My Yearly Retreat to “Escape Completely”

John and Pat at dinner

For 358 days a year, my life is devoted to reality. Since I’m the kind of person who takes my work home with me, the heart patients I care for throughout the day are really with me all the time. Sometimes they even wake me up at night, as I toss and turn, worrying if a new medication will help or a surgery will be successful.

But for the other seven, glorious days a year, I “Escape Completely,” to quote Princess Cruises’ company slogan. It has become the highlight of my year, the critical space I need to clear my head and rejuvenate my body and spirit.

Don’t get me wrong! I love my career as a certified medical assistant at a busy cardiac practice. I’m proud that the patients know I care. But come winter, when the Michigan temperatures plunge and the hectic pace of the year reaches a crescendo, my husband, John, and I start counting down the days to our annual cruise.

The warmth, the sunlight and the carefree sea are just what we need this time of year. Since 2003, when John and I finally took the advice of his brother, Bill, and tried a cruise vacation, we haven’t missed a year. As we head for seven days in the Caribbean, I welcome the transition from stressed to serene.

Day One: John and I meet up with Bill and his wife, Sharon, in Fort Lauderdale where we board our ship. Wow. It’s always exhilarating to see the soaring central stairway and glittering, light-filled grand atrium. We check into our staterooms, which are next door to each other, and unpack. We call the cabin steward to unlatch the balcony divider so ours flows through to Bill and Sharon’s. We look into all the events, activities and excursions on tap for the week and get ready for our opening-night dinner.

Day Two: My long-awaited recovery begins. I’m still a little keyed up about the office, which makes sense when you consider I work with 12 doctors, each with their own personalities and way of doing things. Add to that hundreds of patients. As we sail into open waters, I can’t help but begin to switch gears. We’ve turned off our cell phones and left our computers at home. No checking in with work for me. Instead, I head to breakfast at the International Café, where I’m thrilled to reconnect with some crew members from last year’s cruise. It’s amazing; one of them remembers exactly how I like my coffee!

Day Three: John, Bill and Sharon are really good traveling partners. We enjoy each other’s company but don’t feel compelled to be around each other all the time. No one’s feelings are hurt when I wonder off alone to take a stroll. On land excursions, Bill and Sharon might go one way, John and I another. We have our little way of keeping in touch. We bring walkie-talkies from home and use them sparingly. “Want to join me for a movie by the pool?” “Drinks at 5 on the balcony.”  We plan a wine tasting. John and I listen to the band from the bubbling hot tub. This is the life!

Day Four: Allow me a moment for an ode to the pleasures of a balcony stateroom. I have nothing against interior cabins, but having a balcony is like taking a vacation within a vacation. It’s a private perch on the open seas. We love meeting for a glass of wine every evening on our connected balconies. We share notes on what we’ve done that day and get ready for dinner. John and I keep our balcony door slightly ajar at night. I swear I hear the ocean in my dreams. The pure, fresh air cleanses me while I sleep. I wake up clear-headed and refreshed.

Day Five: I feel so happy. After breakfast, I go to my special spot, my favorite place on the entire ship. On the top deck you can peer out and see nothing but water. The ship below disappears from sight. Up there, is a small track, 16 laps to the mile. I put on my tennis shoes and sunglasses and start walking, usually a couple easy miles a day. The air is clean, the sky is clear, the Caribbean Sea an undulating turquoise quilt. I am not talking to anyone, just at peace in my own, placid world. The real-world me has gone and I have escaped completely.

Day Six: International Café, Sky-Deck walk, pool and hot tub. Finishing that book I wanted to read all year. I book a massage. It’s the last full day at sea and no time to delay gratification. Reservations are made for 6 p.m. at one of the specialty restaurants. John, Bill, Sharon and I meet for drinks on the balcony first. The ship is heading back toward Fort Lauderdale, and as is the custom, we pack our suitcases and put them outside our cabins. It always hits me then that the cruise is ending, and I cry. I don’t want to go.

