Connections Anxiety

Word anxiety composed of anxious worried stressed faces of men and womenThis happened today on our Cruise Critic Roll Call for our February Celebrity Reflection cruise to Mardi Gras in New Orleans. It was a question from one of our fellow cruisers about what happens if…

This was our fellow cruisers original question:

“I’m sure some of very well cruised folks here can help with a couple of questions. We fly in the day before the cruise from London and I can’t help but worry that we might have a delayed flight. If we missed the ship (heaven forbid) would Celebrity help us with a flight to New Orleans if we are not booked cruise air?  I don’t mean financially, just practically. The other query is on lost luggage.

Last time we flew into Miami we arrived, bags didn’t. Fortunately we were not cruising and the bags were delivered a few days later to our hotel. So, if history repeats itself and we sail off into the sunset and our bags are still flying the Atlantic, will it be Celebrity or British Air (BA) who have to get the bags to the ship. Ok, so I’m being a drama queen but I do like a plan B in place.”

I was on this like jam on bread. This is my kind of thing. Helping people who travel. So I thought I would share this with everyone even though I know that some of my readers who are on the cruise with us (you know who you are) have already read it. Below is my response. If you cruise or fly and are worried about this kind of thing, pay heed.

My response

Since you didn’t book air with Celebrity (cruisers call Celebrity X—it’s on the side of their ships and dates back to their Greek heritage), you are going to be on your own getting to New Orleans. X won’t book your flight, or assist with transfers. But if you do contact them if you are late, they will assist you with where to go in New Orleans to board the ship and how to do it. As to your bags, if they don’t arrive in time, it is BA’s responsibility to get them to you in New Orleans, not Celebrity’s.

You already did the smart thing by coming in a day early. That said, I do understand about the luggage as BA probably has few flights to MIA so it won’t show up until the next day unlike if you were flying from NYC or Chicago where the airline might have a flight to Miami or FLL every few hours. The best thing you can do to avoid lost luggage is to get to the airport EARLY! Otherwise there is very little you can do other than go carry-on only which I have NEVER understood how anyone can do, especially on a cruise. (One extra pair of shoes for me takes up almost an entire carry-on. 😂 ) One suggestion would be to pack three days of clothing in your carry-ons so if your luggage is delayed, you have some clothing. Also, if you are each bringing one checked bag, don’t forget to cross pack so that if one bag is delayed you both have something to wear. And of course, NEVER pack anything you HAVE-TO-HAVE (prescriptions, etc) in your checked bag.

We will keep our fingers crossed for you. Hope this helps.

The REST of the story

I should add that later they (and others) responded (we had quite the discussion) and it turns out the couple who asked the original question can’t affect their bags by getting to the airport earlier as they are flying into Heathrow (LHR) from a regional airport. It also came to light that they only have one hour and thirty-five minutes to change planes.

If you have ever been to Heathrow you know that is VERY problematic. I won’t change planes at LHR with less than three full hours. If you have never flown through LHR (we have a bunch of times) there are five terminals and domestic and intra-Europe flights usually come in at Terminals 1 through 4 while international flights leave out of Terminal 5. Transiting from one terminal to the other means going out of security, riding a bus and then going back through security. When we flew from Seattle to Edinburgh last May, it took us almost 90 minutes to go from our Terminal 5 arrival gate to our Terminal 3 departure gate for our flight from LHR to Edinburgh. And that was a very smooth transition at a pretty good time of day.

Of course all this comes back around to why you need a good travel agent. A good, well-traveled agent knows these kinds of things. Especially if you are a new traveler or someone who doesn’t travel that much. Plus, this applies to any travel, not just those of us who cruise.

I hate flying, airports and the whole rigmarole – queuing up, security and lost luggage.—Johnny Vegas

 

Coming soon…in 2020. A HUGE year!

Happy New Year!

Just want to say that I don’t believe in New Year’s Resolutions. What I do believe in is New Year’s goal setting. So I have been doing mine this past week and things are looking good. Of course like everyone else I know—I would love to lose weight. And I have a continuing goal of learning new things. I want to be a better photographer, a better cook and to get better with technology. And I have to find a way to deal with logins and passwords 😜. They are my nemesis.

But the one goal both Kathleen and I have this  year is to TRAVEL! To lots of places. If you have been following this blog during 2019 you will know that we lost two of our beloved Martini Mates. After losing Carol and Sandra, Kathleen and I decided that we should not put off some of the travel we kept saying we would do…someday. So far this year we have the following planned:

New Orleans collageLate February/Early March—Sarasota, Florida and a Celebrity cruise to New Orleans for Mardi Gras

One of the few major cities we have not been to in the US is New Orleans. We were looking for a way to go there and spend a few days and see the city. When we heard about this cruise we thought, what a great way to see it. Then we heard that it was going during Mardi Gras. After our experience going to Edinburgh during the Fringe and Military Tattoo we thought AWESOME!

Just so you don’t think that we are nuts to go to New Orleans on a cruise ship, we are there for almost three full days, docked right downtown just blocks from the Mardi Gras parades. And yes, we fully realize that there will be crazy crowds and it will make it hard to get into restaurants but anytime we want to, we can head back to the ship and get away from it all. Besides New Orleans and Mardi Gras we also get two other ports, a cruise and we are going with a bunch of friends.

Pre-cruise we are going to Sarasota, Florida with our buddies Bob and Judy. The cruise is only 11 nights so we could not see just flying all the way to Florida for just those 12 days. Since we had been to the Keys a few years back pre-cruise we were looking for someplace else to explore. About five years ago I spent three days in Sarasota teaching a workshop and I was really impressed so we decided to go there first, then rent a car and drive down to the Fort Lauderdale area the day before the cruise. We will stay with our awesome buddy Mike pre-cruise and then he is coming with us on the cruise as well.

Holland America cruise ship Koningsdam in HelsinkiLate April—Pacific Coastal cruise from San Diego to Vancouver, BC on Holland America’s Koningsdam

You may remember that our good friend Seth Wayne (the guy who I did all the radio shows with). Well, he has left KOMO television and radio and taken a position with Holland America Cruises as their new Director of Communications/Brand Ambassador. In that new job he will be doing a lot cruising and this is one of the ones he will be on so we thought, why not run down to Southern California, see my brother and his wonderful bride (who is now RETIRED) and then sail to Vancouver and take the train home from there.

