LAST CALL == BOOK BY FRIDAY, NOV 4TH
FINAL PAYMENT IS ALSO DUE FRIDAY
Obviously, this trip has come and gone.
I'll leave this section up as a reference to compare costs and as a review for
those that hopefully will be interested in perhaps joining us on our next
When will that be? Who knows. I did
float the possibility of waiting three years so we could build up a bit of a
nest egg, and maybe do a 15-day cruise to Hawai'i and back for our 60th Reunion.
Nothing is planned yet, but perhaps if you let me know or Mike or someone know
that you are interested, it would encourage others to do the trip.
Princess does not have prices for 2019
yet, but 2018 would be in the $2,000 to $3,000 per person range, so it would not
be too much more than that in 2019. It is five days over, five days visiting
four islands, and five days back to SF with a stop in Ensenada.
This is just a tease to wet your
Future Cruise for 2016
It is all set up! Plans are being made for another cruise with the
Class of 59. Our two previous class cruises, the first
one in 2009 and the second one in 2014, have been wonderful experiences, and we
are hoping that you will join us on this opportunity. It is the 7-day California
Coastal Cruise on the Grand Princess from Princess Cruises that sails from San
Francisco on April 17th, 2016.
She is a
beautiful ship, and she was just completely refurbished a couple of
years ago. Rosalee and I have sailed on the Grand four times before.
We sailed her in November of this year on this same exact cruise the class is taking in
April. We enjoy cruising and have repeated other cruises in the past because it is not the destination that
we cruise for, but the people we meet on the ship and the experience
of the sailing. Every cruise is a new experience.
I took this image of the Grand when we sailed her
in the Eastern Caribbean. This was before her renovation, which
removed that item up high at the stern end. That was actually a night club,
at Deck 17. The captain of the ship referred to that night club as
the "handle on the shopping cart."
I will talk a little about this
cruise below, but if you already are convinced that you want to be
part of this fabulous week, and are ready to sign on, get the
following things ready and then click on this first URL:
Get out your passport and the
passport for anyone else that will be in your cabin with you.
Yes, you will need a passport that is good at least until
October, 2016. All cruises disembarking from American ports must
visit one foreign port (Rules from On High) so you will have to
carry your passport, EVEN IF YOU DO NOT PLAN TO EXIT THE SHIP IN
Name and phone number of an
emergency contact that you wish to use, in case of emergency.
You should know which type of
cabin you wish to have. They are detailed below if you have not
If you have cruised with
Princess Cruises before, you will need to know your VIFP
(Princess Past Guest Number). This helps them to keep track of
your Princess cruises so that you will move up in their ranking
system. You get some perks the higher you go.
You need to know if you are
going to opt for the Trip Cancellation Insurance which is about
10% of the total cost. This is to get you a full refund if mom
gets sick or something bad.
You will need your credit card
number. There is a $600 deposit required at time of
registration. Balance is due before December 4th of this year...
that's two months!!
Where it asks "...who you were
invited by", you can leave that blank.
Fill out only one form for the
couple. When it asks "I will share my room with?", be sure to
put the second person's name and birth-date.
Go to this URL to sign up. It
takes you to a secure registration sheet that is connected directly
to Princess Cruises and it will ask you the details that make this
cruise YOUR cruise:
If you are still undecided,
or need more information:
If you would like to see some images and some written work
on the two previous class cruises, click on "REUNIONS" on the menu above, then select
"50th Year - 2009" or "55th Year - 2014" and then select "Cruise".
On each previous class cruise, members of the class were able to
get together multiple times through each day when we were on board the ships,
and then many would take excursions off the ship to visit sights and events at each port of
call. After you register with Princess, you will be notified of on-shore
excursions that may be available to us, and if you choose any of those, they
will be arranged with the ship and their cost will be charged to your account
separately, or you can pre-pay. You can also select excursions from the
Excursion Desk on board the Grand Princess and they will charge your account. Be
careful here though because sometimes they are booked very quickly and you may
lose out. But you can always try if you decide later to book. We have signed on
to wait for a late opening or cancellation and that has worked... sometimes.
We will be in Ensenada for ten hours, and Don Pryde said that if
there were enough cruisers interested, he could set up a bus to pick us up in
Ensenada, at the ship, and take us about twenty miles to a place that has zip
lines and waterfalls and stuff, and bring us back to the ship. He has taken
other groups there. It would cost $115 each. Drop Don or me a line if you are "interested" and Don
got more information for us. Drop to the bottom of this page to see a note from
Don and pictures of a previous group he was with.