Day Seven: We meet for breakfast at the International Café. I take a few minutes to say goodbye to my crew friends. We say, “Maybe I’ll run into you again next year.” I hope so.  There’s still time for me to head up to the top deck. Land is in sight. I wish we could stay longer.

Back in Fort Lauderdale, I turn on my cell phone. I’m touched that some of my patients have called to ask about my trip. They all know I live for my annual Princess cruise.  I’m happy that they’re there for me as I’m there for them.

In just seven days, I feel renewed and ready to embrace the challenges and joys of the year ahead.

Pat lives in Brighton, Michigan, and has “escaped completely” on 11 Princess Cruises.

41 comments

41 Comments Post a Comment

  1. Princess Cruises says... December 27, 2012 | 1:06pm

    Pat – for this final “Inspired to Cruise” blog post, thank you for sharing with us how you truly get away from the everyday by cruising each year! Here’s to many more cruises to “escape completely!”

  2. Don says... December 27, 2012 | 4:59pm

    Pat – it all sounds so familiar. We began cruising with Princess about 10 years ago. We are up to 20 cruises. Take it from us, find a way to “Escape Completely ” at least twice a year. When we board, we remind ourselves, “Enjoy every minute”. “Later is Now!!!.
    Don

  3. Mary Ellen Pollock says... December 27, 2012 | 5:18pm

    Pat, Don has the right idea. We try to book two cruise a year and have decided 10 days is the minimum. We are going to try our first trans-atlantic cruise in 2013. Later is now and don’t put off to tomorrow what can be had today. Princess provides a great escape!

    • Susan Young says... December 29, 2012 | 3:23pm

      Mary Ellen, Transatlantic cruises are very relaxing. We are going on our third transatlantic next October on tne brand new Royal Princess. Cant wait!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Kathy Jordan says... January 2, 2013 | 10:04am

      Mary Ellen,
      My husband and I are doing our first trans-Atlantic in April. Cruise number 5 for us and counting…

  4. Marsha says... December 27, 2012 | 9:52pm

    Pat, your simple yet complete day by day description was really inspiring! It made me want to call my travel agent! Thanks for sharing.

  5. Ken says... December 28, 2012 | 4:18pm

    My wife and I agree with Mary Ellen …. a cruise must be 10 days or longer. And a note for ME, you will love the transAtlantic cruise. Talk about relaxing completely. We will be on Princess cruise number 19 in January, Panama canal. We have done four family cruises and now are planning the fifth next New Years. What fun!

    • P.A. Brown says... December 28, 2012 | 4:39pm

      Carnival is the best.

      • TomP says... December 28, 2012 | 7:20pm

        One person’s opinion. (8-)

      • Michael says... December 28, 2012 | 8:30pm

        It sure is — if you like associating with mostly rowdy and drunk shipmates!

        • Jeanette says... December 28, 2012 | 9:10pm

          Princess still rates the best – Carnival – I won’t travel on even if it is free – from all I’ve heard – too rowdy for me.

          • kl Wong says... December 28, 2012 | 9:34pm

            Even too rowdy for some hard core partiers, I have heard the same thing, but over and over, so I guess some of it is true.

          • Pauline Lauzon {On. Canada} says... December 28, 2012 | 9:52pm

            Now ! Now ! Let’s not fight !

            I have travelled both Cruise lines and have thoroughly enjoyed both. One must remember that everyone’s tastes are different and that is what makes the world go round. The staff on both ships made me feel like a queen for my entire vacation whether it was 7 days or 12 days. My husband and I are leaving on a cruise aboard the Caribbean Princess to celebrate our 40th Anniversary. My travel agent through Princess[Teri] was amazing I must say. Efficient,friendly and actually made me feel like we were friends. My husband and I love to cruise and it is the best way to see parts of the world. But as much as I like to see different areas it is also nice to experience different ships and their companies. They all have their different amenities but to say Carnival is rowdy and noisy I honestly can’t say that I felt that. To be honest I would like to try the Royal Caribbean someday if I am so blessed to do so. Doesn’t mean I won’t travel Princess again.
            It’s whatever you are looking for and whatever meets your needs. I have on my bucket list to do a New Years Eve Cruise with my three grown children and their spouses along with my hubby of course !! Hmmmmm!! I wonder which ship I will choose ?? I’ll let you all know.

