Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Decided to Kiss the Ground In Sardinia By Accident

After a great rest after a great night we dress and we are on a mission to find a chocolate store to get some chocolates for Antonio (our host on our next let).

As I am walking and checking my phone for the route I decide my face would be better kissing the cobble stones!

Yup I take a tumble!  Banged my shoulder pretty good, but the worst is I twisted that darn ankle again - yup the left one.  

I have twisted it many times (three really bad sprains). You may remember when I twisted it on a ship a few years ago on the first day coming out of the washroom.

Today Bernie rushes to my side to help me up.  Oh right away I can see it swelling.  And the pain!  

Thankfully we are not too far from the hotel but a 4 minute walk takes around 15 as I hobble thru the pain.

As soon as we walk in the courtyard I take a seat while Bernie goes to get me ice.  The cleaners are just starting and they are concerned about me.  Oh the staff here are amazing.  They go to clean our room first so I can rest.

So looks like my day will be spent resting with my foot up and with ice.  Bernie will head out later to get me a tensor bandage so I can wrap it before we head out tomorrow.

We fly to Lisbon via Rome tomorrow.  But again it is not like we have to do a lot of walking.

Silly me - just glad this did not happen at the begining of the trip.

A Relaxing Day in Sardinia

We had a very relaxing day yesterday.  We spent the morning reading, watching Netflix, catching up with my blog and napping.  Seems we needed it.

We went out around 11 to explore. The town is not large and easy to get around on foot.  After walking around for 2 hours we found a nice restaurant whose menu was on a chalk board and in Italian.  This is usually a good sign.  Means the menu is with fresh ingredients that are in season and it doesn't cater to the masses.

They don't speak much English but they do speak French so the waiter explains the menu to us in French.

I start with a mixed green salad and Bernie has a Calprese salad and for our main dish we share a plate of spaghetti with tomato sauce.  We also split a half litre of house wine and a bottle of sparkling water.  Total bill was 25 E.

We explore some more, especially the main church and end up in our favorite gelato spot for gelato.  We earned it after reaching our goal of 10,000 steps.

Back at the hotel we rest (ha as if we are tired, but it feels good) from 4 pm to 7 pm.

Tonight we are going to the hotel's main restaurant which is called Sa Turre which is located in a different building but only a short walk from our hotel.  

It is up on the top floor - and when we arrive we are presented with two glasses of sparkling wine and lead to the open terrace where we have beautiful views of the town.  Right away it puts us in the perfect mood.

We are led to a lovely table for two where we can look out at the views.

We inform the waiter we are vegetarian and if he could prepare something for us and we trust him.  This way has never disappointed us and it doesn't again tonight.

We start with a litre of their house wine which was very good and very affordable.  

We are then served a platter of roasted Vegetables with olives as our starter.

Our main course is the traditional pasta from Sardinia.  Looks like little gnocchi but it is not it is just a smaller shape and made with pasta.  The sauce is zucchini and fresh cherry tomatoes in a tomato sauce.  So yummy.  But a lot of pasta and we couldn't even finish the plate.  Plus we want dessert.

I ask about the traditional Sardinia dessert of the cheese filled pastry that is baked/or fried served with local honey.  Yes they have it and that is what we get to share!  Oh my it is so good and the honey is so flavourful.

The entire meal was 54E and the ambiance was priceless, very romantic and quiet with stunning views.

As we stroll back to the apartment we are reflecting on this amazing time here in Sardinia and how glad we are that we came.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Day After the Wedding

We wake early and head outside to the beautiful courtyard for a great breakfast that is included in the stay at Mannois Albergo Diffuso.

I can't say enough about how nice the staff are here.  After so few days they welcome us by name and know what we want before we even ask for it.

The rooms are so comfortable and so charming.  Enough character from the past but with modern ammenities.  

I think the only negative is their wifi needs a stronger router as it is rather weak throughout the grounds.

If you are coming to Sardinia I can highly recommend Mannois Albergo Diffuso.  

Today is another gathering.  This time back at Laura and Franco's home.  A final meal together before everyone heads home.

Once again we are served course after course of amazing foods.  

Today a whole roasted pig is served (we did not have any but we heard it was delicious).  The pasta course was once again amazing.

I especially love the vegetable course - here they serve a plate of raw vegetables.  Usually fennel, radishes, celery, carrots, cucumbers and lettuce.  

