(Photo by Pitt)

~ At Sea I ~
Mexican Riviera  -  January 18th to 20th, 2019


Embarkation was Wednesday afternoon, and we would normally sail out under the Golden Gate Bridge by sunset, but we were having some rain storms and the sea was a bit rough. So, here comes the sunset and we have not yet left the pier . This is looking south toward San Jose, with one of the San Francisco Wharf buildings jutting out into the bay, and the suspension section of the Oakland-San Francisco Bay Bridge running across the bay toward Yerba Buena Island, to the left.

(Photo by Gately)

The ship cannot sit idly at the pier, especially if another ship is expected to come in. That is one very expensive parking spot.

The sun has set, and we have not yet moved. (Photo by Gately)

So, we pulled out into San Francisco Bay and we dropped one of our three anchors, until we could commence our trip around midnight. Rosalee and I have always said that we do not cruise for the destination... but for the people that we meet on the ship. So far as we are concerned, we could pull out into the bay and drop anchor for the full ten days. Wait... that is what it looked like we were doing. I should be careful about what I comment on. They could save a lot of money, too. We were told it costs the ship $150,000 a day to cruise. They did not indicate if that included the labor on board.


I have always felt that the best part about a large city was standing off in the distance, looking at it... especially at night. We are on board, standing at anchor between San Francisco and Treasure Island, waiting for more favorable conditions outside the Golden Gate. We have enjoyed our first dinner, and queuing up for the evening show in the Princess Theater... or individually doing whatever meets our fancy. Bars are open but the casino is not.. we have to be in International waters before they can open the casino. That little bright spike near the right side of the image is Coit Tower  at the top of Telegraph Hill.

On a previous cruise, I learned the amount of fuel the ship burns to move through the water. From that I was able to calculate that if our ship would burn one gallon of fuel, it would move forward ... sixteen feet!!! LOL. That means it would require 60 gallons of fuel to move one length of the ship. But... it is moving a city and 3,500 people... that was the same as the population of my home town when I grew up. That translates to about 48 miles/gallon/person on board... beats any car I own twice over.

For the techies reading this... We are told that the Grand Princess has six engines to move it and a couple more just to generate power for the "hotel". Those six engines (96 cylinders) turn six generators that power two huge electric motors that turn two screws (propellers) that are 19 feet in diameter. Top speed is 21 knots (24 mph). They take on crude bunker oil and refine it on board, into diesel fuel. She has six side thrusters (three in the bow and three in the stern) that are electric motors that turn six foot diameter blades that move water through tunnels in the hull, to move the ship sideways... or turn a 180 turn in a turning basin, like we did in Mazatlan. That means she does not need tugs to push her up to the dock.

A little closer view of the San Francisco Waterfront, while we are in the harbor.


And turning a little more to the left, we are entertained by the electronic light show that is on the suspension cables of the suspension section of the Oakland-San Francisco Bay Bridge. 
(Photo by Segur)

On this cruise, we head all the way down to Puerto Vallarta, our first port of call. That means three days at sea, even though we were usually within sight of the coastline along California, Baja, and Mexico. We had two days at sea on the way back... we had worked our way back toward San Francisco during the week.

There are more than a dozen restaurants where one might get something to eat. A few are extra charge for something special, but most are all part of the price of the ticket. The quite popular buffet is the Horizon Court on deck 14, Aft (Lido Deck). They serve breakfast, then lunch, then dinner from 0600 hours until 2230 hours in the evening (6:00 am to 10:30 pm). When we embark, our cabins may not be ready for us as the ship's crew have only a few hours after the previous occupants got off and before we got on, and they need to clean everything for us. So, we usually wander up to the Horizon Court and eat and visit. This is where we usually eat our breakfast and our lunch. We can get these meals in the dining room as well, but we enjoy this. 

