Monday, December 18, 2017

Activities on the Grand Princess--Hawaiian Cruise

My Five Favorite Activities on the Grand Princess Cruise to Hawaii

There are not many phrases a person wants to hear more than “You are a winner!”  Another would be “The painting is yours,” especially when it is a painting dear to one’s heart and at a remarkable price.  Well, I experienced this and many more enjoyable and exciting adventures on our last Princess Cruise.  This time, it was the 15-day, round trip cruise from San Francisco to the Hawaiian Islands on the Grand Princess.  

Princess Fine Arts Program

Two Paintings I purchased in auction.
Princess Cruises teamed up with the creditable Park West Galleries to provide educational art seminars, which include art history and art auctions.  I never imagined myself as a serious art collector, as my discretionary funds don’t line up with my taste in art.  Nevertheless, our Art Director, Naomi Baldwin made me deals I couldn’t refuse.  Although, those deals were presented to the entire auction, it felt individualized.  Naomi and her team, (Martin, Chantel and Bianca) are experts in learning the taste of each “regular” and presenting incredible opportunities to own those pieces.   

Attendees to the seminars and many of the auctions receive packets of art that include a sheet of authenticity and information about each artist.  If one attends all functions, he or she receives a huge packet of art.  I was in art heaven.

Effy Jewelry Seminars & Raffles

Attracted by the opportunity to win a piece of jewelry is intoxicating.  But winning an Effy piece...pure delight.  That’s not to say that everyone wins or that the pieces are exceptionally perfect.  Nevertheless, it’s great fun and I did win—twice.  

As much fun as the raffles were, the seminars were even more so.  As mentioned before, my budget is not one that allows such extravagances, but learning about gemstones and the methods jeweler use to increase value of each piece of jewelry was enlightening.  If I was to purchase something outside my typical budget, I would want to know if it was worth the price.  These seminars/classes helped.  Of course, I did find out that I have great taste.  Everything I loved were the priciest pieces.  Figures. 

Zumba Instructors

Those of you who have read my previous posts about cruising know just how much I LOVE Zumba.  Yep, love in all caps.  And, this cruise didn’t disappoint.  There wasn’t just one morning Zumba class.  There was two—two chances to dance off Horizon Court Buffet excesses.  These classes were held back-to-back and directed by excellent, professional level Zumba instructors.  As someone who wiggles her behind to music every day, I found these classes first-rate.  

I am top left in this Hula Class

Ever wonder what message hula dancers are attempting to convey?  Those who participated in Rowena’s hula classes know exactly that now.  She was more than just a hula dance teacher, though.  She held extensive Hawaiian Cultural Awareness seminars and nightly entertainment.  In fact, she and her husband, Brian, were all over the ship sharing aloha day and night.  

Her classes were enjoyable and stimulating, as she taught us Hawaiian culture during these sessions as well.  One of her early lessons was responding to the command, “Kaukaukau,” which means “make ready.”  The appropriate response is “Ae”.


Like many others, I love Hawaiian music.  So much so, that my favorite “Pandora” channel is Hawaiian Radio.  Thus, it was natural that I would want to participate in the ship’s ukulele classes presented by Brian.  It seems that most everyone had the same thought though, as these were extremely large classes.  It’s advisable to arrive early to secure a ukulele.  Still, even if you play “air ukulele” you can learn the cords.  

As an example of how popular these classes are, many brought their own ukulele from home.  Even so, I found myself without a ukulele often.  Ultimately, I decided to give up on the classes and study via YouTube.   Brian is an excellent teacher who taught me enough to feel comfortable doing so.

Near the end of the cruise, all the students from both the hula and ukulele classes participate in a performance on the big stage for the entire ship.  I didn’t participate since I didn’t take all the classes.  But, my dear friend, Elizabeth Leonard did.  You can hear me cheering for her in the video.

Future Activities On My Checklist

Trivia.  Most ships have some sort of Trivia games going on during the day and evening.  On this particular voyage, there were multiple games each day.  For example, there was a “Morning Trivia” which was generic—typical of most trivia games.   In the afternoon, there was “Cruise Long Trivia”.  These games changed each day.  One day, the topic was “Movies & TV.  Fun!  There were several other games held as well.  Each day, each game was a bit different.  

Dance classes.  Every time I plan a cruise, I promise myself to take dance classes.  On this cruise, there were multiple classes, besides hula.  For example, most mornings there were “Line Dance” classes.  The classes held later in the day varied, like one day it was “Merengue” and another it was “Ballroom Blitz”.  Unfortunately, with so many activities onboard, I couldn’t fit any of the classes in my schedule.  The same is true for most of the Discovery seminars, although I did make it to a few.  

Discover Seminars.  Princess Cruise Lines has partnered with the Discovery Channel, which means guests are treated to multiple educational opportunities.  One day, the morning seminar was “Encounters with Discovery at Sea: Flora & Fauna of Hawaii.”  I actually had time to attend and enjoyed it immensely.  

There were that many quality activities held each day, that my only regret is that I couldn’t be in more than two places at one time.  

Please share your experiences!