Entertainment & a drink

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With a capacity of 800 you had to be seated at least 30 minutes before the show began.

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The Princess ships have their own dancers and singers, and their own musical backing – in addition, various outside entertainers are engaged for one or two nights. They would fly in – entertain the passengers and fly out from the next convenient port.

The ship’s dancers and musician were permanent. Maureen & have cruised with four different cruise companies and found that the ship’s resident entertainers (singers & dancers) have been excellent.
Princess cruises has a dance studio in California (I think) where the dancers and singers are trained, and new shows created. The shows are rotated throughout the fleet, but we’ve never seen the same show on different ships.

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The finally of the first show on the Ruby Princess.

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The following evening we went to see Patrick McMahon, singer, songwriter & entertainer. I’d never heard of him, but he was very good and after checking details about him I realised what I’d been missing. He sang a number of different styles of music from country, jazz, rock & roll etc. He was so full of energy that I became tired watching him as he jumped all over the stage while playing instruments.
He has more energy than someone half his age, and when you see the clip remember he is 60 years old!

A few nights later we saw Chris Gable (we missed a couple of nights due to shore excursion)

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Boy was this guy good – he could play the clarinet, saxophone, piano, guitar, and he could sing! Chris Gable the link will take you to a sample of his musical skills. If you wish for Glen Miller fast forward to near the end.

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At the end of the show he played the wind instruments for  Golden Wedding and the ship’s drummer at the back was able to match Gable’s skill – the drummer was just great.
The link is not to Chris Gable or the drummer, but to the piece of music.

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At the end the audience went mad . . . not just for Chris Gable, but also for the drummer!

Chris Gable was so popular they arranged an additional show later in the cruise, and he produced a different musical show, which was just a popular with the audience.

We also watched comic conjurer, but I didn’t take any photographs as I thought he was disappointing.

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Another night we watched Suzanne Ptentice a New Zealand singer from Invercargill.
She sang a mixture of songs, but as my knowledge of country western music is limited I’d never heard of her. She was awarded the OBE by the Queen in 1995 for services to music. She was very pleasant.

The following night is was the resident dancers and singer in a show called Once upon a Dream. This show was a mixture of classical, Beatles and bits of POP – I thought is was well done as it was supposed to be a dream and as we know dreams are always mixed-up.

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A young girl has a dream . . .

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from Alice in Wonderland

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For some reason the dancing camels reminded me of  Wilson & Keppel    from a 1934 film – and before someone asks, no I was not at the premier of this film!

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A change of pace and time tone to the 18th century . . . the cast worked hard and were very good – singing & dancing at the same time.

Our last port of call was Noumea, where Jon Darsk joined the ship. Another great entertainer – piano player, violinist, singer and a personality to match.

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He would play the piano as fast as he could with one piece of music, and then switch to boogie woogie, everything just flowed.

In the theater staff walked around ready to take orders for drinks before the entertainment started, so I thought I’d post the cost of a sample of the drinks.

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There was a large variety of cocktails – I have only posted a couple of pages as samples, all the prices are Australian dollars.

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The above is the cost of white wine, it is obvious that you are encouraged to buy a bottle, which will be cheaper than the cost of four single glasses.

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and the cost of the reds . . . .

But if you only drink beer –

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The cost of a non-alcoholic bottle of beer is more expensive than in a Sydney restaurant.

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All the above photographs of the drink’s lists are thanks to our friends who were travelling with us.

If you are considering a cruise and you like a drink with your meal make sure you build the above costs in to your budget.

I could have bought a ‘drinks package’ that would have allowed me to have up to 15 drinks for a set daily rate, which was about $89 AUD.
Even in my younger days I’d have had trouble drinking fifteen drinks EVERY day.
To break even you’d have to drink 10 bottles of beer a day or six glasses of red (the package doesn’t include bottled wine), or six and a half glasses of white. The cruise was 14 days so the drinks package would have cost $1,246 (AUD) per person. This has to be taken into account when budgeting.

The idea of inexpensive duty-free drinks that used to be the norm when travelling by sea, before the cruise craze came about, has disappeared.

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Mural in the Crooners Bar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Food & wine

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As part of the cruise we were entitled to a complimentary visit to a specialist restaurant. Not being a great fan of Italian food or fish, I voted for the Crown Grill. In addition, we had a voucher for a bottle of wine not to exceed $70 (AUD). I’d never bought a bottle of anywhere near $70, so this was an experience. I managed to find a Calrendon Hill, syrah for $70, which was one of the cheaper wines . . . .

