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Showing posts from November, 2016

Time to Book a Cruise

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Of course what vacation of ours would be complete without a cruise. 

Since this long vacation still had a few weeks left we searched for cruise itineraries that left from California (either San Francisco or LA).  We had a few options, Grand, Ruby, Star or Island.

Island was doing the Panama and it isn't our favorite ship and the dates didn't match up so that was easy to drop from our list.

Star was doing 15 day Hawaii and those dates didn't line up either.

The Grand was doing an itinerary we really wanted to do (10 day Sea of Cortez) and we had people we would love to reconnect with on board. But that would be only one 10 day cruise as after it was heading to Hawaii and we didn't have enough time (plus it was expensive) to add that on.  So that was dropped.

That left the Ruby.  The Ruby is doing 7 day Mexican Riviera cruises that stop in Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan and Cabo San Lucas.

We love Mexico so we knew we would be happy with that. The price sure was right. Probably som…

Disneyland Booked

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So as you have read so far we are booked on a flight from Lima to Los Angeles.  Our plan was to have this great adventure but we also need some rest and relaxation.  So we started to look at cruises we could do from Los Angeles.   
But all the cruises only left on the Saturday and well I will admit it, I really wanted to go back to Disneyland.

It may have something to do with Disneyland offering Canadians a discount when they buy a 3 day or longer pass because of our exchange rate. Then it seemed every hour there was a Disneyland commercial on the tv.  Hmm are they telling me something?

We were able to scoop up some passes from airmiles.ca at the discountated rate. Note we knew others were experiencing a lot of problems trying to redeem their points. Although we never have had an issue we weren't about to wait and find out.  We have used airmiles for a lot of things in the past but a few years ago we switched credit cards to one that provided better perks as well as better rewards so…

More Flight to Book - Lima to Los Angeles

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Since we have the main flights booked to Peru we were able to rest a bit and take our time searching for flight from Lima to LAX.

What is funny is even though we had a great deal from Vancouver to Lima with that amazing direct flight from LAX to Lima it was not a great deal to fly to LAX direct.  WHY! Oh yes the flight demons.  

All flight options that were remotely reasonable had at least one connection.  

Remember in my blog a few days ago that I said that airlines watch flight routing and dates and price will suddenly jump up.  

Well it happened to us.

There was a great flight with JetBlue that left at midnight from Lima and routed to Fort Lauderdale with a 3 hour layover there and then a flight to LAX for around $450 Canadian each.  A steal we thought, plus that would save us a night's accommodation as we would be in the air overnight. 

Oh but that doesn't sound appealing either.  And leaving at midnight would mean that last day in Lima would be a long one.  We discussed and the…

Booking Flights Within Peru

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So here I go again - a new endeavor for me.  Booking flights within Peru.

Our journey with Puma Adventures starts in Puno, Peru for Lake Titicaca and ends in Cusco ten days later. We needed to arrange one way flights from Lima to Juliaca (closest airport to Puno) and then Cusco to Lima at the end.

One thing I learned is Kayak.com had some great deals but often when I would go to the deal the LATAM flight was not priced correct.  This kept happening.  In the end I had to go with a different booking site to secure the flights.

But it was relatively an easy process and a fair price.

I was surprised too (not sure why as it is a distance away) that the flight to Juliaca is 2 hours!  



We were able to secure the same flight that Dylan and Ben are on at 10:45 am - a more sensible time. This will allow us time to rest and get a good breakfast and to store our bag at the airport (this bag is for our travels after we leave Lima and we don't want to lug with us).

We are being met in Juliaca and wil…

Booking Flights to Peru

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This is something new for me.  You see I am normally booking flights to join a cruise.  Sure I have booked flights for land vacations.  Back to visit family, and flights with charters to Mexico.  But I have never booked flights to a foreign country where a lot of things were new to me.  

So from our earlier blog you now know we are heading to Peru for an amazing trip of a lifetime.

But first we need to buy fights to Lima.  Getting there from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada has a few challenges.  


First there are no direct flights.  Second it isn't cheap.  Third routing can be almost anywhere.  Fourth layovers really need to be factored in.

I love using kayak.com for my searches - but make sure to do it in an incognito window so they don't track the flights. 

One reason -- you end up seeing prices go up for flights you are looking at the next day. Companies now can track how many have looked at a particular flight, on a particular day, and routing.  Heck even cruise lines are do…

Next Trip - So Excited

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I can officially announce our next trip!

After a lot of reflection and trying to figure out what we could do with a lot of vacation time in January/February we finalized it all this week.

We are heading to Peru and Machu Picchu.  This is going to be a very special trip that will lead us on a journey that we will never forget.



We are booked with Puma Adventures  for ten days (9 nights) starting in Puno and Lake Titicaca and the floating Islands.  Then to Cusco and the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu with so much more. 

Check out the tour Cameron Diaz did with Puma. 




After the tour we will head to Lima for a few days then fly to Los Angeles where we will start a totally different holiday.
Disneyland!  Yup I wanted to go back and since they are offering special discounts for Canadians I thought why not. 

So after four days in Los Angeles we will board the Ruby Princess for three 7 night cruises b2b2b. I know it is not something we would normally do, but we love Mexico.  We want to sail on the Ru…

Disembarking the Royal Princess

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Well darn! We have to get off. 