Dessert is leftover wedding cake and cookies.

Then the liqeurs come out again.  You name it we had it.  

In the end it was a fun day, with lots of laughs and love.

It is hard to say goodbye to all these wonderful people we have just met but feel we know so well.

We will never forget our time here.  Thank you Laura and Franco for including us in this special event.

Wedding Day

We wake a little tired after such a late night.

We need to get moving.  Breakfast, shower, and dressed for the wedding.

Around 10 am people start gathering outside the hotel where Laura (the bride) is staying with her parents.

It is customary for the Groom to arrive greet the Bride and her family.

Franco with his sister and brother

Tradition is also that people greet them with a plate with rice on it, with flower petals, candy and coins.  This is then smashed in front of the couple and hoping to break in many pieces - which is suppose to bring them great luck and fortunes. 

I have video of the Mother of the Bride and the Bridesmaids doing this but will have to wait till I get home.

We all proceed to the church - a long parade of cars - beeping horns.  

The church is remote and is called Santa Maria of the Sea.  It is where seafarers would go to seek refuge and guidance and come back to give thanks for a safe journey.  Makes sense to get married here since they met at sea.

It is a beautiful ceremony - all in Italian.  Beautiful singing!  I too have video of the singing that I will post when I get home.

After the service we all throw rice as they exit the church.

We all parade down to the reception that is held at a stunning resort (that we passed when we went to the beach the other day).  Apparently Franco use to work there.

An afternoon reception starts out in the garden with appetizers and drinks.  

We make friends with some young people that are friends/relatives of Franco.  They want to practice their English.

The reception hall is HUGE and we all can find our table by an appropriate seating assignment that has Princess ships with names assigned to each ship.  

Don't look too closely as the person who did up the board was told to add Royal Princess.  They searched the web and got Princess and Royal Caribbean intertwined.  So some of the ships are acutally RCL ships.  But hey I think we are the only ones that would notice the wrong ships.  It was a cute touch.

Our table assignment is the Majestic Princess.

Now let the feast begin!  The meal lasted 3 hours.  

Antipasta to start - cheese, meats, olives, fried vegetables
Seafood - shrimp, octopus, squid, salmon
Pasta - two different kinds
Veggies cours
Seafood course - salmon, swordfish, squid, octopus, shrimp, and more
Meat course - veal and pork
Fruit course
Wedding Cake

I am sure I am missing something.  We were full, and we did not eat many of the courses as we stuck mainly to vegetarian items - plus the cheese.  

Around 5 pm Bernie and I went for a stroll around the grounds.  The site is stunning, and would be lovely to stay at.  A bit remote though, you would definately need a car.

Around 7 pm we left to rest at the hotel, but ended up not returning for the dancing as we were just so tired.   It was a very long day and I am not sure how they managed for so long.  

Others went back for the dancing and even more food.  We heard it was great fun.

Overall it was so nice to experience an Italian wedding in Sardinia with all it's customs.  We felt very welcomed and part of the family.

First Two Days in Orosei Sardinia

I am trying to catch up with the posts about our time here in Orosei.  Of course when attending a wedding it is packed with events and I have not really had time to write.

On Friday we woke and ended up finding a small laundrymat to do our wash.  While clothes were in the machines I went for a stroll.  As I walked I heard beeping but heck I don't know anyone here, again I hear a beep.  Well later I find out both Franco and his brother in law passed me walking and they each beeped.  So already I know this is a friendly place and I am running into people I know.

It is quite warm out and we decide to go for a stroll after putting the clothes away.  

The town is not large but it is a maze of street with numerous hills in the old town.  Everything looks the same and it took us a few days to get our bearings.  

Even delivery of wood closes a small street in the old town.

We stop for gelato and then back to the hotel for a bit of rest before heading out for a welcome dinner hosted by Franco and Laura at a local restaurant called Villa Fumosa.

A huge U shaped table takes up most of the restaurant and as the guest arrive I feel like I am again in a movie.  The drinks start, the pizza starts, the laughs and toasts start.  

Even though Bernie and knew no one except the Bride and Groom we soon know a ton of people.  We are welcomed just like we are family.

The next morning we decide to venture further afield.  I really want to see the beach.

We start walking and after about 45 minutes we are at a beautiful beach.  It is hot out and there are quite a few people here considering it is October.

We do put our feet in and it cool to the touch but I am pretty sure it would be easy to get use to.

