Sunday, October 21, 2012

And We Are Home

How can so many days away go by so fast?  Explain please?  Answers?

I am now home and I feel a little melancholy.  I know someone else is in our cabin, Douw is serving someone else, Peter is welcoming new Captain Circle Members on board, Felipe and Delmaire are selling their little hearts out.  But we are not there!

I will back track a bit to last night.

Being the last night on board we knew we wanted to have a nice dinner and remember the great voyage.  Trust me, everyone should do this, actually you should do this every day, share with that special person the wonderful things that happened that day and what you are thankful for.  It is always easier to remember the horrible things but sit down and remember the great things.

Last night we were truly blessed, and we remember the past four weeks together.  Peter joins us and we share a lovely evening together dotted with friends (aka new family members) coming to the table to chat and say good bye. 

Will I make it thru the night without crying?  I hope so. 

Delmarie and Felipe want to join us for drinks after dinner and we meet up with them and Dilion and Peter for drinks in the Wheelhouse.  Felipe presents us both with an Hawaiian Lei - ahhh Felipe you make us feel special. 

It is around 11 pm and we need to say goodbye - hugs, kisses, tears welling up in my eyes.  Till we meet again!

Both of us are lying in bed in the dark with the ship going up and down (yes it was rocking and no it wasn't from us) and we again say how blessed we are.  We know this trip wouldn't be the same if we weren't together to do it.  We have been married 17 years and I am so happy I have a best friend who loves to cruise too and his positive caring attitude only adds to the experience.  Thank you Bernie for sharing in this journey.

Okay I am really getting sappy now, I know I know, but if you know me well you know I am kind of sappy and I say how I feel, the good and bad... and it is hard to shut me up.

We don't sleep very well, maybe it is the dinner not sitting well (too much food), maybe it is the drinks, maybe it is the movement of the ship, maybe it is the events of the trip going thru our minds, or maybe it is the worry of "how big will our bill be when we get it tomorrow" kidding.

I awake early, around 5:30 and we have just cleared the Golden Gate Bridge, I throw on the robe and slippers and head out on the deck, yeah sure I am freezing my ass off but I want to be outside looking at the water as it is one of the last opportunities I will have to do it for a bit.  I sit out there till I hear the alarm go off in the cabin around 6 am.  Bernie is stirring - and I know I have to get in the shower and get ready.

We head down to Amafi dining room for breakfast and see Douw, Hugo and Marianna serve us one last time.  What was so nice of them is that I wanted my latte but in a to go cup and said I would just wait to get it as we had to leave soon so we could head to immigration.  They said "no way Vickie we will go get one for you" yup they travelled all the way to the International Cafe to get me my latte in a to go cup.... now that is nice.

We make our way to the Portifino dining room to clear immigration into the US as Non US Citizens, the line is snaking its way thru the casino.  But it appears that many people are in the line early and I mean really early, like 45 to an hour earlier than they should be.  Our time is 7:15 but the couple behind us is 8 - now people there is a reason there is a time for you to show that means you are to show at that time.  The line wouldn't be so long if people just followed directions.  They must be the same people that line up for the dining room doors to open a half hour early.

It does take a bit to clear the immigration line, about a half hour and since we are just passing thru the United States on our way to the airport and home we have no problems.  Back up to the cabin to grab our carry on bags and then head down to the Vista Lounge which is the Platinum/Elite and Suite lounge for this voyage.

It is packed, I mean packed, not a seat available.  Now we are yellow 1, we are like the fourth group of about 20 groups to be called.  We arrive 5 minutes before our designated time, but once again people seem to want to get there early and make their claim. 

What is worst is there are a lot of people in the lounge who are there that should not be there because they are travelling with a friend who is elite etc.  Now this would be fine if there was a lot of space but there is no space.  You would probably be better off going to your designated area, at least you may get a seat. 

Peter does try to inform people that sorry this lounge is for those passengers only who qualify, but people get mad at him, and many push right past him and insist!  A few said some nasty things too.... we would of gladly have gone to our "assigned lounge" if it would not have been that we wanted to see Peter one last time.

