Oct 28, 2018 - Today we enjoy another relaxing day at sea as Island Princess sails toward Grand Cayman. I am now on my third technique for morning coffee and blogging. First, I tried La Patisserie on Deck 5, but the tables were too small to hold my French Press, coffee, computer and other materials. Next, I tried Horizon Court (Lido Buffet) on Deck 14 forward. That was great for getting hot water for my French Press, and the tables are large enough. But, when the sun comes up, it comes right through the forward-facing windows and blinds me. Plus, by 6:15 it starts getting busy with other guests and gets really noisy and distracting.
So, now I have a new approach. I take my French Press to Horizon Court each morning around 5:30am to get hot water. I grab a coffee cup, and take it back to our stateroom. Then, I can work on my blog at the desk there. The WiFi coverage on Island Princess is excellent and I can get a good connection right from our room. While on the subject of WiFi, Princess has really improved their Internet performance since our last sailing on Royal Princess. Internet speed has been surprisingly good throughout the cruise. I have been able to post my blog each day, which involves uploading several large photos to our server. So far, (knock on wood) I have not had the service drop a connection!
When you connect to the ship's WiFi and open a browser to their home page (island.princess.com in our case), you get access to a lot of free information without having to connect to the Internet and use up your purchased time.
From this home page, you can access your stateroom account, restaurant hours and locations, use their ship-wide messaging system, and much more. It is a very robust intranet with a lot of features. Connecting to the Internet is fairly simple. You just click the Internet button at the bottom of the home page and another page appears.
This page allows you to confirm that you want to connect to the Internet. Once you click on Confirm, minutes will begin being deducted from your account balance, based upon the Internet plan you purchased.
When this page appears, you can see the remaining number of minutes on your plan. It is a good idea to leave this page open and work in another window or tab since it keeps a running balance of your remaining minutes. This is a GREAT feature that allows you to keep track of how much Internet time you have remaining.
Basically, today we were sea slugs. We again headed to Deck 15 aft to The Sanctuary, our favorite hangout on Island Princess. We have even decided to splurge with a private cabana tomorrow while the ship is in Grand Cayman. Why tomorrow? Because everybody will be off the ship in Grand Cayman and we will have The Sanctuary to ourselves! Now, if you have never been to Grand Cayman, you would definitely want to take one of Princess' excellent shore excursions. We would recommend one of the "swim with the Sting Rays" tours. But, we have been to Grand Cayman more times than we can count, and have done every excursion there is to do here, so we opt for The Sanctuary.
Today, we had lunch again at The Sanctuary. Around 11am, menus appear and orders are taken. Lunch is delivered around noon.
When we arrived at The Sanctuary this morning, apparently there had just been a big rain storm and all of the loungers were soaked. Any guests that were there had left when the rain came, so we were alone. Rain clouds are all around, but we decided to brave the elements and hope the sun would return. The Sanctuary crew fitted towels to our loungers and we waited for the sun to arrive, which it did about an hour later. We stayed here until about 2pm, then went back to our stateroom to shower and get ready for the rest of the day.
Afternoon Trivia worked out pretty well for us today. We teamed up with four other guests and our team ended up winning. I can't even begin to describe the amazing prizes we received. I will leave that for you to experience on your own Princess cruise.
This evening, we have dinner reservations at Bayou Café and Steakhouse (Deck 7 aft). This New Orleans/Cajun-themed restaurant is one of Island Princess' two optional restaurants, the other being Sabatini's Italian Restaurant, which happens to be right next door.
Bayou Café and Steakhouse has a much more relaxed and casual atmosphere than Sabatini's. Even though tonight is formal night, you will find guests here with slacks and shirts, no ties and no jackets. There is an adjoining bar/lounge and Danny, a guitar-playing vocalist is on stage performing. Beads are draped over the napkins to get you in the Mardis Gras mood.
Our waiter arrives to take our drink order. We mentioned to him that we had enjoyed a bottle of Moscato in Sabatini's. In a few minutes, he returned with one of the few remaining bottles of Rex-Goliath ($30).
The menu has a definite Cajun feel to it, especially the starter course offerings.
We thought the 'Smothered Gator Ribs' was just a clever name for BBQ pork ribs, but sure enough, they are alligator ribs! I ordered the Sausage Grillades and Rickee played it safe with the Southern Green Salad.
The Sausage Grillades was a large chunk of spicy sausage which was grilled open-face and served with cheese grits. The sausage was very good, and quite spicy. The cheese grits, however, fell short of what I was expecting. Where we come from, cheese grits are usually made with cheddar cheese, and I think these may have been made with Mascarpone or some other white cheese. The grits had a slightly sweet taste. Rickee skipped a second course, but I wanted to try a small order of the Jambalaya.
I am not enough of a Cajun connoisseur to judge whether or not the chunks of sausage were Andouille, but the sausage was good, as was the chicken. The little sliver of Jalapeño on top gave a nice kick of heat, too. The dish was spicy and delicious. If I were to return to Bayou Cafe, I think I would order this as my main course. Which brings me to my main course: the 16oz bone-in New York Strip. It was cooked perfectly Medium, as ordered.
Rickee ordered the Fried Catfish, and, as you can see, received three large pieces of cornmeal-crusted fried fish.
Of course, there's no way she would ever be able to finish that much fish. She said the fish was good, and served very hot; however, she did say that it was not like any catfish she has ever had. And, being from Texas, she has had her share of fried catfish. It did not have that dark meat or "muddy" taste that you get with catfish. Perhaps this is Caribbean Catfish? Or, did they substitute another type of fish? Nevertheless, she enjoyed it.
For dessert, I ordered the bread pudding with caramel sauce, which was not much to look at, but was warm and delicious.
Rickee had the Chocolate Peanut Butter bar, which is their specialty dessert. It was rich and decadent and she really enjoyed it.
After our meal at Bayou Café, we were truly stuffed. Tomorrow, Island Princess will be anchored off the coast of Grand Cayman.