Friday, March 15, 2013

February 28, 2013 ~ Antigua

Poor Carnival!   Well lucky for us last month we were on Princess! Back to adding the post from our first day in port!    

Swimming with the Rays!     February 28, 2013

Well they let us off the boat today!!!!!!(Oh thank goodness)

 This morning we docked in Antigua. I didn't realize that at each port, a local pilot comes on board to dock the boat.... A little boat pulls up next to our boat and a “pilot” jumps on board....  same thing happens in reverse when we pull out of port. I tried to lean over to see how it works, if he jumps on and off or if there are ramps.  It happens so fast, I can't see how they could use ramps.  I think he jumps! 

Beautiful Island. Unfortunately we didn't have lots of time to explore,  we picked an activity and went with it.

 We decided we would all go on the excursion to swim with the Rays. We got up bright and early, grabbed some food and were off..... lines lines lines.
Surprisingly it was a simple getting off the boat, then the line to board a bus and head to Stingray City!

We were herded to Romeo's bus. After a brief bus ride, which Romeo narrated so nicely, giving us a little tour and bit of Antiguian history and we were off to swim with the rays! Apparently more than 60% of Antigua’s economy is based on Tourism. We certainly did our part contributing to the local economy.
Mark & Maurya on the way to Stingray City!
Kosti & Tracy

We got to Sting Ray City. A lovely little area where they promised us all the rum we wanted and a swim with the Rays.  I must say, the rum drinks were very strong!   This was a fun excursion, but it was us and multiple busloads of people. ~ I almost forgot to tell you.... when we docked this morning in Antigua we were one of 4 LARGE cruise ships..... that 's lots of tourists!

 Line up for the bus, ride to Sting Ray City. Get off the bus. Line up for the boats. Line up to get off the boat. Line up to have your picture taken with a ray. Line up to get back on the boat and so it goes.

We did it. Maurya lasted a little bit.  Now do you know Maurya like we know Maurya? She doesn't like crawly, slimy swimming things... (she would rather face macheti man then go into the woods.....)   We're proud of her, she did get in the water to see the rays up close,  but once one swept up against her it was all over! She was back on the boat faster than Kosti finds bling to buy!    Have you ever felt a sting ray?  They feel slimy and like a real strong muscle.   It reminded me of when a strong muscular pitbull rubs up against your leg.   They let us pet, pick up and feed them.  (I drew the line at feed, a guy got bit as he wasn't feeding them right)  Did you know the male sting ray has two penis'   hmmmm and they (the male ray) are about half the size of the female....  and with 2 penis' you don't need that many males.   We had about 15 females to one male!   Even though there were lots of people there, it was fun! As we held the rays, they took a picture of us. Tracy bought his and Kosti's. Quite a profit margin! One picture per CD for $15!!!!!!! Wow!

We did get to snorkle around for a while on a nearby reef .... lots of beautiful fish.  Unfortunatley no one brought an underwater camera this year.
Made it back to town in time for lunch. Romeo recommended a great little restaurant, Hemingway’s, as Mark and Jay were in search of conch chowder. Found it while walking around town, but not without being stalked buy people trying to sell us stuff or drive us somewhere. Lunch was kind of a luxury for Jay, Tracy, Maurya and Kosti as  the food was really good and they could smoke in the restaurant..  If you ever find yourself in Antigua, stop in at Hemingway's ~  it's worth it, fun place, good food, nice owners! 

Hey, remember yesterday I told you about the “free-be's" we learned about at our "shopping" class … well we had to hit all the shops that Kosti and I had tickets for.  First one we hit up, Diamonds International ~ free charm bracelet and charm plus a beautiful silver like (operative word being "like") necklace.  Wow.... fun fun fun!    Then off to find Del Sol for our free beach bags that change color in the sun!!!! Love it!!!!!

Jay and I headed back to rest. Surprisingly, it was very easy to board.  It was kind of nice as we headed onto the boat we were handed damp face clothes to refresh ourselves.   Through security and back to our little floating home on the Caribbean...

