t2.bmp (300054 bytes)  Cruise Log

 

Date Entry
Sat. Dec. 26, 2009 We were all ready to go pretty early. Karen had a burst of energy and carried the lighter bags down to the garage; Lou had to carry the two heavy bags.

We left Miss Samantha with two treats and a radio playing and a dog cam streaming video to the web, so we could check on our girl.

At about 11:00 Karen took Sam out the front door to romp a bit. The limo guy appeared and Karen flagged him down and pointed him to the driveway. Pat came over to return the cinnamon that John borrowed. So we walked over so Sam could say hi to the two white dogs. Pat said that Nicholas asked about us that morning.

So the limo guy loaded all the luggage, and Lou gave Sam an extra treat, and we were on our way.

The traffic was very light, and we got to the airport quickly. We got rid of 4 bags at the curbside check in, and we went straight to security. There was no line at all, and just one family group ahead of us. Of course, Lou's hips made the metal detector go off and he was led away to be scanned. Karen was left alone to gather up all the bags. She kept a close eye on the laptop bag. Her new Christmas Acer laptop was making the trip, because now you can use WI-FI on the ship from your cabin.

Karen warned the screener that her suitcase contained an ice pack. He asked what was in it, and she answered "ice." He repeated the question, and she answered "drugs," but then quickly amended her statement to, "prescription drugs."

When she had all the luggage and Lou's sneakers, Karen looked around for Lou but could not find him. She said to a nearby TSA agent, "I have lost my husband." The woman said something like, "That is so sad," but then she pointed way over to a glassed in screening area where Lou was.

We were so early, we had time for a leisurely lunch at AJ's Tavern (AJ stands for Andrew Jackson). Karen had a salad and Lou had a soup and a chicken sandwich. It was really good, but did not seem to have anything to do with Andrew Jackson except may that you can't get out of there for less than $20.

We went to the gate area. It was really crowded. At one point, Karen counted 7 TSA agents in the crowd just watching people. Then they announced that they were screening everyone getting on one of the other flights. Not our flight.

Karen got a seat because she felt sort of tired. Then the seat next to Karen opened up, and Lou got to sit down too. It seemed to take a long time to get onto our plane. We were B7 and B8. When we were in line, after the As had all boarded, the gate agent called for families with small children to board. The older lady in front of Karen said something like, "Good, now we'll know where the children are sitting and we can avoid them." It was funny.

We were almost all the way to the back. Lou had suggested that we sit like Patsy and Omer on aisle seats across from each other. that worked out fine. Karen went to the bathroom right away before we even took off. She had jogged to the ladies room while the As were lined up, but there was too long a line and she just jogged back.

The flight was GREAT.

Cindy met us at the airport -- she was parked exactly right outside the door that we walked out of, which was cool.

We drove to Mike's house, which is decorated all Southwestern style with lots of Kokopellis everywhere. Mike and Lou talked a lot about football. Karen put her feet up on the couch to try to un swell her ankles. We gave Mike the yummy cool NC cans of nuts to thank him for his hospitality (originally it was for Raulito but they went out of town).

Will was there, but not Brian because he had to work at Best Buy.

Lou reimbursed Mike for the grey goose vodka that he picked up so we could give it to Daisy.

Dinner was a great ham, potatoes, broccoli cheese, and corn followed by home made pecan and pumpkin pies. Soon after dinner we split. Cindy loaned us her Dodge Neon which is going to be Will's car. We plugged in Miss Betty.

We got to the hotel and had to valet park because that is what they require. The bellhop unloaded all our luggage for us then once we had a room, all we had to do was tell him the number and he brought the luggage up soon.

Room is good. Bed is very comfy. The room is really well insulated and we heard NOTHING which is good because there are multiple high school girls soccer teams here!

Sun. Dec. 27, 2009 We woke up around 7AM and drank coffee we made in the room. Then we just hung out in bed watching a movie, which we never do. We watched the end of Las Vegas Vacation, but then we watched an entire movie but we cannot remember what it was. It was awesome though. It was fun and relaxing and just what we needed. Then we went down to the hotel restaurant and had breakfast there at the buffet but it was a little pricey so we won't go back.

Then we went for a walk. We were going to go for a longer walk after stopping in the room for Karen to rest, but then Daisy called and said we should come at 1:00 to catch the beginning of the game. So we headed back to the hotel and then left for Fuhensio's house.