Besides the fact that we will be onboard with Seth, this will be a learning cruise for us as Koningsdam is an entirely new class of ships that we have never been on so we will love that part. It’s only a four night cruise but it should be a lot of fun. And I forgot to tell you all the exciting new ports we will visit between San Diego and Vancouver, BC. That’s because there aren’t any. On those four nights, we only stop once—in Seattle. LOL

The Galapagos Islands letter conceptLate July/Early August—Quito, Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands

10B_ZODIAC-OPEN-WATER_4948_v4This is the BIG trip of 2020! We are flying down to Southern Cal again to see my brother and his bride for a few days before we fly Copa Air through Panama City to Quito. We are there for two nights before we fly out to the Galapagos Islands and board Celebrity’s tiny (only 100 passengers) ship, Flora. On Flora we will sail around the islands for seven full days, only getting off on Zodiacs with naturalists as our guides. I have started following Marvi Cordova on Instagram. She works on board Flora and take the MOST AMAZING PHOTOS of the ship and of the wildlife on the islands. If you want to see what we will be seeing and what I will be posting to this blog, check out her gorgeous photos.

EclipseLate September—Pacific Coastal cruise on Celebrity Eclipse with Bob and Judy

We are always looking for a chance to get away and a chance to get on a cruise ship. When it leaves from Vancouver or Seattle, that is really a big plus because we don’t have to fly anywhere. And we are always looking for a reason to sail with Bob and Judy. This five night cruise does stop in a few places—like Astoria, Oregon, Seattle and Victoria. But since we don’t have to fly at all, this one will give Bob and I a chance to get our tuxedos out of mothballs and formal around a little bit. We like that kind of thing. 😀

Early December—Our first river cruise on Viking to see the European Christmas Markets

This is one we have been planning for quite awhile. You have to if you want to sail with Viking because they do sell out quickly and early. We are going with our traveling buddies my brother Steve and his bride Jamie. Jamie’s brother and sister-in-law are also coming along.

We start with three nights before the cruise in Prague, then we join the boat (and it is a boat because it is small enough to go ON a ship) in Nuremberg, Germany where we will visit our first Christmas Market, the oldest of them all. Then it’s on to Regenburg and Passau Germany, Krems and Vienna Austria and finally we finish in Budapest, Hungary. We spend two nights after the cruise in Budapest and then we are deciding where to go next because we will NOT fly all the way to Europe for less than two weeks. It just isn’t worth it to us to go that far and spend that much on airfare and then stay for less than that. We are still debating between three days in Paris or three days in Lisbon.

We would love to have anyone out there who wants to, to come and join us on any of these trips. You can make your own arrangements or call your favorite travel agents (that would be us, right). We promise lots of FUN!

So that’s it! It’s quite the year and I am sure that in between these major trips we will fit a few smaller ones like a hockey excursion to Chilliwack, BC or a wine sojourn to the east side of the mountains. You know us, we hate sleeping in our own beds.

Wherever you go, go with all your heart.—Confucius

 

 

The BEST and worst of travel in our 2019

Seasons Greetings to all! I have been working on this post for a few days now and I thought I would try and get it online before the new year. I am starting the actual post  on December 22 but probably won’t finish it today as we are headed to our Christmas tradition this afternoon—Seattle Men’s Chorus. The concert isn’t until tonight but we always get a hotel room downtown, go out to dinner and then hit the show—it’s our holiday tradition. We have done this now for more than 10 years. If you live near Seattle (or even if you don’t) you should get here around Christmas to see the Chorus.

Picking this up again on December 27. Looks like I will finally get it online tomorrow, the 28th. We had a super Christmas and we hope you did as well. Spent Christmas Eve with our adult kids here at our place and Christmas Day with my daughter, son-in-law and my grandkids. First time I have spent Christmas with my daughter in 20+ years. Long story.

But enough about now, let’s look at last year. Here they are, the best and worst of our travel year in 2019.

Best of Travel-2019

  • Best dinner companions—Our grandkids, Mason and Maylee on our Alaska cruise on Ovation of the Seas. Can’t begin to tell you how great it was to introduce our grandkids to cruising. In all likelihood, they won’t go on another cruise for quite a while…unless we take them. But every night (except one) we sat next to them in the dining room and had their undivided attention and they had ours. We kid that Kathleen’s arm was bruised from Maylee poking her and saying, “Grandma K, Grandma K, Grandma K”. That’s not only funny but pretty much a true story. I loved getting Mason to try new foods like escargot. He is not the most adventurous amongst us but by the end of the week he had moved totally to the adult menu and had escargot two more times.

  • Best cruise—Reflection from Dublin to Iceland and back. We had the best time on not only this cruise but on the almost two weeks that preceded it. From our four days in Edinburgh, to our week with Paul and Gail in Yorkshire, to our 11 night cruise from Dublin to Irish ports and to incredible Iceland, it was outstanding. We were thrilled that after the disappointments of our New England cruise in October 2018, Celebrity cruises came back big time with this one on Reflection.

  • BirkirBest tour guide you can hire that we used in 2019—Birkir Mar in Reykjavik. We found Birkir on Tours By Locals. If you need a guide in Reykjavik, let me know and I will get you Birkir’s info. He was outstanding.
  • Best tour guides you can’t hire that took great care of us this year—Our long-time Martini Mates, Paul and Gail who took us everywhere in Yorkshire and the Lake District of England. We have never had so much fun and toured some many places in one short week. It was the best part of our awesome almost-a-month trip in June. We would do the whole thing again in an instant…but sorry, you can’t. They only do tours for their close, personal friends. We are so glad they are ours.

  • Most incredible child we spent time with that was not our grandchild—Paul and Gail’s granddaughter Jemimah. This girl can write stories and then act them. She can even get her grandparents to play parts in them. Quite the accomplishment for one so young. Meeting her (after hearing so much about her) was a true highlight.
  • Best storyteller—Frank (Dobby the House Elf?) at Stirling Castle in Scotland. When we were in Edinburgh we took a bus tour north to see the Kelpies and Stirling Castle where were led on the castle tour by Frank (who we think looks like Dobby the House Elf from the Harry Potter books) and it was OUTSTANDING! If you are in Edinburgh, the Kelpies and this castle are well worth the trip. But ask if you can wait to take the tour with Frank, it will be worth the wait.

  • Biggest travel surprise—how much we liked the floating behemoth, Allure of the Seas on our FAM cruise in October. We were certain we would hate the BIG ships. Just didn’t think that cruising with 5,998 other people would work out that well, but it did. Royal Caribbean has figured it out on these BIG ships. Too bad they haven’t yet on some of their others.

