ballroom dancing

My last cruise on a jewel Princess, the Sapphire Princess, was four years ago and the Ruby Princess was refurbished in 2015, so my first instinct once I had found my cabin was to check out the Promenade deck and see whether the dance venues were as I remembered them.

I especially love the dancing when cruising on the Cunard ships, Queen Mary 2, Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria. All three have beautiful ballrooms, called the Queen's Room. On several of my Cunard cruises, most recently a two-way transatlantic cruise on QM2, the cruise director has hosted Sequence Dance sessions in the Queens Room. I badly wanted to join in but not knowing any of the patterns, I had to sit and watch. Sitting still while dance music is playing is hard for me so I vowed  to learn these dances so I could participate in the future.

Last night we had a raucous and fun-filled New Year's Eve party. Despite  only a couple of hours sleep I was as energetic as usual when I woke up - though I was really craving coffee.  i think Mike got to bed about the time I usually wake up at home so I didn't think he would make it to the workshop at 10 am.  When our coffee and breakfast did not arrive at the expected time I called to find out where it was. Apparently some yoyos had taken the room service card off our door - it later turned up outside the door of an empty cabin further up the corridor.

Since my introduction earlier this year to the delights of cruise ship ballroom dancing with great dance hosts and delightful fellow dance enthusiasts (West Coast Ballroom Dancing and Wine Tasting Cruise) I have traveled to New York for theatre and fine dining (New York, New York), dance-cruised from New York to New Brunswick (Labour Weekend Getaway), from Honolulu to Tahiti (South Pacific Ballroom Dance Cruise) and most recently from Beijing to Bangkok (South-East Asia Ballroom Dance Cruise).
 

The Diamond Princess picked up the local pilot around 5:30 in the morning and was docked in the Contaiiner Terminal by about 7:30. Although it was warm and humid it was still grey outside.

The ship docks in the port of Shanghai but the distance from the pier to the city may vary from a half to a one hour drive depending on the size of the ship and where it has to dock. The Diamond Princess is a big cruise ship and has to dock quite far out. The city spans the Huangpu river, a tributary of the Yangtze River.

After dinner on our first night of sailing, tired though everyone was, we were determined not to miss even one evening of dancing so we headed off to the Wheelhouse Lounge to dance for an hour or so and then we had an early night. Dancing would start in earnest the next day with the first of our dance workshops in the morning, and then a full evening of dance in the evening.

It is three in the morning in Beijing, the morning after I arrived. And I am wide awake, writing! So my smugness at how I planned to avoid jet lag was unwarranted - my body defied my planning. Air Canada 29 leaves Vancouver at 12:40 pm and arrives the next day in Beijing around 4 pm. You fly almost 11 hours and move ahead 16 time zones. That meant that a couple of hours into the flight after we had been served a nice lunch and most people in the executive class cabin had reclined their seats and gone to sleep, it was really only about three or four in the afternoon Vancouver time. Although I tried to shut my eyes and doze for a bit in the latter half of the flight, I really did not sleep. By the time we arived in Beijing at 4 in the afternoon GMt + 8 hours for my chrono-biological clock it was only midnight. So I decided I would stay awake till around 9 Beijing time, sleep till 6 the next morning, and wake refreshed and in sync with the new time zone. Didn't work.

The first thing on my mind on my return to Vancouver from the South Pacific Dance Cruise: Hawaii to Polynesia was getting my visa to visit China. Beijing is where I will embark on the Diamond Princess for 16 dance- filled nights and days while cruising from  China to Thailand.  And I only had two weeks to get ready.

This is a 16 night cruise within a 21 night trip.  We start in Beijing and the north and sail south to end in Bangkok. The area and the itinerary are shown in the map above, from the Princess Cruise Lline web site.

A dream vacation, ballroom dancing , sometimes rock-and-rolling, my way across the Pacific Ocean with my favorite group of dancers and dance hosts on the Pacific Princess.  

What better way is there for a newbie ballroom dance addict to spend the Labor Day Weekend than dancing the nights away in the largest ballroom afloat with Dancers at Sea? As the smiling faces in the picture taken on the Black and White Formal night photograph attest to, there were many great minds that thought alike on this question.

This is the index of postings to my Travelblogue that documents my ballroom dancing-focused West Coast cruise in the Sapphire Princess from Los Angeles, California to Vancouver, British Columbia. I traveled with a group of ballroom dance enthusiasts led by Wendy from Dancers at Sea. With three hours of dancing every night,a dance workshop, excellent food on board and excursions to wine country en route, it was the perfect trip for a gourmet food and wine-loving , ballroom dance addicted, travel writer.

It is six am on a bright California morning. Tomorrow my family will drive me up to the cruise ship terminal at San Pedro where I will embark on the Sapphire Princess for a seven night cruise from Los Angeles to Vancouver. With shore excursions for winery tasting and a gourmet food and wine tour in San Francisco, this cruise promises to provide most of my favorite activities - fine supping, great sipping and a different travel experience. But here is the number one reason I decided to try it - Ballroom dancing.