Jay and I took a good little snooze, then headed out for pizza and a show. Not bad, a nice little show with a little bit of Gershwin.
After the show, Jay and I wandered around a bit, then we headed straight to what I really think is my favorite spot! Movies under the Stars to catch Batman, the latest one of course and what did I do once settled in? You got it.... I fell asleep.

Tracy, Kosti and Mark and Maurya had a little party in their room and ended in the night club where you can smoke and drink, woooo who..... livin' large!
Well people now that we are back in the room, time for me to go to sleep for real! Kisses Miss Sadie Girl! Check back tomorrow for more crazy funnnn...... has been a long long hot day and I am tired.    See you soon.


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

February 26 & 27th at Sea..... The Caribbean Sea....

who is driving this thing?

Where to begin.... the last 2 days have been..... well, they've been.. and they have just blended into each other as we sleep, eat, walk around, watch a movie, sleep eat.... I am bored, I am claustrophobic, I am tired of crowds and lines.... I'm not alone, Kosti has had a rough day or two getting used to this constant motion, and my dear Husband keeps telling me to make the most of it....

Yesterday I convinced Jay to get up early and walk with me. He is so wonderful... he did, it didn't work out so well!  We got up to the promenade deck bright and early to walk a few laps.  By the time we got there,  there were already people up there walking. As we did our first lap, some people came up behind us and politely said, “excuse me” to get by. Shortly after, someone came by and sort of brushed past us without saying ANYTHING! Okay.... Then a guy came up behind us and push Jay aside so he that could get by. Actually physically pushed Jay! I felt so bad. Jay decided he had enough of that after being brush aside and then actually pushed, so he started walking single file behind me. Now we weren't speed walking and I know some people are really serious about their exercise, but we weren't sunday strolling either...come on, no need to push!!! Walking single file with my husband was not fun, so what did we do? You got it, stopped for a smoke! And never walked again.

It has been 2.5 days on this boat.... with 3072 other passengers and 1500 crew.... I am going a little stir crazy... This afternoon Kosti and I decided we needed something and noticed they had a “shopping seminar”. Hmmmm, “How to get the best deals” shopping in the Caribbean. The Cruise Shopping Director was the presenter. How fun. Me, Kosti, Maurya and 200 other shoppers all piled into the Emerald Theater to learn how to shop. The first question our Shopping Director asked was, who is excited about learing how to get the best deals in the Caribbean? Guess who got a prize for being the “most excited shopper”... that would be Moi! Yes folks, Maurya had left us by then, Kosti was waiting for the real info and the other 200 folks were just not as excited as I was to learn how to shop for good deals! I won a lovely pearl necklace! Oh and all the free coupons and discount cards they gave us. At the end of the seminar, our Shopping Director (bucket list item.... I want to be a shopping director) took information from each of us about what specific items we were looking to purchase, promising to give us “insider info” at each port the evening prior to docking so that we could get “the best deals ever”. Yeah yeah yeah.....

We did head up to the pool to lay out for a bit, good news, not all the passengers had the same thought in mind, only half of them did. Believe it or not, it was impossible to find deck chairs together. If we did , we couldn't save them. Tracy and I did go to one of the upper decks at one point for a few minutes as there was no one there ~ only to find out it is not fun laying in the sun in a wind tunnel!

Jay has been trying to help me make the most of it by wandering and exploring. Last night we walked all around the ship. Yay, no one pushed us out of the way! We had a good laugh as we walked around the mini golf course. They piped in music with intermittent bird chirping. Was it real, or was it Memorex? Memorex! Then we happened to wander to the crew's area, deck and pool and stopped for a smoke!

This afternoon we hung out in the Piazza to catch a Juggling show!   We had some snacks at the international cafe and got some great seats for the “show”.   Team Blueberry ~ close enough~ one very friendly juggler came over on his way to the show and was chatting up Tracy. Not to worry Kosti was there to stand by his man. It was a good, hmmmm ~  5 minute show. Guess it was just a preview, to what ~ we're not sure *   Update  it's Team RootBerry!!!   check out their FB page!  Thanks Maurya!!!!