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Crown Grill Ruby Princess – picture off the internet, mine didn’t come out!

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Black tiger prawns as an appetizer.

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Goats cheese salad followed by

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Black & Blue onion soup, which included Jack Daniels . . .

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For me the pièce de résistance,
an 8 oz filet mignon, medium / rare cooked to perfection.
I used the goats cheese salad to accompany the meat.

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A light pudding, one must watch one’s weight . . .

Overall, we enjoyed the meal, but later on I’ll make a comparison with another specialty restaurant.

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Samples of a few dishes from the main dining room – every evening we had a two page menu, which allowed me to try various items that I might not try from a restaurant close to home. From memory the above is a shellfish terrine with prawns & scallops as a starter.

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An Asian dish – Singapore or Thai noodles with tofu (the white bits), and chicken.

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A prawn main dish – although we had three or four dishes for dinner, the amount of food for each dish was not excessive, so at the end of the meal one didn’t feel over full. Portion control also controlled my weight.

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Grapefruit scallop salad as a starter – nice and tangy.

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​Prosciutto with melon, but I can not remember the sauce.

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Well presented and colourful

The main dining room menu covered ‘Starters’, Soups & Salads, Mains and a separate menu for sweets & puddings.

Later we decided to try Curtis Stone’s – Share- restaurant, which was the second specialty restaurant. The extra cost was $35.00 AUD, ($29 USD) per person. The dinner would be six courses, without wine unless you took your own or bought it from the wine list.

Princess Cruises operate a system that you can board with a bottle of wine for each person in your party (adults) free of surcharges, if the wine is drunk in your cabin. You are permitted to take additional bottles at the time of boarding for a ‘corkage fee’ off $15 AUD per bottle, which is what we did and boarded with two bottles each and I paid $30 corkage. By paying the corkage I could take the bottle to any restaurant and ask them to serve it during the meal. If I didn’t finish the bottle it would be stored for the following evening in the ship’s store ID’d with our cabin number and ship’s card number.

Having experienced the $70 bottle at the Grill I produced my $10 bottle ($25 after paying corkage) for the Curtis Stone evening.

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I only hope Paul Mas was pleased  . . .

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Entrance to the Curtis Stone Sharing – reception was behind the glass case on the right.

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This picture thanks to our friends with whom we were travelling.

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Inside the restaurant – it was a very pleasant ambiance and the lady who served us was excellent, she answered all our questions and explained the choices and the dishes that we picked – don’t forget we had six courses to pick.

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We could have been in any good restaurant in Sydney, plenty of space between the tables.

course one STARTER

Charcuterie
’Nduja is a spicy, spreadable salami that comes from the southernmost Italian region of Calabria.
Cured from prosciutto, with prominent chilies and spices.
Choice of beef bresaola, duck prosciutto, or fennel-infused finocchiona.
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course two SALAD

Tomatoes and Burrata
A variety of local tomatoes paired with oregano oil and dressed fennel leaves
Asparagus and Radish
Lightly roasted asparagus with arugula pesto, red bell pepper relish and
sourdough croutons
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course three PASTA–MADE FRESH DAILY

Pork Ravioli
Green curry filling coated in lemongrass cream, and topped with crunchy chicharrones
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Ricotta Cavatelli
Roasted sunchokes, pickled beets and a Castelmagno espuma
I’m not a fan of pasta, but this dish was quite tasty.

course four:
Sea Lobster Bisque: Quick-seared cold-water lobster tail pieces with Madeira crème fraîche and fennel confit
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Once again, not being a fan of shellfish, but enjoyed this dish. One has to be
adventurous’ on holiday . . .

course five
Strip Loin Steak
Charred and sliced New York steak on top of a pomme purée, with braised mushrooms
and a porcini jus
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Medium rare – beautiful.

course six
Almond Marzipan
Warm cake paired with strawberry coulis, candied almonds and crème fraîche ice cream
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Followed by coffee –
Overall a lovely meal that was different (for me that is, thanks to the pasta & shellfish) and I never felt over full.
Quiet music in the background – good company – nice wine, a perfect evening.
We all enjoyed the Curtis Stone restaurant a little more than the Crown Grill.