Uncle Fuhensio looks really good but his hands shake. He goes to dialysis 3 times per week now.

We gave Fuhensio two cans of pecans from NC, and we gave Daisy a bottle of grey goose vodka.

Daisy kept dragging Karen to the kitchen to leave the men alone.

We ate too much and went for a walk for about 50 minutes

When we left, we were still so full from dinner. Miss Betty got us back to the hotel. We got beverages and sat on the hotel terrace overlooking Bubba Gump. There were a lot of people waiting to get in, and a lot of people just walking around. Lou talked to George who was in San Francisco on a trolley.
Mon. Dec. 28, 2009 Karen woke up with Lou playing with her laptop -- but then the mouse stopped working! It is not easy in Windows 7 to use keyboard shortcuts. We tried everything we could think of, then we called Tech Support. It cost $3 per minute which really stinks. Lou told the guy everything he had tried. The guy had us try a couple of things, but nothing worked. So he agreed with Lou that it seemed like a hardware failure. Still cost us $45 though.

Lou called Costco. The funny thing was they would have let us return the laptop in Florida without the receipt but we needed the box, which of course we did not bring with us on vacation. The Costco guy said we would have no trouble returning it when we got home.

Karen suggested that we run out and buy a mouse to plug into the USB port. That would be good enough for our vacation. But Lou suggested we just go buy Karen a new laptop. It would be better for us to spend the time during vacation because we would not have time once we got home to deal with it. Plus we could see Brian if we went to his Best Buy.

As we walked into the Best Buy in Coral Springs, we saw Brian standing just inside the glass doors. He is in Security. Lou said, "Is that guy over there shoplifting?" We could not talk to him for long because he was working, but it was great to see Brian.

We looked at a lot of laptops and tried the mouses and keyboards, but they were all just okay. Lou said we should keep looking till we found one that Karen really loved. So we looked at these Sony machines and Karen really liked them a lot. It ended up we chose a machine about $100 more than the original but it is totally cool. Just when Lou picked up the box and we were going to head to the cash registers, the lights went out. It was shocking. Everything went dark except all the laptops which switched to battery power. We stayed where we were till the employees made us go to the front. We brought the box. We hung out for a while then the lights came back. We went to look at camera batteries but could not find Lou's and the guy said that a 2001 camera battery was pretty ancient. Then we went to chat with someone about the Best Buy return policy. Then Karen went to the ladies room, and the lights went out again. Oooh it was totally pitch dark in that bathroom.

Again the employees were pushing people to the front of the store, but Lou resisted till Karen joined him.

The lights went on and off a bunch of times. We got in line. We stood in line for a long time. We thought that people were checking out because we kept moving up, but people were just giving up. Eventually they announced that the power would be off for hours and that we all needed to leave.

Karen got the model number and we headed to another Best Buy. We found the exact same laptop but it was next to a PINK one of the same model so Karen was thrilled to get that one instead.

We went to Applebees for a late lunch. We brought the laptop in so we could make sure it booted okay, but there was no power outlet and the documentation warned that you had to have it plugged in till the battery was fully charged. So we contented ourselves with looking at the documentation. Then we packed the dead Acer laptop into the Sony box and walked over to the UPS Store. We used their power to make sure that the new laptop was working fine, and then we shipped the dead laptop home.

Then we went to Mike's house. We were overdue for returning the Neon to Cindy. Will was supposed to be practicing his driving in preparation for his test the next day, but instead he stayed up all night long playing games.

Mike and Cindy drove us back to the hotel and then split.

We plugged in the laptop and ran updates and then sat outside in the pool bar. Karen had to go change into warmer clothes because it was freezing. She read Murder at the Pentagon while Lou smoked a cigar. It was cold. The Wizard of Oz came on the TV in the bar, and Karen performed all the parts (by reading the subtitles).

We ate at Bubba Gump
Tue. Dec. 29, 2009 Karen was so tired when we woke up around 7 today! She managed to give Lou his birthday present (shirt with WWII planes) before falling back to sleep for awhile. Then we watched Cliff Hanger with Sylvester Stallone and John Lithgow.

We had room service breakfast and got free orange juice (freshly squeezed and completely yummy) because the bowl of oatmeal arrived like 25 minutes after everything else.

Because it was kind of cold (54) we decided not to go to the beach. Instead, we walked into town to the cute shopping area. It took 50 minutes. We walked up the steep hill that culminated in a drawbridge while the bridge was open!