  • Akureyri-072Best meal on a trip—lunch at the Porch on Reflection—amazing seafood. If you sail on Celebrity’s Reflection or Silhouette, you have to try The Porch. It’s a little outdoor specialty restaurant on the side of the Lawn Deck. just to the right of the Lawn Club Grille facing forward. The seafood is amazing and you can eat as much as you want. They have a seafood tower that includes so much shellfish you won’t believe it. It’s almost worth taking a cruise just to eat there. We are going back in February and can’t wait. Of course having the gang above with us made it that much more fun.
  • Best sangria we have ever had—during lunch at the Porch on Reflection. Maybe the food wasn’t that good 😂 (it was!) and it was just the Sangria talking but this was DELICIOUS and memorable! And they just kept it coming—so BEWARE! It sneaks up on you. Can’t wait to go back and get more of this as well.
  • Best video blog about a place we were goingThe Broonford’s video blog about Edinburgh. If you go to Edinburgh without seeing Tony’s YouTube videos, you are nuts. We learned so much from him before we went and we are still watching them sometimes because Tony is just a hoot. I wish he had them for every city we want to visit.
  • Best travel experience—climbing Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh before dawn. One of the experiences I learned from Tony on The Broonford’s video blog was that a great thing to do in Edinburgh was to climb the mountain/hill known as Arthur’s Seat. Alright, at just under 900 feet, it’s really not a mountain but it does tower over downtown Edinburgh and to an average guy like me, it feels like a mountain. Hopefully you all know by now how much I love getting up before dawn (way before dawn) and going out to take photos. Especially when we are on trips. So I set a goal to climb Arthur’s Seat after hearing Tony Broonford talk about it. It was cold! It was windy! REALLY WINDY! And I had injured my knee just a few weeks before so I was wearing a brace…and shorts, but I did it! And I have some amazing pics as well. I would do it again in a minute.

  • Best cruise on a ship we hated—Ovation of the Seas to Alaska with our grandkids and their parents. Ovation just doesn’t understand Alaska yet. And they don’t understand taking 5,000 American to Alaska as opposed to sailing around in Asia with nothing but Asians on board. It’s an entirely different experience and last summer, this ship’s first in the Alaska market, they failed. Sold out, but failed. But the cruise was AWESOME for us because of the company we kept. Having the grandkids with us for an entire week was wonderful.
  • image0Best reunion—spending three days with our friend and fellow Martini Mate Mike at his place in Boynton Beach. We had not seen Mike since his wonderful bride and our dear friend (another of our Martini Mates) Carol had passed away earlier in the year. Although we have had some political differences in the past few years, we have been able to see past those and stay friends. When we decided to take the Allure cruise we e-mailed and asked if we could stay with him pre-cruise. Thankfully he said yes and we had three great days running around the Boynton Beach area with him (not to mention a bunch of great meals at some outstanding restaurants). We can’t wait to see him again when we spend one night pre-cruise with him in February and then he joins us on that cruise.

Worst of Travel-2019

  • IMG_1627Most disappointing evening: Going to a Mariner Spring Training game in March in Arizona and freezing so bad we had to leave after the third inning. I can still feel that wind blow. In Arizona! In March! Are you kidding me?
  • Biggest travel screw-up I did—booking a jeep ride in Sedona for the day after we we supposed to leave. We did get our money back but we missed the jeep ride. Then got stuck in traffic on our way to a horrid dinner. I knew being able to book the exact time we wanted to take the tour was too good to be true when I only did it online about three hours before the tour. I should have known better. I will next time. And we won’t travel again without dinner reservations. That’s about the only time we ever argue on trips—when we haven’t planned in advance. I know that some of you will think this ruins spontaneity, but we can always cancel plans if something else comes along but that night in Sedona, the restaurants were PACKED and we ended up in a place I would never have eaten in if we had planned it. (BTW: If you go to Sedona, plan a lot of extra time to drive to dinner. Around 4:00 pm, the traffic goes from bad to stopped.)
  • Getting the flu on Allure of the Seas, a cold at Paul and Gail’s and having a bad knee for all of it. After our Allure of the Seas trip, someone at our travel agency where we work remarked  that they wouldn’t cruise with us because I was always getting sick. And this year it felt like that really happened. The worst was the Allure version of the flu. At least four members of our Allure travel agent class came down with it and two had to be hospitalized. Thank goodness, that wasn’t me. It did seem like I caught everything when we traveled this year but I think that is because I am no longer spending a lot of time in schools (for my real job) and I don’t get exposed to as many germs until I travel.

Saddest experiences of 2019

  • Worst cruise ship we sailed on—Ovation of the Seas. They just don’t get it. See above under Best Cruise on a ship we hated.
  • Losing four traveling friends this year.
    • We lost two of our Martini Mates who passed way too soon. Carol and Sandra will be so missed. Our Martini Mates have been reduced by three (including our beloved Jude in 2014) in the last five years and much to our trepidation and consternation, they were all women. What’s up with that? Our travels will never be the same without these wonderful friends.
    • We also lost two of our closest friends who we had traveled many, many places with since 2016, who just stopped talking to us, blocked us on social media and cancelled future travel plans with us and we still don’t know why. We miss them but have no clue what we did to make them do that.

Try celebrating the best and not the worst. —Rob Manuel

 

On the radio…again…for the last time

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Well, Seth and I have recorded our last Adventures Await radio show. And you don’t have to wait to hear it. It’s at the bottom of this page. And since I recorded the show on my iPhone, there are no commercials, weather or newscasts. We just talk for about 25 minutes about travel (funny that an hour radio show without commercials, weather, newscasts and traffic is only around 25 minutes).

First, an explanation about why this is our last show together. That’s because on the morning KOMO-TV news today Seth announced he was leaving KOMO. That’s sad for us who watch him every day. One of my favorite thing is to carry on texting conversations with Seth while he is on the air in the morning. I know that if I send him a text, he will read it on the next commercial break. And I know that he is probably only going to be getting texts from me because it’s 4:30 am and I am riding my indoor bike. We have had many early morning conversations like this.

Seth is leaving KOMO to become the Director of Communications for Holland America Cruise Line (HAL). In that role he will be cruising…A LOT! But he says we can still text to stay in touch but I won’t know if he’s available like I do now between weather updates because I won’t be able to see him on TV 😀. But we (Kathleen and I) are thrilled for him. I will certainly miss seeing him and doing the show with him.

Our last show was super. It was my fifth time on the show and Seth let me choose the topic so I said let’s do the Top 5 Things we have talked about on the first four shows I have joined him on the radio. You will have to listen to the show to find out what they are but suffice it to say, it’s not anything you haven’t heard he…or I mention before.

