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Tom & Mary Milano

Age: 78

Occupation:Retired

Number of Cruises: 36

Cruise Line: Princess

Ship: Caribbean Princess

Sailing Date: April 29th, 2006

Itinerary: Caribbean


The Caribbean Princess

This is the first review we have posted in the last eighteen months. We want to thank you, our readers, for your many e-mails expressing your concern for our well being. We had some serious bumps in our journey of life and had to curtail our cruising. Just as we were at a critical stage of dealing with the many issues resulting from a catastrophic fire at our restaurant, Glynn’s Inn, in Huntington, Long Island, we learned I needed open heart surgery, for replacement of my aorta Valve. I was operated on one year ago this week. My Mary also had a medical problem and was hospitalized. We have fully recovered from our medical problems but this past September we were devastated by something that parents pray will never happen and something they never fully recover from. But we thank God for our faith; we would never have survived without it. We are working hard at taking each day of our life, one day at a time and we are gradually getting our life in order.

Our anniversary was approaching, and I thought a cruise on the beautiful, tranquil, waters of the Caribbean might help soothe Mary’s aching heart. Our cruise exceeded our expectations and we had a glorious time. It was just what the doctor ordered. It was the first time I saw my Mary relaxed in months. Being on this magnificent vessel and having an attentive, caring crew go out of their way to take care of our every need, rekindled our passion for cruising. While at sea, we went to see Gloria Mallard, the Onboard Sales Manager at the Future Cruise Sales Desk and we booked a cruise on the Coral Princess, partial transit of the Panama Canal, for December 12, to celebrate Mary’s birthday and my anniversary. We are also looking to book two more Princess cruises before than. As you can tell we are once again bitten by the cruise bug and we are in full cruise mode. (A little later I will tell you about this great program, FCS that Princess has for booking future cruises.)

Although we have made 36 cruises we do not consider ourselves cruise experts; we are simply a couple that is passionate about cruising and get immense pleasure from sharing our cruise experience with you, our fellow cruisers. As most of you know, Mary & I refer to our cruises as ‘Honeymoons’ because we can’t think of a more romantic, intimate, exciting way to spend quality time with the one you love, than when cruising.

Our New Format:
At our CruiseReviews.com web-site, http://www.tomandmaryscruisereviews.com there are 25 reviews of ships of the major cruise lines we have sailed on. At the end of those reviews there is a segment entitled, “Suggestions that Could Enhance Your Cruise”, a capitulation of many things we have learned from our cruise experience. You will be able to access that information in our former reviews... that is with one exception. We have revisited the area of cruise pricing and have revised our suggestion “How to get the best price when you book a cruise.” Send an e-mail to tomandmarymilano@yahoo.com and write best price in the subject box.

We are going to leave out all the nuts and bolts and tell you about the things that interest us and we think interest you... and of course... we are going to tell you what wimpy did for Mary to make her cruise special? (For those who have no idea who Wimpy is and what we’re talking about, the following explanation.)

*** Our regular readers are familiar with the Wimpy character (Tom’s cruise persona) I refer to in our reviews, but for our new readers a quick explanation. Tom had been a Macho man most of his early life. In his latter years he began to realize when he did those little wimpy things that women liked and Mary loved him to do, his lovely Mary gave him a lot more reason to smile. Although Tom was macho, he wasn't dumb. When Tom is at sea on another of their honeymoons, he takes on the Wimpy persona to its highest degree. He views cruising as the Super Bowl of marriage maintenance and uses these occasions to do all sorts of lovely little wimpy things for his Mary. *** Wimpy’s credo is, “A marriage may be made in heaven but the maintenance is done on earth.”

The Reason We Want You to Know Our Age:
I will be 79 this July and Mary is 82. We decided we would tell you our age and let me explain why. The prognosis for a long term marriage in this country has declined at an alarming rate. I’m not sure, but I think the figure is 54% of marriages will end in divorce. As you know we are writing about our anniversary cruise, but there is an important, unique aspect to our marriage that is very special. On May 8th we celebrated our 38th anniversary and that may not be special but what is special, is the fact that Mary and I were both previously married for more than 20+ years.