We wanted to get Lou's watch battery replaced, get quarters for laundry, and have lunch. Karen thought the watch battery might take awhile so we took care of that first. We think that the jeweler took his time replacing the battery to give the salesman time to sell us something. But we did not buy anything else. When Karen said we were headed to the Caribbean and would buy something there, he went on and on about how we would not find good prices there.

We then went to Starbucks. Lou sat on a nice leather couch outside while Karen went in and got the coffees and waters. After resting awhile and drinking the coffee, Karen ran across the street to BOA and got quarters for doing laundry on the ship.

Then we started walking again and ended up at Mangoes for lunch. We glanced at the menu and it looked great. It was yummy and wonderful and very busy. Lou had the daily special swordfish and Karen has a tuna tartare salad. Both were excellent. We chose that restaurant because when we drove by it Mike mentioned that it was very good.

Then we headed back. There was a chance that Cindy and the boys would come to the hotel for a drink at about 4pm.

We walked back on the other side of the street which was pleasantly sunny. Some people asked us if there was a shopping center ahead, and we reassured them that it was so.

We continued on to the CVS because we really needed some stuff, and then we went back to the hotel and across the street so Lou could take pictures of the hotel and Bubba Gump restaurant.

We went to the room and hung out. Before dinner, Karen figured out how to create the recovery disk, but could not label it as suggested (repair disk windows 7 64 bit) because Lou's pen would not write on the DVD.

We eventually got hungry and went out for pizza. At the restaurant, we were sitting there for a really long time with no waiter. So when the girl brought us silverware, Karen asked for a waiter and the poor girl was shocked that no one had come over to take our order yet. A waiter came over quickly and took our order and apologized. It was good pizza. Lou brought a couple of pieces of pizza back tot he room to eat during half time but he never touched it and the next morning we tossed it in the trash.

We stopped at the bar and got club soda and a margarita and tipped our pal Paula

Now we are back in the room and Lou is watching football while Karen writes this record.
Wed. Dec. 30, 2009 We head to the cruise ship today!

Karen did laundry the first day.

We explored the ship, going up and down many flights of stairs, which is what we always try to do on board. But when Karen was rushing back to the laundry room one time, her left knee suddenly started to kill. That was the end of being able to go down stairs normally.

This ship has an extra deck: Riviera, Deck 14. That means the Lido (food) is on 15!

Sabatini's Italian restaurant is in the aft on 15.

The Sanctuary is beautiful and peaceful with the best chairs. We scoped it out on Wednesday and planned to go there on Thursday. 16 people paid $150 each to reserve a seat in the sanctuary for the entire cruise. That leaves 30 seats available for daily reservations.

We ate lunch late in the buffet.

We got letters from the spa saying that they cancelled our massage appointments. The letter said please call to reschedule, but we were completely bummed and decided not to bother to reschedule. (That was not a good decision, we found out later.)

We ate dinner in the International cafe, which serves tempting small portions of an ever changing menu. Like a fabulous little mozzarella tomato sandwich. But Karen wanted vegetables, so we finished dinner in the buffet with a salad.

Lou got a coffee card, and Karen got a soda card.

We went to the welcome aboard show, and our cruise director is a chick named Lisa. This is out first chick cruise director.

The comedian Dave Evans sort of bombed until he started doing singing impressions.
Thu. Dec. 31, 2009 New Year's Eve.

Lou woke Karen up early 7:05AM so she could rush to the Sanctuary and reserve seats for the day.

We went to DaVinci for the sit-down breakfast, asked to share a table, but then no one joined us! We love meeting new people in the restaurant for breakfast and lunch, especially since we usually have dinner on our own.

We got to the Sanctuary around 10:00AM. Karen had seen a leg therapy sign in the spa and went to make an appointment to see if it would help the swollen ankles. Plus it turned out that our massages were not actually cancelled, but Lou did not want to go any more, so Karen cancelled them with a lot of effort not to get charged for a late cancellation.

The leg treatment was very relaxing and Karen's ankles were somewhat improved.

We went back to DaVinci for the sit-down lunch and asked again to share a table. This time, we were seated in the last two open seats at a table, but the funny thing is, the woman next to Lou was COMPLAINING about everything. There were three couples. One couple was from London who sell spa visits, tours, and excursion type things over the web so that you get a certificate immediately via email which is great for last minute panic Christmas shopping. Another couple (next to Lou) hated everything. The husband actually said that he never has a good time on a cruise. The wife said she much prefers traveling on land because you see so much more, but now that she is getting older, she can't handle land tours. And the last couple had recently been on The Oasis of the Seas (Royal Caribbean).