By the way, if you would rather hear it with all the music, weather, news and commercials, etc. you can do that on Sunday afternoon at 4:00 pm on KOMO radio AM 1000 here in Seattle or on KOMO Radio 1000 on Tune-in online.

Here’s the show—there are three shows on the page. The latest one is at the bottom of the list: CLICK HERE! I can’t tell you how much I have enjoyed doing these shows with Seth. He is a good friend, one of our favorite people and maybe the only person who loves talking about travel as much as I do.

A man’s friendships are one of the best measures of his worth.—Charles Darwin

Just a friendly reminder-get insured!

Screen Shot 2019-11-30 at 8.58.00 AMThought I would put up this post-Thanksgiving note to remind all my traveling friends why it is so important to get travel insurance when you travel. Take a second and read this story (that you may have seen already, as it got a LOT of press) about a couple who were being “held prisoner” by a hospital in Mexico, then close the window and come back here. If you haven’t read this before, you should know that the couple eventually got to go home, thanks to the coverage on Good Morning America (GMA). Actor/Director Tyler Perry saw the story and paid their hospital bill.

If you don’t know Tyler Perry or think you could get coverage on GMA you should definitely make sure you have travel insurance when you travel. I can’t believe the number of  people who think that travel insurance is only for those who might have to cancel their trip and want to be reimbursed. I have had clients tell me that “We can afford to lose the money on this trip if we can’t go.” But travel insurance covers so much more.

For instance, a good travel insurance policy should cover the following:

  • Trip Interruption (example: covers you if your flight gets cancelled or rerouted).
  • Trip Delay (example: your plane is grounded due to weather and you miss your cruise—they will get you to your ship).
  • Missed Connection Baggage & Personal Effects Baggage Delay
  • Emergency Medical & Dental Expenses (this one is the biggie, especially if you are over 65 and from the USA).
  • Emergency Evacuation & Repatriation (they will fly you home if you are sick or injured).
  • Accidental Death & Dismemberment
  • Travel Assistance & Concierge Services (The best companies provide this—for instance, they will help you find a good doctor in another country).

The biggest of these benefits are the Emergency Medical and Dental. As the couple in the story found out, costs for medical treatment can vary drastically in other countries and on cruise ships where a doctor visit and an aspirin can run over $100. If the folks who were rescued by Tyler Perry had travel insurance, they would have contacted their insurance company who would have made arrangements for payment with the hospital and everything would have been just fine. But they didn’t.

BIG MESSAGE—in bold so my friends who are US citizens and over 65 all see it: If you are sick or injured outside the USA, Medicare will NOT pay your medical bills. You are on your own. I had an 86 year old client going on a horse tour in Israel who didn’t get travel insurance???

I watch for these kind of stories and I am building a long list of them for the next time a friend or client tells me, “We never get travel insurance. We will be fine.” Well they might not be. I am sure the couple in the story didn’t think they would finish their vacation with 14 nights in a Mexican hospital. And the people who tell me they “never buy travel insurance” may not have Tyler Perry to bail them out.

Traveling anywhere in the world involves some risk. You could always opt to spend your life cowering under your bed. —Joe Haldeman

My perfect vacation

Sometimes you might wonder where I get my ideas. I am a walker. Each week I try and take at least two walks of more than six miles and while I am walking (takes me about two hours), I am thinking about what I want to write. On my last walk, this came to me. It is dedicated to all my readers who don’t or haven’t taken a cruise and don’t understand why anyone would cruise.

The Perfect Vacation Day

Imagine the following vacation day. It is my idea of a perfect vacation day. It’s not the day we fly in from somewhere, it’s just a typical day in the middle of a vacation. Maybe we are in NYC, Amsterdam or Barcelona.

Somewhere between 6:30 and 7:00 I wake up. Kathleen is still sleeping so I dress quietly in the dark and sneak out of our hotel room to go work out at the the fully-equipped gym in the hotel. Lots of bikes, weights, treadmills as well as fitness classes I could take. (I know some of my readers are thinking I am nuts, but I said this was MY perfect vacation day.) After I finish my workout I head back to our hotel room where Kathleen has risen and gotten ready for our day. I quickly do the same and we are off to breakfast.

For breakfast we have a bunch of choices. We can just go and get a latte and a piece of pastry, we can go to the hotel breakfast buffet or we can go to the hotel’s sit down restaurant and be served pretty much whatever we want. They have a fairly extensive menu. The food is good and we probably eat too much.

Then it is off to see the sites. We might walk around the city, we might take a tour—probably a food tour since we love those—or we might decide that we have had enough touring and just go and sit by the hotel pool (OK, not likely for us) or in a nice spot in the lobby area and read or I could write another post or work on processing photos from previous day tours or we could play a game with new friends we made the night before at dinner. Maybe Kathleen would head to the spa for a manicure. You never know.

If we decided to leave the hotel, around lunchtime we might find a quaint little restaurant in the town or city we are in and have lunch. We have done this many times before. We have found an awesome crêpes place in Eze, France, a wonderful Italian trattoria in Sienna, Italy and a brewery with spruce-tip beer and fantastic chili in Skagway, Alaska. But if we decided to stay at the hotel that day, we have the same choices as breakfast—the hotel buffet or a sit down restaurant. Or there is a really great burger place and maybe a few more spots to choose from. All are priced well and we eat for next to nothing.

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After lunch it’s more touring or more relaxing depending on what we decided to do. Around 4:00 pm if we are touring we decide to head back to the hotel and get ready for cocktails and dinner. Since we love to meet people, we change and head out to a hotel bar or maybe one nearby. The hotel has more than 10 different lounges and we are certain we will find something we like in one of them. When we are sipping and nibbling, we meet some folks from another state or another country. We are feeling great because we are all on vacation so we strike up a conversation. We find out about their travels and they find out about ours. We discuss their grandkids and swap photos. We talk about our kids and they tell us about theirs. We never talk politics or religion. Too dangerous.

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An hour or so later we head off to dinner. All those same options are open to us again (hotel buffet, sit down restaurant and lots of other slightly more expensive choices) and we choose the sit down restaurant. Because we have been there the night before (and maybe the night before that) the waiter knows us by name. He knows what we like to drink and it is already at the table.

