Thank you to all who were following the live blogging from the Pandora 2013 Cruise. We had an amazing time and now that I’ve had a chance to catch my breath and go through the more than 1,000 photos we took during the trip, I thought I’d share some of the highlights of the week and mention anything I might have missed during my midnight blogging sessions.
We began the trek by driving the hour or so from Orlando to Port Canaveral where the boat was stationed. We arrived in the early afternoon and apparently missed a fire alarm evacuation that had been inadverantly set off by someone placing their bag on the lever, though we had no problems boarding the ship. Registration was shortly after sailing and we were all eager to see what promos we would be getting but alas had to wait even later to the meet & greet before receiving our swag bag. The gifts were on par with last year’s except the charm was much much better! I was happy to see an exclusive bead made especially for us and I treasure it immensely. We got served the Pandora Bloom cocktails, the same as before, and a few prizes were given out which was the Celebration Bouquet (Jared’s exclusive in the US).
Our first port was Coco Cay, Bahamas, a privately owned island by Royal Caribbean; I would have much rather been dropped off at Nassau as the island didn’t have too much to do. It was also cloudy, windy, and sprinkling so the weather was not cooperating either. St. Thomas was the next port and because it’s a US Territory, we had cell reception (hooray!). The island was much larger and it felt like we didn’t get to see much on our excursion tour. The Concept store did not have any retired charms, which was a bummer but I did find a couple of smaller shop-in-shops which did have some but had been picked over quite a bit already before I got there. I stumbled upon a Lovepod spacer and even though it’s pricey, I bit the bullet because I had to have it!
We had a great time on the St. Maarten tour before getting dropped off at the downtown shopping street. I managed to find a few great retired liquid silver pieces including a Ripple bangle, Ripple Ring, and Flow pendants: large, medium, and small. They also still had some of the newly retired charms and I bought the XL green python (I wish they would come out with this design in the regular size). My friend Donna Lobel was obsessed with finding a Story by Kranz and Ziegler retailer on the islands and after drooling over her purchases, I caved and bought another one for myself as well. I’ll post more on that later ;). There was a bit of controversy as some ladies had been told only the purchases at the Concept store would be honored for the 20% rebate on St. Maarten, while others were assured that everything Pandora bought on the islands would be accepted, so I’m not sure what came of that since I only bought from the Concept store there. By the end, the stores sold out of most of their special engraved beads and other items too. My husband fondly called us silver locusts as we swarmed and consumed most of the charms on these islands.
I don’t have too much to expand about regarding the workshops, details for the events can be found on Pandora Cruise 2013 – Day 3, Pandora Cruise 2013 – Day 6, Pandora Cruise 2013 – Day 7. The most fun I had was hanging out and chatting with my Pandora friends. One of the ladies, Brenda Parks, brought two big bags of charms to sell and we were all huddled around her stash like drug addicts doing lines, lol. I saw a few creative ways to wear Pandora that I just had to share; one is from April Clark and she had her jeweler attach a hoop ring to the lobster clasp bracelet so that she could wear her medical alert badge as part of her Pandora bracelet – ingenious! Stephanie from Pandora also had a great idea to use the double clips with rings to create a unique-looking Pandora bracelet which Donna adopted with panache. A couple ladies memorialized their unforgettable moment with matching cruise tattoos!
During the summer 2013 runway preview, Pandora gave out 10 of the new triple leather bracelets and the last night we had a big farewell party with all of the attendees and the Pandora team gave out a slew of prizes. We started off with the promo items: towels, passport/luggage tag carriers, play trays, goody bags, designer signed SS13 look books, mugs, and then got to the good stuff – 10 jewelry prizes which was a charm from the new collection and a bangle. My husband seems to be real lucky as he won one of the last prizes of the night, the teal fascinating Murano and a bangle! I was over the moon; I’d been eyeballing that bead the entire trip and could not have been happier that he got it for me. For those that didn’t get drawn during the raffle, everyone received the lip balm, umbrella, and canvas tote.
Overall, the events seem better organized and coordinated this year which I appreciated, especially the shopping events. I was thrilled that the stores actually had jewelry to sell us! It was definitely the right decision to make this trip longer than the inaugural cruise as I felt that we barely had any time to relax before we were back home again. I do think part of my enjoyment was not setting incredibly high expectations this time; last year I had such impossible hopes that anything less felt like a disappointment. All the staff worked really hard even though some of them did not seem to be enjoying the motion of the ocean. Everything is still hush hush regarding next year, but I hope so because I would love to do this again!