So many people say to me how can you handle such a long time on the ship. Well I don't know I just do. It is easy. But whenever I have to get off I am prepared to get off and ready to go home. But I could easily stay on too.

We wake to the alarm clock - what I swear I just fell asleep. Didn't sleep well. I actually woke up from a dream at one point thinking I had packed all my clothes and had nothing to wear ashore. I then had to get up and check to ensure I did in fact leave clothes out. How many of you have done that?

We quickly shower and get ready and then head to Horizon Court for a quick breakfast. It is still early and not too crazy. 

Back in the cabin just after 7 am to collect our carry on bag and knapsack and then we head down to deck five to get a coffee for us and one for Barbara the Captain Circle host who is manning the Platinum Elite disembarkation lounge.

Thankfully we see Yami so we are able to say good bye to her too. Was nice to ge…

Last Day of the Cruise

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Clocks were moved forward last night. This feels weird as for the entire crossing we kept gaining an hour, then we got another hour when we sailed towards Mexico. But we are now on our way back to Florida and we lost an hour. Reality is setting in.

We have our disembarkation information. There was no offer of Easy Check. I am sure it is because it is only a five night cruise which just is not enough time to offer it.

We are assigned Cream 1 for a 720 meeting time and disembarkation shortly after. Most people on board have walk off as most don't have much in the way of luggage for this short voyage.

Bernie has gone down to the Enclave. I did go down the first sea day but I am frustrated there as so many people reserve the heated lounge chairs or leave their towels there when they are done. Really people be respectful!

I will put this in my final survey how I think they should somehow address this problem. It certainly has deterred me from booking the Enclave in the future. 

Today's …

Cozumel Mexico

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We dock at 8 am. But when Bernie heads down to get coffees he comes back and informs me people are queuing up at the stairways at 745. 

I wish I could say this may be because of so many new cruisers on board not knowing the procedures and that arrival does not mean disembarkation. The ship needs time to tie up. Put out gangway, clear the ship with authorities. Normally this does not take long but expect at least 15 minutes to a half hour. An announcement will be made when people are able to go ashore and where the gangways are.

Today the weather is totally different than yesterday. It is hot and sunny.

Bernie is having some issues with his eye - seems like a stye. The bright light is especially difficult. He is wearing sunglasses inside.

I tell him "I am calling it" we are relaxing on board today - or at least you are. He feels bad. I tell him his comfort is more important. We have been here before and we will be back and a day on board will be great too.

I do head off for a shor…

Costa Maya, Mexico

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Today we dock early in Costa Maya - 7 am! When Bernie returns with coffees we sit on the balcony and enjoy the arrival.

Sadly it is pouring rain but I believe it will pass. The usual Caribbean shower I say. But we hear people complaining how they can't cancel their excursion because of the rain. Really! I don't think Princess has control over the weather. Plus it will pass and a little rain will hurt no one.

We head ashore with Larry and Amy. We haven't been to Costa Maya in a very very long time. Way before they were hit with the hurricane in 2007 that destroyed the port.

The whole port area is huge and is similar to many of the port destination beach areas - similar to Grand Turk, Mahogany Bay, and even Amber Cove (from what I hear). 

We are docked with a Carnival ship and this port really can't handle two ships in my opinion. 


Our first goal is to leave the port area and head to the town of Mahahual. 




Note most of these pictures were taken when we got off way before the s…

Sea Day - Crown Grill - Heading to Mexico

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This is the first sea day on our way to Costa Maya. The weather is perfect! Iam slow to get moving (so what is new). I officially have the cold that everyone seems to be getting. But hey it could be worse - I could be suffering a cold at home and at work! So I take cold meds (thank you Bernie for always being prepared).

Bernie heads up to the Horizon Court and brings me back some mixed fruit and yoghurt.

I have message Tracie (who is doing a live thread and who I have sailed with just over a year ago). We arrange to meet for lunch.

It is so nice to see Tracie again and even better to have another cruise addict to talk to. 

We have a lovely lunch and then sit and enjoy a coffee together. She was the coordinator of the meet and greet with Cruisecritic and originally I wasn't going to go but since Tracie is going by herself and I would be going by myself I agree to join her.  And I am glad I did, it was nice to meet other cruisers. But it is a small gathering and short, but I did meet so…

Fort Lauderdale - Turn Around Day

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Turn around day is always an early day! As we dress and pack up to change cabins we can hear everyone around us getting ready to disembark. 

Our new cabin isn't ready yet but Danny our steward is working hard to have it done as early as possible. 

We had booked a guarantee obstructed balcony and we were assigned an unobstructed balcony just a few doors from our old cabin with the same stewart. 

The people in that cabin don't vacate until 8:30 (note it is suppose to be 8). And Danny works on that cabin as soon as they vacate. It is ready at 9 am! We really appreciate his hard work. 

We move our own bags and clothes on the hangars to the new room (just a few down) making sure to return empty hangars to the old room. Of course if we would of needed they would of moved our items, but we were totally capable of moving the stuff. 

We don't need to unpack as much as we won't need the sweaters, jackets and long pants - so they stay in the suitcase. We travel rather light so the who…