Our tag is called right on time, we are directed out to the Promenade deck and directed all the way to mid ship and down two flights.  Not an issue for us as we are able bodied, but many people had trouble with this and maneuvering their bags.  I felt for them, but when I hear the man behind me complain about having to walk so far and that he should of went to his designated lounge instead, I was thinking "yeah youvprobably should of".  I do hate when Princess assigns the Vista Lounge, or Club Fusion as the Elite lounge as you have to head all the way mid ship to get off.

No biggie, we are off very very quickly, very smoothly and find our bags and are out on the street in less than five minutes.  We are in a taxi right away and on our way to the airport.  At first we were going to take the BART, but I said nope I am not dragging these bags for a half hour to the station.  The ship was offering Princess airport transfers for $26 each, but the taxi for the two of us was $47 and with tip of $5 and we paid the same as Princess and we got there much faster and just the two of us. 

The flight home was delayed a half hour and we had lots of time.  We flew right home and after the short flight we were on the skytrain to pick up our car and were home by 5 pm.

Laundry is in, bags are unpacked (still lots needs to be put away), groceries need to be purchased, paperwork needs to get done but it can all wait.

Life is great and I am blessed in so many ways.  I want to say thanks to all my followers, and especially my facebook fan page 

Thanks for following along, till our next journey.

Love Vickie

Saturday, October 20, 2012

I am NOT 29 Anymore

It all started out harmless.  Dinner was at Sabatinis we arrived with a bottle of wine that was given to us by Head Office, but the Maitre d’Hotel also had a bottle of wine there for us, so two bottles between three people.

Dinner was the usual calamari, pasta, then the lobster three ways which is great but really all I love is the risotto the most and should of just ordered that.  Then I had an after dinner cocktail. 

Lots going on after dinner and Peter suggests the British Invasion show, but on the way he buys us all Beverly Hills’ Ice Teas.  They sure taste good and the show is amazing, dancing in my seat the entire time. 

Off to the Atrium to enjoy the Farwell Party and the balloon drop, another Beverly Hills’ Ice Tea!  More dancing, more laughing, and well just fun.

Well I should of seen it coming!  When will I ever learn?  I wake up and oh no my head, my tummy, my entire body is sore with a huge hangover!  No more drinking I say to Bernie!  He feels good, go figure.

He suggests breakfast and I grumble but as I sit for breakfast the thought of anything turns me away and all I can manage is half a bagel and half a glass of orange juice.  Forget even thinking of have a latte.

Peter is at his desk and he looks great, maybe a little tired but otherwise he looks good and he says he feels good.  Pippa is hugely busy – always happens near the end of a voyage.

I was in such a rough state I skip Sudoku, yup!  I really want to see Mark’s lecture on turtles and I need to give our steward enough time to clean the cabin so we head to the Princess Theater.  I really enjoyed the show and loved his slides, and his talk was very entertaining but I was suffering and needed my bed.

We bolted out of there and right back to the cabin, slipped on my most comfy t-shirt and crawled into bed.  And I was out for the count!  Slept two hours and woke feeling refreshed.

We are to arrive in Ensenada around 4 and people are itching on board and are excited when off in the distance we can see land. 

I am hungry (guess that is a good sign) I head up to the Horizon Court and they have a Mexican themed lunch.  I get a few items, but not too much tummy is still a little off.  At the main pool they are doing the boat races.  You know the ones that you have to build then have it send a six pack across the pool.  I take a seat around the ledge of the pool and this guy about ten feet away screams at me that I am blocking his view.  He is laying on a lounge chair and there is a walkway between us.  I am shocked that he would actually think that his 20 feet from the chair to the pool would remain clear while he is laying down.  I just look and stare and then choose to ignore his comment.  Again that sense of entitlement from so many on board is sad. 

I need fresh air so I decide to walk around the promenade deck for a bit and watch for wildlife.  Although it is hard to get far before running into someone you know.   So you stop and chat, then move on and stop and chat again.  Met a lovely couple married 43 years and chatted with them for a good half hour. 