Today we caught the movie, “Lincoln”. Not only a great movie it also offered some relief from the rocking and rolling of the boat.   I must say it was fun watching the movie with our Russian.  Guess they don't teach much American History in Russian elementary schools.  He couldn't understand why Tracy and I were crying.... the movie didn't have the same impact on him as it had on us!  It was interesting that we all  found ourselves (except for the Russian, he didn't get the big deal) on the edge of our seats hoping Congress would pass the 13thamendment.     Wheewwww, it passed!  It was close!!!!

Tonight we discovered “Movies under the stars”.   Even though I fell asleep watching The Bourne Legacy, the comfy cushions, warm blankets, popcorn, cookies and milk delivered were a real treat... and all under the stars. It was very relaxing! All this fun ~ fit into 2 days!

Time to sleep for a while....  Dream about my Sadie Girl.... hope she is loving Jayma and Colin....                         

Check back tomorrow for another fun filled day.  Should be fun, we're getting off this boat for a few hours as the adventure continues...


Monday, March 11, 2013

Sunset February 25, 2013.....

Phase 3 and The 2013 excellent Adventure of The Church of the Blue Durango begins.....

Okay so before we get into my dilemma for the day ~ the dates are off ~ see yesterday's post.

My dilemma.... I have the most wonderful husband a girl can have.    I hit the jackpot when I married him! One of the things he does and likes (yes... likes) to do is keep up on the laundry. The night before our vacation ended, my honey washed all of our dirty clothes.  Believe it or not, there are laundromats on the boat. He spent part of the last night of our vacation doing laundry just so that we would come home with no dirty clothes. Priceless he is... I am telling you.

My dilemma is now we're home and I have two suitcases full of clean summer clothes and we live in Rochester! Do I put them back in the attic, or move the winter stuff out and put them in the drawers and closets or do I just leave them in the suitcases for a few weeks?   I know I know.... my life is pretty good....such problems!  Now back to the trip blog....

Monday February 25, 2013  Good bye Fort Lauderdale.... Hello Emerald Princess!

We woke up bright and early this am to meet Mark and Maurya at the ship. They got there around 11am, we decided we weren't going to get going until noon. Before we begin, let me tell you that we have been very worried about the liquor situation on the boat.

Our brain.... Tracy decided we would bring our own “wine”. Yay for Tracy. We brought 6 bottles of wine and 6 bottles of Champagne for my morning mimosas'!!! Notice the picture of some of our “wine”. When you see me ask where you can get  this“white” red wine..... k? K!  *  late breaking update it was the Russian who came up with the "wine" idea!!!!!!!   Go Kosti! 

Once we got to the boat a funny thing happened, they took our luggage and did not give us any "claim tickets".... how do we know we will ever see our things again? Everyone's luggage got dumped into large bins with the promise of them being delivered to our rooms. Talk about Trust and the Speed of it! We learned very fast we needed to trust the staff on this great big ship.... most of our bags arrived safe and sound in a reasonable amount of time. Maurya did have one bag missing for a few hours!

Luggage in bins and then, and then the lines.... Disney? No.... Princess Cruise. Check out the sign below that we saw while waiting in line....Talk about said...."escape completely". Who knew we would be completely escaping, unplugged and off the grid! Hello communication circa 1991.....                                   

While boarding took a long and I mean long time with 4 different winding lines, it did go rather smooth..... we practiced patience, the boys took turns going for smoke breaks.... people around us frequently inquired about our stateroom number. Hmmmmm could it be the case of wine Tracy was carrying on his shoulder that was attracting new friends?
And then, voila.... we were on the boat all safe and sound and no one even asked about our cases of lovely wine & champagne....not a peep!    We were late boarding only to find out there was a health inspection going on.... yay~ I'm all for healthy boats!  Guess what, it passed! Emerald Princess ~ Eastern Caribbean here we come.....

