GRIDLEY UNION HIGH SCHOOL

CLASS OF 1959

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Future Cruise for 2019

 

It is all set up! We are booking people for another cruise with the Class of 59. Our three previous class cruises were very enjoyable, wonderful experiences... the first one in 2009, the second one in 2014, and the third out of San Francisco on April 17th, 2016. We are hoping that you will join us on our next planned cruise, coming up on January 17th through January 27th, 2019, again out of San Francisco.

As was the last cruise we all too, this cruise will again be on the Grand Princess. She is a beautiful ship, and she was just completely refurbished a couple of years ago. Rosalee and I have sailed on the Grand eight times before: twice in the Caribbean, two times to Alaska, two trips down the California coast, two wonderful excursions to Hawai'i, and a trip to the Mexican Riviera in January of 2018... the very trip the class will take this next January. 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 new cruise below, but if you already are convinced that you want to be part of this fabulous ten days, and are ready to sign on, get the following things ready. But first...

  1. Right now, get your full name (as it is written on your passport), your address, your cell phone number, your birth date, and your choice of cabin category to Ken at ken.smith1@comcast.net so he can set you up with our agent AND she can lock in your fare before they go up in price... or the ship is sold out. Include  the same information for anyone that will be sharing your cabin.

  2. Next, get out your passport and the passport for anyone else that will be in your cabin with you. Yes, you will all need a passport, one that is good at least until July, 2019. 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 MEXICO. You can keep it in your personal safe in your individual cabin. This trip will stop in four foreign ports.

  3. Later you will need a Name and phone number of an emergency contact that you wish to use, in case of emergency.

  4. If you don't know which type of cabin you wish to have, they are detailed below.

  5. If you have cruised with Princess Cruises before, you will need to send me your Captain's Circle number... all previous Princess cruise customers have one. 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. It also may help you to get a better price on your passage. If you don't know it, our agent can get it with your phone number... just mention that you ARE a previous Princess customer.

  6. You need to decide 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 happens. It is strongly recommended.

  7. You will need your credit card number. There is a deposit required at time of registration, when our agent contacts you, and your balance is due in October of this year.

  8. Our agent will contact you and confirm your booking, tell your total cost, and direct you from there.

If you are still undecided, or need more information:

If you would like to see some images and some written work on the three previous class cruises, click on "REUNIONS" on the menu above, then select "50th Year - 2009" or "55th Year - 2014" or "57th year - 2016" and then select "Cruise".

Rosalee and I took this exact cruise in January of 2018, and you can read my account of it, as well as see images taken on the cruise, by going to http://kr.gridley59.com/OurCruises/Cr%20Mexican%20Riviera%20-%202018.htm  You can also go to the top of the page this takes you to, and choose "Mexican Riviera - 2012" for another cruise we took to the same area, with a little different itenerary. That was on the Grand's sister ship, the Star Princess... same exact ship design. We took a similar cruise in 2008 on the Sapphire Princess, on which we took Frank and Shirley, and that was their first cruise. I did not journal that cruise, however... I was not on the net then... or slept through it. Our first Mexican Riviera trip was in 2005, on the Dawn Princess. Rosalee's neice and nephew were our guests that trip. You can see information on Mazatlan on that trip.

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 through the e-mail 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. 

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 price that our agent quotes to you will already  has that all added together. It will be 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). Or, in the case of a mini-suite it is  fold-out couch/bed that sleeps one, but is not that comfortable. Great for kids. We ain't kids no more. If you are single and want a cabin to yourself, you pay almost twice the ticket price, (the full COUPLE price on the quote) so you might want to have a cruising partner. Let us know and we can see if another single is interested. We will try.

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 and 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 are several 'specialty' restaurants on the Grand that will charge a small fee like $10 to $25 extra for a very nice, multi-course meal. But that is for special occasions. Normally you can eat in any of three 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, we are already scheduled for two or three assigned large tables that are near each other in a "traditional" Dining Room, at 6:00 pm (1800 hours) which is the first seating of the evening.

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.

On any night, you can pre-arrange to dine on your own in a Specialty Restaurant on board, for a special occasion, and for a small fee. Our hope, of course, is that the classmates will plan to dine with the group at our assigned tables. That is the real reason behind the reunion cruise, after all.

If you feel like visiting with others, or others in our group, just take a table on Lido Deck (deck 14), in the Horizon Court, and someone will find you... it is a magnet. That is where we usually have breakfast and lunch.

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/her name on it and leave it with the Purser's office or on the desk in your cabin when we disembark. 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. They are always friendly, and quick to answer any questions. They keep the ice bucket in your room fridge filled each day. They make up your room after breakfast, when you leave for lunch, and when you go to dinner, they will turn down your bed and place a chocolate on your pillow.

Any alcoholic beverages are going to cost you extra. Soft drinks 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. But those drink cards are pricey, so think ahead... individual soft drinks are about $2.25, and we are there ten days.

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 (pricey of course. LOL). 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 cabin.