We do see lots of wildlife, birds, whales, dolphins, and then sea lions as we get closer to Ensenada.  I head up to get my camera so I can capture some of it.

But I need to find Bernie, he got up before I did and headed out on his own and I haven’t seen him for a few hours and we keep missing each other.  Plus I want to share the experience with him.

We dock early and we are off around 4 and just walk into town.  The main tourist street is packed, and the huskers are out in full force.  We have to giggle as one guy says to Bernie “The Best Titty Bar Right Here” and then he adds “and classy too” we are laughing as we walk on.  Lots of the usual “Come into my store”, “Come enjoy a meal”, “Cheap for you today”, “Welcome to my ship sponsored store”.  I know this is just how it is in this country, it is what they know and how they make their money, but many North Americans are just not use to it and often are put off by it.  We just keep moving.

We decide to get off the main drag to see more of the “real” Ensenada and head further inland.  Bernie stops me and shows me this poster ad, the building appears to be a strip club and the poster shows a beautiful woman in the poster and the tag line below should probably say “Floor Show” but it doesn’t someone miss spelled Floor and wrote Flour instead, yup Flour Show, I am hoping it is a spelling error – but maybe they do something with flour I don’t know. 

We walk along their main shopping street – no tourists here!  Window shopping, did get a few small items from their grocery store like water, and tried to find a birthday card for Ann but missed out on that.

Everything in Ensenada is walkable but you do need to be physically mobile.  A shuttle bus offers rides right from the pier if you need it for a small fee, but walking is flat but uneven so make sure you watch where you step.

Back on board is 7:30 but since we have dinner plans for Ann’s birthday we are on earlier and we meet up with our table mates at 7:45 for  a lovely meal.  It is the Chef’s Dinner theme and I had the fried chicken again – it is so good, especially like the coleslaw.

After dinner we head to the Princess Theater to catch Martin Lewis’ magic show.  It is very nice but I always find magic shows hard to stay awake for but I manage.

It is frustrating that just when the show ends and Martyn the CD is coming on stage to finish the show about 10% of the audience gets up and leaves!  I really find this odd, where are they rushing off to?  Is there another meal to have?  Bernie says they are off to get the elevator first!  Ha ha ha…. But I find this on every ship, I don’t see this at home when I attend events.  What is odder is they are trying to climb the stairs in the dark and many really should wait until the lights come up so they manage the stairs safely. 

For us we wait and enjoy Martyn’s comments (they are always funny) then when the lights come on we wait in our seats for the crowds to disperse.  Better this way, plus I am on holidays and there is no where I have to be that quickly.

It was a good day in the end, even though is started roughly.  I will add that someone was put off the boat yesterday for not following the rules.  I also can confirm a couple was put off in one of the Hawaiian ports too for also breaking the rules.  No reason to state what rule they broke but it is clearly laid out and warranted and I am proud of Princess for following procedure.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Another Sea Day – Fourth in a Row But Still Love Sea Days

Jasper with his new Ribbon Lei

I will recap about last night – we showed up in the dining room last night and Douw had prepared a lovely antipasti dish.  It was huge, and we each got one.  For our entrée I had the chicken dish with a side of the polenta and it was very good, very crispy. 

Of course no Italian night could be complete without some Limocello and for $5 a glass (and you keep the souvenir glass) it is well worth it.  But after sharing a bottle of wine and then the limocello I am feeling the effects.

We check out the game “The Quest” in Explorer’s lounge, sort of a scavenger hunt game for adults.  Looks like everyone is having a great time. 

We then head to the Princess Theater to check out the impressionist and he is very good but we thought Martyn the CD’s comments after the show to be even funnier than the main act.

Clocks go forward again and we are awake and heading for breakfast at 9 am.  I have the eggs bennedict, yummy.