            Pauline

    • Paula Beasley says... December 29, 2012 | 10:47pm

      We love a longer cruise as well…we have cruised on Royal, Celebrity and Princess, but always come back to Princess. We recommend the British Isle cruise and the Mediterranean both are amazing. We also did a transatlantic a few years ago. It was good but the water got very choppy. In fact we skirted a hurricane between Iceland and New Foundland. We will be taking our 3rd Alaskan cruise in August of next year and we will be on Holland American because we are going with a group who wanted to go to Sitka and Princess didn’t stop there.

  6. Marcelle Louvigny says... December 28, 2012 | 5:45pm

    We cruised 32 times, we’re 83 and 81, married 61 years, and leaving NY day for a two week cruise to Hawaii.
    There’s nothing else for a vacation, I love it!

    • kl Wong says... December 28, 2012 | 9:35pm

      Here, here!!! I love the freedom and variety and the ease of transitioning from one port to the next. If the port is a dud, then you can always escape back to the ship and have the pool all to yourself or enjoy some other activity on the ship without the huddled masses.

  7. Myrna Goldbaum says... December 28, 2012 | 6:21pm

    Thanks for your post Pat. We feel the same way, an escape from work and stress is like your home away from home on Princess. We have been on other lines but now Platinum on this one. We have 18 cruises in 19 years of marriage, so one a year for us.

  8. Sally says... December 28, 2012 | 6:53pm

    It has been years since I’ve enjoyed a Princess cruise, but your comments reminded me how much I enjoyed them. I’m so glad you are able to do this every year!

  9. Mary Lee Stutzman says... December 28, 2012 | 7:28pm

    When my husband was alive we cruised many times. I’ve continued since his death with a good friend. We did the Mediteranean on the Ruby this year and are looking foward to Northern Europe next year. I have done 14 and each one was the best and they are all on Princess. Relaxation is a part of the fun but also the experience of seeing other places.

    • Pauline Lauzon {On. Canada} says... December 28, 2012 | 9:32pm

      Dear Mary Lee My sister and I enjoyed the Med. Cruise aboard the Ruby in September of 2012. The two of us have always wanted to do a sister trip to-gether and when my father passed away he left us both a little money so we decided in his memory we would fulfill our dream and travel the sea of the Mediterranean. It was amazing and I know my dad was looking down on the two of us and feeling blessed that my sister and I were able to enjoy those 12 days to-gether. I am getting excited as my husband and I are leaving in February to the sunny Caribbean for a week of fun in the sun as we celebrate 40 years of marriage. Life doesn’t get any better than that !

  10. Sharlene Cartier says... December 28, 2012 | 7:28pm

    Our 6th Hawaiian cruise with Princess on 2/4/2012 through 2/18/2012. Our next one is Feb. 2, 2013 and looking forward to it. It is so nice to get away from the hustle and bustle of our day to day routine and relax for two whole weeks.

    February 4, 2012

    We arrived at the port at 12:30pm. We got to our stateroom to settle in. We unpacked all our suitcases and went up-stairs for lunch on the horizon deck. We went back to our stateroom and made reservations for dinner tonight. It will be in the Santa Fe dining room on the 4th, 5th, and 6th. Our Room Steward was Joey Fortaleza. What a great guy he was.

    The ship just went through some big changes in Canada before starting this cruise. The changes were very nice. The first thing we noticed is that they moved the desert bar out of the food section. A lot of tables and chairs were lost to make room for it. But there was plenty of places eat. It was a great change. The deserts changed too.

    Walked around the ship to get reacquainted and found more changes in some of the areas. They added a small pizza dining area in the public area.