There are numerous bars/restaurants along the beach area.  Many are closed for the season but there are still a few open.

We make our way back to the hotel where we shower and change for an open house at Laura and Franco. 

It is traditional to hand out cookies and sweets to the guests. The baskets that are being used are ones that Franco's Mom made and are a treasure.

Later that evening we head to a hall to have a huge dinner served by Franco's friends/family.  The place is packed.  I am guessing around a 150 people!  And this isn't even the wedding.

The food never stops, the wine never stops, and we are full and drunk - but not too drunk.

When we get back to the hotel we quickly hear the groomsmen arrive with Franco and Laura.  Laura is staying at the same hotel we are with her parents and sisters tonight.

Tradition has it that they serenade the bride, while we pour the drinks to get them to leave.  

We went thru quite a few bottles of the traditional liqeur.  I have a lot on video of this and it really should be seen but that will have to wait until I get home as I need my computer and wifi to do it justice.

Soon the men leave and we are back in bed, resting for a very long day tomorrow.

will add more pictures and videos when I get home so check back.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Sardinia Here We Come

You know Sardinia was never on my radar - until.....

We met Franco Patteri a head waiter with Princess on the Royal almost three years ago.  We instantlly hit it off and then meeting his lovely girlfriend Laura on one of the legs who he then formally proposed to I knew we would be life long friends.

When it came to planing their wedding we were honoured when they included us in their wedding.  This whole trip was planned around their big day.

Our flight to Sardinia is a short one, but somehow a 1 and half hour flight takes five hours - arriving at airport, dropping bags, clearing security, waiting for gate, waiting for boarding, actual flight, waiting for bags.  I really miss the train trips.

We flew with Easyjet (our first experience) and even though booking was easy, price was so right, the actual plane is not one you would want to be on for anything longer than two hours.  So overall we can't complain, and it got us to a beautiful place quickly.

As soon as I saw Sardinia from the air I nudged Bernie and said "this feels right".  

Laura and Franco were there to greet us with hugs and kisses and soon we were on the road to Orosei - about an hour's drive from Olbia where we flew in to.

Franco proudly describes his home and the surroundings.  We are impressed.  Traffic comes to a sudden halt because a truck is turning, but after 30 seconds we are on our way again with few cars in our way.  This is not the mainland of Italy anymore.  Bliss.

We are off to Franco's sister's home for a welcome lunch.  

As soon as we step out of the car we are greeted by kisses and hugs.  We feel like family!  We meet Laura's sister and her family (including two beautiful young girls), her Mom and Day, Laura's 2nd cousin and his wife, Franco's sister and her husband - the hosts.

As we are led to the house to the long table set for a feast we are stopped dead in our tracks by the view.  I swear I could be in a movie!  

We start with wine - made from the grape vines we are looking at.  Then pasta, roasted peppers, potatoes, eggplant, cucumbers, radicchio and so much more.  Patrina (hope i have that right) and her husband are such gracious hosts.  Just a mention of something and she is out with it!

For dessert we have a Sardinia favorite - a cheese filled pastry that is served with sugar or honey (also local).  OMG to die for!

The after dinner wines come out (again all homemade) and well I have to try both.  The first almost knocks me on off my feet... hmm Bernie can you finish.  The second made from a bean (sorry by this time I was feeling no pain) is still strong but very nice.  Thankfully these are small servings and we can savour them, like a fine Cognac.

Then of course espresso.   

As I sip it and stare out at the view, listen to those around this large table all I want to do is pinch myself.  How lucky are we.

I am living a dream.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Price for Drink Package Goes Up

Yes it has happened!  The All Inclusive Drink Package has gone up.  Also a few changes have happened too.

  • First the price has gone up to $59.99 US plus the tip making it a total of $68.99 US per day.  
  • The name is now the Premier Beverage Package which makes me wonder if there is another drink package that is in the works.
  • It includes cocktails that are at a price of $12 and under - use to be $11.
  • It now only includes bottled water that is 500 ml, but if you are dining at a Specialty Restaurant you get a litre bottle.
  • Canned sodas and bottled juices are no longer included.
  • For the items that are not included in the Premier Beverage Package you will receive 25% discount on them (Canned soda, large bottles of water - use to be free.  Bottles of wine, which you previously got a 40% discount on).
  • The package now will only be sold prior to the cruise and only on embarkation day.  Previously it was for sale on board the first and second day.
  • There is also a limit of 15 alcoholic drinks per day.  
  • The package is a final sale once purchased on board, or 3 days prior to sailing if purchased online.
  • Only one beverage is allowed per passenger per order, including non alcoholic drinks.
  • Packages may not be shared and are non-transferable and non-refundable. 
I have to say I am really not surprised with the changes. Princess was late to the game for drink packages and it was the cheapest price for a beverage package from other comparable lines with comparable offerings.  (Celebrity is $65 for their premium which is closests to Princess,  Holland America is $64 a day).