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The menu is pretty good and we can have a full, three course meal. In fact if we want a four course meal or a five course meal, the waiter says he will be happy to bring us anything else on the menu we like. One night I am decadent and order both the shrimp cocktail and the escargot. We meet other people seated near us and talk and again discuss the same type of topics, sharing our lives. Over the years as we have traveled from hotel to hotel we have met lots of people this way. Many have become life-long friends. When it comes time to order the dessert, I ask the waiter if he can bring us one of every dessert on the menu and let us try everything with our new friends. He says, “Of  course sir,” and is back in a flash with something for everyone to try. He also tells us that if we like one particular dessert, he can bring us an entire one for ourselves.

Then it’s off to a show. We might see a show as good as one we have seen on Broadway, a Cirque de Soleil style performance, a jazz quartet or maybe just a comedian who cracks us up. But no matter what, the hotels lets us see these shows for free.

After the show we wander over to that lounge for a drink and to watch some of our new friends who are ballroom dancing. They finish and join us for a drink and then we all head off to our rooms in the hotel where a full turn-down service has been performed just like in any other five-star hotel. There’s a mint on our pillows and we are beat after our long but rewarding day. We are quickly asleep.

The next morning we wake up and open the drapes out to our hotel balcony and we are shocked (not really) to find that somehow our hotel has magically been transported to another of our favorite cities and we get to do the entire day all over again with new experiences and new places to see. We are a little sad because we had a few more things we wanted to do in the city we were in yesterday so we plan to come back and stay longer.

Here’s my favorite part of all this. If everything is perfect, our total cost for this vacation at this magical hotel is less than $250 day for both of us. Depending on the time of year (if we can travel off-season) it might be less. Remember I said this was my fantasy that I thought of while walking. But see, it really isn’t a fantasy. We have taken this same trip 28 times already and we plan to take it whole bunch more. This is a cruise and our hotel just happens to move most of the nights we are onboard while we are enjoying those shows and then sleeping.

That’s why we cruise. You should try it. If you are reading this, you probably already have but feel free to show this to all your friends who think you are crazy to cruise. Then tell them to join you on your next one.

I learned a long time ago that trying to micromanage the perfect vacation is always a disaster. That leads to terrible times.—Anthony Bourdain

 

Allure of the Seas–my final report

Closing out my Allure of the Seas report here are some overall feelings about the ship and the cruise. Let me say some things to set the stage. First, we are not BIG ship people but we wanted to try an Oasis class ship, the biggest in the world. Our usual ships carry about 3,000 cruisers max while Allure was hosting more than 6400.

Second, we had just sailed on a Quantum-class, almost-as-big ship (Ovation of the Seas) in July and had not had a great experience, so this was a second chance for Royal Caribbean. Lastly, this was (as we mentioned), a FAM cruise. That’s one where we got a great deal from Royal to take the cruise but had classes to take to become FAMiliar with Allure on all the sea days, letting us learn more about RCL and Allure. Let me say that the classes run by our fearless leader Nate were outstanding as you have probably figured out from my previous posts. Second, let’s look at the other two items on my list.

Was Allure too big?

Maybe. But it is easily manageable. I think we only felt crowded once on the entire cruise—lunch and after lunch (until the staterooms were opened) on Embarkation Day. But I will also say that after being on board for a week, I could now tell  friends that wanted to sail on this class of ship where to go to avoid that. For instance, after we had lunch at a fairly crowded Park Cafe (but nowhere near as crowded as the Windjammer Marketplace Buffet) we tried to find a quiet place to sit until the staterooms were ready. We didn’t. We finally squeezed ourselves into a tiny booth way in the back of the Boleros bar on the Royal Promenade. It was slammed. We later found that we could have gone to any of a bunch of other lounges for a quiet place to sit and wait. In fact just steps from the Park Cafe was Dazzles which we never saw anyone in during the day but we always found the doors open.

Comparing this to our Ovation of the Seas cruise, we really feel that Allure has handling the crowds down cold. They know what they are doing. On Ovation, it was like they were trying to figure out how to handle the huge number of people onboard and never quite getting it right. Royal has been using this class of ship much longer and really gets it on this size ship.

Also on Ovation in July, it was sometimes hard to find anything to do with our kids for numerous reasons. I spent a lot of time playing foosball with my grandkids. That would NEVER have been the case on Allure. In fact, maybe there is too much to do. And after their future upgrade (Amplification) there will be even more to do. So many of those venues (pictured below) were not that crowded when we walked by them during the week because the ship is SO big that there are plenty of places to spread out the crowd.

While Ovation had little interesting entertainment (a comic juggler and typical cruise ship shows, etc) Allure had some of the best shows we have ever seen at sea in 28 cruises. Between Mama Mia (of Broadway touring company quality), the aqua show, the comedy club, the jazz club, the disco, the ice show, the very professional main showroom shows, we were VERY well entertained.

I truly wish we had been able to take our grandkids on Allure instead of Ovation. They would have had so much more fun because there were so many fun things to do and they were open and available. Sadly, no Oasis class ships have done Alaska so that would have meant flying them across the country and going to the (for me) dreaded Caribbean.

Which brings me to the one thing we really didn’t like about the trip—that Royal Caribbean can’t do a thing about—the heat and humidity. A lot of the things to do on Allure are outdoors and for us Northwesterners, it was just too hot and too humid. We are not Caribbean people. We don’t like beaches, we don’t like sun (I’ve had one malignant melanoma and that’s enough for this life) and we really are not fans of walking around islands where those are the main attractions. We can only imagine how great it would have been to spend this same week onboard Allure had we been able to do this next summer (after she is Amplified) and while she is sailing in the Mediterranean. WOW! An incredible port every day and Allure to come back to at night. When you finished you would need a vacation to recover from your vacation.

One thing we learned in our week on Allure is that this ship is so big and there is so much to do that it doesn’t matter where you are or what you enjoy, you will find something you like to do. To prove it to you, check out my photos for this windup post which will take you on a virtual tour of the public areas of Allure. As you see all there is to do, keep in mind that once Allure goes through Amplification, there will be even more to do.

Deck 18 & 17—the Suite life

There are 18 decks on Allure (well, really only 17 because like most ships, there is no deck 13). 18 is just staterooms (suites) and 17 has a sundeck for suites as well as more suites and the Coastal Kitchen (a restaurant open to suite guests). We didn’t get to see this because we weren’t staying in a suite.

Deck 16—Windjammer Marketplace, Solarium, Flowrider, Zipline

So if you are hungry or want a thrill, this is the place. As I mentioned above, we did not do a lot on any deck above eight except walk around and have lunch on the day we were in Nassau. Starting from the aft, on this deck you will find twin Flowriders (the surfing simulator our grandson Mason learned to love on Ovation), a short but really high zip line, a few bars and the main attraction, the Windjammer Marketplace which is actually the buffet. Not sure why Royal has named all their buffets a Marketplace because you really can’t buy anything there (that’s me, trying to be funny). Here are some pics that will give you an idea of what to expect. They all have captions so you can get an idea of what you are looking at.