This morning I have my ribbon Lei making session.  It is being held in Sabatinis at 11:15 and it is well attended.  I sat with two nice ladies and we introduced ourselves and enjoyed getting to know each other.  I did have a little fun with one of the ladies as she went on and on and on about how many cruises she had been on and how much she knew about travel.  My comment to her was “wow you seem to have cruised a lot, how many cruises have you been on?” she responded “oh eleven now” proudly.  I just smiled back and she went on and on again.  Finally she asked me a question “is this your first cruise” my response “oh no this is my 37th, 33rd with Princess” that shut her up for a short while.  I get that a lot, people think because of my age (47) that I haven’t been anywhere.  I explained to her that Bernie and I love to travel, that when we are at home we save for our next adventure and sacrifice so that we can save.

Bernie and I have dinner in the dining room again, I start with the fried calamari, but sadly it was way overcooked and rubbery.  For my entrée I had the stuffed pepper and that was very good.  I even indulged in honeydew frozen yoghurt which was also yummy.

We wonder about for a bit and make our way over to Peter’s desk to catch up with him.  He is starting his preparation for the next voyage and we chat while this older gentleman approaches the desk who appears angry.  Peter asks if there is something he can help him with and this man states he wants his military credit, that he was never told about it when he booked, he is very adamant.  Peter is patient and states that sorry it is not his department but that he would have to talk with the purser’s desk as it is something you have to apply for prior to boarding.  This man is not happy with this response and asks where the purser’s desk is.  Peter directs him to the purser’s desk (funny I think, considering he has been on the ship for just under two weeks but doesn’t know where the purser’s desk is).  He starts to walk away and I say “you are welcome” well that ticks him off and he starts yelling at us.  I really thought he was rude to not only us but to Peter especially how professional Peter was.  Bernie is upset at this man and as this man heads down to the purser’s desk I state we need to let this go, this man obviously is upset and nothing would make him happy.

But in the end I know we are more upset at how badly he treated the crew, not only Peter but the Purser’s desk because we walked by and he was screaming at them.  Again, Princess offers a military credit but it is something you need to apply for prior to boarding, not once you are on. 

I am trying to focus on all the great people we have met, and not let the one or two nasty people get to us.  And we have met lovely people on board from all over the United States.  That is one great thing about cruising it is a chance to meet other people from all over, yes this cruise is mainly Americans but I have enjoyed learning more about their area and I am sure they have learned a bit about Canada from us. 

At 3 pm is the wine tasting and I head down to meet up with some friends to enjoy the tasting.  Douw was so funny, and he is so light hearted and comical that he makes it fun.  Again the second guy took it a bit too seriously and actually got upset that people were talking and not listening to him. 

I run into Mark on the way back to the cabin and we catch up, told him I missed him not having a lecture today as I needed a nap… lol…. He is a sweet man and look forward to his next lecture.

Oh I forgot to mention that our steward came to us this morning with the mixed matched socks and said we had to go the purser’s desk to fill out a claim form.  Bernie took care of it and we will see what comes of it.

Also what is funny now, but was frustrating at the time was we had received a call a few days ago asking at what time we wished to be scheduled for disembarkation.  I stated one of the first independent.  We got another call later the same day asking the same question and I responded with the same answer.  Then again we got another call asking again…. (not sure why but really appreciated the attentive service) and again we said early group but that others had called. 

Well last night we got our luggage tags and we were one of the last groups!  We decided to deal with it today and Bernie went to the Purser’s desk to enquire.  We requested one of the first independent groups and he was told sorry they are full.  Now he is saying to them, but you asked us which group we wanted, we told you, and then you don’t even put us in it!  In fact our group we had been given was 1.5 hours later.  After getting no where with the Purser’s desk he left and went and talked to Jasper the Customer Services Director and was given the group we originally asked for. 

We have been truly blessed this voyage with all the amazing people we have met in the crew and the wonderful treatment we have gotten.  But the one and only area we have gotten poor service, below standard from what we normally get is from the Purser’s desk.  From our initial issue with our cabin above the stage, our issue with the chairs being dragged above us, to the luggage tags fiasco.  Not sure why service at the Purser’s desk has been so bad, normally we have wonderful service here but seems like either they don’t understand our issue or are just skirting around the issues.  In the end I would have to rate the service poor, but the service everywhere else to be 150%.