For us we always enjoy the drink package but it is an expensive perk for us as we just drink too much and then the added price because of the exchange rate. One of the things we really enjoyed was the large sparkling water and even buying bottles of wine.  So since we now don't get the large bottles of water and the bottled wine discount is only 25% off it really just doesn't make sense to buy the package.

However booking a cruise that has a sip and sail promo may be more enticing.  Note we have the drink package for our 49 day South America trip in 2019 - YEAH.

Here are the details of Princess' new Premier Beverage Package from their website.


Terms & Conditions 2017

The Premier Beverage Package is offered at $59.99 USD per day plus a 15% service charge (totaling $68.99 per day) for all itineraries except Australia. For all Australia-based vessels, the package is $86.99 AUD per day including the service charge. The full amount due for the complete voyage will be charged at the time of purchase. 

Your Premier Beverage Package includes:

  • All beer, wine by the glass and cocktails $12.00 USD and under as listed on our menu(s) or $16.00 AUD and under for ships based in Australia
  • Bottled water (500ml only)
  • Fountain sodas, fresh juices ( if available), specialty coffees and teas, Red Bull energy drinks
  • Gong Cha items (if available) 
  • Frappe’s at Coffee & Cones
  • Smoothies and milk shakes (if available) 
  • Enjoy the convenience of your beverage package on our Private Islands and all food and beverage venues that offer beverage service
  • The package includes an extra 25% discount on the following items that are otherwise excluded from the package:

All bottles of wine 

  • One-liter bottles of water (if dining at a specialty venue, a large one-liter bottle of water, still or sparkling, is covered by the package)
  • Canned soda, and bottled juices 
  • Purchase information and package details and qualifications:
  • Guests must purchase the Premier Beverage Package for every day of sailing. Partial or prorated packages or segments will not be accepted. 

The package may be pre-purchased up to 4 days prior to boarding the vessel. It is not available for pre-purchase within 3 days of sailing but is offered on board on embarkation day. It is not sold after embarkation day. 

Package sales are final within 3 days of sailing or once purchased on board.

The package is not available for voyages of fewer than 7 nights for Australia-based itineraries or fewer than 2 nights for all other itineraries. 

Please note that age restrictions will apply for purchases of the Premier Beverage Package. 

Terms and Conditions
Alcoholic drinks are limited to 15 beverages per 24-hour period (6 a.m. to 6 a.m.) Alcoholic drinks requested above the daily limits are at the discretion of the shipboard management and crew and charged at regular menu prices. Non-alcoholic drinks do NOT have this limitation, nor do they count towards this maximum. 

Only one beverage is allowed per passenger per order (alcoholic or non-alcoholic).

Items selected that exceed the $12.00 USD or $16.00 AUD price are charged at full menu price. Alcoholic drinks requested above the daily limits are at the discretion of the shipboard management and crew and charged at regular menu prices 

Packages may not be shared and are non-transferable and non-refundable. 

Guests that pre-purchased the All-Inclusive Beverage Package prior to September 19, 2017 or that took advantage of the 2017 Sip + Sail promotion will have terms and conditions of the Premier Beverage Package apply.

Exclusions and Limitations:
Please note that there are some exclusions from the Premier Beverage Package: Spirits or bottled wine or any items offered in retail venues or shops on board. Beverages offered via self-service or vending machines. Souvenir glassware is excluded but is available for the additional charge of the glass only. 

The Premier Beverage Package cannot be combined with other programs, promotions, onboard specials, or events, such as: group or charter events, room service items, minibar items, special or private events such as cocktail parties, wedding receptions or similar functions, wine tastings, chefs tables, buckets of beer, buy one get one type offers, specialty dining cover charges, food items for sale such as ice-cream etc. 