Deck 15—Sun and water

If you are a sun worshipper you won’t be disappointed. This deck has SplashAway Bay for the kids, FOUR full size family pools and some great views down into Central Park and The Boardwalk. On the aft end of this deck you will find Allure Dunes (miniature golf) a sports court, lots of places to drink and get snacks as well as the Living Room, a part of the teen scene. At the front of the ship you will also find the downstairs part of the adults-only Solarium.

Deck 14—Adventure Ocean

Most of deck 14 is all about staterooms but the one main thing you find on this deck is Adventure Ocean, Allure’s club for kids from 3 to 17. I only have two photos for you because Allure does not allow photos when kids are in attendance and I don’t blame them. This deck also has a card room but that’s one of the few places I didn’t get around to seeing. Something tells me it wouldn’t have been really that interesting.

If you are a photographer, the best place to take photos as you come into ports is the Sundeck on the very far forward of deck 14. The glass partition are a little high for me so if you are a diminutive photographer, you may have a hard time shooting over it but most of my forward facing port photos came from being on the Sundeck.

Deck 9-12—Diamonds, Dazzles and staterooms

Remember, no deck 13. So Deck 12 has the upstairs of the Diamond Club, Allure’s private area for their three highest loyalty club members. To get to the Diamond Level in the Crown and Anchor Society you need 175 cruise credits. Since we have 17 now, we are guessing that one credit equals one night on board in a typical stateroom. There’s also some additional credits if you book a suite. We used the Diamond Club on a lot on this cruise. Of course you are wondering with just 17 credits, how were we able to do that??? We are Elite Plus members of Celebrity Cruises’ Captains Club and since both Royal Caribbean and Celebrity (as well as Azamara Cruises) are owned by the same company, we get reciprocal benefits to a point. On Celebrity, there is nothing like the Diamond Club but we wish there were.

They serve a great breakfast there and we ate ours in the Diamond Club every morning. Typical buffet fare but with hardly any crowds. Some mornings we were one of a very few people in the room. In the evening, they serve cocktails and appetizers from 4:30 until 8:00. We went every night and some nights it was rather crowded but we soon learned if we waited to go until after the first dinner seating left for dinner, there were plenty of places to sit. We met a lot of very nice people during these super evening receptions. This room really made our cruise. There are pics below.

Somewhere on one of these decks there is a really tiny internet “room” with about five computers in it that are available for anyone’s use. I discovered it by mistake and it is so small that it doesn’t even show on deck plans so I can’t remember where exactly it is. It’s about the size of two inside staterooms put together and sits in the middle of a bunch of inside staterooms near the front elevators and staircases.

Also on Deck 11, right next to the Diamond Club entrance (the Diamond Club also has an upstairs dining area that is used for Chef’s Table, a kind of a pop-up specialty restaurant) is the ship’s library. It is tiny and windowless and often empty but it is a great place to go and find some peaceful time away from the crowds of Allure.

The rest of decks nine through twelve are staterooms. Lots and lots of staterooms.

Deck 8—Central Park and more

I know I have already posted pictures looking down into Central Park as our verandah looked into this central part of the ship that is open air. Central Park is a drop-dead gorgeously green area on a cruise ship. Incredible plants, a couple of bars, a bunch of specialty restaurants (both complimentary and chargeable) and just a relaxing place to sit if you can handle the heat and humidity. In a cooler climate, I would love this place. Captions on the photos explain what you are looking at. Also on this deck is Dazzles, a nightclub that we walked into but never went at night so we aren’t sure what kind of music they feature. We really liked the way it looked inside. Small and intimate on two levels with a great view of The Boardwalk area.

Deck 7—Not much

I have no pics on Deck seven. It is mostly staterooms and the upstairs of Dazzles. That’s about it. Sorry.

Deck 6—A whole bunch of stuff from front to back

Deck six is PACKED from bow to aft. From the front of the ship where you will find the spa and gym, to midships where you will discover the upper deck/balcony/mezzanine of the Royal Promenade to finally the aft that is The Boardwalk. You could spend an entire day on deck six and have a great time and never need to go anywhere else. It has more attractions and things to do than most entire cruise ships. Check out the photos for all the info. The Boardwalk is especially amazing with restaurants, the aqua show I wrote about last week and a full-size carousel. Amazing.

Deck 5—The Royal Promenade

The heart of the ship, the Royal Promenade, is where things happen. It seems like all the other entertainment venues and places to eat are outliers and the Royal Promenade is the center of everything. Cruise Director Jimmy Rhodes told us on New Year’s Eve, it hosts one of the biggest parties on the seas and we believe it. Check out the pics for more into. Deck 5 also has the upstairs entrances to the theater (forward) and the main dining room (aft). There’s even a real-live Starbucks (that will take your Starbucks card instead of your Seapass card)!

Deck 4—Food and Entertainment

If you can’t tell, my deck descriptions are relying less and less on narrative and more and more on the photo captions. This ship is just too big. Deck four has the main entrances to the theater (forward) and the dining room (aft). It also has the casino (my biggest criticism is the entrance to the casino which is full of cigarette smoke being across from the entrance to the dining room which means I couldn’t avoid it) and the art auction office (biggest rip off on the high seas IMO) . Deck four also has a jazz club (we liked), a comedy club (we never went to), an ice-skating rink (ditto) and another night club we used for a group reception on our first night at sea. It is used for a lot of private receptions and is generally an all-purpose club. There is also a small Japanese Benihana-style restaurant but I can’t remember if it was on deck four or five and it doesn’t show up on the Allure Deck plans. The photo captions have more into.

Deck 3—Conference Center

Deck three has the Conference center (where we did our classes with Nate) and that’s about it. It also has one of the other main dining venues (for MyTime diners) as well as the bottom level of the theater. No pics here that weren’t on the other decks but I did include a few below that don’t have any other specific place to go.

That’s it! One solid week of learning about this ship, having a great time and a great experience even with the heat and humidity. Hope you enjoyed traveling along. And one final note: if you have a family, this class of ships is for you. There is truly something for everyone.

If I had my will I would live in a ship on the sea, and never come nearer to humanity than that!—Eleonora Duse

 

Day 7 on Allure of the Seas—Nassau, in the Bahamas

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Panoramic photo from the back of Allure of the harbor in Nassau. The Disney ship you see on the right and the Royal Caribbean ship beyond her are two of five in port that day.