We receive many e-mails from young readers telling us that knowing we are in the latter stages of life and still in love has been an inspiration to them and gives them hope that it’s possible to have a marriage that will last. We have a dual purpose in mind by revealing our age. We hope that we will be an example of the truth of Leo Buscaglia’s phrase that, “Love is truly the fountain of youth and can be retained and grow until we breathe our last breath.” We also hope we can inspire folks in the latter stages of their life. We know having a medical problem cause’s life to take on a different hue, but we encourage you to do what you’re capable of doing, and live every day, every moment of your life like it’s your last day. Mary and I are fortunate we can do the things we do, and we are going to do everything we can do, as long as we can do it. And for the young couples that are reading our review, we want you to know, although we are in the twilight years of our life, our love continues to grow. We have learned that when the physical attributes begin to diminish, which happens to all of us, those things that are most important, things of the heart and the mind surface and cast a bright light. I pen the words for our reviews, but as I think many of our long-time readers have suspected, Mary is the inspiration for my thoughts.

I asked Mary to edit this segment of the review and when she finished she said, “Tom, I think some of the young couples might like to read this.” She handed me the following article.

In Trying Times Don’t Quit Trying

Take any major individual-oriented athletic event, and you’ll probably find that far more people are starters than are finishers. How many people have started the Tour de France bicycle race, the Boston marathon, or a swim of the English Channel... only to drop out before reaching their goal?

Those who finish these long distance endurance events speak of “pushing through the wall.” The “wall” in these events is the point where the body cries out to the mind,” We can’t go on. I’ve given all I can. I don’t have any more to give.” Every endurance racer hits the wall, including those who may have completed the event in years past. Those who push through the wall are those whose mind say back to their body, “Oh yes we can.” The mind compels—yes, forces—the body to keep moving.

The ability to keep moving when your instincts say otherwise is called perseverance. Every couple needs to keep that word in mind when they hit the wall in their relationship. Perseverance is the ability to hang on, rather than hang up. It’s the ability to keep going, rather than to call it quits. It’s a matter of the heart saying, to the relationship,” Oh yes we can.”... Marriage is a marathon, not a sprint. Hang in there!

Highlight: A Certain Something Happens When We Cruise:
It is difficult to put into words the feeling we have when we’re on a cruise. I treasure these special moments we share. We’ve always had a wonderful, loving relationship, but there is a certain something that happens when we cruise that takes it to a new level. I think it’s partly because we can give each other our undivided attention without having the normal interruptions that beg our attention when we are home. When we are cruising we start our day by having a romantic breakfast on our balcony; then during the day we do a number of things that interest both of us. When evening approaches we look forward to a romantic dinner followed by a little hold me tight dancing, and then we proceed to a beautiful theater to see a wonderful show. After the show we stop by a lounge on the way to our cabin and trip the light fantastic once again. When I wrote this I had Mary read it and I asked her to give me her thoughts. She read it and said, “it reminds me when we were dating.’ Leave it to my Mary. She said in a few words what that special something is; being on a cruise is like being on an extended date... a date that doesn’t end but continues each and every day of the cruise.

I will soon be relating the things Wimpy did for Mary that helped them revive that special feeling on their cruise and also when they returned home.

Highlight: How Not to Gain Weight On a Fourteen Day Cruise:
You should pay me for the advice I am about to give you; if you weren’t friends of ours, I wouldn’t be telling you our secret...

