may also be hard to resist, but overeating and a tendency towards seasickness…well, you get the picture.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Cruise News

For the techie cruisers: How technology is making cruising safer by improving navigation and emergency response.

Don'toverlook smaller ports. They have a lot to offer, with fewer crowds.

Another reason to use a travel agent :Using rewards from a credit card you probably already have in your wallet can save you even more money. Travel agents are well-versed in deals you can earn with your credit card.