 We all made it to our rooms and then headed out for some drinks......on our way we made a group decision to purchase the kiddie cocktail cups for $7 a day for the 10 days. What a deal!   All the free “mocktails” we wanted, all the juices and milkshakes we could drink. Why we thought we all needed them is beyond me, but we did.... our “white” red wine goes great in “mocktails”....   But let me tell you these are some of the most expensive cups you could buy with those fun kiddie windie  (that is "wine-d") straws!  

Me & "the boys"

Our stateroom is right next to Mark & Maurya's. We have balconies. We're going to see if they can open them so it's one large balcony.   Tracy and Kosti are down the block! No balcony, no windows, they are going to have to think of ways to occupy their time in their room... I'm not worried!.

All in all it hasn't been a bad day, however I am feeling a little claustrophobic in this room. It is not a bad size but the ceiling is pretty low....

Maurya and the boys hit the hot tub tonight. Jay and I are opting for a relaxing night in our room....

One thing that I think is going to be an issue is communication.   No cell phones, no texting... and to use the room phones, everyone has to be in their rooms.... let's see how this works out.

Well I am going to call it a night and snuggle with my sweet husband..... who knows, I may get lucky! 

I know this isn't a very exciting post, but I there is excitement in the air. Check back soon.

Miss my Sadie Girl, but I don't think she'd like the motion of the ocean too much... who said on a such a big ship you don't feel the rocking. I'm feeling it! Ciao for now!


Sunday, March 10, 2013

Phase 2 of our great adventure vacation.... Fort Lauderdale with the boys

So,  dates may seem a little off here.  They are!  I did have every intention of blogging about our adventures as they happened.  However, we got on the ship and it was 89 cents a minute for the Internet.  It was a very slow connect and it would have cost in excess of $500 to publish all the posts while we were on the ship.... I did keep a daily log, now I'll put them up day by day and add pics!  

Sunday ~ February 24, 2013
We left Puerto Rico bright and early this am. It was a smooth and uneventful flight, and quickly caught a taxi to the hotel. Thought we came up with a “good” taxi. Turns out he was a smooth talker.... Oh well. He got us to the hotel, where we caught up with the boys, Tracy and Kosti. They came in yesterday and got the lay of the land. We were going to spend the day in the Everglades,  after haggling with our “good” taxi driver for a bit, then striking a deal for him to take us to the Everglades we were off. About 5 minutes into the ride, we asked one more question... it turns out he was taking us to a mall. Said he thought that was were we wanted to go..... Hmmmm, communication difficulty?   He said the Everglades was too far for the fee we decided on. So we decided to rent a car and drive ourselves and of course, he had a deal for us.  Once again,  too good to be true. We had him drop us off at the beach.... we need to remember to ask all questions and then one more when something seem to good to be true.

Our Russian.....before the honey!

Kosti took us to his favorite new store. “Diamonds and Doggies”. What a great concept! Two of our favorite things! The place was packed! Kosti fell in love with a little tea cup pup that he wanted to bring her home. We managed to convince him that she would just be a snack for Austin & Texas. Broke his little heart!
Beautiful beach, lots of beautiful people..... beautiful day..... time to head back to the hotel to get ready for tomorrow.

The evening was eventful as we headed out to the Mai-Kai restaurant for dinner and a show. Mark and Maurya arrived just in time to join us. Yay The Church of the Blue Durango together in Fort Lauderdale!   Dinner, Polynesian dancers.... fun. Well have you ever gone to dinner with a Russian who is allergic to honey? Take note here, this is a theme that I am sure will re-occur! Anyway, who thought, (we obviously didn't when we made our plans for the evening) Polynesian food includes honey in many of the recipes. Needless to say we had a very unhappy Russian at dinner. He did manage to ingest a small amount and did not feel good... And so we learn.  Dinner and the show wasn't bad for us non-honey allergic beings!
Back to the hotel to get some sleep and get ready for the am. Maurya wants to get the the boat early!

Adios! Stay tuned for the continuing adventures of the Church of the Blue Durango!

I do miss My Sadie Girl, but know she is enjoying her time with Jason, Carol and the boys.