Saturday, March 10, 2012

M/S Crown Princess to Aruba

The old lady is still fun to sail. Showing her age with an occasional loose carpet strip, a few unobtrusive paint blisters, and generally in need of a carpet deep cleaning, the M/S Crown Princess still showed her stuff as she shuddered and twitched her way out of the Bar Cut Channel in Ft. Lauderdale into heavy seas and near gale-force winds. She's a seasoned veteran at six years old, and not to destined to be at the top of the Princess list much longer.

She will be surpassed by the new M/S Royal Princess in June, 2013, which will carry 3,600 passengers, 500 more than were on-board as we cast off from Pier Two at 4:00pm on a recent Saturday afternoon. If you think 3,600 passengers is impressive, remember Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas already carries 5000 passengers spread between 18 decks. That behemoth was berthed near us at Ft Lauderdale, also prepping for a seven day excursion into the Caribbean. “Massive” was the only word I could think of as I looked at the Oasis from the fantail pool deck of the M/S Crown Princess

Astonishing to think they unload 5000 people, beginning at 7:00 am, clean the ship, load a new group of 5000 glassy-eyed vacationers, refuel, restock and stand ready to cast off by 4:30 pm. All in a day's work! I was already impressed with Princess's streamlined boarding processes which got 3224 of us on-board with as little stress and trepidation I have ever encountered boarding a cruise ship. This was our fifth cruise, and by far the one of the easiest to board. I found out later the Crown Princess also takes on over two hundred tons of food and supplies every Saturday during that same, short window of time. Amazing, simply amazing. 

But, I'm getting ahead of myself. The trip to Ft. Lauderdale from Port Charlotte on Florida's west coast had it's own moments, including when the bus driver's head slowly slumped to his right shoulder while we were doing 65 miles an hour on a long, straight, boring section of I-75 in the middle of the Everglades known as Alligator Alley. My wife and I were luckily sitting in the seats directly behind him, and I leaned over and gently tapped his shoulder until his head snapped up in surprise. He gave me a glance that showed more fear than gratefulness, but I wasn't about to condemn him. I simply smiled and pretended to be looking for alligators along side the adjacent canal and the event was never mentioned. He made a point to shake my hand when we got off the bus.

1 comment:

Bob said...

Thanks George,
Six dollar Bud is hard to take, but I'll bet you found beer cheaper on the island...away from the tourist area that is.