First, let me apologize for taking so long to get this last day of our Allure trip online. As we did a year ago on our New England trip, we came home sick. It appears we got the flu. Kathleen had been fighting it for a few days but I came down with a full blown case on the last night. Basically coughed the entire night, fever, aches and pains…you know the drill. We were supposed to do a Miami food tour once we got off the ship but we had to bag that and beg our buddy Mike to let us come back to his place and just collapse for the day before we flew home at 6:30 Sunday night. He’s such a great guy—he quickly said, “Come on up!” So we did. Thanks Mike!

At any rate, once we got back to Redmond, I have just been wiped out and not in the mood to put this  post together. But eventually I have to kick myself in the butt and do something, so here goes.

When I last posted, we were in Nassau, Bahamas and had decided to stay on the ship. Why? Because it was 1) hotter than hell, 2) we had been there twice before, 3) since we are not beach/snorkeling/gambling people, there is not much to do and 4) there were five (YES, FIVE) ships in that day for a total of more than 14,000 people who were going to have to get off the ship and go through one little building to get on and off the island. So we stayed onboard and I took the day to take a bunch of photos of the ship with hardly anyone in them (which I will include with my last Allure post in a couple of days) and a few of Nassau from the ship (below).

One more post about this trip and and that will wind it up. In the next couple of days I will sum up the trip, give you some recommendations and tell you our general impressions of Allure of the Seas and show you pics from the rest of the ship. I only showed the inside of staterooms on our first day. These will be the public areas. Watch for it! Now, here are some pics.

Nassau, Bahamas photos (taken from the deck of Allure)

Since the beginning, it was just the same. The only difference, the crowds are bigger now.—Elvis Presley

Day 5 & 6 on Allure of the Seas–San Juan, Puerto Rico

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A panoramic shot of Old Town San Juan from the sundeck on Allure of the Seas

Day 5 found us docked in San Juan, Puerto Rico where the temps were in the low 90s and the humidity near 80% so according to two apps on my phone it “felt like” 110. That’s just too hot. But being the intrepid walker I decided to take a 4 mile walk around old town, and then from one fort to another, duplicating a walk we had taken the first time we were here back in 2005. I just don’t remember it being this hot. I took some pics on my walk (as I usually do) and they are below.

When I got back to our stateroom, Kathleen was shocked at how I looked. I was literally soaking wet with sweat, my face was red and Kathleen said, “Oh my God! I have never seen you that sweaty and your face that red!” She was honestly worried about me—something she does a lot…because she loves me.

After a cold shower and lots of water, a short nap (more about napping later) I was back to normal and we were off to our free specialty restaurant dinner at 150 Central Park. For you Celebrity cruisers out there, it’s a slightly less formal version of Murano. We had a wonderful server, Lina who was totally conversant and we love talking to staff about food. She was so good to us. Kathleen had lamb Wellington and I had venison. To give you an example of how great Lina was, when she came back for the customary check-in of “How do you like your entrées,” we got into a discussion of our favorite foods. I told her I loved octopus. About five minutes later, she walked back up and set a plate of grilled octopus down on the table. I was stunned. It wasn’t on their menu. I asked her how she had done that magic and she said that another specialty restaurant (Giovanni’s, where I had lunch with our group on Tuesday) did serve it and she went and got me some. WOW! That’s service. Way to go above and beyond.

That was about it for Thursday except that we saw an outstanding show in the evening, The Company Men. They are an outstanding singing quartet that does mash-ups. When I first heard that my reaction was “Let’s skip this one.” But our buddy Mike had told us not to miss a show so off we went. I was so sure we wouldn’t like it that I even had us sit way in the back so we could get out quick if it went as bad as I thought it might be.

Boy was I wrong. Sure enough, Allure did not disappoint. Another outstanding show. These guys are amazing vocalists (check their website linked above and listen for a few minutes) and what they do to put two, three and four songs together from different eras is truly amazing. We loved the show The Company Men. They play a lot of cruise ships (their website has their schedules as there are three traveling groups) so if you ever get the chance to see them, don’t miss it.

Friday was another sea day so we had our last class with Nate. He had arranged a tour of the ship’s bridge to start the day so we all met with security and were escorted in. Kathleen and I are kind of jaded when it comes to being on a cruise ship bridge. It’s something we have done at least three times before and to be honest, all cruise ship bridges pretty much look alike. The only difference with Allure’s was the size. On the others we have toured (Celebrity’s Infinity, Century and Azamara’s Quest) you could walk from one side of the bridge to the other in about 20 big steps. On Allure it would have been about 50 big steps, she is that wide. Otherwise, a ship’s bridge is just a bunch of computer monitors and a couple of chairs with joysticks. See the pics (I only took a few because there’s not much to it) and you will understand. The officer giving the tour was a really nice guy so we did have a good time.

After that it was back to class and today was just short, open book (or in our case, open Google) test about all we had learned this week. I am too old to memorize everything when I know right where to find it online. We also did some celebrating as Nate had gotten a cake for all the October birthdays (including Kathleen’s on the 27th). And one of our group (Jenna from our corporate offices) had gotten engaged the day before as well. The group of agents we are traveling and taking classes with are really great folks from all over the US and Canada. Since we have seen them in class, at shows and at dinner we have really gotten to know some of them very well. It’s great to compare how we all do our travel jobs.

After class we used our free specialty restaurant lunch and went to Allure’s Mexican joint, Sabor. It was pretty good Mexican food and the fact that it was free (normal charge $20 per person) made it all the better. We even got our margaritas comped. Didn’t know that until we were done eating. If I had know that, I would have had another. 😀

After lunch I actually went back to our stateroom and took a nap. This is a big deal for me as I hardly ever do this. This week I have found myself really tired late in the morning and through the afternoon. Last night I figured out why, (BTW: As I am writing this it is Saturday, our last full day and we just arrived in Nassau, Bahamas). Last night as I lay in bed my legs starting hurting like they were on fire, followed by my back doing the same thing. I have had this three times before in my life and it is always the same thing—caffeine withdrawal. Now I have been drinking cappuccinos every morning but either they were too much milk or they were using decaf but suffice it to say, I spend a horrid night until 7:00 am when the onboard Starbucks opened (THANK GOD FOR STARBUCKS) where I ordered a cup of black coffee with two shots of espresso. I sat down right there to drink it and within 10 minutes of my first sip, I was feeling better. By the time I finished the grande, no pain whatsoever. I am now flying 😜 but I feel great.

