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 cruise.

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 whistle... :-)



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:

  1. 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 ENSENADA, MEXICO.

  2. Name and phone number of an emergency contact that you wish to use, in case of emergency.

  3. You should know which type of cabin you wish to have. They are detailed below if you have not decided.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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!!

  7. Where it asks "...who you were invited by", you can leave that blank.

  8. 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. 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.

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 cabin.

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 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, 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:

  1. 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.

  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 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.

  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 $2.679 PER COUPLE (insurance extra). After October 31st standard tipping will cost an extra $20.30 per couple.

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 Insurance:

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 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 another cruise. It is a wonderful experience with wonderful friends and great memories. How can we do better than that?


Ken & Rosalee Smith

(925)  846-8594