Shirley Maurer Stenzel is chatting with Barbara Moon Gately and her husband John. The room is nicely decorated and you meet many people here. (Photo by Pfister)


Arnie and Dianna Stewart in the Horizon Court. We are pleased to report that the story we have heard for years that Arnie had suffered a stroke is untrue. He had an episode brought on by low hydration, and the effects were not permanent, and we thank God for that. (Photo by Pfister)


Peggy Haller Neves and Don Segur are enjoying a meal in the Horizon Court, visiting with others.
(Photo by Pfister)


Here they are with Joanie. Kathy Pfister, Peggy's sister  who took this picture, was also likely part of this group at this table. (Photo by Pfister)


I don't think this card game ever was finished... these six were playing it every time we would find them out on the deck. Jim and JoEllen Pitt on the right, with Jerry and Debbie Hamilton in front, and Alan and Melody Williamson in the back. (Photo by Smith)


Alan and Melody... can you figure out what game they are playing? They are near one of the large swimming pools on the fourteenth deck (Lido Deck) near the Horizon Court. Sun, fun, and food. What more do you want? 
(Photo by Pfister)


Peggy and Don with Joanie and Grove, enjoying a beverage in one of the many watering holes on the Grand Princess. (Photo by Pfister)


In the Horizon Court, Don and Joanie are contemplating World Affairs... or talking about what their day looks like... or remembering Ms. Olschafska in math class. She was one of our favorite teachers, and few of us could ever spell her name. Neil Ventioner just referred to her as "Miss Oskosscalerds"... in private, of course. (Photo by Pfister)

Rosalee and I were enjoying brunch in the Horizon Court the first day at sea, when a lady named Sharon from Seattle joined us. We had never met her. She must have been in her 80's. She said that she was a little disappointed that we stayed in SF bay the first evening. She said she enjoys cruising, and she likes to feel "...a little movement... some rockin' and rollin'." LOL. Few cruisers enjoy rough seas, so I asked her how long she had been crusing. She said "We got started a little late. First cruise was in 2006. This is our 133rd cruise!" LOL. I asked her what profession she and her husband were in. She said "Finance". Whatever that means. LOL. Maybe for the mob? That is more than ten cruises a year. She said they had been home for 1 1/2 weeks before this cruise. They were staying on the Grand Princess when we got back, and taking her to Hawai'i next. She was a sweetheart. We have no picture of her.

Princess always shares who the "Most Traveled Guest" is on each cruise. This time it was a woman from Petaluma, who has sailed with Princess 1,408 days. That is 3.8 years on board a ship. Beats Sharon from Seattle. LOL


"And you want me to... WHAT? Sorry, I'm helping the Captain in a little bit."(Photo by Pfister)


Ray Din and his wife Lyndell both participated in several Karaoke events on board the ship, and this was one of the events where they each sang, and they were displayed up on the huge outdoor video screen... movie screen. "They both done us proud." They have beautiful voices, and are both extroverted enough to take on the challenge of singing in front of the full ship. (Photo by Pfister)


  Lyndell Din is on stage in the Princess Theater for the finals in "Voice Of The Sea" competition. She said she hoped to sing "Summertime", that favorite of mine from Porgy & Bess that I enjoyed as a child, but one of the other artists had selected it. Lyndell sang "These Boots Are Made For Walking" which Nancy Sinatra made popular in the sixties. Lyndell said she bought some boots in Cabo San Lucas to accentuate her number. We've seen a lot of Princess Cruise Directors, and this one impressed us. (Photo by Pfister)


This one is Lyndell during her performance. She and Ray seem so cool and relaxed when they perform. They both truly enjoy doing it, and they seem to have a lot of experience with performing. Word is that they met in a karaoke performance. That true Lyndell?
(Photo by Smith)


Jerry and Debbie Hamilton join JoEllen and Jim Pitt for a meal in one of the large Dining Rooms. You can go there for a nice waiter-served breakfast or lunch any day. Does it bother anyone else to see a painting on a ship that appears to be looking out the window... and seeing an under-water scene? (Photo by Pfister)