Tonight is dinner in Sabatinis, we haven’t eaten here for dinner since last voyage.  I am really looking forward to it.  It is also formal night and the Captain’s Farewell Party, the show tonight is British Invasion and then the Grand Piazza Party which I always enjoy.

I am already getting emotional knowing I will have to say goodbye to so many new friends, no let me correct that saying goodbye to so many new family members.  Okay I better stop or I will cry.

Till tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Third Sea Day

Jasper hangs out in the displays in Facets

hello Ryan! 
Weather is not as nice coming back as it was going, very wind, moderate waves and cooler.  You can still wear shorts and t-shirts but I wouldn’t say it is sun bathing weather.

Since the clocks went forward again last night we wake and the clock shows 9 am!  We decide to just head down to the International Café for coffee and pastries and I take part in the Sudoku challenge at 9:45 (came in second) and I then get a ticket for the ribbon Lei Making – trust me that line is long and for some reason they decide to hand out the tickets in the Atrium so the line snakes all around the tables and it is noisy.  Personally I think they should move this ticket handout elsewhere like down by the aft in front of vista where people normally line up for the bingo tickets.

We head to the Princess theater for Mark Harris’ talk on Oceanography and see that the theater is empty, hmmm must have the time wrong so we head back to the Atrium and check the patter and sure enough it is an hour from now at 11, not 10.

We do make it back to catch his show and Bernie really enjoyed it but I found it a little dull, I rather learn about whales, dolphins, fish etc.  Tomorrow’s show is on turtles so I am happy about that.  We have really enjoyed Mark’s lectures, in fact we rarely attend this many lectures by one person but his shows are informative, funny, great pictures and about a half hour, enough to keep our attention.

I forgot to mention the exact number of days the most travelled had well he is on the front page of the Patter and it is Mr. George Feiwel with 1201 days at sea with Princess.  Wow!

Pippa the Future Cruise Consultant is very very busy – lots of people wanting to get the future cruise deposits in and bookings made. 

Still missing the socks, it has been two days and our cabin steward Ivonne has not come to us with any information so this evening we track her down and ask.  She states that the laundry can’t locate the missing socks.  I ask her what the next step is and she says she will have her boss contact us.  One thing I have found that when there has been some issues on board it seems we have to keep pushing the matter (as it seems they just wish it would go away) to get an answer, no one is forthcoming. 

Lunch is in the dining room again, and I start with the broth soup with Matzo balls, and then for my entrée I have the chicken Korma again and it is so good… love it!  I have the rice pudding for dessert and a nice cup of tea. 

We run into Mark the lecturer and chat with him for quite awhile, then we run into Anna a lady we met and chat with her for quite awhile.  Around 2:45 we are back in the cabin and we both feel the need for a short nap.  We sleep for about an hour and then head to the Atrium where Frank (Bartender Supervisor – who we met last Feb on board) is entertaining everyone with his Hawaiian Ukulele Music and singing.  Very nice.

I want to get to the gym this afternoon and head up and it is relatively quiet, seems to be more crew working out than passengers.  No issue with getting a machine.

Lots of things going on around the ship today:  Ukulele Workshop, Movie The Hunger Games, ballroom Blitz Dance Lessons – Cha Cha, golf putting contest, Bingo, Peer Factor, Trivia, Line Dance Class.  Tonight:  Indigo Light String Quartet, Maxman Duo, Big Band Sounds, Vocal Impressionist Michael Wilson, Who Sang What Trivia, A Night of Cabaret with Pianist Eric Stone, Vocal Impressionist Michael Wilson, The Quest in Explorer’s, and the MUTS is showing The Avengers.

Tonight is Italian Night (one of my favorites) the dress is Smart Casual.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Review of Last Night - too funny

Jasper meets Jasper the Customer Services Director
Last night was the Captain Circle Party for the Platinum and Elite members.  We originally were given a 5 pm cocktail party time but since we don’t eat until around 7:45 we chose to go to the later party at 7 pm. 