    At 3:15 all passengers had to report to our designated Muster Stations to show us the correct methods of putting on our life jackets on and what it does and how to jump in the water feet first when asked to in the event of an emergency. Our Cruise Director was David Cole.

    Our stateroom, as always, has a balcony. We love our balcony as it is so nice to watch the shoreline as we leave the port. Often there are about three ships docked near out ship. This time there were only two other ships. It is also nice to slip out on to the balcony to take a picture of that first morning sunrise. Oh, how beautiful it is. Also the moon shots are amazing.

    February 5th

    Had a good night’s sleep. Our coffee arrived at 7am. We are very pleased that our TV had the Fox News channel. That’s all we will watch to get fair and balanced political information. Went to breakfast at 9am.

    After breakfast we went to Morning Trivia at 10:15. This is a lot of fun to do with other people. We form groups of 6 to 8 people to answer questions. The groups that got the most correct answers won a cheap prizes. We never won. But we sure learned a lot and had fun.

    At 2:15 we went to the Princess Theatre and watched a movie: The “Ides of March” starring George Clooney. Dinner at 5:45pm. Afterwards we went to the theatre to see Brandi Chapman sing. She was fantastic. Princess has wonderful intertainment.

    February 6th

    Very turbulent waters today – it started during the night. No problem with sea sickness – thank goodness. Had our coffee and went to breakfast. Went to the gym at 10:30 and worked out. I used the stair machine for a half hour while Paul used the weights. Bought an evening bag at one of the stores. The Captain announced on the PA system that they had to cut their speed in half because of the turbulent waters. As a result one of our island stops had to be cancelled. They chose to cancel the Hilo stop. So we will be going only to three islands – Maui, Honolulu and Kauai. On our way back home we will stop at Ensenada.

    At 2pm we went to a Champagne Art Auction. We bought a painting called “The Swan” by Jon Rattenbury. Very pretty! Love the art auctions.

    This is formal night so we went to dinner in our formal wear. Paul wore his tux and I work a blue satin formal with a jeweled blue top. Afterwards went to the Captain’s Welcome Aboard Formal Party. There was supposed to be a champagne waterfall but they had to cancel that due to the turbulent waters. We had our portraits taken. We went to the show to see James Michael. He had a magic act. Boy, was he good. He was also very funny.

    February 7th

    Waters are still turbulent. Made dinner reservations again for another three days. This time we will dine in the Pacific Moon dining room at 5:45. Went to the morning trivia after breakfast. And the afternoon trivia at 3pm. Went to dinner and then the show. Saw Carlos Oscar, standup comedian. He was very funny.

    February 8th

    Went to breakfast. Ship is still rocking like mad. Went to the morning trivia. Went to another Art Auction but didn’t buy anything. We bought two t-shirts for us in one of the shops. Went to dinner and then the show to see Carlos Oscar perform again. He had a new routine.

    February 9th

    Ship is calmer today. Went to breakfast and then on to the morning trivia. Went to see a movie in the Princess Theatre and saw “The Help” starring Emma Stone. This was a good movie. Went to dinner and then a show in the Princess Theatre. The Princess Singers and Dancers performed “Starduct.” It is very interesting to see them do intricate dancing while the ship is bouncing all over the place. They were fantastic. Took many pictures every night.

    February 10th
    We have arrived at our first port – Lahaina, Maui. The ship is anchored so we have to use tenders to go to shore. Made dining reservations for the next three days in the Pacific Moon at 5:45pm. We had breakfast first before going ashore.

    Went ashore and went from one shop to another. It was a really nice day. Not too hot and not too cold. Bought Tahitian black pearl earrings to match my Tahitian black pearl necklace. Bought a shirt for Paul for $65.00. It is identical to the shirt Tom Selleck wore in his TV show “Magnum PI.” It is dark blue with white orchids. We bought him the other one (that Tom wore a lot) last year and that one is red with green palm trees and purple parrots on it.

