As we got all the bags packed into two taxis to pick up the BC Ferries Connector coach to head back to Vancouver to the Cruise Terminal, memories of the past few days were discussed and the excitement of what was to come was evident. The expression of wonder on the children’s faces as we approached The Royal Princess, was another memory to cherish. 142,229 Tonnes, 1,083 feet long, 217 feet tall, 19 decks and 3,560 Guests, 1,346 Crew and most important, free ice cream for them all week!
For the first time on a ship of this size it does takes a while to get to grips with where everything is. Which side of the ship, left, right, port, starboard, front, back, forward, aft, mid-ship. At least the atrium is always in the middle and has a bar and coffee shop so you can take a moment and check out where to go. A great help on the Royal Princess is the introduction of the medallion. For families this is great as you can keep track of where everyone is, the children could nearly always be found by the ice cream stand! The interactive screens around the ship were also a great source of entertainment, as well as information, as they can plot your route to your cabin or the theatre and be an aid to track the family.
Once settled, our first evening consisted of a good dinner in our allocated restaurant and then a show in the theatre. The children made great friends with our waiters who bought them whatever they asked for, (as long as it was on their drinks package). Service was excellent as ever and the food was varied and plentiful.
All was going to plan, the family together around one table from different parts of the world, having a great meal. Too good to be true you may say, well then unfortunately you would be right. My mum had a knee replacement several years ago and has never had any problems with it until that evening. She does also have arthritis so when she said that her leg was hurting we thought it may just have been the culmination of the last few weeks on and off the Rocky Mountaineer and the walking around Vancouver and Victoria. However, the pain was like nothing she had experienced before.
We finally got her back to her cabin and the following morning there had been no improvement, so we took her to the medical centre on the ship. I cannot praise the care that she had by all the staff in the medical centre enough. The prognosis was that it would be best for mum to leave the ship at the next port, Ketchikan and get hospital treatment. So, from a relaxing holiday, the trip turned into a repatriation exercise. The care Mum received at the hospital was also fantastic, as were Mum’s travel insurance company in helping with the repatriation.
Of course, all the time our amazing 24/7 duty office were there helping me too. Sadly, our holiday had come to an end and the following day Mum and I flew back from Ketchikan via Seattle to Heathrow and then back to hospital in the UK. Even after disembarking the ship, Princess Cruises were in touch with me until we arrived home to check that we were OK. Amazing customer service all round!