You can see lots of seats still available in the Vista Lounge.  I don’t know if this is because it is just Platinum and Elite members or if it is because most attended the earlier party.  Whatever it is we are sitting with a nice gentleman who I see every time we play Sudoku.  He is travelling by himself and when I saw him sitting alone I invited him over.

Most travelled is just over a 1,000 days – WOW, Mr Fivel I believe is his name.  We have travelled with him a few times now.  He is rather demanding, in fact he didn’t bring a tie on this voyage and since tonight is formal he needed on for the party.  Peter the Captain Circle Host actually lent him a tie from his own closet!  Now that is service that goes over and above.

We sip vodka and soda water for Bernie and Cosmos for me and say hi to many of the crew that we know.  The Captain (Todd McBain) is so hilarious, again his quick wit are making us laugh so hard.  At one point he is walking around the audience looking for volunteers to draw names out for the champagne and he sits down next to a woman and chats with her.  Priceless.

After the party we head down to Portifinos and meet up with Mark Harris the lecturer for dinner.  He looks lovely in his tuxedo and we are sat at our usual table.  Tonight the chef is preparing a special Thai dish for us.  We didn’t specifically ask for it but we had mentioned how we were craving Thai food as it has been a while and Douw said tonight we would have it. 

I don’t think Mark knew what to make of all the staff coming over to say hi, it was non stop, all the head waiters, many of the waiters and a few of the assistant waiters, then the Maitre D came over – we comment to Mark since we have been on for so long we know quite a few people.

We really enjoyed dining with Mark and learning about his travels and his life.  He is very funny and am looking forward to his lecture today on sharks.

Emilio - Hotel General Manager - Celebrity Liar's Club

Pippa - Future Cruise Consultant - Celebrity Liar's Club
Dr. David - Celebrity Liar's Club

Peter - Captain Circle Host, and Jasper - Celebrity Liar's Club
After dinner we head to Explorer’s Lounge for the Celebrity Liar’s Club which consists of Dave the Baby Doc (aka crew doctor), Pipa the Future Cruise Consultant, Emilio the Hotel General Manager and Peter the Captain Circle Host.  I don’t want to give away all that was said, cause I don’t want to ruin it for others plus I was laughing so hard I can’t remember it all.

we did up signs to flash to each of them, this was Emilio's sign

Dr. David performs what the word means

They all played off each other and each had they little tricks.  Peter even took Jasper up on stage and had him sit on the table in front of him – he was very excited as you can see.  Pipa did a great job playing the ditzy blonde, Emilio made us laugh so hard with his serious comments and his talk about his neighbor Gianfranco, Dave had props and we couldn’t stop laughing.

After the show we head to the Wheelhouse for port with some friends and we close the place and well pretty much the entire ship too!  It is just after midnight and we don’t see a single passenger.

I want to thank Felipe for giving me the lovely pineapple earrings – I had been joking around with the shoppies on how I have been looking everywhere for a Pineapple on a t shirt or earings or just a pineapple!  Guess what he found some, beautiful gold earrings.  He gave them to me last night, how sweet.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Can You Hear It? The Sound of Waves – A Day At Sea

After four days in ports I am in desperate need of some sea days and pure relaxation.

The clocks go forward an hour but for some stupid reason I am awake at 6 am, what is really 5 am, what the heck is with that!

But we relax for a bit and then dress and head down to the International Café for a coffee and some reading before heading for breakfast.  Surprisingly there are quite a few people up and about at this hour.

The seas are moderate and we can definitely feel the movement, more so than the trip to Hawaii but still very reasonable and it is not affecting us much.

We head back to the Piazza after breakfast and sit and chat with Mark Harris the Naturalist on board – his stories are very interesting and we arrange to meet him for dinner tonight and will attend his lecture later on.

Sudoku is back at 9:45 and it is a harder one and I am doing fine but I have to go to the bathroom so bad and I can’t concentrate as there is a huge number of people in the atrium.  I soon figure out that it is people (mainly women) lining up for a ticket to participate in the Flower Lei Making Workshop.  There must be at least 150 people getting tickets.  This is distracting me and after 15 minutes doing the Sudoku I give up and head straight to the nearest washroom. 