Pricing is subject to change without notice, and for vessels designated in a foreign currency (Australia as an example) packages purchased in advance may vary from onboard pricing due to timing and currency fluctuations. Guests will NOT incur additional charges, nor be issued any credits or refunds for such currency variances.

Not all exclusions or limitations can be foreseen or published here and may exist or be implemented without notice.

Shipboard management reserves the right to add additional restrictions, revoke or cancel the Premier Beverage Package at any point during a guest’s voyage for any reason with or without a prorated refund. Additional actions may be taken if guests:

  • Become intoxicated 
  • Provide beverages to the other guests or do not comply with the terms, conditions and limitations of the package
  • Exhibit behavior that is inappropriate, a safety risk to themselves or others, or become offensive or disruptive to the other cruise guests or staff
  • Exceed or attempt to circumvent the daily limits and service limitations outlined 

Updates to Itineraries for the Caribbean due to Hurricanes

I woke up at 4 am today - on my day off - thinking of those affected by the recent hurricanes and the horrible earthquake in Mexico.   I am thinking of Antours in Dominica who we have used numerous times.  I wonder about Daria and Michael from Dominica's Caribbean Cooking Experience and how they are.

As I checked the web for updates I saw that Princess has released an update to their cruises that visit affected ports in the Caribbean.

Our trip in January will certainly be affected as we dock in Dominica and I am not sure if they will be able to get back up and running for cruise passengers.  Other islands that are currently affected can hopefully get the help needed to accept tourists soon.  

One thing we both have agreed to is that we will be actively searching ways we can give back on the islands affected.  

Also following is Frequently Asked Questions.

What's on this page: Impact on Itineraries | Frequently Asked Questions
Our thoughts and prayers are with all those impacted by the devastation caused by Hurricane Irma.

Princess Cruises has no ships in the Caribbean until Caribbean Princess departs Ft. Lauderdale on October 7, 2017. We look forward to continuing to provide the great cruise experience our guests expect and the economic support that the region relies on, now more than ever.

Our staff will continue to assess recovery efforts and conditions in affected destinations. Should any adjustments be required to future sailings as a result of storm damage, booked guests and their travel professional will be notified.

Princess Cruises and its parent company Carnival Corporation are working to provide extensive relief to those affected by Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma. Princess has created a matching fund through Princess Cruises Community Foundation for employee donations to support hurricane relief via the American Red Cross. As part of Carnival Corporation’s pledge at providing up to $10 Million dollars in Hurricane relief, Princess Cruises Community Foundation has also set up a Hurricane Relief initiative on board Princess Cruises’ ships to gather donations from guests and crew members which will be matched by Princess Cruises Community Foundation.*

Carnival Corporation, has begun outreach and support for those islands already impacted on behalf of the family of cruise lines. They have been in communication with officials in many of the Caribbean islands and have activated a plan to begin delivery of supplies on both an immediate and sustained, longer-term basis. These deliveries will be worked into ships’ cruise itineraries as part of ongoing operations. Carnival Corporation Foundation is also beginning to evaluate the best channels for support in the Caribbean, as well as Florida.

*Princess Cruises Community Foundation will match funds up to $100K.

UPDATED AS OF 9/18/17, 5:50PM PDT
The following sailings are being adjusted due to Hurricane Irma:

Caribbean Princess: October 7 Caribbean Cruise
We have replaced the call to St Thomas on Tuesday, October 10, 2017 with a call to San Juan from 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM on the same date. Since the time we made this decision, the path of Hurricane Maria is likely to affect Puerto Rico, therefore an update to the call to San Juan will be provided after the storm passes.

Guests who booked Princess shore excursions for St Thomas will receive a refund to the original form of payment. Shore excursions for San Juan will be available within the next two weeks or may be booked on board.

Regal Princess: October 26 Caribbean Cruise
We have replaced our call to St Maarten on Monday, October 30, 2017 with a call to St Kitts from 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM on Tuesday, October 31. As a result of this change, we will now call to Antigua on Monday, October 30. Since the time we made this decision, the path of Hurricane Maria is likely to affect St. Kitts, therefore an update to the call to St. Kitts will be provided after the storm passes.

Guests who booked Princess shore excursions for St Maarten will receive a refund to the original form of payment. Shore excursions for St. Kitts and Antigua will be available within the next two weeks or may be booked on board.