    We also had lunch there and ice cream. I called my twin sister today to wished her a happy birthday. It was yesterday but we were at sea and there was no cell phone service. I did e-mail her from the ship.

    Got back to the ship at 3:30 and clean up and went to the afternoon trivia. Went to dinner at 5:45 and then to a show staring Craig A. Meyer performing “Almost Elton John.” He dressed, acted, sang and looked like Elton John. He did a good job but Elton John is not my favorite singer. He sings too loud and he songs last too long. I took several pictures of him.

    February 11th

    We arrived in Honolulu this morning. We had our coffee delivered early so that we could go to breakfast and meet with a group of people at the dock at 8:15am. We took the North Shore Tour package that took 6 hours. On this tour we boarded an air conditioned bus that took us out of Honolulu headed to the other side of the island. To do that we took a freeway that was built by our military in the 40’s. It was 13 miles long and had no on ramps or off ramps. It was strictly for military use back then. There were military installations on both sides of the island.

    The 1st stop was a Japanese Temple tucked at the base of a mountain. The temple was so ornate and it looked like something out of the past. Inside the temple we had to remove our shoes before entering. Inside was a huge gold Buda. There were many lit candles, incense burning, and food at the base of the Buda. The Temple was surrounded in a deep pond filled with the biggest coy I’ve ever saw. Also, black swans swimming around. The grounds were beautiful with a bamboo forest. Took many pictures here.

    The 2nd stop was Mokolee Island often referred to as the Chinaman’s Hat. It really looked like one.

    The 3rd stop was lunch. We were taken to a shrimp farm and fed big pieces of shrimp with a bed of rice and salad. It also included desert. We were surrounded with shrimp beds where they are grown. When the shrimp is ready to harvest they simply drain the bed and remove the shrimp. All the shrimp beds were in varying stages of growth.

    The 4th stop was Sunset Beach. This beach is famous for the yearly surfing contest. The waves were really tall. It was a gorgeous beach. It is also considered very dangerous if you are not a good swimmer. The waves are very unexpected and can hit you when you are not looking.

    The 5th stop was Turtle Beach. This beach was also beautiful. This beach if frequented by very large sea turtles. I took pictures of one of them. She has a tag on her so they can watch where she goes. I didn’t see the tag though. She is named Olivia Dawn. She loves to lie on the beach, in the sun, for many hours. There is usually a male with her but he wasn’t there. They think she weighs around 250 pounds. She was so neat looking. I learned something. Males have a long skinny tail and the females have a short wide tail.

    The 6th stop was a pineapple farm. Pineapple plants from as far as you can see, all around. The pineapple is grown in different stages so that pineapple is available all year. There was a big shop there that sold all kinds of souvenirs and food. Outside the shop was an area showing pineapple plants from all over the world. They varied in different sizes and colors.

    We headed back to our ship and arrived there around 2pm. We were tired and went to our stateroom to clean up for dinner that night. After dinner we decided to go to bed instead of going to a show. We had seen this show on other cruises.

    February 12

    We arrived in Nawiliwili, Kauai at 7am. No tours on this island. We got off the ship to shop around. Got back early and had lunch on the ship. We went to the afternoon trivia. At 4pm we went outside the ship on the upper deck to watch our ship leave the bay. Took many amazing pictures of the ocean and the mountains. Went to dinner and then to the show and watched the Princess dancers perform “Motor City.”

    February 13

    At sea and headed for Ensenada in 5 days. Made more dining reservations for the next 3 days for 5:45pm in the Pacific Moon. Tonight is our second formal night. Bought my charm bracelet in the “Facets” fine jewelry shop in midship. It is sterling silver souvenir bracelet with a stop. I bought 3 charms for it. One is a bling (a faceted ball) dangle (a hula girl hanging from a spacer) and a square spacer. The square spacer had Hawaiian themes. From now on, whenever I visit some place I will buy a charm for it as a souvenir.

