On our way to JFK airport Wednesday afternoon, we heard the ominous news that thunderstorms and possibly tornadoes were on their way. And sure enough, after an hour delay on the tarmac, we found them, taking off through the clouds with lightning crackling all around and enough turbulence to open overhead bins (and scare the bejesus out of me), But once we climbed above the storm, it was smooth soaring all though the night.
The sun just beginning to rise as we neared
There, at the bottom of the rickety metal stairs stood our knight in neon rain gear with a sign reading “
(Our Home for the next 12 days)
The Emerald Princess is the newest jewel in the Princess crown, an enormous resort of a ship that can accommodate more than 3,000 passengers. There’s a spa, gym, nine-hole putting course, golf simulator, five pools, jogging track, and court sports—all to help keep off the pounds while at sea.
Which is a good idea, since you can really eat here 24/7. There are three main dining rooms (one with traditional seatings, two with anytime seating), a
Once we take a nap, we’ll be off to explore the ship and then off to explore
The book I’m reading on this trip (Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert—that I highly recommend, by the way) describes
On the agenda tonight: a sunset gondola ride. Each sleek black gondola seats four passengers, but since we were just the two of us, we were lucky enough to ride alone with the musicians who were serenading the whole flotilla that night. We were handed a bottle of Prosecco as we climbed aboard and settled onto the tasseled velvet cushions.
It doesn’t get much better than this, I thought, sipping sparkly wine with my oldest daughter as we glide through small back canals crossed by scores of stone bridges with a handsome Italian singing Volare and Santa Lucia and other classics to us.
After our ride, we amble over to St. Marks Square, past booths selling Venetian masks, Murano glass trinkets, and men’s shorts and aprons with anatomically correct (and some anatomically enhanced) depictions of The David. Sacrilege! Back in the ally ways there were lots of hawkers selling knock-of handbags. One I noticed looked exactly like a “Gucci” I bought off the street in
(St. Mark’s Basilica)
(St. Mark’s Square at night)
we visited the glass factory on the
(Murano with the Dolomites in the background)
(Artisans at work in a glass factory on
Day 3: At Sea
And on the third day, we rested. So well that I slept right through my 9 am yoga class. When I finally roused Jess at the crack of , we had a late breakfast and then retreated to The Sanctuary, an adults-only retreat on the 16th deck, where you can bask in sun or sea breezes in the shade or even indulge in a massage in one of the cabanas. It’s worth the $10 surcharge if you’re not into the pool party/bar with fruity umbrella garnished drinks scene, which I am not. Downstairs is the Lotus Spa, where we both had excellent massages (mine with hot stones, Jess’s with a ginger and lime salt scrub). Afterwards, Jess put in an hour on the elliptical machine (bless her heart) overlooking the sea. I put in an hour writing this blog.
(One of five pools on the ship.)
(Private cabana in The Sanctuary for massages by the sea)
(The Thermal Suite in the Lotus Spa has heated stone loungers, a tropical rain forest shower, aromatic room, mint and steam saunas, and a mint fog shower.)
While I’m happily typing away, at , like clockwork, yummy treats arrive unbidden. Today’s offering: chocolate covered strawberries. (I really should be joining Jess on the elliptical machines.) The meals here have been excellent; last night we dined at the Crown Grill, one of the ship’s specialty restaurants which requires reservations and a surcharge. Perfectly grilled steaks, smothered in mushrooms, and with all the steak-house fixin’s: creamed spinach, mashed potatoes, grilled asparagus.
Tonight is formal night and we are dining at the Chef’s Table with executive chef Michele Cozzoli. We’ll have champagne and hors d’oeuvres right in the galley during the madness of rush hour, then a multi-course tasting menu in the dining room. (Maybe I shouldn’t have had those strawberries!)
(It’s easier to work out with a view like this)
The Escape Claus(e) is an occasional blog by Westchester Magazine Features editor and travel writer