At time of writing this (early August, 2018) we’ve been on ten cruises; four with P&O Cruises and the remainder Princess Cruises. We regularly quiz in pubs on dry land and we’ve also joined in with the trivia quizzes when we’ve been cruising. With P&O we’ve not fared too well; those cruises have been shorter ones and in a couple of cases we’ve not quizzed at all or simply stood around unable to find a seat (quizzes are apparently very popular on their ships), but because the questions have been geared specifically to a British crowd they’ve also tended to be generally harder, favouring teams with a very wide range of British knowledge and often targeting soap operas which we detest. We’ve come close, but never won. With Princess, however, it’s been a different story; longer cruises have given us more chances to take part in the quizzes and the more international mix of passengers requires a broader, global type of question which has played to our strengths. Our track record is that we’ve won at least one quiz on every cruise we’ve taken with Princess. Yay us!
Diamond Princess, 2008
Our very first cruise was our honeymoon cruise in Asia (see: Diamond Princess, Far East, 2008). Without a doubt this was our most successful cruise quizzing in terms of number of victories. We can accredit a large part of this to our team as we joined up with two other couples who had also taken the pre-cruise stay we’d added on in Beijing; both couples were older than us with Sandra and Ian from the north of England and Ken and Lowell from Birmingham, Alabama. Between us we covered a wide range of geographic and temporal knowledge.
The main thing we won were tote bags. These are made of a thick, rubberised material to keep them waterproof and have a zip down one side so they’re reversible allowing you to use them either black or blue. They also sport the old Princess Cruises slogan of Escape Completely. The fact that the slogan was about to change to its present incarnation of Come Back New might account for the reason why we had two of these bags in our stateroom on arrival and managed to win in excess of a dozen more in trivia aboard Diamond Princess. We ended up leaving all but two behind when a fellow passenger remarked that our room steward could sell them off the ship or sell them back to the cruise line. Whether any of that was truly possible or actually done I couldn’t say.
We also won some “champagne” but, naturally, that didn’t make it off the ship. The only other trivia quiz prize were a couple of these wallets with a cord to hang around the neck.
Something that was won not in a trivia was this pair of dice. We’ve never played any of the tables in the casinos aboard any cruise ship as it just doesn’t interest us but we have tried to maintain a tradition of having one pull of a one-armed bandit machine and also putting some money in the coin pusher game on formal nights. This tradition started, naturally, on this first cruise on Diamond Princess. We were dressed up, we sat at the pusher, fed a few dollars into it, and very soon had a crowd of msotly Asian passengers around us who apparently had never seen the game before and hadn’t realised how it worked. These days the same format machine is present on the entertaining quiz show Tipping Point but back then this was just something that triggered nostalgic trips to Southsea seafront’s amusement arcades for the pair of us.
It’s our tenth wedding anniversary this year and we’re heading back to Asia aboard Diamond Princess once again to celebrate it. Some ports the same, some different, and we’ll be keen to add to our cruise prize winnings again.
Crown Princess, 2013
Our second Princess cruise was five years later aboard Crown Princess (see: Crown Princess, Norwegian Fjords, 2013) and was only a week long so had far fewer chances to win anything. In addition we didn’t team up with anyone on this particular cruise but still managed to grab two victories on the holiday, one being another bottle that was swiftly emptied and the other resulting in us taking home a couple of Princess Cruises carabiners. Useful for all that mountaineering we strangely still haven’t done.
Star Princess, 2016
We only held off for two and a half years until our next trip on a ship, this being our favourite overall cruise we’ve taken so far: Star Princess (see: Star Princess, South America, 2016). Champagne was a common prize on this cruise and we won that a couple of times on our own or as part of teams (teams were pretty fluid on this cruise with lots of friendly “Mind if we join you?” offers that are impossible to say no to) and were even gifted it on one occasion by another team who’d beaten us on a tie-breaker but didn’t drink. The only physical prize from one of the cruise ship’s trivia quizzes were these two lanyards. We never wear lanyards but we still cherish the prize and the memory it represents.
Next year we’ll be reboarding Star Princess at the same port we disembarked in Chile in 2016 and we’ll be cruising up to Los Angeles via a handful of new countries for us.