If you have not cruised before, the price that is quoted to you
on a website is for everything, except for taxes, dock fees, and standard
tipping for key personnel. The registration form (URL above) that you fill
out, already has that all added together. The fee on the form is the full
price, PER COUPLE, assuming there will be two in your cabin. A
third or fourth person can be added to some cabins, and each of those are MUCH cheaper
than the first two,
but I would not recommend it for the more seasoned individuals such as ourselves,
as it involves climbing a ladder to reach a 'drop-down' bed from out of the
ceiling... I mean "overhead" (nautical talk). If you are single and want a cabin to yourself, you pay almost twice the
ticket price, (the full COUPLE price on the form) so you might want to have a cruising partner.
Let us know and
we can see if another single is interested. We will try. By the way... a
Mini-Suite has a couch that opens to sleep a third person, but that person pays
a little less than the normal price of the Mini-Suite.
You will also, of course, need to figure on your transportation
to the port, and 'cancellation insurance'. The insurance will cost about ten
percent of the full price, and personally, with health of loved ones as well as
our own health being what it is, Rosalee an d I always consider this a good idea.
When you board the ship, your money is no good. You are given a
"cruise card" that is your ticket on and off the ship, and it is used as a cash
card for any purchases you do on board the ship. At the end of the cruise your
cruise card is charged against your credit card. Your original ticket price pays for all
of your meals (as many meals as you want, literally almost 24 hours a day).
There is generally one or more fancy 'specialty' restaurant on the ship that will charge a small fee
like $10 to $20 extra for a very nice, multi-course meal. But that is for
special occasions. Normally you can eat in any of several dining rooms, multiple
small cafe's, a large buffet, multiple lounges and bars, some with specialty
foods... just about anything that you could want. I counted 17 places on Grand
Princess that serve food, and some more bars that may also serve some limited
food. Because we are a group, Don tells me that we are already scheduled
for two assigned large tables that are near each other in a "traditional" Dining
Room, at 6:00 pm (1800 hours) which is the first seating.
On our previous Class of 59 cruises we arranged for a couple of
tables near each other where we could come together in the evening for dinner,
and that was probably the best part of the entire cruise. That is where you get
to really learn about others in our class if it has not happened before, or to
catch up with old friends.
Tipping does not happen during the cruise. You don't have to be
concerned about that at all. Princess has a standard Gratuity fee when you book
your cruise, and that takes care of all tipping. If you are impressed enough
with your room steward (low in rank on the ship, but the most important as far
as you are concerned) you can put an extra tip in an envelop with his name on it
and leave it with the Purser's office or in your cabin. We love our cabin
stewards. They are always very friendly and anxiously try to please us. Ask them
nicely and you will get their best service.
Any alcoholic beverages are going to cost you extra.
cost extra as well. The first day of the cruise they usually offer a special buy,
consisting of a sticker they put on
your cruise card for nearly endless soft drinks, if you think you will drink that many.
They also have one for specialty coffees. Standard coffee and tea is served
freely at the tables all day long.
If you go ashore, you can bring snacks and drinks on board, should you ever
think you could ever get hungry. They have plenty of snacks on the ship. In the
stores on board they also sell packaged candies and chips and those things. The
stores are closed when we are in port and open once we are five miles off shore.
They like to hold your
alcoholic beverages for you that you bring on board, and have them for you at
the end of the cruise, with your luggage. The first bottle has no fee attached,
but subsequent bottles will have a corking fee added to it for the storage.
They have one or two production shows each evening, with lots of
smaller musical, comedy, magic, dance, drama, individual performers on pianos,
musical quartets, as well as lectures all over the ship... tons of things to keep you busy. Each cabin has a TV with
limited reception. They also have a small refrigerator, hair dryer, and a safe in every
They have shopping on the the Grand, including clothes, jewelry, art,
trinkets, watches, cameras, etc. They take photos of those on board all of the time, especially
each time you are going ashore, and you can
check out the photos in the photo gallery. You are not required to buy them but if you
like any of them, you can purchase them. Let them take all the pictures they
like. You might even like one or two of them. If you do not want them, you can
pull them from the display and give them to an employee and they will destroy
Speaking of luggage... it is a monstrous chore to handle over
6,000 pieces of luggage. You will have tags before you leave your house and they
go on the luggage with your name and stateroom number. When you get on board, it
will be a couple of hours or so before you see your luggage, so carry on anything like
meds that you need to take soon after you board the ship. When we return, you
will set all of your luggage outside your cabin THE NIGHT BEFORE we get off the
ship... before the evening meal. So you have to plan what to wear to dinner and
what to wear off the ship the next morning... a little tricky sometimes, but it
all works out.