After lunch we went back to the Sanctuary and crashed and read our books and totally relaxed. At 4:45 Karen got cold so we got drip coffees and went to the cabin. Karen worked on the vacation report and we watched Star Wars until it was time to get ready for dinner and our fabulous formal night of fun.

Lou wore his black suit and looked very handsome! Karen wore her black gown and looked very pretty!

We had dinner at the steakhouse on board, the Crown Grill. Our waiter was Ramil. Everything was yummy.

They brought Lou a fancy dessert and two waiters sang a happy birthday song (it was beautiful). Then we chatted with the people at the next table from LA.

We did a half a loop around the ship only because it was so windy. Then we went back the cabin for an hour so Karen could put her feet up. That helped a lot. Then we headed to the comedy show, Adam Ace. He was wacky. We laughed a lot.

Afterward, we headed to the Piazza for the New Year's Eve Party where they would drop the balloons. Out on deck there was another party, no balloons, but streamers instead. There were a lot of people crowded around. We decided to get out onto the small dance floor so that we could dance and have fun instead of standing around watching people dance and have fun. Plus, our major goal was to be under the balloons when they dropped. We got onto the dance floor at 11:15 and had a blast. It was hard to squeeze onto the floor, but we found a spot right next to the band. There was a lot of bumping into people, but that was fun too. It got really hot.

There was a small boy at Lou's elbow who would not stop blowing his horn.

At midnight, Lou gave Karen an amazing kiss, and the balloons dropped on us. It was so fun to bat the balloons around and stomp on them.

Afterward, we got drinks and headed back to the room. We also had the opportunity to say hello to one of the guys who went on stage with the comedian and danced.

When we got back to the room, Star Trek XI was on and we watched for awhile. Then we crashed. Karen was awake for awhile with an aching knee.

We also decided not to go to the Sanctuary on Friday. It seemed like a better idea to just hang out and do other things. We'll get back tot he Sanctuary on the sea days later on. So we did not need to set an alarm -- we knew that the Champagne Breakfast delivery would wake us up at 7:30AM.

Fri. Jan. 01, 2010 New Year's Day.

Champagne Breakfast! It was HUGE. We sat in the sitting room (not in bed).

Karen rushed off at 9:00AM for another leg appointment. Lou stayed in the cabin and went to sleep. Karen brought back a latte for Lou.

We missed the Bermuda Triangle lecture, so now we are planning to go to the St Thomas Port and Shopping talk at noon.

We did go to Lauren's port and shopping talk, and Lou yelled so enthusiastically that he was given a prize. We were interested in a watch for Karn and maybe a camera for Lou. We got VIP tickets from Lauren to get the best price on a watch and a camera.

We went to lunch and got soup and salad only, although it was a BIG salad. We sat in the buffet at a table for six in the window, and an English couple joined us and talked about how safe Egypt is. Karen would love to see the pyramids, and Lou would love to see what is left of the great library at Alexandria.

We walked, came back to the cabin to hang out, got coffees...

We got a letter stating that we have been chosen for the ultimate ship tour! Yahoo! Behind the scenes, 3 hours long, totally exciting.

We ate dinner at the Cafe Caribe because we had seen that they were serving madras curry. It was yummy. Jose from Portugal was our super waiter.

We thought we would go to the Broadway show and we got seats but after about 15 minutes Karen could feel her ankles swelling so Lou suggested we bail and come back to the room.

Sat. Jan. 02, 2010 St. Thomas.

We are halfway through the vacation.

We woke up at 6:30AM because we had an early tour. We ate breakfast by ourselves in a table for two in the DaVinci in 30 minutes. We sat in The Piazza waiting to hear that we were allowed to disembark. The announcement came pretty quickly, and we went out onto solid ground again.

Our tour was the Ultimate St Thomas. We boarded a pretty nice open air bus, four people per bench. We had a scenic and hair raising drive that included stops at two lookouts. At the first lookout, an English couple took our picture for us, and Karen tried three times to use their point-and-shoot digital camera to reciprocate -- but the camera did not take the picture! Three times! At the second lookout, they got someone else to take their picture for them.

