Autumn leaves have left the trees. Thanksgiving feast has come and gone. Christmas is yet to be, although stores have been promoting Christmas sales since before Halloween.
It’s the doldrums in Indiana, a good time to head to some warmer place, particularly aboard a cruise ship. So I’m packing for a week on the Regal Princess. We will be cruising round trip from Ft. Lauderdale in Florida to Amber Cove, St. Thomas and Antigua in the Caribbean with three days at sea.
I always enjoy the ports of call but my favorite is days at sea when there is no land in sight, just the rolling ocean that seems to stretch into the sky. No matter the time of day or night, I love to sit on my private balcony and watch the sea. I must have been a mermaid in a former life.
I already know my cabin number and have looked it up on the Princess website. In addition to that all-important balcony with two lounge chairs and a table, my cabin has a queen-sized bed, desk, chair, large flat screen TV (which I will never turn on) and a small fridge which I will use every day. Pepsi is my caffeine of choice so I like to have a cold cola and plenty of ice water in my cabin.
I’ve picked the “Anytime” dining option. Some folks like a set reservation for each night’s dinner to prevent any possible waiting in line for a table. I prefer the flexibility of Anytime in case I want to stay ashore a little longer, finish a shipboard activity or write a blog while it’s still fresh in my mind.
Launched in 2014, the Regal Princess can carry 4,222 passengers and 1,378 crew members. The ship has two swimming pools, rock climbing wall, jogging track, basketball court, fitness center, tennis court, spa, wedding chapel, library, self laundry, casino, hot tub, shops, movie theatre, art gallery, photo gallery, theatre, WiFi and an eye-catching piazza.
For dining, the Regal Princess has three dining rooms – Symphony, Concerto and Allegro, plus the Horizon Court and Horizon Bistro near the top deck which offer food from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. In addition is the International Café near the Piazza which features sandwiches, snacks and desserts 24 hours a day.
Alfredo’s Pizzeria near the Piazza serves a set Italian menu in a smaller sit-down restaurant. Pizza, gelato, soft serve ice cream and a grill add still more choices. For an extra price, cruisers can dine at Sabatini’s, Ocean Terrace Seafood Bar and Crown Grill. The Regal Princess has 11 bars.
I’m looking forward to seeing Amber Cove, a new $85 million port developed for Carnival Corporation cruise ships. Located on the northern coast of the Dominican Republic, Amber Cove began receiving cruise ships in fall 2015. It was the first time in about three decades that a cruise ship had stopped at Amber Cove.
The place got its name from the abundance of translucent, burnt-orange stone known as amber. If the small island looks familiar, it was used as a filming location for the first Jurassic Park film. Hope you’ll follow along to see what we discover on this fun journey.
Photos courtesy of Princess Cruise Line