    Watched a movie “Love Happens” with Jennifer Aniston in our stateroom. Got ready for dinner and dressed in our formal wear. This is the second formal night. After dinner we went to the show to watch the Princess dancers perform “Do You Wanna Dance.” Costumes were amazing. Took several pictures.

    February 14th

    At sea – Valentine’s Day – the ship was decorated all in red and ballons everywhere in the public areas. This morning, after breakfast, we decided to go to our stateroom and watch a movie “Alex and Emma” with Kate Hudson. Then we went to another art auction. Didn’t buy anything. Went to dinner and then to a show. It was Linda Gentille a pianist. She has been playing piano since she was 8 years old. She studied under Liberachi. A lot of her style is from him. Took several pictures. She is very talented.

    February 15th

    At sea – A lazy day – Made dinner reservations in the Santa Fe room for 2 nights at 5:45. We bought our formal portrait that was taken on the first formal night.

    After this cruise Princess will begin a new way of displaying all the pictures taken by the Princess photographers. We always had to go and look at them on display in the Photo department to decide what photos we wanted. Starting on their next cruise the passengers will go to a monitor (there are thirteen of them) and swipe their stateroom key and it will come up with all the photos that were taken of you by the Princess staff. At this point you can go through all of them and purchase what you want in sizes you want and they would print them for you and charge them to your stateroom.

    After dinner we went to the show and saw Linda Gentille play the piano again. She played different songs. She is so fantastic.

    February 16th

    At sea – Went to the art auction today and won a piece of art. It’s called “St. Tropez Morning Light” by Michael Logan. It will be mailed to our home.

    Went to dinner. Afterwards we went to the final formal party and they had the champagne waterfall. Our ship was in smooth waters so they were able to do this. Champagne glasses are stacked like a pyramid and the Director slowly poured the first bottle of champagne in the top glass. It cascaded down and fills all the glasses. People were standing in line to have their picture to be taken pouring the champagne at the top. This continued until all the glasses were filled. I took movies and pictures of the champagne waterfall.

    We then went on to the show and watched the Princess Dancers in “Piano Man” which was a great performance. We went to bed.

    February 17th

    At sea – We will arrive in Ensenada at 4pm. We will not leave the ship. We packed our bags instead. They want all our bags outside our stateroom before going to dinner. You can put one more bag outside before going to bed. We saved one bag for our personal things, jewelry and other valuables to take off the ship ourselves in the morning. We watched a movie in our stateroom called “Zookeeper” starring Kevin James. It was pretty funny.

    Went to dinner and then to the show where was watched Wayne Hoffman perform. He was able to read your mind and tell you things.

    February 18th

    Our ship arrived in LA at 6am. We got up to get ready to go to lunch and finish packing the rest of our things. We left them in our stateroom and went up for breakfast. Then we went back down and got our things and went to the Explorer’s Lounge to sit and wait to be called to disembark the ship. While waiting I called the limousine people to tell them that we were on schedule. It was prearranged for them to get us at 9am. We got out at 9:15am. We had a nice ride home and arrived around 10:30.

    We opened the front door and Dobie (our Mini Pincher) went nuts. He was so excited to see us. It took a while for him to calm down. Our son took vacation for the two weeks so he could stay with him. It made a big difference as Dobie was so calm the entire time

  11. kay konakov says... December 28, 2012 | 7:42pm

    Pat, i know that special feeling of cruising. I just got back home to OZ home after doing a 104 day World Sun Princess Cruise. I still relive everyday in my heart…such beautiful memories, such beautiful food, happy people all there to enjoy and relax. As for the service..could not fault a single thing. If i could I would live on a cruise ship, period…hmmm am giving it serious thought lol.

  12. Wilhelm Willmann says... December 28, 2012 | 8:01pm

    This Elite-Member is looking for another cruise ASAP.
    I live in LosAngeles and want to enjoy my retirement life
    as much as possible.
    I cruised in all directions of our planet from here, San Francisco , San Diego and the US east coast.
    Thank you for an answer. bill

  13. Betsy G says... December 28, 2012 | 8:05pm

    Pat!
    Thanks so much! as a former Michigander now living in PA I am looking forward to my first cruise ever this February to the Caribbean with Princess! I already know it will be the escape as you describe with my husband and I both need! I’m going for that track though! Thanks for the tip!