If you want to keep your weight down without going to the gym, book the first forward cabin or the last aft cabin on the ship. This was the first time we had booked a 14 day back/back cruise and we were concerned about the very real possibility that we wouldn’t be able to fit into our clothes by the middle of the second week. Because of Mary’s penchant for taking enough clothes for a round the world cruise, it was important that we have the same cabin for both segments of our cruise. She not only takes a different dress or gown for each night of the cruise, but also a half dozen others in case she changes her mind. The only way we could do fourteen days, was to have the same cabin for both legs of our cruise. The only cabin available for both segments was a mini suite. Our mini-suite, D733, was the last cabin on the starboard side of the ship. Every time we went to breakfast, lunch or dinner and other times when my Mary was at dinner and realized she had forgotten something, or other times when my memory let me down and I forgot something, I trudged the hallway of the Dolphin deck, like an athlete training for the Olympics. I walked that hallway so many times, at all different times of the day and night, that I made friends with all the cabin attendants along the way. Although my legs haven’t fully recovered, my tale of woe has a happy ending. My total weight gain for our fourteen day cruise was two and a half lbs and Mary gained two lbs. The motto of my story; book the first or last cabin on the ship and forget all that nonsense about going to the gym. Not only will you lose weight, you’ll also make a lot of new friends.

Highlight: Movies Under the Stars:
I had read quite a bit about Movies Under the Stars, a unique, innovative idea Princess has introduced on three of their ships and will also have it on the new Crown Princess that will sail a Caribbean itinerary out of the port of New York. The write-ups do not do it justice; it is a fabulous idea. If you’re a movie buff, run to the phone and call your agent as soon as you can and book a Princess ship that has this feature. I guarantee you will absolutely love it. The screen is unlike anything you or I have seen. It is a 300 sq. ft. screen, with a LED projection system that allows you to watch movies during bright sunlight the same as you do at night. You can view it from three decks. You can also view it while swimming, while relaxing in a hot tub, or cuddled up with your loved one under a blanket, while a waiter fetches you a drink and pop-corn. Tell me, how in the world can you beat that. They usually show four or five movies during the day and two first run movies at night, and fill in with concerts of famous entertainers like Tom Jones, Tina Turner and you name it and they have it. For movie buffs it’s worth the price of a cruise.

The Heart And Soul of a Cruise Ship, Crew Members That Have Direct Contact With Passengers. The ship or the itinerary we sail is not what makes our cruises special. What makes our cruises special is our interacting with the crew members who come in direct contact with the passengers. Nicola Binetti the Captain of the Caribbean Princess and the ship’s officers are no doubt the back bone of this magnificent, majestic vessel, but it’s the crew members who are in direct contact with the passengers, that are the heart and soul of a cruise ship. They are the ones responsible for creating an atmosphere that makes cruising so special. We believe the major reason people have become passionate about cruising, and why the cruise industry continues to grow, is because of them. When we speak of the highlights of our cruise, we are mostly referring to the many memorable moments we spent interacting with members of the crew. When Mary & I cruise we make it a point to compliment the servers every opportunity we have. We all need to hear a compliment or a word of encouragement from time to time, but no one needs it more than these servers who work long hours and are away from their loved ones for long periods of time. ‘It has been said that a compliment or a word of encouragement is oxygen to the soul. Let them know you appreciate what they do.

Shortly I will be telling you about the crew members on the Caribbean Princess who made a deep impression on us.

Highlight: Sometimes We Men Don’t Get It:
I recall Leo Buscaglia writing about a letter he received. “I received a letter from a woman who wrote, “I don’t think my husband has really looked at me for the last fifteen years. We’re seldom apart, yet I think I could come into a room stark naked on a white horse, with my hair on fire and he’d go right on watching TV or reading the paper. It’s not that he doesn’t love me. It’s just that I’ve become the invisible woman.”

I read the above letter at the time the Mr. Macho phase of my life was coming to an end. I didn’t like the feelings I was feeling and I asked myself, long before I heard the expression on the Dr. Phil show; “How is the Mr. Macho attitude working for you? I had to answer, not very good! I was beginning to sense my life was about to change. I was emotionally ready for a message of some sort, but I was wary, like the time my father wanted to tell about the birds and the bees. I knew something important was about to happen, but I wasn’t sure what it was. Then shortly after reading the above letter, I came upon the following story about Sarah, you are about to read, and it was the clincher. It spoke to me in a very special way at a very special time in my life and it drove the final nail into Macho mans coffin. Could it be true after all these years, ‘I was about to get it?’