The committee has selected the cruise that disembarks on April 17th. Other ports normally available to us are
Seattle or Long Beach, so this is our closest port to Gridley. As done the
previous time, the committee is working with Don Pryde of Gridley on this
cruise. This is a 7-day cruise called the "California Coastal", which disembarks
from San Francisco and stops in Santa Barbara - Long Beach - San
Diego - Ensenada and back to San Francisco. For those that may be concerned, we are never
at "high sea". We are seldom out of sight of the California or Baja coast.
The Cabins and Prices:
We have basically three types of cabin to choose from:
Interior: This cabin is
in the interior of the ship and has no exterior view. It is
basically the same as the other two cabins as far as space,
furniture arrangement, and head (that would be bathroom :-) ).
The full price for this cabin, including taxes, docking fees,
standard tipping, etc. is $1.939 PER COUPLE (insurance is
extra). After October 31st standard tipping will cost an extra
$20.30 per couple.
Oceanview: This cabin
has a window that is unobstructed by anything that prevents you
from having a full view outside the ship. Everything else is the
same as the other two cabins. Full price is $2.439 PER COUPLE
(insurance extra). After October 31st standard tipping will cost
an extra $20.30 per couple.
Balcony: This cabin has
a full-sized sliding glass door as its window and it opens to
allow you to walk out onto a small, private balcony that allows
you full, unrestricted view of the open sea or port (or ship
docked next to you in port... be careful :-) ) Depending on time
of day you can catch some rays out there or enjoy the cool ocean
breezes. Everything else is the same as the other two cabins.
Full price is $2.679 PER COUPLE (insurance extra). After
October 31st standard tipping will cost an extra $20.30 per
Because we are cruising as a
group, Don arranged it so that we will receive a $75 On-board credit
that we can spend on the ship. That is per cabin, not per person.
When you register, you will be charged a minimum of $600 deposit.
You will need to pay the balance of the cost BEFORE DECEMBER 4th. Don Pryde, the
agent, said you can pay the balance in increments before 12/4/15 if that will
help out any.
The cruise lines do not accept checks, so Don
needs to have a credit card number to book us.
We finally have a definite price for the Travel
Balcony and Oceanview Staterooms are $93.00 per
person. Inside Staterooms are $58.00 per person. If you want a "Cancel For Any
Reason" insurance, add $50.00 to these two prices, per person. This is paid
either by credit card directly to Don or a check to "Pryde Travel Trust
Account". Cruise lines do not offer insurance. Don uses one that covers the
group and is more favorable to those of distinction, such as ourselves, with our
more advanced... um... experience in life.
You can read more details about the cruise at this location:
Rosalee and I frequently sail with Princess, and if you have an
interest, you can see our 'report' for most of our cruises on a website that I put up for
sharing. Go to the website here:
You can get some idea of what each of the cruises are like, and a
sampling of 'life with Princess'. If you would like to see reports
of the three cruises we took on the Grand Princess, check out the
Hawaiian Cruise in 2013, the Western Caribbean in 2002 and the
Eastern Caribbean in 2003. I have also posted a report of the California
Coastal we took on the Grand Princess November 8th through 15th
here. That was the same
exact trip the class is taking next April.
Please don't wait that long to book your cruise, however. That is
very late to book a cruise.
If you have any questions on this cruise, we
would be more than happy to answer any questions you may have. Drop
e-mail or call us. If
anyone would like to contribute images or a report or a note regarding
a previous cruise that the class may be interested in reading, just
send it to me and I will publish it here. If you would like to send
a report on this cruise coming up, I will publish it here as well,
or pictures as well, for others to enjoy.
We look forward to seeing old friends on another
cruise. It is a wonderful experience with wonderful friends and
great memories. How can we do better than that?
Ken & Rosalee Smith