This Sunday afternoon I have been printing out various pieces of paper to do with my forthcoming cruise – 27 days to sail-away! I completed the online check-in already (yes, I am that keen) and so was able to print my ticket booklet. I have my luggage tag printed (as part of the ticket booklet) and cannot wait to try out our brand new luggage tag holders on this sailing. Yes, am that much of a travel geek 😉 They should be much sharper looking than the usual A4 page folded into a strip and sticky-taped to the suitcase handle at the portside. Also avoids the queue at the terminal to a staff member with a stapler, to fix said luggage tag to bag. That is when you forget (or choose not) to bring a wee roll of tape with you. Anything to make the actual portside luggage drop & check-in process smoother
This afternoon I pre-purchased onboard internet too, as Royal Caribbean are rolling out their faster Voom service across all ships. To coincide they are offering a 30% off list price of WiFi packages. That’s me now forked out an extra £6.99 per day as I am confessed social media addict – and want to be able to use messaging apps and share pics on Instagram. Maybe even update this blog? It is a better rate than they used to offer and hopefully much faster too.
I have been going through the wine list supplied to me by customer services (earlier blog entry) to see if any of the wines onboard are suitable for vegans (SFV). Less than a month left now to our departure and I still haven’t heard back from all suppliers I have contacted. Some have ignored various attempts (Twitter, FB, e-mail).
As we have received a complimentary Select drinks package for this Eastern Med sailing (one for soft drinks, beer and wines up to 9USD per glass) I have also contacted companies whose wines are in the next Premium bracket (up to 14USD per glass). I wanted more choice plus from previous experience, it should be possible for us to upgrade our drinks packages to Premium once onboard for an additional 15USD per day – which covers the better wines and cocktails up to the same value of 14USD per glass.
If I was to stay with the complimentary Select package, my sfv wine choice would consist of two reds only: a perfectly drinkable Peter Lehmann Shiraz from Australia and a Cab Sauv from Washington I am not familiar with. I have a few producers of white wines from whom I haven’t heard back yet, but at the moment not a single white wine on my list is sfv on the lowest Select price tier.
Upgrading to Premium for the aforementioned 15USD per day, sfv choice then expands to include two white wines: glasses of prosecco and a Californian Riesling. Range of sfv reds would increase by two as well: now also including a Californian Pinot Noir and a Ribeira Del Duero Crianza from Spain.
The only cider on the list I was supplied by RC is Angry Orchard. It, unfortunately, is not SFV. They have recently started using honey in the production of almost all of their ciders – see Barnivore for info. Having researched cruise forums I have seen past cruisers mention the availability of other cider brands, including UK brand Strongbow. Strongbow, in my opinion, is vegan, despite Barnivore stating otherwise. This is due to a cross-contamination risk from the production line. Those comments were always from different ships/sailings so it remains to be seen if I can have any cider on this particular Eastern Med sailing.
(Added post cruise: yes, Strongbow was available but only in the pool bar)
Something called Red’s Apple Ale is also available on the Select package AND it is vegan. But it is a brewed ale, not a cider, so not sure what it actually tastes like.
(Added post cruise: Yes, Apple Ale was nice, and tasted like apple juice more than ale)
There is a range of beers (American and International) listed, naturally, but since I do not drink beer I haven’t given them any thought at all – and hence no mention of their suitability to a vegan diet/lifestyle. But for variety certainly, to be able to enjoy a guilt-free vegan drink onboard it is looking like the upgrade option is the way to go. This means more wine choices and I can have cocktails too. Come August I shall be able to say how Princess Cruises’ offering compares in vegan terms.