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Linda Coffman


Cruise Diva's CRUISE DIARY
~ Grand Princess Caribbean ~

by Linda & Mel Coffman

It wasn't long ago that Mel and I visited Cozumel, so we planned to simply wander around a bit, both in San Miguel and at Puerto Maya Pier (the International Pier) where we were docked. Deb and Rox had shopping to finish and we all decided to take a taxi to Los Cinco Soles and work our way back to Puerto Langosta Pier, the downtown pier area opposite Carlos 'n Charlies where we hoped to find friends sailing on Carnival Conquest, also in port for the day and docked right next to us.

Folkloric Dancers at Puerto Maya in Cozumel, Mexico

I've never seen so many ships in Cozumel at once... we were followed into Puerto Maya Pier by Carnival Conquest and two Royal Caribbean ships. Two more Carnival ships were docked downtown. That's six ships... I thought there were seven. In any event, passengers fanned out to the beaches and Chankanaab Lagoon Park and it wasn't as crowded in San Miguel as we thought it would be.

She said: Follow me through Puerto Maya, I know where the taxis are.

He said: Shop fast, ladies, we're going to the Havana Club.

She said: What fun! We happened to meet Mimi Green Burchett, the Havana Club's Director and chatted with her a bit, learning about her family's business. Unfortunately, we missed the gentleman from Cuba who was rolling cigars there the previous day. The Havana Club is one humidor that stocks only authentic Cuban cigars.

Havana Club's extensive humidor

He said: Fortunately, we were all thirsty and for $5 each we got a Corona beer and a Cuban cigar. Smoke 'em if you got 'em, men.

She said: While the merchants in Cozumel are somewhat aggressive, a smile and simple no are quite effective if you don't wish to enter a shop. Try Mi Casa if you are interested in beautiful pewter trays and platters. I was glad I found earrings in the style I wanted in Puerto Costa Maya—I saw nothing even similar in Cozumel. A shopping lesson—buy what you want when you see it. I'm glad I did.

He said: I can't believe we're going to Carlos 'n Charlies.

She said: We will not drink their lethal margaritas. Coronas, please!

The duty-free stores at the Puerto Maya Pier had some great bargains in liquor, cigarettes, and faux pashima shawls that are surprisingly nice for only $10.

It was pretty impressive to watch all the other ships leave port... Grand Princess was first to arrive and the last to sail. We prepared for another formal evening and "lobster night" as well. Once again, no wait for a table, although tonight's waitress was the least personable of all those during the cruise. However, the food was excellent—the lobster sweet and tender!

Once again, we didn't want for entertainment—an award-winning production show, dance music in the Wheelhouse, and some really awful karaoke in Explorers Lounge.

We claimed our table on the Horizon Terrace and the men fired up their last Cuban cigars while we toasted a perfect day with a smooth port Rox and Ron brought for late night sipping.

View from the bow

At Sea—Saturday
Our last day on board and we are making the most of it. I discovered the 9-hole putting green, but decided a culinary demonstration by Executive Chef Joachim and Maitre d' Hotel Elia was more my speed. The Galley Tour was one of the most popular events of the day and copies of "Courses"—Princess Cruises' exclusive cookbook was a hot souvenir.

Dance classes, an ice carving demonstration, art auction, trivia, horse racing... you name it and Grand Princess has it. Unfortunately, all too soon it was time to pack. Where did the week go?!?

We ended our cruise as we started it, toasting good friends on our balcony and the most perfect sunset imaginable. Dolphins kept pace with Grand Princess—a good omen that we will all meet again.

A final dinner (tonight a two-minute wait for our table for six) served by two charming women from Poland. Then a last gathering at Horizon Terrace.

She said: I wish we had a few more days...

He said: We have a long drive ahead of us.

Grand Princess Cruise Diary -> Part Five

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