They have shopping on the the Grand, including clothes, jewelry, art, trinkets, watches, cameras, etc. If you need something, and don't see it, ask a clerk. Some things are still in storage and they can get them for you... sometimes. They take photos of those people 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 them.

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 to San Francisco, 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.

We have found that when your bags get to your cabin, you can unpack them and put them in the cupboards and closet they have there for you. Ask your steward if you need more hangers. We can usually store three or four empty cases under the beds out of the way.

Put your wallets, passports and keys and any jewelry you do not want to wear in the small safe in your closet. You set the combination so don't forget the number. The technician can open it if you forget, but you may have to wait. You will need your passport and wallet with you if you leave the ship, so don't forget them. The only thing that you need on board is your "Cruise Card" which you will get when you check in at the pier in San Francisco. It is your charge card for purchases, your key to your cabin, your ticket to dinner, and your pass back onto the ship when you go ashore. You need it to get off the ship as well. That way they keep track of who is off the ship before they sail. And yes, they will sail without you, so don't tempt them. They will try, and we have seen them wait a while, but it costs them thousands of dollars to sit at the pier. If you are on a ship-arranged excursion they will do everything possible to make sure you are on the ship in time. Privately arranged excursions on shore have no connection and cannot guarantee your return. You know the sailing time before you leave the ship, and the recommended return time.

The committee has selected the cruise that disembarks on January 17th. Other ports normally available to us are Seattle or Long Beach, so this is our closest port to Gridley. The committee is working with Suzy Cruisy on this cruise. This is a 10-day cruise called the "Mexican Riviera", which disembarks from San Francisco and stops in Mazatlan, Puerto Vallarta, Manzillo, Cabo San Lucas, 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, Baja, or Mexican coastline.

A point of interest: The TV show "Love Boat" is credited as being a major boost to the cruise industry, and was actually filmed partially on a Princess ship, the smaller, earlier Pacific Princess. She is now owned by another firm and is doing other service. We saw her in the Caribbean in 2002. The TV show plays each night on the TV in the cabin, and is fun to watch, to see 'young' stars that later became well known, and to see ship-board scenes that are unbelievably spacious and simple... serving dinner to a room of less than fifty people... entertainment shows to a 'club' crowd standing in a club room... etc. The term "Mexican Riviera" was actually coined on the Love Boat show.

The Cabins and Prices:

We have basically five types of cabin to choose from. All cabins have at least a chair, and a desk with chair, a small refrigerator, a phone, and a built-in hair dryer. These prices are the basic, lowest priced example of this type of cabin. It is suggested you let the agent help you select a better location, which will likely be several hundred dollars higher:

  1. Interior: This cabin is in the interior of the ship and has no exterior view. It is basically the same as the next two cabins as far as space, furniture arrangement, and head (that would be bathroom :-) ). It has a walk-in shower. The full price for this cabin, including taxes, docking fees, standard tipping, etc. is $1,478 PER COUPLE (insurance is extra). Standard tipping will cost an extra $27 per couple, per day.

  2. 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 interior cabin. Full price is $1,838 PER COUPLE (insurance extra). Standard tipping will cost an extra $27 per couple per day. An Obstructed-view version is available for $1,760 per couple ...all else is the same.

  3. 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 $2,320 PER COUPLE (insurance extra). Standard tipping will cost an extra $27 per couple per day.

  4. Mini-Suite: This cabin is similar to a Balcony cabin, except the bathroom is larger. It has a bath tub with a shower over the bath tub. The sink counter is twice as long, giving much more room for your 'stuff'. The cabin actually has a second section... almost twice the space in the main part of the cabin. A second TV, and a couch to sit on, that opens up to be a single bed, but not real comfortable for an adult. Full price is $2,898 per couple (insurance extra). Standard tipping is $29 per couple per day.

  5. Full Suite: This cabin actually is two rooms that are easily closed to go from a large room to a bedroom and a living room, has a separate huge bath tub, a separate walk-in shower, and a segmented bathroom. A walk-in closet and a wet bar complete it, along with a double-wide balcony. It comes with laundry service, and complementary room service as well. Full price is $4,598 per couple (insurance extra). Standard tipping is $31 per couple per day.

The Insurance is bout 8% of the cost of the cruise fare, so that varies.

Your deposit is due at the day you book your cruise. The remainder is due around the 24th of October. Suzy will remind you at that time. You can charge it with her on your credit card.

If you want an exact quote on the price you would pay for the cabin you wish to have, Send your basic information to Ken and he will contact Suzy, and she will get right back to you with a price.

Itinerary:

You can read more details about the cruise at this location: https://www.princess.com/find/cruiseDetails.do?voyageCode=A903 

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:
  http://kr.gridley59.com/OurCruises/Cr%20OurCruises.htm  

You can get some idea of what each of the cruises are like, and a sampling of 'life with Princess'.

If you have any questions on this cruise, we would be more than happy to answer any questions you may have. Drop us an 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 this cruise. It is a wonderful experience with wonderful friends and great memories. How can we do better than that?

 

Ken & Rosalee Smith

Ken.smith1@comcast.net

(925)  846-8594