My mind kicked into another gear and I pictured Rex Harrison, after spending many arduous months in trying to change the thinking of that street urchin, singing that unforgettable song in the movie ‘My Fair Lady’, the song where he sang, “I think she got it”... “by Jove, I think she got it.” I was holding the book with the story about Sarah in my hand, and the thought flashed across my mind, “My god, I think I get it!”... “I really think I get it!” It’s a good thing Mary didn’t come into the den and see me with this silly grin on my face, she would have thought for sure I lost it. As I look back at this eventful moment, I believe this might have been the moment Wimpy was given life.

"Say Something Nice To Sarah"

Rev. Chalfant tells of a couple who were celebrating their golden wedding anniversary. The husband was asked what the secret was to his successful marriage. As the elderly have a tendency to do, the old gentleman answered with a story.

His wife, Sarah, was the only girl he ever dated. He grew up in an orphanage and worked hard for everything he had. He never had time to date until Sarah swept him off his feet. Before he knew it she had managed to get him to ask her to marry him. After they had said their vows on their wedding day, Sarah=s father took the new groom aside and handed him a small gift. He said "within this gift is all you need to know to have a happy marriage." The nervous young man fumbled with the paper and ribbon until he got the package unwrapped. Within the box lay a large gold watch. With great care he picked it up. Upon close examination he saw etched across the face of the watch a prudent reminder he would see whenever he checked the time of day... words that, if heeded, held the secret to a successful marriage. They were, "Say something nice to Sarah."

Reading about the ‘Lady on a white horse, with her hair on fire’ and the gold watch with ‘Say Something Nice to Sarah’ on its face, made a deep impression on me, and I vowed that I would never let another day go by without saying something nice to Mary. In fact, on Mary’s birthday in December 2000, while on the Splendour of the Seas, as an additional birthday present, I surprised Mary by having my gold wedding band engraved with the letters, SSNTM. Yes, those letters are an abbreviation for, “Say Something Nice Too Mary” I knew my memory was not what it used to be and I wanted to make sure I never forget to SSNTM. The first thing I do in the morning after I shower and shave, is to look at my wedding band and I am reminded what I need to do.

Wimpy Says Something Nice To Mary:
Wimpy made sure their mini-suite had the proper atmosphere for their anniversary. He had ordered flowers from home. As they entered their suite, Mary spotted the beautiful bouquet of flowers on the desk, and of course thanked him with a kiss on the cheek. Wimpy brought with him one of those new scent dispensers with a fan. It didn’t perform as well as he would have liked but it wasn’t bad. We could detect the scent of Gardenias throughout the cabin.

Wimpy likes to say SSNTM in many different ways. He spent hours reading Hall Mark “For The One You Love” & ‘Between You & Me’ cards at Walgreen’s, until he found seven cards that spoke his heart and seven cards that tell your spouse of your love in very humorous ways. He alternated the cards, having her read them while we were having breakfast on our balcony. We find sharing beautiful positive, loving thoughts is a wonderful way to start our day. Another mainstay of Wimpy’s marriage maintenance is the endearing messages he prints on cloud paper business cards and gives Mary at different times during their cruise. It may seem like a bit much but I go along with the romantic theory that you can never say too many nice things to your lady.

On our anniversary morning, we gave each other hand written notes that left us both teary eyed. Mary is a sweet spirit. It’s so much fun to do nice things for her because she reacts as if it was something new and wonderful, whereas it probably was something that Wimpy re-cycled from a previous cruise.

