You are probably wondering what happen to Day 8 – Sea Day. See previous Day 6. It was exactly the same with one added feature – re-packing, which is always a little sad and a little challenging – how to squeeze your all your stuff and the added souvenirs into your bags – but we made it work. As is the case with just about every vacation I take, my camera seems to take a holiday on the final day, and I return with basically no pictures of the final hours of our time away. Such was the case here. No pictures of the ship, no images of us packing, nothing at disembarkation, and nothing of the plane ride home. At the same time my camera disappears, I start thinking of home and all the tasks awaiting my return. The two seem to go hand in hand. Go figure.
As with embarkation 8 days earlier, disembarkation in Dover was a breeze. We had breakfast in the buffet, vacated the cabin, and waited at the appropriate time and venue according to color code. In our case, we waited in the Cabaret Lounge for just a short time while Princess showed a video of the new Royal Princess features. We had already seen most of it, but the review was nice, as we are booked on Royal for next summer. Our group was called, we exited the ship, grabbed our luggage, and climbed directly aboard the Princess shuttle for the 2-hour ride to Heathrow, but not before one long, last look at the Ocean Princess as she awaited her next group of soon-to-arrive excited passengers. The process was all very well quick and well-organized. We have never used a Princess transfer before and would definitely consider it again, especially for a long or complicated journey from ship to airport or hotel. We arrived safely at the airport, with plenty of time to kill. Airline check-in, security, the flight and customs all went smoothly.
A few final observations ~
This was a fantastic itinerary for an 8-day cruise, and we thoroughly enjoyed all the ports, except maybe for Waterford, which was our least favorite city on this sailing. I particularly thought the cooler climate was a nice change to the tropical waters of the Caribbean. The Ocean Princess is a very pretty ship, and the smaller size makes it easy to get to know the crew and fellow passengers. On more than one occasion, crew members addressed us by name, a pleasant personal touch not found on a ship of 3,000 passengers. With that said, however, we did sorely miss several big-ship features, particularly a real, wrap-around promenade deck and the International Cafe, found on the large Princess ships. The most wished-for item missing from the dining room menu was French Onion Soup. For the most part, the pool deck was unusable due to the climate, and I wish there had been a covered pool like that of some ships cruising colder waters. We are happy that the cabins and balconies are now smoke-free, but disappointed that the prettiest lounge on the ship, the Tahitian Lounge, allows smoking on one side of the room, making the room reek of tobacco at any time of day.
Would we cruise Ocean Princess again? If it were me, absolutely! However, given that my husband still prefers the large ship experience and since he contributes the most money to the cruise piggy bank, I would have to give him a say. So the answer to whether or not we would cruise Ocean Princess again is probably more of a definite maybe!
Alas, another summer vacation had come to an end. No fear, though, as I have already have my eyes set and my blog ready and awaiting next year’s vacations, as we have two more cruises in the pipeline: The new Royal Princess sailing the Mediterannean next July, and a short 4-day Caribbean cruise on Ruby Princess during Christmas break 2013. My pen won’t rest long. Stay tuned!