Cruising over, Cruise 'in yet to come!

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Just a quick post about our last cruise and our cruise-in to come! Our Western Caribbean cruise on the Carnival Magic was fairly uneventful. Or not. It all depends on your point of view.
  • Stu dove three ports, all of which he has dived before. Roatan, Honduras is still his favorite.
  • I wrote, and wrote, and wrote - getting six chapters written for my upcoming novella in the Lei Crime Series, Paradise Dead.
  • I managed to stick to my diet, for the most part. Dinner in the Italian specialty restaurant was tough but I tried to not eat too much pasta. My downfall was iced cappuccinos. I held out until the last two days though!
  • Karaoke on a cruise ship is just as painful as it is on land.
  • We had an absolute blast getting to know two of the new members in the #sixappeal band. They are now both added to the cast of characters in the upcoming book, Paradise Dead.
  • We went cave tubing and zip-lining in Belize with five members of the #sixappeal band. What a hoot!!!
  • Formerly referred to as our foster grandsons, they are now our BAND-sons (and daughter). We will miss them all and hope to see a few of them as we cross paths in the future. Talented folks!
  • Stu can dance it up when the right song comes on. {snicker}
  • We briefly met John Heald, the brand ambassador for Carnival Cruise Lines. We love his humor and follow his Facebook page. He was kind enough to send us a gift - we now have a bottle of wine in the fridge and a ship-on-a-stick to add to our memorabilia. The fruit was gifted to a family traveling with several kids.
  • To me, this song will always be known as "Night at the Museum", but now I know better.
  • Guy's Burgers taste just as good without a bun! (and I did eat 5-6 french fries...snicker)
  • The snacks in the Red Frog Pub are very reasonably priced at $3.33 each.
  • The Magic is a HUGE ship for us. We liked many things about it but still prefer the smaller ships. The Conquest class is currently our favorite.
  • Too many kids! Stu ended up with a chest cold at the end of the cruise.
  • We took a few photos, mostly of the band and stage performers. We took several short videos as well.
  • Yes, I'm still addicted to iced cappuccinos.

Most of the pictures/videos were taken with an iPhone or a GoPro. The quality varies from okay to wretched. LOL! No time to edit, just uploaded and going with them as is. Here are some shared by others. Dinner in the Italian Specialty Restaurant. Front to back, left to right: Steven Zimoski (saxophone), Stu, Me, Jacob Bowker (keyboard), Anna-Julia King (singer/dancer), David Tarr (singer, guitar) 

 

Way too early in the morning for these guys - taking the tender into Belize. Front to back, left to right: Steven Zimoski (saxophone), Federico Gironelli (lead guitar), me, Teddy Grant (drums), Jacob Bowker (keyboard), David Tarr (singer/guitar), Stu (You can enjoy an original composition from Federico on YouTube.) 
 

Getting ready for the zip-line. David Tarr, Teddy Grant, Federico Gironelli, Steven Zimoski 


Me, coming in for a landing on one of the five platforms. 


Late night chatting with our band-sons.
 


What musicians do when the cruise director comes over the intercom and overrides their microphones. 


The BEARD photo... 


And here are links to two short video clips from the stage production "America Sings" and the Chicago song, "25 Or 6 To 4".  Video one is the horns coming in (their stage rose from underneath) and video two is the end of the song with Federico on guitar.


A few pics of the ship, Carnival Magic.


All the photos are HERE and, unfortunately, not in order taken. Most of the videos are at the bottom and the first photos at the top are ones friends shared with us. LOL! Enjoy..

So that's it - cruising is over. BUT we now have a CRUISE-IN to attend. April 1st in Chattanooga.

Facebook Event Page
Website Event Page
Ciao for now!

Leg me tell you....

Friday, March 17, 2017

I finally gave in to yoga pants after finding some that fit well, don't stretch out and are inexpensive (Walmart). I have four pairs of black and one gray. But I stopped at wearing leggings. Heck, I'll be 70 this year. I've got a few jiggles and rolls. I can't wear them...can I?

Well, after everyone and their brother started wearing them, including some friends older (and some larger), I started looking. I thought maybe I could just get a pair of black ones. But why, when my black yoga pants do so well. I wear them do dinner all the time on our cruises. But the patterns...way too wild for me.

But I kept looking. LulaRoe, Leggings, Under Armour and a variety of department stores - then I found the VIV Collection at Amazon. I got brave. I really did! I bought three pairs with patterns. I bought the PLUS size which it says goes from 14-24. They are very soft and fit really well, just some extra material at the ankles (short, remember?).


I already have several tops long enough to wear with these - one in black, one in orange and one in olive. Good thing, the two tunic type tops I ordered either came to my knees (yes, I'm short) or made me look 12 months pregnant. They got returned.

Hoping I still like them AFTER our cruise. <grin>

Ciao for now!

Off Again, Jiggity Jog

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Carnival Pride cruise ship passing by the Sandy Point Shoal Light in front of rising Worm Moon by Walter Dorsett
MUST SEE video on Facebook

Yes, we're off again. Another week (our last this year, sniff) in the Southern Caribbean. New ship, old destinations but that's fine since Stu gets to scuba dive in three of the ports. The fourth is Belize where we plan to go zip-lining and cave tubing with several members of our favorite band, Six Appeal.

