Sunday, January 31, 2010
After a very uneventful bus ride (thank goodness) on the cruise connection we arrived with a lot of anticipation at the small ship named the Royal Princess. This is the smallest ship we have ever been on (it holds 700 passengers) so we were not sure what to expect. First the ship was acquired by Princess from the bankrupt Renaissance Cruise line. When we arrived the boarding process was superb, because of so few passengers, we literally walked right on. We went right to our room (which is an outside) and we were very surprised. The room was bigger (not by much) then the other Princess ships land all in walnut with ample storage space. After giving the room a thumbs up, we started exploring the rest of the ship, and again we were impressed. The Library is the largest and most beautiful we have ever seen with over 4000 hardbound books. The ship has many secluded spots and wonderful little bars. Our departing from Ft Lauderdale was great and we met our table mates for the first time at dinner ( a couple from Indiana and a couple from Florida) and they are well traveled so I am sure we will enjoy them a lot. Watched a good comedian last night and hit the bed early. After a long day, even Judy was ready for bed at 10:30. Tomorrow, a day at sea and a chance to explore the ship even more.
Monday, January 4, 2010
I just wanted to jot down a few things about visiting Brazil. First you need a visa. You can get a visa by using a surrogate company, these are people that you pay to travel to a Brazilian embassy and get the visa for you. These are typically expensive ($300 or more) and take time. Brazil sets up their fees to match what the country of residence charges Brazilian citizens, which in the case of the United States is $100. We personally visited the Brazilian Embassy in Miami, dropped our passports off one day, and were able to pick up our visa and passports the next morning, total coast $100 each. The visa is good for five years. Another requirement for visiting Brazil is a yellow fever shot. This can be gotten from your local doctor or in our case from the Dept of Health. This shot is good for ten years. If you are on a cruise ship that stops in Brazil and have failed to get the visa, they will not let you onboard. The yellow fever shot can normally be gotten onboard, but should not be counted on.
Sunday, January 3, 2010
We have booked a 28 day round trip cruise a thousand miles up the Amazon on the Royal Princess. This will be our first time on a small Princess ship. The Royal Princess holds about 675 people. We have booked an outside cabin for the first time in a long time, because the rate was the same as an inside. We did find out just how good being a past passenger of Princess gets you great rates. A friend indicated an interest to go on the same cruise with us, when they tried to book the same as we did, it was fifty percent higher and because of that decided not to go.