For remaining 2017 Eastern Caribbean ports of call, we are currently assessing itinerary impacts and an update will be provided by the end of the week. We sincerely encourage guests with current reservations and anyone considering a Caribbean cruise to move forward with their plans. There is no better show of support for the area and the people than to continue to visit.

We look forward to welcoming you onboard.

UPDATED AS OF 9/14/17, 8:45PM PDT
Princess Cruises can announce that none of its cruises to the Caribbean or Panama Canal will be cancelled as a result of Hurricane Irma. Furthermore, our private island resort at Princess Cays is ready to receive guests and all of our 7-day cruises to the Western Caribbean and all cruises to the Panama Canal are unaffected by Irma and will go ahead as planned at this time.

At Princess Cruises, we prioritize the safety and enjoyment of our guests and to that end, we are working with local ports in the Eastern Caribbean affected by the Hurricane to assess the situation and to determine if any itinerary changes are needed. Please check back on Monday, 9/18 for an update.

I have booked a Caribbean cruise and would like an update on my itinerary.
We are currently talking to our port agents in each of the affected islands to assess the situation in each area. As you can imagine, communication is difficult at the moment in many places but as soon as we can establish the facts we will be able to share an update.

Will cruises be cancelled?
We will not be cancelling any cruises at this time

Will my itinerary be changed?
While we need to support the communities in those affected islands, inevitably it may take some time to repair the damage and restore those islands so they are able to accept cruise guests. We are talking to each of the islands to understand the extent of the damage so we can make a decision on the itineraries. As soon as we are aware of any changes we will be in touch with all guests individually or through the travel agent. At the moment unfortunately we cannot confirm the time line but will certainly let you know as soon as possible.

How will guests be notified of any changes?
We will be in touch with all guests individually or through the travel agent. We will also update our website with any changes.

Will I receive any compensation if itineraries have been changed?
At this point there are no confirmed changes to the itineraries. If any changes are necessary then we will review them in line with our booking conditions and we will be in touch with guests individually or through the travel agent.  

Will our insurance cover us if we cancel?
Each insurance policy is different so guests should speak to their travel insurance directly.

What if I have booked shore excursions in cancelled ports, will these be cancelled?
If any ports are cancelled then a full refund will be given on any booked shore excursions.

Are there any Princess ships in the Caribbean at the moment?
There are no Princess ships in the Caribbean until the beginning of October.

May I bring on supplies to deliver to the communities the ship visits?
As it requires infrastructure to receive and distribute supplies and the needs at each Island vary, the organizations responding to the immediate crisis and ongoing rebuilding efforts request money rather than supplies. There will be donation opportunities onboard.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

My Christmas Wish Book Has Arrived

Do you remember the Sears Christmas Wish Book?

I sure do.  In fact I loved catalogues.  All types of catalogues. I have pictures of myself as a little girl around the age of three sitting on my little chair flipping through catalogues.  My Mom loved that I would be occupied for hours with just a catalogue. 

Then as I got a little older I would sit with the catalogue and flip thru pretending I was a Mommy married with two, maybe three kids and I had to furnish my entire home by circling items.  

Today I no longer sit with catalogues dreaming of what I am going to buy.  Heck it is hard to even find a catalogue!  But!!!

When the Princess Cruise Atlas arrives each year I feel like a kid again.

I sit and flip through the entire thing, cover to cover highlighting itineraries with post it notes (so Bernie can see what I want to do).

For those who don't know about the Cruise Atlas, it is a perk for Platinum members and higher that is mailed out annually. 

It offers itineraries for the entire fleet with maps and dates.  The best feature I find is the Sailing Schedules at a Glance in the back cover.  This allows us to see exactly which ships/itineraries are offered for specific months.

Sure you can get this information all online but it is much easier to have in your hand to review and mark.

Okay enough writing.  I need to go and check out my new Cruise Atlas

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Vegan on a Cruise - Is It Possible?

Recently both Bernie and I have transitioned to a more plant based diet. We call ourselves Vegan but we still have a few holdouts (butter and ice cream) but we are working on it.

Of course we love cruising too.  

Can this work? On our last trip we were probably following a plant based diet about 65% of the time. We could of done better.  

One thing is we did not let Princess know about our dietary requirements (just not enough time as booked last minute).  
So for our upcoming cruise in September we went to our cruise personalizer and went in and went to dietary requirements and selected vegetarian -- there was no vegan option.