Royal Princess, 2016
The South American cruise on Star Princess had been so good we booked another cruise almost as soon as we returned home, miserable at not being on the ship any longer. This was the Royal Princess (see: Royal Princess, Eastern Mediterranean, 2016). This was only a week’s cruise again and it was very port-intensive so we only actually managed to take part in one trivia quiz while on board, making it easy to remember it. It took place in Club 6, the place was rammed, we grabbed two seats at the bar, and played just as a couple. We won by a single point and the Princess Cruises entertainments manager, Matt, gave us two pens each as we were the smallest team in the room and remarked that we were just about to become the most popular couple. To some extent he was right as we had people coming up and asking about some of the trivia questions both at the conclusion of the quiz and later in the holiday when they recognised us. It was a pity that our days were so full we couldn’t find the time to compete again as it might have been fun to see if there would have been a flood of “Come join us!” offers.
Crown Princess, 2017
Our fifth Princess cruise was in 2017 aboard the same ship we’d been on to see the fjords a few years earlier, Crown Princess (see: Crown Princess, Baltic Heritage, 2017). This was another fortnight cruise so it gave us plenty of opportunities to take part in the daily trivia quizzes and we had four wins with only one of them being a bottle that was taken away to our room to be enjoyed on the balcony one evening. The first prize we won was another pair of bags, these being fairly small, fairly thin, and with drawstrings to either pull the bag closed or to facilitate wearing the bag as a miniature rucksack.
Of slightly more use to us was the second prize we picked up; a water bottle. This is something that could be really handy for taking ashore with us after filling with water from the sink and leaving it to cool overnight in the fridge in the stateroom especially as the world is becoming more aware of the need to reduce single-use plastics. With this cruise being a Baltics-based one that need to bring water with us was lower than it might be when we return to Asia later this year. We just have to remember to bring the bottle with us.
Our favourite quiz prize on the Crown Princess cruise was this bottle stop with the Princess Cruises Sea Witch logo on it. Despite being really pleased with it it’s one of those weird things that because we drink red wine and we finish a bottle once it’s open (don’t judge us) we never have need of a bottle stop but that doesn’t stop it looking and feeling great.
The final prize just for completeness was another Princess Cruises die to match the two we’d collected on our first cruise. Won in exactly the same way, you won’t be surprised to learn.
Sapphire Princess, 2018
Our most recent cruise was also the last one we’ve taken with Princess Cruises and that was aboard Sapphire Princess in May of this year (see: Sapphire Princess, France & Spain, 2018). Although we were only on the ship for a week we did manage to take part in quite a lot of quizzes but it was seemingly very clear early on that we were at a bit of a disadvantage. Quite a large contingent of regular quizzers had, it transpired, been on the ship for several weeks before, some of them coming from Singapore to the UK with the cruise ship. With the quiz questions not rotating quite as quickly as they might do this meant some people were seeing questions come up for the second or third time. Now, you might think that in a situation like this if this happened to you then you’d simply not take part as it would be a form of cheating – I know we would – but for certain cruisers it’s all about the winning at any cost (the number of times we’ve seen people on phones or tablets trying to get answers would make you weep). However, either enough people had grumbled in the right ears or we were getting luckier because towards the end of the week we tied for first place twice in trivia games. The first time was with two other teams and we lost. The second time was the final trivia aboard the ship on the last sea day and in the tie between us two and another team of six we got the deciding question right and were allowed to pick from a choice of prizes each. You can never have too many notebooks so that was an easy option.
The second prize we selected was a rubber coaster, a prize we’d not seen offered before in any quiz aboard Princess Cruises ships.
There was one other thing we won on Sapphire Princess although it wasn’t a die in the casino and it wasn’t a prize given out as a result of trivia. During the first art auction, to encourage applause at the end of each art piece being auctioned whether it was won or not, it had been announced that there would be a spot prize (a choice of four art prints) at the end for the “happiest clapper”. I’m as shocked as anyone to announce that this prize was awarded to me. We’d bought some artwork by Lebo in the auction (we like and have loads of his stuff) and it turned out that one of the four possible prints was also by Lebo making the selection of the work an easy one to make. We still haven’t got around to framing it yet.
We’re hoping to continue our winning streak as we cruise with Princess into the future and it would be nice if we could get a win on another line at some point too but for us it’s not about the winning of the prizes (one look at the prizes we’ve actually won should convince you of that) but the mental challenge and if our run of success should come to an end we’ll still have the solace that we’re on a cruise ship and not at work and this is not a bad thing at all.