Our Anniversary Dinner:
We had our anniversary dinner at the Sterling Steak House and we were seated at a very nice table for two. Wimpy had arranged to have a vase of yellow roses at our table, one of Mary’s favorite flowers. Here we were on another wonderful, romantic date, one of the many we’ve had in our 38 years of married life. The great thing about being married for a long time is falling in love with the same person again... and again... and again and to remember if you win an argument with your wife, the wisest thing you can do is apologize.

We enjoyed an excellent dinner and after dinner Mary remarked about the many weddings that were occurring aboard ship. We heard there was eight on Eastern leg and eleven on the Western, which kept the captain very busy. She asked if the Captain was going to have a renewal of wedding vows. I said to myself... here we go again! Usually the first thing Mary looks for in a ships bulletin is to see if the Captain is going to have a renewal of vows ceremony. I often kid her; I tell her she’s been married more times than Elizabeth Taylor.

Mary’s Birthday and My Anniversary Celebration on the Coral Princess, Dec. 2nd:
If you have read our past reviews, you have probably surmised I am a long time friend of Bill W. (Bill Wilson one of the founders of the A.A. Program) December 2nd, has a great deal of significance in our lives. It’s Mary’s birthday and it’s also the day I walked into an AA meeting forty years ago. I can’t believe I’m celebrating my fortieth year as a recovering alcoholic, and that during our dating and thirty eight years of marriage, Mary has never seen me drink. God truly does some wonderful things. I was blessed to have found this God given program and I owe my life to it.

I am anxiously looking forward to celebrating Mary’s birthday aboard the Coral Princess. Mary's ageing process is very much the same as that of a very rare, vintage wine. She gets mellower, softer, silkier, and more velvety with every passing year. We may be in the twilight years and then some, but our relationship deepens and gets better with every passing day. We recently heard someone say, "I don't think love at first sight is so remarkable. It's when people have been looking at each other for years, that aged love becomes remarkable." I tried to get into a conversation with one of the young newly wed couples so I could spring that on them, but I wasn't successful.

Highlight: Champagne Waterfall: Mary was chosen to be the Champagne Lady again. Doesn’t she look stunning? Generosa took her arm and helped her pour the first bottle of Champagne. As the first bottle was poured, the multitude of people filling the six decks of the Atrium erupted into a deafening roar, and balloons, confetti, streamers started pouring down from the upper decks as people were waving, applauding and shouting their approval. Waiters were weaving through the crowd serving champagne and hors d’ouvres. People were dancing and singing everywhere. It was like being in the midst of a huge New Years Eve Party. It’s a scene we won’t soon forget. It truly was the one of the highlights of our cruise...

If you meet any of the crew members we will be telling you about, make sure you tell them that Tom & Mary said hello. They love to be acknowledged... Crew members that helped make our cruise so special.

Generosa Mazzone, the Maitre d’Hotel.
Generosa left after the first leg of our cruise to fly to Europe to meet and train the crew of the new Crown Princess that will be sailing a Caribbean itinerary out of the port of New York.

We met Generosa three years ago when we sailed with him on the Coral Princess and have sailed with him on two other occasions. He is without a doubt, the epitome of what a Maitre d’ should be... He is one of the most gracious, charming men we have ever met. We were thrilled when we found out he was the Maitre d’ on our cruise. When we went to dinner he met us at the entrance to the dinning room and came toward with outstretched arms and a big smile on his face. He greeted Mary, “Buonasera Mary” and put his arms around her gave her a big hug and then kissed her on both cheeks, as the Europeans do. Then he turned to me and addressed me the same way, “Buonasera Tom” and it didn’t surprise me one bit when he kissed me on both cheeks. He’s a warm, sensitive, caring man that isn’t afraid to show his affections. He learned of our loss and he exuded an aura of comfort. We consider him a dear friend. If you are fortunate enough to sail with Generosa on the new Crown Princess, make it a point to meet him and be sure to tell him Tom & Mary said hello. He might surprise for you.