The idea of the title ‘Share’ is that we would share part of each dish with family & friends – we didn’t Share but stuck to our own choices! Love & friendship only goes so far . . .

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Picture thanks to our friends.

 

 

 

 

 

What’s inside

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In my last posting I promised photographs of the public areas inside the Ruby Princess. This our cabin, on first impressions we thought it was smaller than similar Princess ships cabins.

On a positive note it had plenty of storage space, a standard bathroom, which included the shower, which was one of the best that I’ve experienced on a ship for water pressure. It was easy to control the hot / cold settings.

The balcony was one of the largest that we experienced, which contained a table, two sun lounger chairs and two foot-stools.

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The view from our balcony on boarding.

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and the view from the balcony rail.

DSC05923rA favourite area for a quiet afternoon at sea.

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Crooners Bar, which was larger than the Crooners Bars on other Princess ships in which we sailed. The bar overlooked the atrium, which was smaller than the Majestic Princess (similar size vessel, but different configuration).

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The atrium (called the Piazza) – note the shops  . . .

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Most late afternoons it was very pleasant to sit in the Crooners Bar & hear the string duet – Anima String Duo

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Other evenings after a show, we would listen to Marius Baetica

Our favourite place for a pre-dinner drink was the Wheelhouse Bar – we passed the model as we entered.

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Food and all that . . . Horizon Restaurant, we used this restaurant for breakfast & lunch, it was a buffet style, so one had to be circumspect when filling one’s plate . . .eat as you would at home and you’ll not add the kilos.

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During our exploring period we came across the Skywalkers Nightclub on deck 18. It was a very quiet area, because the bar didn’t open until 10.00 pm.

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A perfect place to sit and read, with perhaps time to sit and consider where the ship was going. As you see it was not a particular popular place before 10.00 pm :- o)

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The main dining-room that we used – Michelangelo Dining Room – we were anytime dining, but if we wanted to see a show at 7.30 pm we had to be the dining room for around 5.00 pm to eat before the show or after 8.30 pm to eat after the show.

5.00 pm may sound very early, but by the time you were seated, and drinks arranged, and you studied the menu it would be 5.30 pm going on to six PM. It was all very quiet and civilised, and nothing was rushed.

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Another shot of the dining room. The head waiter (Stefan) was the perfect person for the job.
Maureen is a coeliac and all her food must be gluten free. Every evening Stefan would show the following day’s menu to Maureen and she would pick the items that she would like, and the items would be produced gluten free for the following day.

One evening we ate in a specialty restaurant and at the end of the meal Stefan arrived with the following day’s menu and his notebook. The specialty restaurant was on deck 16, and the Michelangelo Dining Room (where Stefan worked) was on deck 5. He was always busy, but he never failed to track Maureen down so that she could choose the following day’s meals.

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Another shot of Michelangelo Dining Room.

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During the meal on the final night of the trip the wait staff would enter carrying models of bake Alaska, and all the passengers would greet them by waving their napkins. I tried to take pictures of the waving napkins, but they came out blared.

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The staff with their baked Alaska, all lit of course.

Maureen & I were given a gift of breakfast on the balcony, with Champagne. We picked the day (they staff required 24 hours’ notice) but the day for the breakfast turned out to be windy and not all that warm.
The waiter arrived and realised that it was too windy outside so he brought the outside table in and laid it for breakfast. Everything was just so  . . .
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DSC05996rThe whole occasion was very well done and we had plenty of food – in the end it was more than we would normally eat for breakfast.   :- o)

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This was the ‘starter’, smoked salmon – followed by cereal, and eggs . . . it was an enjoyable experience, and of course we didn’t have to tidy up or wash-up!

Moving on to something else, overall there were fourteen bars, and we only managed to visit eight in fourteen days – my school teacher used to say that I should try harder . . .

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The above is the ‘The Mix Bar’ near a pool –

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and for my British readers they had Newcastle Brown on tap, as well as Carlsberg on tap, the only problem was that they ran out of Newcastle Brown before the end of the cruise, and The Mix Bar was the only bar that sold Newcastle Brown.
The cost was $12 (AUD or USD $8.12) for just over a British pint.
The average bottle of beer was AUD $8.75 ($5.92 USD), which included an 18% tip!

Overall the cruise was a very relaxing time and the food was better than we have experienced in some other Princess cruises.

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I took a photograph of a sign on a market stall in Fiji, which summed up the cruise.