  14. Syd Kendrick ( BC Canada ) says... December 28, 2012 | 8:20pm

    My wife and I took our 1st cruise in Dec./ 06 and we were hooked. It was a 10 day Panama cruise with 27 family and friends for a secret wedding that both sets of parents did not know about. Since then we have sailed on 2 different 2 week cruises in the Caribbean and a 2 week Panama Cruise from Ft.Lauderdale to Los Angeles. Every cruise has been with Princess. We have had exceptional service so we will always cruise with Princess. If it aint broke ther is no need to change.

  15. Mac McCulloch says... December 28, 2012 | 9:01pm

    2 words -

    two weeks!

  16. Catherine Reeves says... December 28, 2012 | 10:20pm

    Patricia, I am a Registered nurse, and I too look forward to my cruises. I have done many Princess cruises, and I really enjoy them.
    In January of 2013, we will be taking a 10 day cruise to the Southern Carribean, with 4 days in Fort Lauderdale, pre cruise.

    I don’t know how you get by with just 7 days off from your work, as I need much more time off to re-cuperate.
    This time I am going with my adult sons, and one of my sons girlfriends.
    We are all looking forward to this trip. The first cruise I took my boys on was a Princess Cruise to Alaska, and they just loved it! They are really looking forward to this trip, as am I.
    Pat try and take a 10 day or 12 day cruise. Those are really wonderful!

  17. Eileen (Canada) says... December 29, 2012 | 2:15pm

    I have to agree that 7 days are not enough. We have cruised to some wonderful places and even though we have noticed a difference lately (the company’s have cut down on things) I still think that cruising is very good value for the money spent.
    There are some wonderful deals on inside cabins and dependant upon the scenery that you are passing and the location of the cabin I would say these could work out well. However we do enjoy having the balcony especially on our last couple of cruises to Hawaii and the Panama. Where else would you get such wonderful amenities then on the beautiful inovative ships. Our favourites are Princess and Royal Carribean.

  18. Penny Lindley says... December 29, 2012 | 3:49pm

    Pat I feel exactly as you do… when you have time (probably old like we are) the transatlantic cruises are even more marvelous..there is nothing like sunrises or sunsets at sea. We have crossed 5 times, also have crossed the Pacific and Bering Sea…the only way to travel. And the balcony makes it so much closer to the sea. So glad you and your friends open the doors on the balcony…unlike a silly woman a couple years ago who tried to climb on the railing to go around to the other cabin….she was never found!!…Keep sailing..its the best relaxation too.

  19. Helene and Willy says... December 29, 2012 | 8:00pm

    My husband and I went to Hawaii 2 years ago on a 14 day cruise with the Golden Princess. We had a great time and the memories will last forever. We hope to cruise again to see the Panama Canal. We were treated royally and the food and entertainment were exceptional. We renewed our wedding vows at a special Luau. Wish we could go again.

  20. Cynthia Pater says... December 30, 2012 | 12:36am

    My husband and I usually do 2 cruises of 10 days to two weeks every year. We both work 6 days a week most of the time and we find that the cruises really relax and invigorate us, and keep us healthy and happy. We have done 11 cruises, one with Holland America, one with all our children and grandchildren on the Disney Magic and the rest with Princess. We have one booked for February to Hawaii, one to the Baltic in August of 2013, and one to South America in February 2014. We prefer Princess and hope to do many more. Cruising for us is the perfect vacation.

  21. Sharon, Ont. Canada says... December 30, 2012 | 12:59am

    My hubby & I have been on 9 cruises. And we are looking forward to our 10th one, at the end of Jan.It IS the best way to see the world – -No unpacking, & a floating luxury hotel to sleep in. Meeting lots of people, making new friends, eating lavishly, & enjoying top-notch service & entertainment. Always taking a moment to enjoy each other’s company, whereas we take each other for granted at home.Been on 5 different cruise lines, & they each have something different to offer.Cruising certainly is the best ,most relaxing way to beat the stress of today’s tumultuous world!!

