The Cruise

World cruise on the Dawn Princess starting in Sydney on May 21, 2010 and sailing west around the world for 104 days.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Dawn Princess World Cruise 2010 - Wednesday August 11, 2010

Day 82 Los Angeles
We had a wonderful time in Long Beach, L.A. after we finally managed to get off the ship. I told you about the face-to-face immigration to get into Boston and the questions we had to answer. Well, we had to go through the whole process again in L.A. but the officials were more stringent in their application of the rules. We had to show them our ESTA form. We tried to print ours from the computer the night
before, but were told by the Princess staff we did not need them. However, we did need them. Bill joined the queue with his computer and he had to fire up the computer. I knew that I could not find my form on the computer, even though I had got one at the same time as Bill. As the officer inspected Bill’s form on the computer I engaged him in questions regarding where I could buy a suitcase. We both got the required stamp in our passports and were able to leave the ship. We later heard of various ingenious ways that Australians beat the system, some going ashore with no stamp in the passport, but I will not go into the methods used here. Everybody on board was given a time to present for this immigration inspection and even though we docked at 6.30 a.m., Bill and I were given a time of 9.45. We did not get finished until 10.30. However, it was worth the trouble. We had a good walk long the foreshore in Long Beach. It is beautifully maintained with coffee shops, restaurants, souvenir shops and elegant dress shops. We caught the free bus to the local Wal-Mart which seems to be a must stop venue for both passengers and crew from the ship. Here, I was able to buy another suitcase for the extras I have bought. Compared with the other passengers, I have bought very little. We had a bit of excitement as we returned on the shuttle. When the bus arrived at the dock, the driver went to the wrong gate, which was locked with no person in attendance. This might not have been so bad except for the fact that we were parked across a railway crossing with big signs saying how dangerous it was to do exactly this type of parking. After what seemed an interminable time, with the passengers watching both directions with enormous consternation, the driver decided to back out onto the freeway. His intrepid off-sider ventured on foot onto the freeway to halt the traffic, while the bus was manoeuvred into position. This took several attempts. Eventually, we arrived safely back on ship. It is much easier to leave the U.S.A. than to enter it. Bill’s song for the day was “The Land of the Free”. We put our clocks back an hour on each of the last two days, so now we are now18 hours behind Melbourne. We received our votingforms today, so we just have to vote before we reach Hawaii on Monday. We are now sailing full speed towards these picturesque islands. (Barbara) The port for LA is San Pedro. It is huge and creates a very unfavourable impression on the visitor to LA by ship unless you have a passion for cranes and containers! Future passengers should put pressure on Princess Cruises to bypass LA and stop at San Francisco instead. The accuracy of communication from staff to passengers regarding US immigration requirements is very poor. This needs some serious work to bring it up to the level of service offered by Princess in other areas. I would suggest that Princess issues queuing cards to passengers to prevent people turning up for immigration processing before their appointed times. Long Beach is worth a visit but do not attempt to go to Universal Studios or Disneyland for the day during the US school holidays. After the rather slow shipboard internet connection, I enjoyed the freedom and speed of the wireless internet on offer at various locations in Long Beach, in particular Starbucks. (Bill)

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