As much as I would like to make a Lei, there is no way I am going to line up for a number, especially considering they won’t last long and we can’t take it off the ship either.

They have Zumba at Sea (apparently one of the passengers is certified and they have gotten the okay for them to do it) but since I can’t do it because of my shoulder I will pass.

Bingo is up to $2,000 and there are a lot of people doing it, but I will pass.  I want to attend Mark Harris’ lecture on Whales.  Both of us attend and it is interesting and I do learn a few things, especially about sperm whales.  Mark is funny and I am enjoying his lectures.

Bernie is tired and heads back to the cabin for a nap and I head to the Vista lounge for the Photography@Sea class, and even though I have taken in this lecture before there is a lot to learn here and I take in some more details on picture taking. 

Laundry came back today and we are missing a pair of socks, what is funny is we have another pair that is one of mine and one of Bernies, so the pair missing is one of mine and one of Bernies, size medium and size large of the same brand... wonder if we will ever see it again? 

I feel like sitting in the sun even though the wind is blowing and watch some of the bar wars happening.  I grab a slice of pizza but after eating the slice and reading for maybe five minutes I rub my eyes and oh MY!  Note to self don’t rub your eyes if your fingers may have come into contact with chili peppers.  I have to head back to the cabin and rinse my eye for like five minutes, silly me!

Time for the gym, surprisingly it is busy but I get on the elliptical for a half hour then the treadmill for 20 minutes and then do my shoulder strengthening exercises. 

I am back in the cabin and I spend a good hour on the balcony reading and enjoying the sound of the waves.  I could so spend my life at sea, it is where I belong.

Tonight is the Captain Circle Party, there are two parties one at 5 and one at 7.  These parties will be only for Platinum and Elite members as the Gold Members had their own party early on.

Dinner tonight will be back in Portifino and Douw has promised us a wonderful meal, can’t wait.  Mark Harris the lecturer is suppose to join us.  After dinner we will be heading to Explorer’s for Celebrity Liar’s Club for which Pipa and Peter are to participate in along with Emilio and the Crew Doctor David. 

Thanks for following along.

Lahaina Maui

Darn this getting up early is well horrible!  We have the clock set for 6 am cause we have to be in the Princess Theater for 7:15.  ARGH – and what was worst we chose to order room service this morning and the only request I had was a bagel and cream cheese and all I got was cream cheese, but at least there were two containers of the cream cheese!  No bagel!  Bernie got his fruit and cereal and we had juice and we managed.


Lahaina is a tender port (our only one) and we are herded into the theater, okay herded may not be the right word but since we rarely do ship’s tours I am feeling a little like cattle. 

The Tour we booked is the snorkel trip to the crater and then snorkel at the turtle cleaning station.  The cost if I remember correctly was $119 each.  It included a breakfast snack (muffin, fruit, coffee and juice) snorkel at two spots and then a lunch (sandwich, salads, sodas/water, chips).

We are taken by tender and directed right to the boat which is only a few feet away.  What is definitely noticeable is the large amount of people on our tour, the boat is filled.  Our guess is about 75-85, it is crowded and the hardest part is when we do make our first stop it takes about 20 minutes just for all of us to get in the water.  I just jump in and then put the mask on, much faster.



The first stop is the volcanic crater….initially I was like “there are not a lot of fish here” but as we head towards to the sides of the crater where there are more coral and you stop and look and I am surprised at the variety of fish.  Cool!  We stay for about a half hour then make our way to another spot that is known as a turtle cleaning station.

It is very neat – these turtles are very large and I saw three at least.  Now it isn’t like Barbados where we had about 30 all around us and they are fed and we can touch them but it is still very neat. 

All in all I am glad we did the tour, was it worth the cost – hmmm well I would say no but that is because we normally do our own excursions and they are much cheaper and a lot less crowded but we couldn’t of done this tour on our own so I am glad we did it and would highly recommend it to others.  The crew were amazing and very funny and attentive and professional.