We headed to the beach at Magan's Bay. We have seen this beach on travel shows where they rated it one of the ten best in the world! It was really nice. The water was clear and calm, but there was an undertow pulling you away (not out to sea ) just down the beach along the shoreline. There is no development there, so there are a lot of trees. There is a pretty good bathroom and salt water showers. (When we first arrived, we settled all our stuff on a picnic table, smelled something bad, saw that we were next to the septic system, and then moved waaaay down the beach to escape the smell.)

It was only 9:15 but it was hot enough to swim. We stayed in the water for about an hour, then got cleaned up and dressed, and went to get a beverage at the bar. Oooh, we also had French fries.

After that, the bus dropped us off at Bluebeard's castle and then left! The rest of the tour was pretty much self guided. We heard a little about rum production, visited the gift shop where Lou got a good T shirt, and then we basically started walking down a bunch of stairs to get to town. There were historic homes along the way, and we stopped in to see them. There were docents in each to answer questions.

When we got to town, we hit Del Sol and then realized we had better eat lunch and get a drink. The girl at Del Sol suggested Jen's Gourmet Cafe, and it was awesome. We immediately ordered conch fritters and iced tea, and then followed them with a grilled mahi mahi sandwich with friend plantains (Lou) and roti with chicken which is a dish from Trinidad of curry potato carrots and chick peas (Karen).

Then we went to the bamboo fabric store. We got serious after that. The first Diamonds International we went into was not the right one -- it had designer collections. The second DI we went into was too busy and no one helped us. So we went to Little Switzerland because Karen had seen that they had the Citizen Eco Drive for ladies in a pink. Well, not that Little Switzerland. But Colbert showed Karen some Swiss Army watches. There was a pink faced one, but it was not great, so we started walking out. Then Lou said that he thought Karen was buying too much pink stuff, so we went back to look at non-pink Swiss Army watches. Karen found one that she loved.

But we felt that we should try DI again. So we left and said that we might be back.

We tried Royal Caribbean, but no luck with watches or cameras. Both RC and Boolchand were out of stock on the Nikon P90.

We ran and got the watch, too! then we jumped in a taxi at 4;30 to go back to the ship.

We finally had pizza on the ship, which was delicious. Karen tried the ice cream but it was gross soft serve. But free.

We bought Lou another bathing suit, exactly the same. After dark, we went in the hot tub, and this handsome foreign guy looked so upset that we were joining him. He actually turned away and ignored Lou when Lou tried to speak to him. He eventually left.

We cleaned up and went to dinner and then came back to the cabin, too tired to stay up for the game show tonight.

Tomorrow our tour leaves later at 9:50, so we can sleep later.

Sun. Jan. 03, 2010 Dominica.

First of all, the name of this island is pronounced DOM-in-EE-ka

We had coffee delivered and we drank it on the balcony. Very wonderful! We had breakfast in the DaVinci by ourselves, which was nice and fast. Karen is in love with the smoked salmon bagel.

We were almost the last two to get to the bus, even though we were 20 minutes early! We sat apart, which was okay. Karen ended up chatting with the people behind her from Pennsylvania.

Prosper was our guide, and he was a Carib Indian. He had a lot of personal dignity. If he was talking, and you were talking or not seeming to pay attention, he sort of glared at you to get your attention. He got a little snippy with a young German couple who were ignoring him while he was telling us what to do if we saw a wild board (just before we entered the national park).

There was a pretty arduous muddy and rocky stairway down to the Emerald Pool. It was also really pretty, but in retrospect we probably should have just stayed up at the top. When we got down to the pool, we could not actually get to the pool because it was just too rocky.

We went to a nice black sand beach. The sand was black and white mixed together, so it looked more like a dark gray beach. The sand was really fine and sticky and HOT in the sun.

We did not run off to eat lunch when we got back. Instead we took showers first. Lou watched some football after lunch; Miami lost darn it.

That evening, Karen was tired but Lou talked her into staying up by mocking her with like "How old are you?!" So we saw the 7PM magician comedy show, followed by Jeopardy at 9:30. Jeopardy was fun but we didn't win. The Flags category killed us. We did much better in the Movies category and the Food & Drink category.

Mon. Jan. 04, 2010 Grenada.

Whoops!  Forgot to log.

Tue. Jan. 05, 2010 Bonaire

Whoops!  Forgot to log.

Wed. Jan. 06, 2010 Aruba

Whoops!  Forgot to log.

 

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