Right away I received an email from Princess with the following information:

Thank you for contacting us with notification of Bernard Bowne's request for vegetarian meals. Please take a moment to review the following information. 

Vegetarian items are designated on our dining room menus with a 'V' and vegetarian selections are featured in all dining locations, including the buffet. Tofu, egg-free pasta and vegetarian burgers are available onboard and can be prepared in a variety of styles. Please liaise with your Head Waiter or the Maitre d' Hotel upon boarding to confirm suitable selections. 

Please be aware that the staff who provide room service or bar service cannot identify the food contents.  This is especially true of sauces, seasonings and spices that may be used.  Although we strive to source the freshest ingredients available, note that some of the meals prepared onboard may use prepackaged goods, which could contain some of the elements you may not wish to consume.  Should you have any questions regarding the preparation or ingredients, your Head Waiter or Maitre d’ Hotel will be able to assist you with this information. 

For your safety, any food/drink items you wish to bring onboard must be non-perishable, must not have reached the expiration date before the cruise ends, store bought and sealed in their original containers and packaging upon boarding. Any items brought onboard must be stored in the stateroom and we cannot assign crew members to assist with the preparation. No fruits, vegetables, homemade food or restaurant food will be allowed. Although we may allow certain items onboard, local port authorities may override any approvals we give. Once onboard, due to local agricultural regulations, food items may not be taken ashore.

Should you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact me. In the meantime, we look forward to welcoming you onboard.

Kind regards,
Dietary coordinator

This is good but I knew it would not meet our needs so I responded with the fact that we are Vegan but there was no option for this.

Today I received this response: 

Thank you for contacting us with notification of your request for vegan meals. Please take a moment to review the following information.

Please advise if you are in need of a milk substitute. I can arrange either plain soy milk or plain rice milk. We do not carry almond milk, coconut milk or goat milk.

Once onboard, it is very important that you contact the Maitre d’ Hotel to discuss your special dietary needs and any special preparation of your meals. It will be at your discretion to order meals in accordance with your dietary needs. The Maitre d’ Hotel will be happy to assist with making selections from our standard menu that would be suitable.

We do not have a specific vegan menu available. We do offer some vegetarian dishes, which may be suitable for your diet. We can also modify certain menu items to accommodate your diet. We do carry tofu, egg-free pasta and can prepare veggie burgers, as well. The chefs have been able to come up with good meal ideas.

To best accommodate your needs, we recommend you take your meals in the main dining rooms and alternative restaurants. On selected port days when the main dining rooms are closed for lunch, every effort will be made to accommodate your needs in the buffet restaurant. We ask that you speak with the Maitre d’ Hotel the evening prior to discuss your meal requirements and any special preparation for the following day. When arriving at the buffet, please request to speak to a Supervisor, who will coordinate any special preparations directly with the chef.

Please be aware that the staff who serve stateroom snacks, meals, drinks, hors d’oeuvres, 24 hour dining (International CafĂ© and room service) or work in the self-service buffets cannot identify the food contents. This is especially true of sauces, seasonings and spices that may be used.  Additionally, some of the meals prepared onboard may use frozen, canned or prepackaged goods, which could contain some of the elements you may not wish to consume.

The buffet does offer a self-service dining option. Should you choose to dine in that venue we cannot guarantee that cross contamination among the various food selections will not occur.

I have received favorable feedback from vegans who have sailed with us. They are surprised at how the dining staff caters to their needs. Again, please contact the Maitre d’ Hotel and discuss your needs with him, this will result in receiving the proper assistance with your diet. The ship staff will do everything they can to accommodate your diet.

For your safety, any food/drink items you wish to bring onboard must be non-perishable, must not have reached the expiration date before the cruise ends, store bought and sealed in their original containers and packaging upon boarding. Any items brought onboard must be stored in the stateroom and we cannot assign crew members to assist with the preparation. No fruits, vegetables, homemade food or restaurant food will be allowed. Although we may allow certain items onboard, local port authorities may override any approvals we give. Once onboard, due to local agricultural regulations, food items may not be taken ashore.

Should you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact me. In the meantime, we look forward to welcoming you onboard.

Kind regards,

Dietary Coordinator

So we informed them that we will require soy milk in the International Cafe and we will contact the Maitre d'Hotel once on board. 

I will be blogging the entire voyage and will share how things work out and how we do.