We dock at 2:30 and we cross the street for one drink and then walk around a bit before catching the tender back to the ship.

We are both exhausted!  I lay down and I am asleep before my head hits the pillow.  We nap for two hours before getting ready for dinner.

Tonight we are dining at the Crown Grill again with Hotel General Manager and Customer Services Director, and Ricardo is our waiter again.  The staff are top notch here so attentive and professional.  I change things up a bit tonight, I have just the onion soup, and the sea bass for dinner and well I can’t miss the molten chocolate cake.  We had a great dinner with new friends and some great laughs.

We come back to the cabin and there is an Happy Anniversary Cake here?  After reading the cake we realize it is for the original owners of this cabin not us.  Well I hope they get their cake.  We don’t want it and we are so full but it is a nice jesture.

So looking forward to four sea days now.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Nawiliwili, Kauai – October 13, 2012

We are pulling into the harbor and the island looks so very beautiful very different from yesterday.  We are up just before 7 am and we quickly dress and head down for breakfast, then a latte and we arrange to meet up with our friends Peter and Pippa at 9:15.

We once again reserved a rental car thru for $38 for the entire day (not including insurance) and we were given a Dodge Avenger which suited the four of us perfectly.   The shuttle was right at the pier and took us to the airport which was about 2 miles away.


We make our way to Waimea Canyon (take highway 50 and follow the signs)  We stop at the Waimea Canyon Lookout, the Pulu Hinahina Lookout, the Kalalau Lookout, then the Pulu o Kila Lookout.  Each lookout is amazing with something to offer along the way.  Make sure to stop and really take in the sights.  I wish we would have had longer day here as I would of loved to have done a few of the trails but that would require more of a longer stay like a week’s stay and spending the entire possibly two days in the park.

Some stats on the Canyon are that it is 4,120 feet above sea level.  It is one mile in width and 15 miles long. 

We start heading back down the road to the town of Waimea and stop at the Shrimp Station for a lunch of shrimp.  I get the Thai Shrimp dish, Bernie gets the coconut shrimp, Pippa gets the garlic and Peter well he doesn’t like shrimp so he gets hot dogs.  It is all is very good and then I get a shaved ice, my first ever, very yummy and refreshing.

In all the trip to the Canyon is about 45 minutes each way, we probably spent about an hour and a half driving the canyon and stopping at the lookouts.  Make sure to account for the time you want there and get back in time. 

We dropped the car off and were back at the ship around 3 pm.  Peter and Pippa head back on and we drop our bags and head back out for a short walk to some of the stores and the Marriott Hotel and the small beach there.  It is lovely and the shops nearby offer a variety of souvenirs and necessities. 

There are also quite a few free shuttles that will take you into town if you need to.

this the port

right side of the port -- shuttles are regular

Sail away is beautiful and Bernie and I enjoy a drink and take some pictures before changing and heading to dinner.  We will head back to Portifinos for dinner.  Douw is back on board and we are looking forward to seeing him. 

this beach is very accessible from the ship, anyone can use it but only hotel guest can use the chairs

We don’t know how much we will do tonight.  We haven’t had a nap and we have a very early start tomorrow on our snorkel excursion. 

I am writing this watching Bernie dancing away on the balcony to his music from his ipod and the ocean passing us by…. Can’t get any better.

I do want to say again how great the staff are on board.  Even the security staff as you leave and get back on board are so helpful to all those that need assistance.  Ryan and Evelyn are two that I remember but many have been wonderful.

Today there were numerous activities that happened on board including The Art of Hula Dance in the Atrium, Movie people Like Us in the Princess Theater, MUTS is showing Raiders of the Lost Arc and then Red Bull:  Last Man Standing, then Spider Man.  Hawaii Trivia later in Explorers then the Movie The Descendants in the Vista Lounge.  Who Sang What featuring Golden Oldies and then it is Rock N Roll Night.  In the Princess Theater is Mark Preston with a Musical Show.