We'll be gone a week, come back and get a shed delivered to our RV lot, and on Thursday we head out. We have reservations in Chattanooga for the weekend so we can attend the annual Cruise-In sponsored by Coker Tire. This will be our first time attending and I know we'll both enjoy it.

Once we arrive at home in Tennessee, we have a lot to do. If I manage to get the first draft of Paradise Dead completed on the cruise, then I have to tackle the editing so I can get it to my proof readers. I have a publication deadline of May first. Once that's done, I will be tackling the edits of Almost a Touch. Phew!

If you don't follow my writing blog, you might want to take a peek in April. For the first time in several years, I'm participating in the April A to Z Blog Challenge. I think my theme is one you'll enjoy. The reveal will be posted on Monday. Here's a little hint....

April A to Z Blog Challenge

Ciao for now!

Home Again, Jiggity Jig

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

We enjoyed our ten days on our Southern Caribbean cruise. This was our first Royal Caribbean cruise together, second for Stu and first for me. Many folks have asked us to compare it to our Carnival cruises and I will do a roundup at the end of this post.

We had five ports and had been to all the islands but one on a previous Carnival cruise. I stuck to my guns and WROTE. Stu did two dives and ventured out a bit at the other ports. Not many photos, more of the ship and ship views than land photos. You can see them all in our SmugMug album.

We were thirty minutes out when we had to do an about face and return to the terminal in Ft Lauderdale for a medical emergency. During the cruise we had two more emergencies at ports. Guess we're all getting older. Sad....

We wandered the ship on the first day, marveling at the pretty decor and the amount of public space. We never felt crowded. There were two theaters, one for movies and comedians/performers and one for the production shows (I could be wrong but that's what I remember...lol). Several bars, open at various hours, an unusual shop layout (with pretty much the same merchandise as Carnival), and a nice adult solarium pool area.

Our cabin....


Our balcony....


The atrium (named the Centrum)


On the way to the Schooner Bar


The solarium (and bar) - adults only area


The shopping area


Sunset at sea


Tortola, B.V.I.


Basseterre, St. Kitts


House band on 50's-60's night in the atrium (there are several more short videos in the album)


Roseau, Dominica

Local street drummer

Fun local transportation


St. Johns, Antigua

Lots of boats, this was one interesting one

Definite party boat, they were dancing away!

A beautiful sunset from our balcony


Philipsburg, St Maarten

Better color, taken outside (not through a window)


Our favorite musician was a Scotsman, Kevin Philip.
Video

In full regalia


Yup, we added another musician friend to our Facebook list (and yes, he's also young enough to be a grandson).


We did both formal dinners.


I actually saw the sunrise in Fort Lauderdale...eeek!


Our overall impression of RCCL was, nice but not for us. Please remember, this was ONE CRUISE on ONE SHIP that we are comparing to over TEN CRUISES on SEVEN SHIPS.

We enjoyed ourselves but felt it was a bit too sedate. We loved the decor, very different from Carnival's more gaudy look. We liked the large public areas meaning we never felt crowded but that comes from taking away from other areas. The hallways for the cabins are narrow and our cabin was definitely smaller. Yes, that means the bathroom was smaller. The counter space was horrible. Smaller drawers, less storage place. Still had a safe and a mini-fridge (empty). The bed was fair, and for me, the pillows were horrible. Flat and hard. But I have to say the A/C was superior!

Things got very quiet after 10pm other than one or two bars and the casino. No late night comedians or shows. The timing was very different for us. Gone were the fresh burgers and hot dogs in the afternoon, replaced with buffet steam table burgers and dogs. Just not the same. Ice cream was only available when the Windjammer buffet was open. And yes, there were times it was closed. Doors closed and locked closed.  And don't get me started on the chocolate chip cookies. If we were comparing just that one thing, it'd be Carnival - hands down (freshly baked, still warm cookies as compared to dry, tasteless, worse than store bought cookies).

The staff treated us very well, several even interested in my writing. I did most of my writing in the Windjammer buffet. Spending a lot of time there, I was shocked at the amount of loud talking between staff members. But even worse was listening to someone be dressed down, loudly, in front of guests. This happened more than once.

We also felt the cleanliness wasn't as good as Carnival. We rarely saw anyone out cleaning, the Windjammer floor was nasty - food under tables all day long was just one thing. The last two days I couldn't sit on one side near the beverage counter because the smell of rotting garbage was terrible.

Oh, when in the lido buffet area, you don't serve yourself your own drinks. Not coffee, not water, not lemonade, not tea...that was different. They did have a non-smoking night in the casino but we noticed very few people smoking the entire cruise. They also gave us each $5 to gamble with - neither of us took advantage of that. We also loved that the photographers weren't hounding you to take your picture.

Would we cruise them again? Maybe - if it were a great deal and a destination we wanted. For now, we'll stick with Carnival and enjoy the rowdy crowds and cheerful noise!

Ciao for now!