[Nicola Furlan replaced Generosa as Maitre d’Hotel for the second leg of our cruise. We didn’t have a chance to spend much time with him; he was kept busy taking care of the PC dining rooms. We hope to get to know him when we sail with him again in the near future.]

Melania Parnisari, First Purser F & B.
Just thinking about her, as I am writing this, has brought a smile to my face. She is an absolutely delightful woman who is responsible for the operation of the Food & Beverage venues aboard the Caribbean Princess, a very important position.

Generosa introduced us to Melania one evening as we entered the dining room. She gave us a very warm greeting and kissed the two of us on both cheeks. I was beginning to like this European type greeting. We engaged in a very pleasant conversation, and then as Generosa took Mary’s arm and started walking her to our table, I commented to Melania what a gracious, charming man he was. She looked at me with that beautiful smile on her face, took my arm and said, if he can do it so can I. She took my arm and walked me the full length of the dining room to our table for two. I felt like a celebrity walking beside this beautiful young lady. We met Melania on several other occasions and she was always gracious and it was a pleasure to be with her. We are looking forward to seeing her on a future cruise. If you see Melania’s name in the officer column in the Princess Patter, look her up and tell her, we said Hello. You will be mesmerized by her smile.

Gerry: Our cabin Attendant:
Gerry is from Colombia. He was new at his job, it was his first contract. There were a few problems with our cabin but Gerry saw to it that they were corrected. He kept our cabin in tip top shape and was always near by when we needed something. We had our anniversary dinner at the Sterling Steak House and Mary ordered Filet Mignon and couldn’t finish it. There was quite a large portion left and she told the waiter she wanted to box it and take it with her. I thought she had gone bonkers. I told her she was on a cruise, not back home finishing an early bird dinner. Her reply was, “I want to bring it back for Gerry, I think he would enjoy it.” Sure enough she brought it back to our cabin and put it in the refrigerator and gave it to Gerry later that night. He later told us, he brought it back to the crew’s quarters and shared it with his buddies. That’s my Mary.

Laura Morales & Dawn Fraser at The Pursers Desk: The afternoon of the first day of our cruise we needed to go to the purser’s desk. We were greeted by a very pretty young lady with a smile that could melt an iceberg. Her name was Laura Morales. She was from Mexico. After she finished doing what we needed to be done, we had a very pleasant conversation and thanked her. We had to pass that area a couple more times and when we looked over at Laura, sure enough, there she was... smiling at us. It reminded me of a story I read about a newspaper boy that was standing outside a restaurant in Chicago on a bitter cold night. A beautiful movie star was leaving the restaurant when she saw the newspaper boy shivering as he stood holding his newspapers. She smiled at him and said, “Aren’t you cold?” He said, “I was until you smiled at me!” We told Laura her smile was like a ray of sunshine and we would be stopping by every day to say hello.

During the second week of our cruise we had a serious situation develop that little Laura brought to the attention of the Dawn Fraser, the Senior Purser. I was a complex problem but Dawn went the extra mile f or us. She took care of and handled it in very professional manner and we owe her our thanks, for resolving our problem. If you sail on the Caribbean Princess, make sure you stop by and say hello to Laura and Dawn.

Dominika & Petya: Liquor & Sundry Items; 6th deck:
These are two charming and delightful young ladies. Dominika is from Poland and Petya is from Bulgaria. We first met Dominika when I was in dire need of something to help me after an acid-reflux attach. Someone sent a dozen chocolate covered strawberries to our room and after eating four of them I woke-up in the middle of the night with a searing pain that felt like I had hot tamale stuck in my throat. She said they only stocked Tums. Taking Tums for what I had was the same as trying to put out a roaring fire with a garden hose. Dominika was so sympathetic and concerned, I thought she was going to call the captain and ask him if he any Mylanta. I bought a half dozen packets Tums. The next day as we were walking by, she waved to us to come in. and asked how I was feeling. One thing led to another and before you know it, she was telling us all about herself and her family and how she missed them. This was the beginning of a budding friendship.