But back to last night. We saw our last production show, Blue Planet. Your typical Cirque de Soleil-type show that cruise ships are really into right now. Music, acrobatics and dancing. We have seen these on Celebrity ships before but because Allure is so BIG and has such a huge theater with a huge stage, they can do much more staging-wise. That made it a really interesting show. If I hadn’t seen it, I would go and I recommend you do if you are onboard.

We were there for the early show at 7:00 and were out by 7:45 and off to dinner with fellow agents and then back to our stateroom for the aforementioned horrible, caffeine-withdrawal night punctuated by a cough that both of us have seemed to pick up. When will be able to travel without getting sick?

But enough about illness, here’s some pics from my walk around San Juan and our last day in class.

San Juan, Puerto Rico photos

Photos from our bridge tour and last day of classes

There’s definitely healing properties to being in proximity to the ocean and that breeze. There’s something about that Caribbean climate and humidity.—Johnny Depp

Day 3 & 4 on Allure of the Seas–St. Kitts

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A panoramic view of St. Kitts harbor from the sundeck on Allure of the Seas

More about Allure…which almost rhymes. Day three was another sea day and we had class from 9:00 to 12:00 and then we had lunch as a group in Giovanni’s Italian restaurant, one of Allure’s specialty places. (BTW: The pic above is St. Kitts from the ship. Looks pretty right? Not if you hate heat and humidity. More below.)

The class was fine but again, the conference room was so cold it gave Kathleen a migraine headache that was so bad she missed lunch and was in bed all afternoon. Entirely due to the frigid temps and the constantly blowing AC. Our instructor Nate asked to have it warmed up a bit and maintenance told them they had complied with his request but you would never know it. From now on I am bringing a small thermometer to conferences. She missed a great lunch and the best session of the classes we took. 

We had two guest speakers that afternoon. First we got to meet a Royal Genie. If you are not familiar with the Royal Genie program, it is pretty much one-of-a-kind. It works like this: If you book certain VERY expensive suites onboard many of Royal’s ships (the big ones predominately) you get the services of a Royal Genie. Think of him or her as a super butler. In fact to become a Royal Genie you have to go to London to a butler school that is run by a former butler to the British Royal Family. 

A Royal Genie’s job consists of contacting you about a month before your cruise to find out your likes and dislikes, whether you have any special requests and to generally make you feel ultra-special. They carry on a pretty detailed dialog with you via e-mail for the month prior to the cruise. In that time they might book shows for you or make reservations at specialty restaurants (in those suites, all specialty restaurants are included). Then when you arrive at the ship they meet you at your car and escort you through check-in and directly to your suite which is ALWAYS ready for you. After that, every wish you have (within reason but they can be pretty crazy) is taken care of. When it is time for you to go to dinner at your specialty restaurant, they come and escort you there. Same with shows. And if you don’t want to go out but want a meal from a specialty restaurant, then they can have it brought to your suite and they serve it for you. If you want a party for other guests on board, they take care of that as well. All at no additional charge. Of course a seven day cruise in a Royal Genie serviced suite will run you anywhere from $20,000 to $40,000, but hey, it’s worth it. 

The Royal Genie that came in to speak to us was very interesting and described his job as well as telling us a bunch of stories (with no names of course) about crazy requests he had dealt with in his six years as a Genie. Hilarious and crazy stories you will have to ask me about later. Too many to tell here. 

After our Royal Genie session we got to spend about 45 minutes with our Cruise Director Jimmy Rhodes, one of the funniest CDs I have ever had the chance to listen to. He has been an RCL cruise director for 17 years and was the first black cruise director on a major cruise line. He started with RCL as a dancer in their shows and moved his way on up. If you look up the word “Hoot” in the dictionary, you will see his picture.

He also told us some great stories and answered a bunch of questions about the ship. One of them was whether the water show would be performed that night. Allure (and all the other Ovation class ships) have a huge water show that takes place outdoors on the aft end of the ship. The day before it had been postponed due to rough seas and high winds. We were interested because many of us had reservations for that night’s show. He was quick to reply that they would probably postpone the shows for that night as well and they did end up doing that. We did get to see the show the next day at 5:30 pm and I can’t say enough good things about it. Our buddy Mike told us the shows were great on this class of ship and he has been right on so far (tonight we are going to another one and I will let you know if we go three for three). For this show, I got to take lots of pics and the light was pretty good, so you will be able to see what we saw. Suffice it to say, it was AMAZING. See the pics below. 

The next morning we arrived on the island of St. Kitts. Kathleen and I had never been to this island before so we had booked a Royal Caribbean shore excursion to take a train ride around the island on a narrow gauge train that was set up for taking travelers to see the island. We were aware that we would have to take a bus from the ship to where we would join the train and one back as well. What we didn’t realize that we would be on a poorly air-conditioned bus for more than an hour to get to the train over some of the worst roads you have seen. On the train we were served water, rum punch, rum and cola, rum on the rocks, Pina coladas, rum and rum or just about anything with rum in it. Like a plastic cup. Just a note that we would NOT recommend this shore excursion to anyone. Hot and boring unless you like looking at grass, trees, ocean and the rest of your fellow travelers who are on board. The tour was also fully narrated but because of the age of the train and tracks, you couldn’t hear the narration. It was an extremely loud train trip.

A quick note here about the most overriding thing about this trip—the HEAT! And the humidity. Going outside of any air conditioned part of the ship is awful. And I fully take credit for that since we are total heat and humidity wimps. But that’s why we live in the Northwest. We hate heat and we hate humidity. More about this when I write about San Juan on Saturday.

Back on the ship we had a late lunch and I went to work out. Normally I work out in the morning but this cruise has really thrown off our schedules. We have late seating which means we eat dinner at 8:00 pm, then hang out until at least 11:00 to let our food digest and then go to sleep. That means that I am sleeping until 6:30 or 7:00 which doesn’t leave me enough time to work out, eat breakfast and make it to class or a shore excursion so I have been working out or walking later in the day. On Day 3 I walked five miles around the ship’s jogging/walking track in the later afternoon (and about died due to the heat and humidity) and on Day 4 (yesterday) I went to the gym around 3:30. Thankfully the AC was working better than it had been on Monday morning. I am somewhat worried what is going to happen to our schedules when we get home on Monday.

After the workout we were off to see the aforementioned water show that had been postponed. And as I said, it was excellent. After the show, dinner, then hang out and bed. Tomorrow (really today) is San Juan, Puerto Rico. More on Friday from the Nassau, Bahamas.

St. Kitts photos