It was while I was standing in line for breakfast this morning at the Horizon Grill that I met Mr. and Mrs. Alan and Ann Reed………..hanging round their neck on a lanyard where their ship cards which were very shiny and very platinum.

I see you are Princess cruise land fans I said to Mrs………. and those simple words had us sharing breakfast together as I listened to the talk of their fondness for all things Princess. This cruise marks number 31 for them and they are booked on two more this cruise including the inaugural of the Ruby Princess.

I explained to them who I was and why I was being so inquisitive but they were only too happy to talk to me. They first cruised back in 1985 and were immediately hooked and later this year they will sail on the Caribbean Princess to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary with their entire family.

They spoke about how they had tried another cruise line in 2002, I cannot mention which one but they had nothing good to say about the “something of the seas” ship so they returned to Princess……………….why ………..well it was the same reasons I have seen myself………beautiful ships, friendly and welcoming crew, great food and for Mr………….it was the Casino where he said…………..I always win ……………….. although he said that with a wry smile on his face.

Anyway, after my breakfast meeting it was time to explore Princess’s private island Princess Cay. This was a tender port and we had been given priority tender tickets. However, I wanted to see the system for my self so we went to the main lounge and sat for just 10 minutes until our group were called ………………..10 minutes is nothing………….although the couple in the seats in front of us were having a good old moan about having to wait……….what made me laugh about this couple was that they were moaning to each other about it being “ridiculous” and “unorganized” yet when Matt the Assistant Cruise Director walked up and down the row speaking to people he said “Good morning, how is everyone?” and Mr and Mrs. Moaner replied “Fine thank you” ……………..

It may come as no surprise that the couple were from the U.K. where complaining is not allowed and even if they had been bitten on the bottom by a rattlesnake during breakfast they still would have replied “Everything’s fine, thank you.”

As I said after 10 minutes we were called down to the tender which was one of the vessel lifeboats and we began the 15-minute journey ashore. I am positive this would have been quicker but the sea was a little choppy. Heidi and I sat and watched a family opposite us and neither of us said much as we were both paying attention to a young boy who looked like he was about to show us and the rest of the boat what he had for breakfast…………5 minutes into the journey he did………………..it was Cheerios.

That made us all feel ill but at the same time I felt sorry for Mum who was now on a round trip journey straight back to the ship to change and probably throw away her T-Shirt which now a Tie Dye mess of Cheerios and……….well………you get the picture.

We arrived at the island and were met by a friendly welcome from the staff. The weather was beautiful although a little windy and Heidi and I decided to explore. At this point I would normally slap on a few photos however I can’t……….this is why.

“Heidi, can I have the camera please”

 “I don’t have it”

“Yes you do it’s in your bag”

“No, I gave it to you to bring ashore”

“No you didn’t”

“Yes, I did”

“Well, check”

She did

She had packed the sunscreen, the Eye Pods, the ship ID’s, money, lipstick, a spare pair of my underwear, a Lexus and three cabin stewards ………………but no camera.

Therefore, let me tell you that the island has beautiful beaches; watersports, amazing snorkeling and the ship’s crew were cooking up an amazing barbecue which looked fantastic. The best thing however was like most private islands it was exactly that …………… private……………..there was no other ship there and that in itself is worth so much.

This is a must visit place and if you haven’t yet, then choose an itinerary that has this as a port of call. There may be no diamond shops, no hair braiding, no long lines for taxis and no Burger King as on other Caribbean ports of call ……….instead you get unspoiled beaches and peace and utter tranquility ……………it’s fantastic.

Heidi and I stayed for an hour …………her in the sun…………me in the shade. I spoke to the staff who were organizing a tug of war and other activities. I mentioned how on a recent visit to Half Moon Cay that we had organized a sand castle making contest for adults and children…………..this seemed to be something that they were excited to try………………if I had built one it would have been of a doghouse …………. as that’s where I was for forgetting the camera.

Back on board there was only one place we both wanted to go and that was the Sanctuary. For those of you who are unaware of this pocket of total luxury and relaxation let me explain what this incomparable place is all about.

The Sanctuary is located at the forward part of the ship and the only thing you need to enter is a need to purify your body, mind and soul and a $10 bill. The adults only area is something that five star hotels in Mauritius and Bali would be proud to ask guests $1,000 a day for.

The Sanctuary is something that professional travel writers, which I am definitely not, would use words of poetry when describing it………………..all I can tell you is that to sail on the ship and not use the Sanctuary at least once and having a smiling friendly crewmember who spies a spot of sweat on your forehead and brings you a cold towel is like going to Egypt and not seeing the Pyramids…………not lying on one of the double extra soft luxury sun beds and watching the world go by is like going to London and not seeing Buckingham Palace………..not having a massage in one of the Sanctuary’s private cabanas is like going to New York and not seeing the Statue Of Liberty ……………..not relaxing on the double sun bed with your cold towel and sipping on a cold glass of fresh juice, cooling off with your fresh towel and asking one of the wait staff to bring you your lunch is like going to Paris and …………OK…………….bad example ………………. anyway………. you get my point.

Here are some photos of the Sanctuary:

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The private cabanas

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John on his blackberry to PA007

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Fruit and Juice, pure luxury

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Sanctuary Staff (look at that smile)

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John’s spot

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The wave pool

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The flags

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Lowering the flags upon sailing

It’s hard to express how relaxing this place is and the only way I really know how is to say this. As some of the blog readers know I have just recovered from an affair with Mr. Bells Palsy as well as a busy time onboard and in the last few weeks lots of trials and tribulations ………………well……………..this afternoon…………….for the first time in weeks………I was as relaxed as I have been in many, many weeks……………..I read my new Andy McNab book which I bought 6 months ago…………..

I had a nap………….had lunch and while Heidi enjoyed a Sanctuary bed in the sun and fell into a deep sleep and as I did, I wondered if there was a more relaxing and luxurious place on any ship anywhere………………I doubt it………….this was pure luxury and for just $10.

When I awoke I was pretty much the only person left in my area……………when I had fallen asleep the Sanctuary wasn’t as busy as you would expect …………. where had everybody gone?…………..maybe they were all getting ready for dinner………………maybe they had gone to the show……………..I couldn’t understand why everyone had suddenly left.

Anyway, it was time for me to go so I stood up, straightened my spandex Speedo g- string and went to get a hot dog.

Goodnight

Your friends

John and Heidi

Hi, I’m John, and this is my blog. So please don’t mistake my opinions — or those of my dear friends, fans or commenters — for those of Carnival Cruise Line or Carnival Corporation. My apologies in advance for anything I may say that upsets you, but this disclaimer covers Carnival and puts the blame directly on me………….. bugger.