We stopped by the next day and met her partner Petya. Petya is from Bulgaria. She reminded us of Carmen Miranda, the Cuban bombshell. (I wonder how may of you remember her. If you do, your not to much younger than we are.) She became animated when she spoke. She loved to talk about her family and how family life was back home. Both of them remarked that they liked the way Mary dressed for dinner, so we made sure we stopped by every night on the way to dinner, so they could see what Mary was wearing.

Mary noticed they were so busy at times, that they didn’t have time to eat. On a few occasions Mary had our waiter wrap up some cookies to take to the girls. On the last night when they are the busiest, Mary went to the Caribe Café and she brought them sandwiches, cookies and milk. They couldn’t thank her enough. If you meet these charming young ladies on one of your cruises, be sure to introduce your self and tell them, Tom & Mary said hello.

Sy & Anderson: Dining Room, Waiter & Assistant
Sy and Anderson were from the Philippines. They made a great team. Sy has worked six contracts and has been training Anderson to be a full fledged waiter and he’s done a fine job.

Anderson started working in the kitchen and has worked his way up to being an assistant and will become a full waiter when he signs his next contract. It was a pleasure to have them serve our table..

Antonio & Amandeo: Dining room, Head Waiters
These are two fine head waiters who have been with Princess many years. They are the right hand of the maitre d’ and assist him in all areas of service. Amandeo joined The Caribbean Princess on the second leg of our cruise. He has a charming personality and we hope to see him on a future cruise.

Highlight: Champagne Waterfall: Mary was chosen to be the Champagne Lady again. Doesn’t she look stunning? Generosa took her arm and helped her pour the first bottle of Champagne. As the first bottle was poured, the multitude of people filling the six decks of the Atrium erupted into a deafening roar, and balloons, confetti, streamers started pouring down from the upper decks as people were waving, applauding and shouting their approval. Waiters were weaving through the crowd serving champagne and hors d’ouvres. People were dancing and singing everywhere. It was like being in the midst of a huge New Years Eve Party. It’s a scene we won’t soon forget. It truly was the one of the highlights of our cruise...

Highlight: Cruise Director and Entertainment
The Cruise Director David Cole and his staff were outstanding. David was a great host and always had the right comment for every occasion. After hearing him sing I wasn’t surprised to learn that he has performed as a professional singer and dancer for nearly thirty years and has held principal roles in musical theatre. He did a great job of programming the entertainment. Most of the single acts are scheduled so everyone regardless of the time of their dinner seating, has a chance to see them. There was a full array of single acts, something for everyone.

The production show, Piano Man, was as good as it gets. The four lead singers were exceptional and the dancers were the best we have seen.

David Orion: Mary & I both like comics and they featured a number of them on this cruise. There was one, David Orion, who is one of the finest comedians we have seen in many years. He wasn’t on stage five minutes when he connected with the audience and had them in the palm of his hand. He had a homespun, Will Rogers type aura about him that made you want to lean forward and listen to every word he said. It’s a little hard to describe his humor because it was so different. The audience not only enjoyed his humor immensely but you could sense they liked him. He affected us the same way but even more so after seeing him interact with his daughters.

The next evening after seeing his show, we went to the Fusion Lounge to listen to and dance to the big band sound of Terry Belanger and his Caribbean Princess orchestra. We were sitting off to the side in a darkened area, when we took notice to a man on the dance floor, who was taking turns dancing with two young girls, who appeared to be between nine and twelve years old, two cute little girls, wearing little girl gowns, who were David’s daughters. David took turns dancing with one and than the other. He would hold they’re hand high as he slowly had them do a turn and then he would ever so gently take their hand and then maybe do a little side step with them. He didn’t do this just once or twice; he did it for the full dance set. Mary and I were enthralled watching them.

There is no doubt David is one of the very best comedians working today, but what he does as a comedian pales in comparison to the loving, tender care he shows his two young daughters. These young ladies will remember forever that night their daddy danced with them. It’s was a very special moment for us, a memory we will long remember.