Ken and Rosalee are enjoying a cup of tea with Joanie Adams Casillas and Kathy Pfister, who stood up to take this picture. We are in that area on Lido Deck near the Neptune Reef and Pool, next to the window wall that is a good location to watch the world go by. Looks like we are under way. (Photo by Pfister)


Looks like Arnie is doing the same thing, in the same area, different day. Looks like we are in port... Cabo San Lucas to be specific. This port is where we anchor in the bay and if you want to go ashore, you go down to deck 4 and step out into one of our tenders (covered life boat) or one from Cabo that comes out.
(Photo by Pfister)


Another lunch customer who is also in Cabo. This is Joe Viscuso, the guests of Howard. Joe attended the Industrial Education department of Chico State just after I did, and taught Industrial Education in Live Oak. I need to find a way to spend more time with him. We can share a lot of stories from our days of teaching.
(Photo by Pfister)


And this is Denise Viscuso, the important part of the pair, formed by her and Joe, above.    (Photo by Viscuso)



Ah, yes, that everlasting floating card game. On the right are Debbie and Jerry Hamilton, and JoEllen Pitt. On the left... below as well... are Melody and Alan Williamson split up by Jim Pitt. Looks like these were taken while we were underway... I had to lighten up the images to see the faces, and that wiped out the view out the window. (Photos by Pfister)


Shirley (Maurer) and Frank Stenzel are enjoying dinner in our Dining Room. (Photo by Gately)

We arranged to have four tables that adjoined each other set aside for the group, and we would sit at any one of them when we came in for the evening meal.

Florence (Sheppard) Hamman and Howard are having fun with the waiter. Mike Dahl and Joe Viscuso join in. (Photo by Gately)

A different night, Joanie (Adams) Casillas, Rosalee (Shifflet) Smith, Mike Dahl, and Ken Smith.
(Photo by Gately)


Kathy (Haller) Pfister and Joanie (Adams) Casillas.
(Photo by Gately)


Ray Din celebrated his birthday and they brought him a special birthday cake.  (Photo by Gately)



"So, what happened to my cake?" (Photo by Segur)


Jim Pitt and JoEllen Pitt. (Photo by Gately)


John and Barbara (Moon) Gately.
(Photo by Gately)


A group of us are accumulating in the Princess Theater for the evening show. You literally need to find your seat a good half hour before curtain time of you may be sitting in the aisle. Our group began sitting in row three on our 57th cruise, and we have had more fun sitting down there. Rosalee and I always sat up high in the back where we got the "big picture" of the show, but down in front you really feel like you are more 'involved' with the performers. You see subtle expressions and catch the eyes, which tell so much of the story. We can see Joanie, Arnie, Dianna, Shirley, Frank, Howard, and maybe Don Segur. (Photo by Pfister)


John Gately is in the Princess Theater, ready for the show to start. (Photo by Gately)

In the Princess Theater, from high up in the back, during one of the shows they put on for the passengers. They have a troupe of singers and dancers that do a great job of performing, and several groups of musicians that perform. They also bring in other performers, some with considerable acclaim. (Photo by Gately)


We wanted to gather and talk about future plans for the class. This is a small gathering place just outside of the lower entry to the Princess Theater. The fellow in white shirt and shorts was sitting there, and he just stayed while we had our meeting. He stopped reading his book and joined into our conversation.

We have Lyndell Ivey Din, Shirley (Maurer) Stenzel, Ray Din, Joanie (Adams) Casillas, Groverlee Dahl,
and ???,
Photo by Gately)

And here we add Florence Hamman, Peggy (Haller) Neves, and Howard Hamman.
(Photo by Gately)

On the other side of the little room we have Joe Hughes, Arnie Stewart, Rosalee (Shifflet) Smith, Dianna Stewart, Ken Smith, and Kathy (Haller) Pfister. (Photo by Gately)

Peggy (Haller) Neves, Howard Hamman, and Jim Pitt listen to Frank Stenzel as we discuss future plans. We all agreed we needed to do another cruise... soon.
(Photo by Gately)


Chef Boy-R-Din. (Photo by Lyndell)