  22. Barbara Loane says... December 30, 2012 | 8:50am

    having been on several Carnival and Princess cruises, I can say that yes, Carnival is a younger more noisy crowd. HOWEVER, the food on Carnival has Princess beat by a good measure!! And, for the price difference!!

    • Pauline Lauzon {On. Canada} says... December 30, 2012 | 11:59pm

      Barbara I agree about the food on Carnival !I found it beat the cuisine of other cruise ships.

  23. Frank and Liz Wentz says... December 30, 2012 | 12:29pm

    I like the idea of leaving the balcony door open. We’ll try that on my next cruise to Hawaii.
    We took the New England 12 day cruise and ended up in Canada most of that time because of hurricane Sandy. We missed five stops on the East Coast, but also missed the hurricane. Our captain was so good, he kept us in the loop about how the weather was affecting our journey.They substituted other ports in Canada which we enjoyed very much. We enjoyed it so much that we have no problem booking another East coast cruise.
    We just came back from the Panama canal cruise of 2 weeks. Didn’t care for Columbia and the intimidating actions of the local gang folk from passing local busses. Good emeralds though. We really enjoyed Costa Rica. We like the top notch entertainment on all our Princess cruises. Lounge singer, and pianist, Daniel Oliver was sensational!!! It helps to hit it off with your table mates, which has happened on our last two cruises. We appreciate the unhosted Bible studies also, which vary from ship to ship, but have the potential to be good meetings. Two weeks is too long to go without the fellowship of God’s people.

  24. JoAnne says... December 31, 2012 | 9:18am

    Pat, you really make crusing sound wonderful! My husband and I haven’t tried a cruise yet, but it sounds so relaxing! Princess should have you write a new blog every year!!! We’re also Michiganders (Northville area) and could use a little R & R in the middle of winter! Maybe we’ll look into taking a cruise in 2013!

  25. Patrick says... December 31, 2012 | 10:34am

    I have never been on a cruise but maybe one day my wonderful parents will surprise me and my wife and take us on a Princess Cruise. They go every year with my aunt and uncle and maybe one day I will be lucky enough to join them:)

  26. June says... December 31, 2012 | 6:09pm

    Well everyone, Bob and I are leaving in 2 weeks for our very 1st cruise to Tahiti and all the Polynesian Islands. Will be cruising on the Ocean Princess for 10 days! Happy New Year to all!

  27. Toby Cameron says... January 1, 2013 | 7:58am

    Pat,

    What a great blog! My husband, Ian and I also enjoy the “escape of a cruise.” In 2013 our friends the Westons and Coreys (neighbors in our condominium here in Southern California) are joining us for a 10 day cruise.

    Happy New Year!

  28. Steve says... February 6, 2013 | 8:26pm

    Having been only on four, five and seven day cruises, I would say there’s no such thing as a cruise that isn’t long enough. Every one of them was completely enjoyable and well worth the trip (and its a long trip to the boat).

    That being said, I would also say that no cruise is long enough. Doesn’t matter how long the cruise is, disembarkation comes way too quickly. I can’t imagine that even after twelve or fourteen days I’d be ready to get off the ship.

    Hopefully I’ll find out soon enough.

  29. Steve says... February 6, 2013 | 8:27pm

    Having been only on four, five and seven day cruises, I would say there’s no such thing as a cruise that isn’t long enough. Every one of them was completely enjoyable and well worth the trip (and its a long trip to the boat).

    That being said, I would also say that no cruise is long enough. Doesn’t matter how long the cruise is, disembarkation comes way too quickly. I can’t imagine that even after twelve or fourteen days I’d be ready to get off the ship.

    Hopefully I’ll find out soon enough.