The Princess FSC Program When cruising on a Princess ship you can go to the Future Cruise Desk and book a future cruise for a deposit of $100 per person and receive an on board credit up too $150 per person. You have four years to make up your mind what cruise you want to book and you don’t have to book with Princess, you can have it booked through your agent.

Wimpy Sightings: When we were at our Mall back home, at one of the Kiosk’s, that did lettering on peak caps. I decided to have one done with white lettering of Tom & Mary, on a deep blue cap. I thought it would be fun to wear it at different times and see, by chance, if one of our review readers might notice it and say hello. Much to our surprise, there was a number of wimpy sightings. The first hours of the cruise as were walking on the pool deck, before I donned my cap, a young couple came walking straight at us and said, “Your Tom & Mary.” They were a handsome young couple from Orlando, Florida, Jen & Justin Evans. Another time on a Catamaran sailing from St. Thomas to St’ Johns Island, wearing my new peak cap, we noticed a young women starring at us and all of a sudden she pointed to us and said, “Of course, you’re the Tom & Mary that write reviews, were fans of yours.” Her husband Rob and his mother then joined the conversation and he told us he had used many of our suggestions but he had one of his own that Wimpy never thought of. He said when they returned home from a cruise, he wanted to remind his wife of the wonderful intimate moments they shared, so he collected all the chocolates that the cabin attendant put on their pillows at night, and brought them home with him and continued the nightly ritual at home. Rob said it worked better than he had thought it would; they kept on experiencing those wonderful, intimate moments long after he ran out of chocolates. (There were a number of other sightings.)

Wimpy wants Rob to know he is using his idea; that he also collected the chocolates from their pillows, and is putting them on Mary’s pillow at home. He even scouted the candy shops and bought some similar chocolates so he had enough to continue doing it until their next cruise.

While we were writing the last paragraphs of this review, we received an e-mail from our friends Charlie and Marie Phillips from Virginia. This is what it said:

[Hi Tom and Mary, I read an article in the Washington Post that tells us to throw out our air fresheners because they emit toxic pollutants. We need to keep Wimpy healthy. . I know you use them when you cruise so now you will just have to spray Mary's expensive perfume around the room and buy her more. Love, Charlie and Marie]

I think Charlie’s idea is a good one and I’m sure Wimpy will use it on their next cruise.

Our conclusion: This cruise was just what the doctor ordered. We had a very difficult two years and being on the beautiful Caribbean Princess has recharged our batteries. In the middle of writing this review Mary told me she wouldn’t mind doing this same ship with the same itinerary this coming September. I couldn’t believe my ears. I am so happy she once again is interested in doing the things we used to do.

I’m trying to think of how I can put into words what I feel in my heart. Mary and I are so utterly grateful to God for giving us a second chance at having a happy, fruitful life. He has made our lives into something beautiful and we will forever be grateful.

If you think you might be too old to start cruising, Mary & I are going to let you in on a secret of ours. It has often been said that the romantic fire dwindles as you enter the twilight years. We are of the age they speak of and we can tell you, that's a myth. Despite one's age, romanticism never dies. It's true, some of our physical aspects might lessen, but then it's a matter of finding new ways to stoke the fire. We find that cruising is one way that works for us. Try it. It might work for you. Remember, "You're never too old for a Honeymoon."

We can't think of anything we would rather do, then being together on one of these beautiful, magnificent floating resorts. We wish everyone had the means to go on their first cruise. We welcome any questions or comments you might have, especially those from first time cruisers.

A Special Note to our Readers: Just as we wrote that encouragement and acknowledgement are like oxygen to the soul of crew members, it also has the same affect on Mary & I. We would like you write us and let us know if you like the things we write about. Give us your honest opinion; it will help us when we write our next review.

May your next cruise be your best,
Our warm regards,
Tom & Mary Milano,

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